My Christmas Week of Walks and Hikes

December 29, 2019

How was your Christmas? Mine was lovely. I spent a week in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, with my family. We played poker a couple nights (I won $40), went on family outings, made big dinners together (I was in charge of vegetables), and… I met a bear!

When I wasn’t doing those other things, or just relaxing, I was walking. I’m still recovering from a year of racing, but I wanted to stay active, so I made a point of going on a nice long walk every single day. Read the rest of this entry »

California City, Here We Come! A Day Trip To the Mightiest Metropolis That Never Was

May 30, 2017

Here’s a great pic of me and my two friends Tavi and Jonathan, hanging out in the Mojave Desert:

If it looks like we’re in the middle of nowhere, well… we are. But there’s so much more to the story than that! There’s standing on the site of what could have been a great American city. But things didn’t turn out quite as planned… and what’s there now has to be seen to be believed. Read the rest of this entry »

A Visit to the Famous Dipsea Stairs

March 24, 2016

Climbing the 52-story 555 California building twice might seem like enough stairs for one weekend, but NOPE! It wasn’t. So, the day after the race, I went with my brother Steven and my sister-in-law Alexis to the Dipsea Stairs, a public stairway in Mill Valley, California. These were some long flights of stairs!


The Dipsea Stairs are well-known because Read the rest of this entry »

Photo Explosion

May 4, 2015

I wasn’t super prolific on the blog last week, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t keeping busy and staying (mostly) on program. I kept my camera handy and captured lots of fun moments. Some of these photos ended up on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook), but a lot of them didn’t, so get ready for a photo explosion!


One of the parks where I run is in the Read the rest of this entry »

CARDIO TO VEGAS Update: Welcome to Phelan!

July 11, 2013

I’m in full-on nerd mode right now, which means this is gonna be a really good post. The last time I was nerding out to this degree, I ended up introducing my new workout goal, which is called Cardio to Vegas. Simply put, I’m logging all the miles I complete during any sort of cardio workout, with the goal of getting myself, hypothetically, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. You can read more about the challenge right here.

Time for my first update! Las Vegas is 274 miles away, and I had already gone 57.85 miles. Let’s see how many new miles I’ve gone since then! Read the rest of this entry »

Disney California Adventure

March 14, 2012

I love theme parks. Love ’em! I love the rides, the atmosphere, the rides, the scenery, and the rides. I’ve written pretty regularly about my theme park adventures on this blog. I debuted this blog with a post that recounted my first visit to Magic Mountain – a momentous occasion, since it was the first time that I wasn’t too big to fit on a roller coaster in almost a decade. Since then, I’ve visited Knott’s Berry Farm and made a triumphant return to Cedar Point, the park I grew up visiting but hadn’t been to since college, when I was kicked off a ride because of my weight (details about that horrible experience here).

At the end of January, I visited, for the first time, the most famous theme park in the world: Disneyland. I had a wonderful time with my friends Heidi, Tom, and Keith – click here to read about it and see pictures. I had gotten a good deal on a park ticket, too – Disney offers southern California residents a 2-day pass for $99 (a basic 1-day pass is $80). And that meant that I had to go back to Disney a second time before my pass expired in June.

Luckily for me, there are two Disney theme parks in Anaheim. There’s the classic Disneyland, and the much newer Disney California Adventure, which is literally a few hundred feet away. So on Monday, I gathered up Heidi, Tom and Keith again, and we checked out Disney California Adventure. I love a theme park I’ve never been to before!

DCA opened about 10 years ago – it was built where the Disneyland parking lot used to be – and since I had never been there before, I had no idea what to expect. I had briefly heard about a few of the rides but knew very little about the park. Heidi and Keith are Disney junkies that know everything about everything – the perfect theme park companions!

I’m squinting in that photo, but here I am with Paradise Pier in the background. Paradise Pier was my favorite themed area – it’s a big carnival midway section of the park that wraps around a big lagoon. Screamin’, the roller coaster, wraps above and around a lot of it, and there are smaller carnival style rides. The ferris wheel, called Mickey’s Fun Wheel, is 160 feet tall and has both stationary gondolas, like a regular ferris wheel, and swinging ones, that add a thrill element. We waited in the longer line for a swinging one, and I snapped this photo of myself while we waited:

Here’s Heidi, Tom, and I on Mickey’s Fun Wheel:

My favorite amusement park rides are roller coasters, and Screamin’ is a good one – it’s fast, has great dives and air time, and it’s long. Paradise Pier is also home to what turned out to be one of my favorite rides: Toy Story Midway Mania. It’s a fantastic mash-up of ride and carnival game. You wear 3-D glasses, and sit in cars equipped with toy guns that whip you through fun carnival-themed environments. The cars stop in front of 5 or 6 giant screens, and you compete against the other people in your cars in virtual carnival games populated with Toy Story characters: there’s a ring toss, and games where you break plates with baseballs, pop balloons with darts, and shoot at moving targets. The ride keeps track of your points, and at the end of the ride, you can see who won! I rode with Tom…

…and I won (I was Player 2)!

