Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bowling with the Kids

Last night we were bowling with the kids. It seems a little weird that bowling is our family outing with little kids but it is my daughter's favorite thing to do. It might lose out to riding on a flying pink unicorn but only by a little bit. I think she might like the nachos that we get at the snack bar more than she likes the actual bowling but she is always interested in whether or not she is winning.

Both the kids were using bumpers and the ramp last night and they both wanted to carry their own bowling ball from the ball return to the ramp every frame. We had the super-light bowling ball for them to use but this was still heavy for the four year old. For the two year old it was more like a fifth of his body weight. He wasn't going to give up though. Twice every frame he would toddle from the ball return to the ramp at the head of the lane and lift the ball onto the ramp like the world's strongest man lifting an atlas stone.

About the ninth frame my daughter paused after her turn to ask me if she was winning. While I was kneeling down telling her that of course she was winning, my son grabbed his ball and was off to the races. I noticed him as he stumbled across my field of vision. I don't know if he was tired and couldn't carry the ball in a straight line or if he was just tired of using the ramp and wanted to bowl in an open lane but he was headed, full speed for the lane next to us.

I tried to get to him, really I did. But by the time I skidded to a stop next to him he had already thrown his ball down the lane. The ball was rolling at crawl but I was just late enough that I couldn't reach it by just sticking out my arm.

I was mortified. What do you tell the people in the lane next to you? 'Sorry my son bowled you're tenth frame for you. Hope you weren't going for a 300.' To make matters worse, the ball was going so slow that once it inevitably fell into the gutter the extra friction stopped it completely. Now we had to wait for the lane manager to come and rescue our super-light bowling ball from the gutter of the lane next to us.

I'm sure this won't be the last time we go bowling. I just wish we could get the same enthusiasm about the nachos without the rest of the bowling experience.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crystal Bay - Lake Tahoe

Crystal Bay - Lake Tahoe
Crystal Bay - Lake Tahoe
Crystal Bay is on the north end of Lake Tahoe just over the border into Nevada. This image was taken just above Incline Village on 7 September 2012. It is probably 45 minutes before sunset on the hillside where I shot this from but you can already see the deep shadows cast by the trees. Some of the valleys nearby are already dark and cold with the sunset.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mustang Sunrise

Today's Sunrise pictures were taken from the South Meadows Wetland Conservation Area in Reno. The Wetlands give a great backdrop to the sunrise but as I passed by Damonte Ranch high school I got more background than I was expecting.  I know that the school mascot is the Mustang but who thinks to have one on the lawn in front of the school. This must be one of the wild horses that roam the area. I don't see a bridle or tether anywhere. It's good that the wild animal life is flourishing bit I think that a horse at a busy intersection would be considered a hazard no matter how fitting the symbolism.


mustang sunrise 1
mustang sunrise 2

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sunrise - South Meadows, Reno

Sunrise - South Meadows 1

This morning I noticed that, about 15 minutes before sunrise, all the dogs in the neighborhood started barking. Is this something that happens everywhere or just in my neighborhood? Maybe I just have a cat running around, getting all the dogs excited just before sunrise.

Sunrise - South Meadows 2

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunrise Reno

I got up early this morning to watch the sunrise. I don't know why, it just seemed like a fun thing to do. I might have enjoyed it more if it wasn't almost 40 minutes late.

I checked the Reno-Gazette Journal to find out when the sun was supposed to rise so I could get up a few minutes early. I didn't want to miss anything. This morning sunrise was listed as 6:17 a.m. I got up ten minutes early and was waiting in the back yard when the appointed time came. It was light at a quarter after six but there was definitely no sun to be seen.

