Wildlife! Plus: A New Variety of Apple?

November 11, 2011

Yesterday, I narrowly avoided being attacked by both a mountain lion and a bear.

OK, OK, I may be, um… stretching the truth a little bit, but lately, the Burbank hills are alive. And not just with the sound of music.

Yesterday’s post went into detail about my run through the foothills of Burbank, which was my old stomping ground before I moved to North Hollywood almost five years ago. It was a fantastic run. And, it turns out, I might not have been alone as I jogged those hillside streets. I heard on the radio a few hours after my run that 24 hours before I pounded the pavement, a mountain lion (!) was seen, in broad daylight, gallivanting across someone’s lawn mere blocks from where I ran. Mountain lions aren’t rare in southern California, but seeing one sauntering about in the middle of the afternoon is, since they’re nocturnal and tend to keep their distance from humans. Here’s an article about the lion’s midday stroll, which includes tips on how to avoid being a mountain lion’s lunch, like this one: “Do not hike, bike, or jog alone.” Gulp! Guilty as charged, Officer!

I’m not going to let one dumb mountain lion prevent me from training for my 10k on Sunday. If I stop running, than the mountain lion wins. Plus, I’ve already conquered mountain lions – check out this post that equates my weight loss to a mountain lion (and other random objects).

The mountain lion wasn’t the only massive mammal meandering for a meal yesterday. Roughly 12 hours after I completed my run, a 500-pound black bear was seen moseying through a neighborhood in neighboring Glendale. Read the article here, which includes a photo of the beast traipsing through someone’s garden!

What if I had run into both the black bear and the mountain lion, and they fought over which one got to kill and eat me? SyFy Channel, I think I just came up with your next original movie project! “Giant Bear Vs. Mega-Mountain Lion”! You’re welcome.

I’ve seen a few wild animals in my day. When I lived in Burbank, I saw, on two different occasions, coyotes in my neighborhood. The first time I saw one, I thought it was a stray dog, and spent 15 minutes following it, trying to coax it towards me, and got within 10 feet of it before realizing it probably wasn’t someone’s lost Fido. A year later, I saw a coyote on the other side of the street, and it knew pedestrian etiquette! It used the sidewalks, looked both ways at an intersection, and stayed in the crosswalk when it crossed. Smart coyote!

I’ve also come across a bear in the wild. Four years ago, my entire family took an Alaskan cruise, and at one of the ports, my siblings and I all went hiking around a glacier. While we were on the hike, we saw a baby bear up in a tree. It was probably 20-25 yards away, and our guide advised us to stay quiet, as the mama bear was probably nearby. I did snap this picture, although the bear’s head is obscured by some leaves:

 

Another quick memory: I remember being really nervous in the days leading up to the hike, worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete it. I was so much heavier back then, and not very active, and the brochure had described the hike as being “intermediate” in difficulty, and around 2 hours long. I had these thoughts that I’d be panting and wheezing, and holding up the group, but I made it, and it was really fun. Here’s what I looked like on that hike – I was in a head-shaving phase:

The paved sidewalk was only around the visitors’ center – the hike itself was on dirt trails that wound up the mountainside, with the occasional hop over a fallen tree.

MOVING ON…

Yesterday’s activities included a trip to the store, which resulted in me buying the following produce:

What do we have? From left to right: A pineapple, bananas, a red onion, apples, baby carrots, red peppers, grapes, cucumbers, pears, and celery.

I’m relatively knowledgeable about apples. I’m familiar with most of the varieties you see at stores, and know which ones I like most (honeycrisp and pink lady, I’m looking at you). But these apples are a variety I’ve never heard of before: they’re Pippin apples!

Before now, the only association I had with the word Pippin was that it’s the name of a fun musical from the ’70s that I saw in college. Apparently, it’s a type of apple, too! More Pippin info to come!

I also bought something else I’ve never seen before:

Pickled green tomatoes! I may have tried fried green tomatoes once at a restaurant, but I’ve never seen them, fresh or jarred, in a store before. Guess how many calories are in a serving of these pickled green tomatoes? Three. That’s got to be a typo, don’t you think? Maybe they meant 30? Oh, and if there’s any Southerners out there who have suggestions on how to eat these guys, speak up in the comments section! I haven’t cracked open the jar yet, and I’ll wait and see what ideas you guys send my way. Do I enjoy them straight out of the jar, like pickles? Put them in a sandwich? Cook with them?

Lastly, my orange-peeling challenge continues. To recap, I’m trying to remove the entire peel of an orange in one piece (a skill my father excels at), and keep that peel as narrow as possible, and leave as little pith on the orange as possible, too. Here’s my most recent attempt:

Woo-hoo, that peel is in 1 piece! My most successful peel-job so far! I’m still gonna work on making the peel narrower and longer – I think I may have to sharpen my knife so there’s less sawing on my end.

Keep it up, David!


Haircut

October 8, 2011

I’m off to Palm Springs for the weekend.  It’ll be my first time out in that neck of the woods since I was about 10 years old, when we went out as a family to visit my grandmother, who wintered in neighboring Palm Desert, so I’m excited!  I’m bringin’ my camera, and I’ll tell you all about it after I get back.

For today, though, I’m sharing ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos, because in preparation for the Palm Springs trip, I called up the Glendale Salon Spa and made an appointment with Heather, who has been cutting my hair for a few years now.  I haven’t had a haircut since July (see those ‘Before’ and ‘After’ photos here), and I needed one badly.  When my hair gets long, it gets frizzy and poofy, and I have to put tons of product in it to make it manageable, which makes it stiff and crunchy.  When my hair gets long, I only love it for about an hour after I get out the shower, when it’s slick, shiny, and controlled.  Once it dries, I start getting annoyed by it.