Heidi, who was one car over, handily beat me by an additional 30,000 points or so. Well played, Heidi!

While Toy Story Midway Mania was a blast, my favorite ride at DCA was Soarin’ Over California, where you sit in chairs that allow your feet to dangle. When the ride starts, the chairs get repositioned in front of a giant concave IMAX screen. There’s beautiful footage of scenery and landmarks from around California, and it comes together to make it seem like you’re hang gliding over all of it. The ride isn’t scary – it’s simply beautiful, and wonderfully done.

I don’t have too many more pictures to share – I didn’t take many to begin with, and then my battery died halfway through the day (whoops). But I did photograph my lunch, because even though I was at a theme park, that didn’t mean I was going to make poor food choices. We ate at Paradise Garden Grill, which serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food – cuisines I’ve never seen in a theme park before!

That’s a beef kofta skewer. Kofta is basically a Middle Eastern spiced meatball. There’s cucumber salad, rice pilaf, and a piece of pita on the side. They offer 4 sauces, but I couldn’t pick just one, so I got all four to try. The white one was tzatziki (a yogurt and cucumber sauce), the green one was chimichurri (an Argentinean herb and oil-based sauce), and I forget what the other ones were, but I think one was a Moroccan-spiced chili sauce.

Later that night, we got a quick bite at Downtown Disney, a shopping and entertainment area next to the park. I got two chicken tacos at a taco stand, with lettuce, onions, cilantro, and salsa (no cheese or sour cream). I’m kinda happy to report that I wasn’t even tempted by any of the unhealthy theme park options, although I did love this vending machine, which we saw while waiting in line for the Monsters Inc. ride:

The “Sugar Salt & Fat” snack is my favorite! (It’s probably pretty delicious, too.)

Apart from the rides, we saw a couple really cool shows. DCA has a Broadway-style musical production of Aladdin that was well done, and, after the sun sets, the lagoon becomes home to World of Color, a very impressive, bright event that involves dancing fountains (like the Bellagio in Las Vegas) that shoot up walls of water that images and film clips are projected onto.

I’m excited to go back to DCA at some point i the future – two big parts of the park were under construction (opening in June): a Cars Land (themed around the Pixar Cars movies), and Buena Vista Street, a tribute to Los Angeles in the 1920s, when Walt Disney first arrived in California.

The best part about theme parks: I was walking all day long. Mile after mile after mile. Normally I’m very diligent about keeping track of my exercise, but every once in a while, it’s fun to have a very physical day (I was exhausted by the time I came home – we were there for around 11 hours!) and not worry about minutes or resistance levels or calories burned.

Keep it up, David!

Yes! My New Driver License Photo!

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! I didn’t get my act together this year, so I don’t have a fun or clever Valentine’s Day post. Last year’s post, which was a love note from a variety of fruits and vegetables, will have to suffice. If you haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in a year, check it out here. I guarantee you’ll smile, or I’ll refund your money.


It’s my new driver license!


I just realized that I’ve been mispronouncing the name of this ID card my entire life. I’ve always said “driver’s license,” but it’s actually “driver license.” I had no idea.

I went to the DMV a few weeks ago to renew my license, which was due to expire next month. In California, you can go online and make on appointment at the DMV, so I made one for 8:40am – nice and early. I got there on time, filled out some paperwork, and 15 minutes later, I was at a counter with a nice DMV employee named Jackie.

My last driver license was from the summer of 2003. I was 24 years old, and I hadn’t stepped on a scale in at least a year. The paperwork required me to list my weight, and out of ignorance, I lied. I said 290, which was very generous, because I’m sure I was probably much closer to 350. So when Jackie started comparing and inputting information for my new license, one of the first things she commented on was my weight. She complimented me on my weight loss – and that wasn’t based on the numbers, that was based on comparing my old picture (which is below) with the me standing in front of her.

