Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Marketing Tip to Tip

Do you think BitGym heard about my Tip-to-Tip run? The company has created an app that "enables users to virtually travel through iconic locations around the world while on the treadmill or exercise bike".

How cool would it be to step on a boring old treadmill and find yourself moving through the streets of famous cities and landscapes? I bet I'd run faster, longer and happier with this little toy.

Maybe the company needs people to film the first person point of view footage... if so, sign me up for New York City BitGym! I'll show users a good time at the zippy 9.5 minute mile speed.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Cleansing Fast

I had this friend in the Peace Corps who I admired for his spiritual discipline. He was a devout Christian, an avid prayer and confident evangelist. The other thing he did well - and often - was fast.

I've never been one for limiting my caloric intake. I love to eat, not in a foodie type of way where I know quality, but in a 'let's get together and chat over a tasty meal' kind of way. Also, I get distracted by food, or by thinking about how it will make me feel.

Dominic and I are in a time of transition. Again. So last Saturday I thought I might try a one week fast. The problem is I made it up myself. Basically, I thought that I would limit what I ate, but I wouldn't limit the volume. What I learned is that this turned into a detox more than it led me to the Lord.

From Saturday through Friday I consumed about $40 worth of produce - and camomile tea, dried basil and dried cilantro (I don't know why, they're just my favorite herbs). There wasn't much method to my shopping. I allowed unlimited fruit including: grapes, bananas, kiwi, oranges, grapefruit, pears and apples. Then I added in the vegetables available to me at Modern Food Center: beets, red cabbage, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms and spinach. I decided to exclude potatoes and avocados.

All week when I would feel hungry I thought it would remind me to pray, or I guess I had hoped the hunger would help remind me to pay attention to how the Lord was leading our lives. As it turns out, I wasn't able to focus at all. In fact, I slept in most days and went to bed early because I didn't have much energy. This wasn't what I had intended.

I admit the whole approach was a bit misguided, but I ended the week realizing my failure to prioritize the Lord more than usual. I was constantly thinking about myself and my life and my plans and my purpose, but very rarely did I take a hunger pang as an opportunity to pay attention to how the Lord is working, is present and does have a plan.

This morning Dominic and I listened to a sermon in which Annie Dillard was quoted:

How we spend our days is how we live our lives.

May my days be spent paying attention.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Sunshine State

When we booked our tickets to head to Florida in January we assumed we'd be leaving a New York plastered with snow, ice, and the trash that goes uncollected during the colder months. It hasn't yet snowed here, but it was still cold enough for us to get excited to go down south for a few days and enjoy some sun. What I was most looking forward to was the chance to hang out with 3 generations of perhaps the coolest ladies ever; at the same time!

My grandma Alice from Iowa was down visiting my Aunt Annie from Illinois. (Apparently, very few people who are in Florida are actually originally from Florida.) We spent our time reading at the beach


collecting shells (which were everywhere! We picked up plenty of good terrarium materials).

And (especially important to Sarah) just soaking up the sun.

We also had the chance to visit this really neat place called Marco Island. Where we learned that Grandma enjoys Pina Coladas (she hadn't tried one before)

It was really special to be able to spent so much one on one time with both Grandma and Annie and hear stories about the Almquist side of the family. Grandma Alice is so sharp and told us - in great detail - all about her memories of WWII, her travels on the coasts in the 40s, and life growing up on the farm.

We can't thank Aunt Annie enough for her hospitality and for just being awesome!

Hopefully we'll be back again real soon!

Two birthdays in Ohio

Sarah and I are so blessed to have two wonderful families... and an abundance of frequent flier miles. After celebrating Thanksgiving with the Monley clan, we repacked and headed out to The Ohio to celebrate Christmas with the Zaengers.

It was not a white Christmas, but Kathy had the house all decked out in Christmas cheer. Allan’s brother Paul and family, as well as Grandma Zaenger were in Columbus this year. This only added to all the other special Hoffer's we always get to catch up with when we visit.

The week was filled with activities like visits to the Franklin Park Conservatory where we got to see some glass blowing up close and personal. We used to love to take guests to Chihuly's Tacoma glass blowing studio/arena when we lived in Seattle, so it was fun to see it again. And at this place you were sitting right there, feeling the heat from the ovens and getting to see the detailed work of the artists.

Of course no time spent at the Zaenger house would be complete without wonderful food and hospitality. I don't have any pictures, unfortunately, but we ate well. Very well. Aunt Dee even brought by Sarah's favorite cherry cheesecake.

Kathy made us all scarves! I had been looking for a shorter scarf forever.

And to top it all off, for my birthday we got to eat bar-b-que at this super tasty place, whose name I'm forgetting. But trust me it was goooood. They had corn puddin'.

Thank you family for all your hospitality and love!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Holiday Train Show

We had heard from so many folks that, "you have to go to the Holiday Train Show at the Botanical Gardens" during the Christmas season. Living across from the Gardens has been such a blessing for us, and we have enjoyed all the shows (see previous blog posts) they've put on so far, so it was with much excitement that Sarah and I set out on a surprisingly not-so-cold friday evening.

The show is basically a gingerbread house type idea, but because it's the Botanical Gardens, everything is made out of natural products such as leaves, sticks, bark, nuts, etc. The show recreates - in uncanny detail - New York City. All the bridges and notable buildings are shot through with moving trains that run and toot around as little kids excitedly give chase, and parents anxiously attempt to keep track of them.

This is the version of the main conservatory pictured above

The Brooklyn Bridge. Notice my head at the bottom of the picture to give you an idea of the size... remember that all of this is made out of twigs and plants.

Sarah was really excited to find Teddy Roosevelt's brownstone home in midtown.