Here’s what I looked like pre-haircut.  This is actually about 45 minutes post-shower, so it doesn’t do the rattiness of my hair justice, but you can get an idea about the length:

And after Heather worked her magic:

It might not look like a drastic change, but there was a giant pile of hair around the base of the chair when Heather was done.  She did take a lot off, especially in the back.

Two thoughts about that ‘After’ photo:  1) Natural light does wonders for photographs.  2) Man, I look really young in that picture!  It might be because Heather, while washing my hair, did a little mini-facial on me – she rubbed something in, then wrapped my head in a warm towel, then blotted it off, then used a toner and a moisturizer.  I don’t care if it’s the light or the facial or the liters and liters of water I drink daily, I really like that picture of myself.  It’s a keeper!

Off to Palm Springs!

Keep it up, David!


Hello, Americana!

January 30, 2011

This week I cleared out space in my closet and dressers.  I few days ago I got, in my hot little hands, the gift cards that were so generously given to me by Ellen (which arrived to the Ellen offices when I was in Michigan, so I didn’t get them until I got back).  Which means that yesterday, I was in the perfect position…

…to go shopping!

My friend Jen came along with me – she can work her way through a mall better than most people (certainly me), and she has a great eye and fashion sense.  Here are three more reasons I love shopping with Jen:

  • The day after I asked if she’d come, she emailed me a game plan – she had gone to the mall’s website, scoured the store directory, and identified all the stores we needed to hit.
  • When we were driving to the mall, she directed me to a side street where we got a great parking space, avoiding paying for parking at the mall itself.
  • She was excited to document the entire excursion with photographs, which will make writing this post so much easier (and so much more fun!).

We went to The Americana At Brand, the mall where I was given the gift cards.  It’s in downtown Glendale, California (only about 15 minutes from my place), and it opened a few years ago.  We only focused on clothing, but there’s also a big movie theater, a Barnes and Noble, a bunch of restaurants, and other shops and retailers.  There’s a park in the center, with some dancing fountains, and there are apartments and condos above all the stores:

By the time we left, it was turning dark.  Here’s one of their signs:

So…  wanna see the fashion show?

First stop was Urban Outfitters, where I picked up 2 shirts:

The orange plaid shirt may not be a keeper, I haven’t decided yet.  I like the colors, but it’s a tiny bit tight through the back and shoulders, so I may return it.  Those photos, by the way, are totally against the rules:  Jen was asked not to take photos in Urban Outfitters.  Whatever.   Oh, and guess who we ran into at Urban?  You’ll never guess.  My friend Glory!  I love Glory, she’s so hilarious and so much fun to be around.  Wanna see Glory in action?  She was on TV last month, and her skirt got ripped off – it’s very funny.

Next stop was H&M.  Glory had a few spare minutes, so she came along, too.  I probably tried on 10-12 different things, and found some keepers:

I love these pants.  It’s hard to tell in the picture, but they have a subtle gray/black/white plaid pattern, and a bunch of fun details.  The brown polo was really thin, and I didn’t love it, so I didn’t buy it.

My friend Jim will love that I bought this gingham shirt:


I also picked up a couple V-neck tees ($6 a piece) and a pair of black workout pants.

Right next store to H&M was Forever 21, which apparently has a men’s section.  I’d never been in a Forever 21 before – but this jacket was literally the first thing I picked up after walking in:

A saleswoman saw Jen take this picture and told her photos weren’t allowed in their store.  Oops.  She also asked Jen to delete the photo off the camera, and Jen did a bang-up job miming doing just that.  And I bought the jacket – it was only $37!

We headed into American Eagle Outfitters, where I picked up two t-shirts (buy one, get one 50% off).  Here’s one of them:

I wanted to see if I could find a new pair of sneakers to work out in, so we ducked in the Puma store.  They didn’t have anything I liked in my size – I’m a size 14, and end up buying a lot of my shoes online – but I did find this shirt, and it was 50% off:

And there you have it, folks!  Everything I bought today at the Americana.

There was a lot of stuff I tried on and didn’t buy.  We went into A/X Armani Exchange, where I tried on a pair of pants and a zip-up top:

The photo doesn’t do justice all the details and seams in the pants, but they were too snug around my waist, and not quite my style – maybe if I owned a motorcycle.  The top, though, I debated.  It’s actually a dark navy zip-up dealie, and there’s a brighter blue lining that you can’t see.  It was on sale (50% off), and I would have bought it if they had it in a different color – I already have a zip-up hoodie that’s navy with brighter blue details.  I liked Armani Exchange, though, and will remember to go back once I settle into my final goal weight (which I haven’t determined yet).  They have fun, different clothes, but it’s too pricey for transition clothes.

Figuring out what stores I like and don’t like was actually one of the best things about this excursion (apart from buying lots of new stuff and not paying for a single cent of it).  I never stepped foot in any mall stores for probably a decade when I heavy, because I never could buy anything at any of them, and now, there’s just tons of places to check out.  I like Armani Exchange, but we also went into Calvin Klein, and I didn’t really like their stuff at all.  I tried on a couple things at J. Crew, found it pricey for transition clothes, but will probably go back once I reach a final goal weight (or, at least, check out their outlet store).  There’s stuff for me that I like at H&M and Urban Outfitters, too!

I’ll end this post with a couple definite ‘no’s.  This J. Crew long sleeve tee was not flattering…

…nor was this long-sleeve number from Urban Outfitters:

All told, I walked outta Americana with 4 tees, 4 button-down shirts, 1 jacket, and 2 pairs of pants.  Not too shabby!

Keep it up, David!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 681 other followers