I shared with Jackie that I’ve lost 165 pounds, and she asked a few more questions about how I was doing it, and she shared that she’s been losing weight, and was halfway to her goal. We talked about that a little bit, and I ended up telling her about this blog and giving her my card. I also confessed that I lied to the DMV nine years ago, which Jackie said wasn’t a big deal.

My new driver license lists my weight at a very truthful 235 pounds. Let’s take a closer look at my new license!

I don’tlove my photo, but it’s fine. I love that it’s current and new and not nine years old. I love that it shows that I have a neck!

Here it is, with my old driver license below:

What a difference nine years and 165 pounds makes!


Adventure Wednesday: Disneyland!

February 1, 2012

This summer will mark my 10th anniversary of moving to southern California. In all that time, I never once went to one of the biggest, most iconic landmarks around. That’s right, ladies and gentleman, I’d never been to Disneyland. Ever. Until two days ago.

There was no particular reason I had never been to Disneyland (I have been twice to Disney World in Florida, but not in 20 years), although I’m sure I had the notion, deep in my brain, that I couldn’t possibly enjoy it if I was too big to go on the rides. That’s not an issue anymore, so when I got the Disneyland itch last fall, I started really wanting to go.

One of the big reasons I wanted to go to Disneyland is because some of my friends are giant Disney fans, and I realized that going with them would be a pretty special and fan outing. Heidi is one of those friends. Maybe you’re familiar with Heidi – she blogs over at Finishing the Hat (the title of this post, in fact, is in honor of her blog) – but she’s not just my friend from the blogosphere. I’ve known her since 1997, when we met at orientation before starting our freshman year at the University of Michigan. Heidi is a frequent Disneyland visitor – once every couple months or so, with periods in her life where she’s gone monthly. She knows a ton about Disneyland – in fact, she’s a self-proclaimed Disney nerd, and she jumped at the chance to show a first-time visitor around.

I picked up Heidi and her husband Tom on Tuesday, and the three of us drove down to Anaheim. We talked park strategies on the way down, and, at one point, Heidi stopped me mid-question and asked, “David, are you going to want the full nerd tour when we get there?” I looked over and said, “Heidi, anything less than the full nerd tour would be a waste of time.” And I was serious. I’m going to Disneyland with an authority on the matter, so I wanted to learn as much as I possibly could!

The first stop, when we got to the park, was City Hall, where I was given, free of charge, a 1st timer button:

The full nerd tour was awesome. Heidi pointed out all the Disney hidden secrets – which building had the apartment Walt Disney lived in during the park’s construction (it’s above the Main Street Fire Station), the significance of this and that decorative feature, why certain rides had certain features that other rides didn’t.

We started in Fantasyland, riding all the classic rides. A few hours into the day, our friend Keith joined us. I was already impressed with Heidi’s wealth of Disney knowledge, but Keith is a whole different story. He is a board-certified, fully-licensed, triple-black-belt Disney expert who has been a regular visitor for the past ten years. “Regular visitor” doesn’t do it justice – while waiting in a line, I grilled Keith about his history with the park, and did some fast math in my head. “Keith,” I said, “is it safe to say you’ve been to Disneyland 500 times?” Keith’s response: “Easily.”

Let’s just let that soak in for a quick second: Keith has been to Disneyland over FIVE HUNDRED TIMES. He lives 15 minutes from Disneyland, and swings by a couple times a week. He’s there so often he’s been mistaken for a park employee before. He knows everything about everything. He knows when buildings get new paint jobs. He knows when the soundtracks to the parades get updated or revised. He knows how Splash Mountain in California is different from the one in Florida, down to ride mechanics and how the seats are configured on each log. It’s unbelievable, and, for someone like me who is naturally curious, enjoys learning, and appreciates other people’s passions, it’s completely fascinating.

So, when you add Heidi and Keith’s libraries of information together… holy cow! It is the best way to experience Disneyland. If you have the opportunity to go to Disneyland with them, don’t think about it – just go. You won’t regret it. Here’s Heidi, Tom, Keith and me in front of the Haunted Mansion:

And the four of us on the Casey Jr. circus train:

It was a great day to visit the park. It was a Monday, perfect weather (70 degrees and cloudy), and lines were short. We walked onto some rides, like Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and waited, on average, 10 or 15 minutes for most of the others. Our longest wait was for Star Tours, and that was 45 minutes. Here’s Keith and I with our Star Tours 3D glasses:

Keith is really cute, don’t you think? I do.