I doubt there was anywhere in the valley where the sun was actually visible. This is what the eastern horizon looked like at 6:17 this morning. Light yes. Sun, no.

pre sunrise

After thirty-eight minutes of waiting the sun finally poked up and shed some light on me. I don't know how the sunrise is calculated but obviously, nobody accounted for mountains. I could understand this mistake in a global website or averages from somewhere that was completely flat. I expected something more accurate from the local newspaper.

sunrise Reno - 40 minutes late

sunrise Reno from across the street

I have to admit that the view was worth it but, next time I get up to watch the sunrise I'll plan to be my usual, 30 minutes late.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pink Rose Wedding Bouquet

My sister in law got married back in 2007.  These are some of the flowers my wife arranged for the wedding.  Pink isn't her favorite color but some things have to go the bride's way.  The flowers turned out great (I think my photos of them aren't bad either).  

The bouquet is particularly impressive.  It was very large and weighed almost as much as the bride.  I don't remember exactly how many roses went into its construction, but let's just say it's a lot.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ray Charles - Big Feet

This is just a screen shot of my iPhone playing Pandora radio.  I usually ignore the advertisements that pop up but this one was special.  Who'd have thought that something as innocent as a shoe ad could be so funny?  This totally makes Ray Charles look like he has gigantic feet.  What would those be, like a size 1,000?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Clear Creek Trail - Denver, Colorado

I took my bike out for the first ride of the season recently.  It was so hard to stay indoors.  The weather in Reno has been so nice that I just couldn't stand it any more.  The time I spent on the road today made me think back to one of the last rides I took in Colorado.  
This picture is of the Clear Creek trail.  It is a really pretty trail and the first with my new bike (Specialized Tricross Sport).  I had such a blast that day and didn't realize how much better today would be.  I have lost 67 pounds on the 17 Day Diet since my last ride last year.  The difference is amazing.  The seat is lots more comfortable.  The riding motion is more comfortable.  The biggest difference, though, has got to be the breathing.  
I thought I was doing well last year.  I had been riding a bike pretty consistently and my breathing had definitely improved.  It was like night and day when I got out this year.  I don't think I hardly broke a sweat this time on the same trail that was a real work out last fall.
I'd like to thank Dr. Mike Moreno for making most things in my life better, even the bike rides.

Monday, March 5, 2012

17 Day Diet - Cheats

I did it.  I gave in.  I had chili cheese fries.
They've been tempting me for days.  I don't know why I've been craving chili cheese fries so much.  They were in my 'like' category before the diet and I haven't thought about them very much in the past four months while I have been on the diet.  Something recently just made them sound irresistible.
They weren't that good.
This has been the case every time I have cheated on the diet so far.  I crave something until I cave and then realize that it wasn't that good to begin with.  I guess that this was part of what made me fat in the first place.  None of the food that I was eating was fantastic gourmet food it was just high calorie and in large quantities.  The only thing that would have made the chili cheese fries really fantastic was more of them and I'm just not willing to sacrifice the weight I've lost so far to one day of massive amounts of chili cheese fries.
Where is the food that is really fantastic tasting and really satisfying in a reasonable serving size?  It's got to be out there.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Lookout Mountain, Colorado - Buffalo Herd

On Lookout Mountain near Denver, Colorado is a herd of American Buffalo.  It really makes you feel like you are in the old west to see a herd of buffalo on the mountain slopes even if there is a fence between you and the animals.  I have always thought that buffalo were impressive creatures.  Seeing these ones at close range I can't help but think that they are a little small.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dead Cactus - Scottsdale, Arizona

In January I had the opportunity to spend three days at the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona near Phoenix.  While golfing with some friends from work I took a minute to look at this dead cactus.  I don't suppose they leave decaying plants very long at a place as posh as the Phoenician but I was really intrigued by the internal structure of the plant.  I think this is a generic saguaro cactus but I would have never expected to see the vertical support structure as separate woody sticks.  This is truly a unique plant that has adapted to live in a harsh, dry environment.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Silver Legacy, Reno - Silver Collection

Back in 2005 Maptek had a users' conference in Reno at the Silver Legacy hotel.  I was new with the company and nervous about my role in the conference but I still took time to view the silver collection in the lobby.  I don't remember whose collection it is.  Silver mining has taken place in and around Reno for more than a hundred years.  This set belongs to the family of some silver baron.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fairytale Town - Trees

We took the kids to Fairytale Town last weekend.  They had a blast.  Everything was so exciting after a day spent riding in the car that they literally ran from place to place.  I had a great time watching them be so excited.   As a parent, I get a bigger kick out of watching the kids be excited about new things than I would have ever been at the things themselves.
I did find this beautiful flowering tree near the pirate ship exhibit.  I am not a horticulturist and can't find anything on the internet that looks like this blossom.  Maybe someone will see this picture and tell me what it is.  

