Sunday, June 21, 2009


I'll be traveling to Ohio on my birthday this year so Dominic decided to plan a birthday celebration one week early. I was OK with this so long as I could keep celebrating for the duration of the week. Having been born on December 26th, he's not much for creating a big to-do over birthdays, but I'm hoping to change this in him the longer we're together.

He came over early yesterday and brought Cranberry Almond Crunch (the best cereal ever) with him. We had some breakfast and then he surprised me with a new (to me) older bicycle. This would be our mode of transportation for our "Seeing Seattle" themed day.

The seeing began with a trip down the hill to a nearby neighborhood, Fremont. Each year this community throws a big festival for the summer solstice. We enjoyed looking at a collection of decorated cars, riding the European Super Slide and watching a solstice parade.

The Fremont Solstice parade only has three rules: 1. No printed words or logos, 2. No motor vehicles, 3. No animals. You can imagine (and I'll show you below) what we saw.

The parade, as interesting as it is, had a new addition this year. Just before the costumed dancers, musicians and stilt-walkers emerge there's a large parade of people on their bicycles. People riding bikes alone may not seem like much, but very few of these bikers wear more than their helmets. Don't worry, there's decorative paint. For the record, Dominic and I did not bike in this portion of the parade.

That's a lot of dentures!

The European Super Slide--It's really fast!

There were probably ten women dressed up in these elaborate costumes. Something related to ice... They were beautiful.

Dominic...under the parade... can you see him?

If someone would have made me judge over the parade, this group would have won my award for most creative costume/messaging combination. Their outfits were made out of plastic bags and they were chanting something about reduce, reuse recycle so that bags don't end up in the ocean. There was a man dressed up like a big fish somewhere towards the back of the pack.

It's a bull, and smoke blows out of its nostrils!

This man (a tree) was my favorite stilt walker.

From Fremont we biked to the base of the space needle and, much to my surprise, boarded the most thrilling form of tourism that exists: The Ducks! For those who live or work on the Duck route, I apologize. I'm sure it's a quite a nuisance to have to listen to a car/boat load of people singing the YMCA and shrieking at every Starbucks they pass, but for those inside the Duck it's a blast. I learned all kinds of interesting facts about the city like: The space needle was originally orange, where the Sleepless in Seattle house is located on Lake Union and how much the owners tried to sell it for last year (more than $2 million), how many times a day the Fremont bridge goes up and down (35) and that Seattle is the largest ferry system in the U.S. It was so exciting my face hurt from smiling all day long.

We returned to Queen Anne for a little rest and then took a picnic dinner to my favorite park in the whole city: The SAM sculpture park.

I crawled, exhausted, in to bed-- loving this city and my dear fiance for letting me see it with him.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Wellness Coordination

I hadn’t realized I was such a sucker for wellness information. As if my new job weren’t fascinating enough, StayWell is letting me attend a WELCOA Workplace Wellness Webinar for certification. It’s an awesome opportunity!

I was doing some reading on data analysis today and came across fascinating smoking information. This, coupled with an article I read yesterday about the employer who refuses to hire (and fires) smokers, has my head spinning.

The following quote is from Dr. Steve Aldana a professor of Lifestyle Medicine in the Department of Exercise Sciences at Brigham Young University. He is also an adjunct faculty member of the University of Illinois School of Medicine. Since he has spent his career researching and teaching about the impact of lifestyle on disease and quality of life I figure he’s a good person to reference.

“First, it’s important to understand that approximately 23% of the population uses tobacco. If you’re a female and you’re 24 years of age and you’re a smoker, it’s going to cost $106,000 for you over your lifetime to treat the diseases that you get from tobacco use. That’s everything. That’s private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid; it’s going to cost $106,000 to treat you. If you’re a man, and you’re a tobacco user at age 24 and you use tobacco your whole life, it’s going to cost $220,000. This equates to about $40 in healthcare costs for every pack of cigarettes you smoke.

So if you spent $4.25 for a pack of smokes, the real cost of that purchase is about $44.25—$40 of which will be paid for by someone else.”

What do we do with this? How can my work help people quit?