As a result of the short lines, we went on everything we wanted to ride. In order, we went on:

Peter Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Alice in Wonderland, Roger Rabbit, Finding Nemo, Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters, Space Mountain, Storybook Land Boats, Casey Jr. Circus Train, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Winnie the Pooh, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Indiana Jones, Jungle Cruise, and Star Tours. Heidi and Keith are going to be horrified that I botched most of those names.

Nineteen rides – pretty sweet! We also saw the parade. OH – and I met a princess! This was a goal of mine. My 3-year-old niece Allison is obsessed with Disney princesses, and I wanted a picture with one to make her jealous (I’m such a good uncle, aren’t I?). Heidi and Keith warned me, multiple times, that the princesses were extremely popular, and that I should expect to wait an hour or more for the chance to meet and greet one. But twenty minutes into our day, what did we stumble upon? A row of princesses! Cinderella had the shortest line – I waited three minutes, and Heidi snapped this picture. Eat your heart out, Allison!

Cinderella and I are total besties now. She asked me to say hello to Allison for her, which I did. I texted that photo to my sister Sarah, who reported back that Allison stared it for ten minutes straight. I can’t wait to go to Disneyland someday with her and her brother Sam! I gave Allison specific instructions to bug Mommy and Daddy every single day to visit Uncle David in California so we can go to Disneyland, so it’s just a matter of Allison being persistent and Mommy and Daddy caving in!

I didn’t take tons of other photos that day, but here’s me in a teacup…

…and in the dog pound (I was unaware, at the time, that Pluto was right around the corner):

My favorite ride was probably Pirates of the Caribbean, because it’s so grand in scale and atmospheric. I enjoyed most of the dark rides, because they’re a Disney specialty – you don’t see many of them at other theme parks. Peter Pan brought back childhood Disney World memories and has a special place in my heart, and I loved Pinocchio because it’s so eerie and disturbing. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you know I love roller coasters (read about my trips to Magic Mountain, Knott’s Berry Farm, and Cedar Point), and Big Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain are both well-themed, exciting rides.

At the other end of the spectrum, I didn’t really care for the Roger Rabbit ride, which bummed me out, because I love that movie. And my least favorite ride, by far, was Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters. It’s a dark ride, but every rider has a laser gun, and you shoot at targets during the ride and earn points. I rode with Tom, and let’s just say he’s a little bit better than me. My score is on the left:

He only beat me by nearly 60,000 points. Big whoop. What a dumb, stupid ride. I’ve never going on it ever again.

Being a good food blogger, I also photographed my lunch. I had a big breakfast before leaving the house, and ate a late dinner when I got home, so I only needed to eat one meal in the park. We decided on Cafe Orleans, a sit-down restaurant in the New Orleans Square part of the park, and I ordered a big salad:

That’s salmon over mixed greens, corn salsa, orange segments, grapes, and caramelized onions, with a citrus dressing. And iced tea.

I was pleasantly surprised with the food options at Disneyland. There’s all the unhealthy theme park options, like caramel corn and churros, but they also sold fresh fruit all over the place, and fresh veggies and hummus, too. Heidi mentioned that yogurt and a few other healthy options were available, too – so Disneyland gets lots of bonus points.

As for exercise, well, we spent about 9 hours walking around, so I’m sure that adds up to at least a few miles. I also did a little weight-lifting, but I think this dumbbell was too heavy:

I’ll wrap this up with another huge thanks to Keith, Heidi, and Tom for making this day such an ridiculously enjoyable one. We’re gonna do it again, soon, at Disney’s California Adventure! I’ll give the final words in this post to Walt Disney himself. This is my favorite quote of his:

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

Well said, Walt. It sure is!


UPDATE! Two more photos, courtesy of Keith. Here we are on Splash Mountain:

Yep, I’m blocking Heidi completely! It was already dark by the time we got to Splash Mountain, and going on it was a mistake, because we got soaked, and it was cold. However, if we didn’t go on it, I’m sure I would have regretted it. So, a lose-lose situation. And here we are on Space Mountain:

And now I’m completely blocking Tom. (Keep it up, David!) Naturally, Keith knew exactly where the cameras were placed on each ride, so I’m looking at him so I could copy his pose. But I obviously didn’t make it in time!