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

10 Tips for Surviving the 17 Day Diet - Part 1

One of the hottest trends in dieting right now is Dr. Mike Moreno’s 17 Day Diet.  This low carb/high protein diet has been featured on shows like Dr. Phil and The Doctors.  I learned all about Dr. Moreno’s diet by reading his book titled, appropriately, The 17 Day Diet

I have to admit that I have no specialized training that qualifies me to write about the subject of dieting.  I am not a doctor or health care specialist.  All of my experience about diets and weight loss comes from the school of hard knocks.  I have been following the 17 Day Diet for about 4 months now and have lost a satisfying 67 pounds.  Dr. Moreno’s diet is simple, straightforward and effective.  Here are my top 10 tips for anyone about to start the 17 Day Diet.

1. Plan your snacks.  This seems simple and Dr. Moreno talks about it in the book, but no amount of talking about it can be as harsh as being caught unprepared.  Planning two or three snacks per day can be hard, especially when we all go places where there are few healthy alternatives readily available.  Early on in my diet I was caught at work or on the road with nothing to eat and no place to get anything remotely healthy.  Diets are about change, and one of the biggest changes you can make is to be prepared with healthy eating alternatives.

2. Prepare enough protein to have leftovers for lunch.  Like most diets, the 17 Day Diet promotes salads as a healthy meal.  Take it from me, if you try to eat a boring salad every day for lunch you won’t be on this diet for very long.  I have found that one of the best ways to make a salad more interesting is to add chicken or turkey.  Prepare enough dinner the night before so that there is a leftover chicken breast.  Dice the chicken and put it in a Ziploc bag so it is ready to grab on the go. 

3. Get your family on the diet.  Just the other night, I was watching a television show where the father was on a diet but the rest of the family wasn’t.  There was gravy being poured and butter being spread but not for poor dad.  Not until his cholesterol came down.

This is why most diets don’t work.  You can’t surround yourself with high calorie foods and expect to not be tempted.  What’s the best way to avoid high calorie foods?  Get everyone around you on a diet too. 
I can honestly say that if my wife weren’t on the diet too, it never would have worked for me.  I do feel a little bit bad about having the kids on a diet.  They still get enough to eat.  It’s just more chicken and vegetables with less pizza and fried tacos.

4. Avoid eating your kids' snacks.  If you have kids you’re going to have snacks.  Expecting children to completely give up a tasty treat just isn’t going to happen.  You need to have snacks for the kids that you won’t eat yourself.  Whether that is a certain type of graham cracker or a booger flavored jelly bean, don’t buy anything you can’t say no to.

One of the worst snacks I ever got for the kids was a bag of yogurt dipped pretzels.  The bag didn’t last very long and I don’t think the kids got any pretzels.  Now I keep things like store bought Rice Krispy treats, something that the kids like but that I can turn down.

Continue reading tips 5-10

10 Tips for Surviving the 17 Day Diet - Part 2

One of the hottest trends in dieting right now is Dr. Mike Moreno’s 17 Day Diet.  This low carb/high protein diet has been featured on shows like Dr. Phil and The Doctors.  I learned all about Dr. Moreno’s diet by reading his book titled, appropriately, The 17 Day Diet

I have to admit that I have no specialized training that qualifies me to write about the subject of dieting.  I am not a doctor or health care specialist.  All of my experience about diets and weight loss comes from the school of hard knocks.  I have been following the 17 Day Diet for about 4 months now and have lost a satisfying 67 pounds.  Dr. Moreno’s diet is simple, straightforward and effective.  Here are the rest of my top 10 tips for anyone about to start the 17 Day Diet.