October 24, 2011

Saturday was a beautiful day in Los Angeles. The sun was shining, and the mercury hit 82 degrees – it was perfect weather to get a group of people together and spent all day aiming guns at each other with the hope of splattering them with paint.

I was invited on a paintball excursion by my friend Tiffany – who also planned the wonderful kayaking trip in August. I’d never played paintball before and, frankly, I’d never even considered playing it before, but I’m always up for something new. It sounded like fun. I turned out to be an OK shot with a pistol when I went to the firing range in February, so who knows? Maybe I’d be a decent paintball player, too.

BEFORE I FORGET: Have you entered my giveaway yet? If you haven’t, click here to see how you can win a $20 iTunes giftcard!

We met at the paintball park bright and early on Saturday morning. It was in Castaic, 25 minutes away, in the mountains just outside Los Angeles. Once you get off the freeway, you head down a canyon road lined with barbed wire. Maybe it’s to keep people out, or maybe it’s to keep people in:

There’s a couple spots where the road was washed away by rain, but I finally reached the parking lot, in a valley between two ridges. It’s beautiful up there:

Having never played paintball before, I had no idea what to expect. Tiffany’s boyfriend, Manny, is a paintball veteran, so I got some tips and warnings earlier in the week, when Tiffany and Manny had a dinner party with many of the paintball participants. Wear clothes you don’t care about. Bring a change of clothes for afterward. Bring plenty of water. Wear a cup. Manny warned that getting hit by paintballs can sting and cause bruises, and also mentioned, a couple times, getting scars a few years ago that still haven’t gone away. Good times.

Here’s something else to expect at a paintball park: lots of camouflage. Camouflage everywhere. Camouflage tents, camouflage buildings, camouflage clothing. Some people are really into paintball: there was some sort of tournament happening while we were there, and there were teams with matching camouflage uniforms, people decked out in all sorts of padding and armor, people with military-style vests covered in pockets filled with paintball-related accessories. There’s definitely some good people-watching at the paintball park!

Our group was large – about 20 people, most of whom were friends of friends or connected somehow to Manny’s office – his friend and coworker, Hai, planned the trip. We picked up our rental guns and suited up. Ready for battle:

Paintballs are the size of grapes, roughly, and come in all sorts of bright colors. These paintballs are loaded in the hopper on my gun and ready to get shot at unsuspecting opponents:

After all the guns were tested and adjusted for speed (guns that fire too quickly can really injure someone, and if they fire too slowly, the paintball won’t explode on impact), we split into two teams. The rules of paintball are easy: each team starts at opposite ends of a field. If you get hit, you’re out. The team that lasts the longest wins. When only one team is left, the game is over, and you play again.

The paintball park we went to, called California Paintball Park, had 8 or 9 different fields to play on, all of them covered in obstacles, barricades, and things to hid behind: piles of tires, a bunch of old cars, RVs, and boats, giant spools and sandbags and half-destroyed sheds. A couple pictures from the park’s website:

Our group was large enough to warrant having our own referee, a park employee named Alex. He was a nice guy that had worked there for two years, and had a way of casually issuing warnings that made me laugh:

  • “This field has a couple RVs. Don’t go inside the RVs, because we once had an accident, and it was pretty gross, and I’ll leave it at that.”
  • “You’ll see tubes on the field. Don’t go in the tubes, because I don’t know what’s living in them and I don’t know the last time they were cleaned.”

Referees like Alex don’t play – they’re bystanders – but that doesn’t mean they can’t get accidentally hit by stray paintballs. Alex, it seems, was in the midst of some bad luck:

  • “I’ve been getting hit in the nipple for two months straight.”

Sure enough, by the end of the day, he had a new nipple hit to add to his list.

At the first field, I headed with my team towards our starting positions. I’ll fess up and admit that while I was in my car driving up, I had a little fantasy that, despite having never played before, I’d be some sort of whiz with a paintball gun and spent all day leaping around, ducking and dodging incoming paintballs, like Keanu Reeves in The Matrix, while picking off my opponents, one by one.

Here’s what really went down: Alex started the first game, and within seconds it was like the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan, with paintballs flying everywhere, from every direction. I barely fired a few rounds before BAM! I felt a sting on my arm and looked down and see paint running down my shirt.

In the second game, I took a paintball to the back of my head. The yellow paint ran down to my neck, but the casing actually got stuck in my hair:

I did get better as the day went on, lasting longer and longer in the games, although I did tend to get hit in the head a lot. You can see three different colors of paint on my face in this picture (although I’m pretty sure two of them were splatter from paint hitting things around me):

As the day went on, I got more and more into what I was doing, and I improved. I’m a warrior!