Back to tips 1-4

5. Greek yogurt.  Find a brand of Greek yogurt that you like and keep a stash in the fridge.  Greek yogurt has twice the protein as regular yogurt and it is thicker and more filling too.  I like the Yoplait flavored Greek yogurt.  I know that the flavoring adds some carbs but it’s just going to have to be okay.  They have a key lime flavor that is just to die for.

Having turned you on to the yogurt I have to put out a little disclaimer too.  According to Dr. Mike Moreno, you shouldn’t be eating certain things after 2:00 pm.  These things include high sugar fruits like apples and oranges as well as dairy products. 

I know he is telling the truth because about a month into the diet I had developed the habit of eating a Greek yogurt after putting the kids to bed.  At about the same time I noticed my weight loss had slowed to a crawl.  When I gave up my late night yogurt the weight loss picked back up and now I avoid eating yogurt after 2:00 pm.

6. Find a diet friendly restaurant.  It is infeasible to think that you are going to go weeks or months with never eating out.  At most restaurants you can find something that fits into the framework of the 17 Day Diet but some restaurants are definitely better than others.  My favorite, diet friendly restaurant is Genghis Grill.  This is a Mongolian barbecue where you pick the protein, the vegetables and the starch.  I like to go at lunch so I can get the brown rice as my starch (before 2:00 pm and not on cycle 1).

7. Cheat (a little).  Following Dr. Moreno’s rules you will definitely lose weight.  I had to modify a few of the restrictions in order to maintain sanity while continuing to diet. 

I can’t stand plain oatmeal.  If you can, great, but I need something to offset the oatmeal flavor.  I have found that the Quaker packets of flavored oatmeal taste great in the morning and don’t break the diet by too much.  My favorite flavor is ‘cinnamon spice.’  Try a few and find out what your favorite flavor is.

Find some low fat blue cheese.  Before the diet I wasn’t a fan of blue cheese.  Now I am lots more interested in adding flavor to my food than in maintaining prior prejudices.  I especially like a little of the crumbles on my salad at lunch.  This way I have chicken and blue cheese covering up the lettuce flavor on the rest of the salad.

Sometimes you just need a snack.  Skinny Cow ice cream probably doesn’t fit in the diet in a strict sense but when I need something tasty this does the trick.  I don’t know how they make an ice cream bar for around 100 calories but I’m sure glad that they do.

8. Have a diet buddy.  Whether it’s someone at work or someone in the neighborhood, you need someone with whom to share your success.  I had an experience with this just last year. 

I had decided to work up to riding my bicycle in to work.  It took a while to get to the point where I could ride the eight miles to and from work and still function all day at my job.  During this period I learned that someone in my office was an avid biker.  Most days we would stop and chat about my progress.  Even though we weren’t on the same skill level, it made me feel better to talk to someone about my progress.  Being able to share my accomplishments with someone made me want to make more of them.  The same is true with weight loss, having that external support makes the personal trial of following a diet that much easier.

9. Find a variety of dishes.  As human beings we have a tendency to get stuck in a rut.  Before the diet, I used to have pizza once a week.  Now that I am following the 17 Day Diet, I want to keep the same predictable behavior but healthy food gets boring faster.  Variety is the spice of life and having a large selection of diet friendly dishes makes it a lot easier to stick to the diet.

10. Build on your success.  It seems that whenever I talk to someone who has lost five or ten pounds on a diet I have to talk them into sticking with it.  I suppose I must have been the same way in the beginning.  When you’ve only lost a few pounds it is easy to think about quitting.  Losing weight is like saving money, it happens a little bit at a time over a long period of time, it’s little baby steps all in the same direction.  Now that I’ve lost 67 pounds it’s hard to think about quitting.  I’d be giving up too much to quit now.  Keep going until you have too much to give up too.  

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Noah's Ark Cantina

When we started looking for a house in Denver we hadn't been looking for very long before we found this in the basement of one of them.  I don't know what the original purpose was or why you would need a window through a half wall with a fake cedar shingled roof but there it was.  We called it the 'Noah's Ark Cantina.'  If Noah had a bar on board for the animals I imagine it would have looked like this.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fireworks - Moroni, Utah 2005

I don't know why it is so hard to catch something as awesome as fireworks in a decent photograph.  This isn't my best fireworks picture (it isn't the worst either) but I wish it represented a more clear image of the explosion of burning metal and flash powder. Someday I wand to have a giant fireworks show for my birthday.  We'll have it at the lake house over the private dock (if we're dreaming we might as well do it properly).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pikes Peak

The view from Pikes Peak inspired Katherine Lee Bates to write the song "America the Beautiful."  After living in Colorado for seven years, Pikes Peak is the only fourteener (fourteen thousand foot mountain peak) we ever visited.  I'd like to say we climbed it but that would not be an accurate description of our 50 foot walk from the parking lot to the overview.
On a clear day you can probably see Kansas and Nebraska from the top of Pikes Peak (no exaggeration).  On the day we visited we were lucky to see the road on the way back.  I suppose it still counts as 'fog' even if you are at fourteen thousand plus feet above sea level.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Open Field

Open field of green on green
Beautiful place to see and be seen.
Grass so soft and sky so high
Lots of room to run and fly.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Wedding Flowers

My wife made this flower arrangement for a friend's wedding back in 2004.  She worked at a flower shop during high school and I have always been impressed at her ability to make beautiful bouquets.  It's sad that there isn't anything in this picture to give it a bit of scale.  This particular arrangement was made in a gigantic crystal bowl.  The image does no justice to just how big it really is.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Colorado Rockies - Opening Week 2007 - Coors Field

Some friends gave us their tickets to a Rockies game during opening week 2007.  I think that this was the second game of the season (we weren't good enough friends to give up opening day tickets for).  It was early enough in the year to still be a little chilly even in the middle of the afternoon.  It was a great excuse to get out of the office and spend a few hours out of doors.
I remember thinking after the game that we should get season tickets.  The official Rockies site listed season tickets at slightly less than a per game ticket price (it would be cheaper to buy season tickets than to buy tickets for each individual game).  After that, I looked up season tickets for the Denver Nuggets basketball season.  Nuggets season tickets were slightly more than individual ticket prices (I guess you pay a premium to have guaranteed tickets to every game).  I figured I was on a roll so I looked up the Denver Broncos next.  The Broncos didn't give a price for season tickets.  They said the wait list had 25,000 people on it ahead of me and that average wait time was 10-15 years for season tickets.  I guess they thought that I would be willing to pay any price for Denver Broncos Season Tickets, and that was before they got Tim Tebow.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Denver Snow - 2009

I love the shapes that snow makes when it falls on top of things.  The ledge on the leeward side of the car is a unique testament to the direction of the wind during the storm.  This wasn't the biggest snow storm we got while we lived in Denver, but our daughter was one year old this winter so ordinary things became extraordinary.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Late Last Night

Late last night, at half past ten,
I left to slay a dragon.
My favorite horse I harnessed to,
My magic little wagon.

Over hill and under dale,
We raced with no abandon,
On the tails of the wind,
We pursued that desperate green-toothed dragon.

A traveler on our way we met,
A luckless man named George.
A blacksmith who had lost his home,
His thatched roof hut and forge.

Invite him in, I said at once,
To my faithful meerkat Barry.
One more to fight that beast,
To thrust and chop and parry.

And so at last we came that night,
To the monster devil's lair.
My throat ran dry, my knees went weak,
I stood with all my hair.

A monstrous roar escaped the cave,
I knew with no deception
This beast would tear my soul in two
If given provocation

I turned my head to run away,
To fly and run and hide.
George grabbed my arm and said to me
"I'll get that dragon's hide."

He took my sword and shield,
My helmet, socks and shoes.
He marched into that demon's lair,
And faced his source of woes.

The flames were bright,
The mountain shook.
The battle raged for ages.

And then at last the thunder stopped,
We knew what had occurred.
When from the cave a man appeared,
My new-found, best friend George.

On sleepless nights when we go out,
To fight in some adventure.
We always stop to pick up George,
To keep us safe from danger.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Steve Jobs Stanford Graduation speech 2005

I love this speech by Steve Jobs.  There were so many things in his life that didn't go according to plan.  This is a man who was an orphan who almost wasn't adopted, dropped out of college, was fired from a company he founded, escaped one cancer scare and eventually lost his life at a young age.  His outlook on setbacks and disappointment is truly inspiring.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Carnival Towel Folding Surprise

I promised a humorous conclusion to the towel folding story a while back and here it is.  While I was busy learning to fold towel animals, my wife set about photographing the event.  After a minute she started tugging on my sleeve.  When I looked up I was met with this sight.  YIKES!
I thought towel folding would be a 'G' rated event.  What makes it worse, is that this lady isn't a day under 60.  Granny thong was an unpleasant surprise.
We tried to be covert about taking pictures but soon this poor lady had half a dozen amateur photographers working on her backside.  I don't think that she ever noticed all the attention she was getting.  It would be good if it stayed that way.  Hopefully, none of the amateur photographers were her grandchildren.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Avalon Sail Boat

I have always loved sail boats.  The freedom of moving without an internal combustion engine, the solitude of open water.  What could be more relaxing.  This particular boat was in the bay at Avalon, California.  Avalon is  one of the places that I would love to spend more time exploring.  The town was quaint and had friendly residents but I was only there for a few hours.  Next time maybe I can spend a few days visiting downtown Avalon or perhaps even spend some time on the water in a sail boat.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Silver Legacy Head Frame

Back in 2005 I attended a Maptek Vulcan users' conference at the Silver Legacy in Reno, Nevada.  In the main casino there was this giant head frame.  It had moving parts and stood several stories high.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  I thought it was a spectacular homage to the mining history of the region.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chicken Alfredo - 17 Day Diet Recipe

Chicken Alfredo
Granted, this isn't really a Chicken Alfredo recipe in the classic sense, but is tastes great so who cares.

4 chicken breasts- cubed
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
3 cups broccoli
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 12 oz. can chicken broth
1 8 oz. bar fat free cream cheese
1 packet Ranch dressing powder mix

Saute chicken in olive oil.  Add vegetables and half of the chicken broth. In a separate sauce pan heat: half of the chicken broth, cream cheese and the Ranch dressing mix.  Add sauce to saute pan and serve.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Curry Chicken - 17 Day Diet Recipe

Curry Chicken
This recipe is low fat, low carb and tastes terrific.  If I wasn't on the 17 Day Diet, I would serve this over rice or noodles but it's great just the way it is.

5 Chicken breasts cubed
1 Anaheim Chili
1/2 tsp. minced ginger
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup plain, fat free Greek yogurt
3 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup diced onion

Spice Mix
1 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. turmeric
4 tbsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Saute spice mix, onion and the Anaheim chili in olive oil and 3 tbsp. of the chicken broth.  Add chicken and brown.  Add chicken broth, ginger and salt.  Simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in yogurt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Carnival Towel Animals

Right before the birth of our daughter my wife and I took a short cruise on Carnival cruise lines.  Every day the housekeeping staff would leave a folded towel animal on the bed.  These were so fun.  There was a dog, a cat and even an elephant.  One day the towel animal was wearing my sunglasses which I had left on the desk.
We thought these towel animals were so neat that we went to the towel folding class on board.  Towel folding was fun but there was an unexpected surprise that I will have to post about soon.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Shiny red and black and white
I sit astride as gallant knight.
Assembled late one Christmas Eve
My bike is ready, set to leave.

My dad said we'd go for a ride.
I imagine we'll go side by side.
The freedom of the road I'd like
If I could reach the pedals of my trike.