There were two times that I ended up being the last member of my team alive, squaring off against two or three members of the opposite team. My friend Stephanie captured one of those moments on film. Here I am, peeking out from behind a boat, trying to locate the enemy…

…and not noticing the guy sneaking up behind me:

That second photo is just after I got hit – when you get hit, you throw your hands up so they stop firing at you.

We played from around 10am until 3pm or so, although there were a lot of breaks, while we waited for fields to become available, and because we needed to continually reload our ammunition and add pressurized air to our guns.

This photo is from the end of the day – that’s Tiffany on the left, then Stephanie, my friend Donovan, and me. I don’t know why I’m not smiling. Probably because I’m trying to act tough:

The very last game of the day ended with a spectacular hit: someone got me right in my forehead. I showered when I got home, but it left a mark that will stay with me for a few days:

That scrape at the base of my ring and pinky fingers was also the result of a paintball, and during one game, I slid and fell while running, doing this to my knee and hand:

That’s a minor cut on my hand, but it’s super annoying because it’s on the thickest part of my hand, which means I’ll be feeling it every time I pick up a weight at the gym, like I did on Sunday morning. I’m proud of my injuries, because they’re the result of embracing something new and giving 100%, and it turned out to be a really fun day. I can’t remember the last time I’ve done anything so down and dirty, and I’d play paintball again in the future.

OH! The fields at the paintball park are separated from the parking lot by a short but steep hill. It’s exactly the sort of hill that would’ve had me completely winded when I was at my heaviest, but on Saturday, I ran up it every chance I could, and it felt great. Then, after I got home and cleaned up my wounds, I headed out to the gym, spent 45 minutes on an elliptical, and did my burpees for the day. Paintball is definitely a very active and physical activity, but because of the frequent breaks, I didn’t feel I could count it as a dedicated workout.

Keep it up, David!

Palm Springs Weekend

October 11, 2011

On Saturday morning, I got in a car with my friends Robyn and Jake, and their two little poodles Frances and Otis, and we went for a little drive…

…to Palm Springs!

It’s about two hours from Los Angeles to Palm Springs.  We passed a mountain that had snow at the top – a sight that is so cool and strange to see in the middle of a desert region like southern California:

We also passed a bunch of wind farms, which I could stare at for hours:

Our destination was Robyn’s father’s house.  Robyn and Jake invited me to join them for a weekend with her dad, Tim.  I hadn’t met Tim before, but he has happy to have me come along.  He’s a reader of this blog, and one of the first things he said to me when we first met was “I feel like I already know you!”

I would live in Tim’s house in a heartbeat.  It’s a great house with lots of light and spacious rooms, and it’s on a quiet street in Palm Springs.  Here’s the mountain view from the front porch:

And check out Tim’s kick-ass backyard!

We spend all day on Saturday hanging out in the backyard:  lounging, swimming, talking, and hot tubbing.  I don’t mind a hot tub!

Tim has a statue of a deer, left behind by the home’s previous owner, and there were literally 4 or 5 instances when I glanced over quickly or saw it in my periphery and thought it was an actual animal:

I felt tricked by that deer every single time – although I will say in my defense that it very well could have been: in addition to Robyn and Jake’s two dogs, Tim also has a dog, a beautiful standard poodle named Koko, so there were dogs walking around all over the place.  That no pooping sign, by the way, is something of an inside joke and a family heirloom between Robyn and her dad, and all three dogs ignored it.

Speaking of dogs, here’s Koko:

Yep, that’s a Jagermeister tank top she’s wearing.  In addition to loving the smooth, unique blend of Jagermeister’s 56 herbs and spices, Koko recently had to have a couple stitches, and the tank helped deter her from biting her wound.  You can see pictures of Francis and Otis here.

That night, Robyn, Jake and I made a delicious all-vegan meal (which will be the focus of tomorrow’s post), and later on, the guy Tim’s been dating came over and we all went out to a few bars, where I broke my no-soda practice by having a couple Diet Cokes (shhhhh, don’t tell anyone).

On Sunday, we hung out on the back patio more and had a late breakfast.  Robyn’s brother and his girlfriend, who happened to be in the area, came over, and it was a pleasure meeting and talking with them.  I’ve always really liked Robyn since the day I met her (we used to work together, for 5 years), so I’m not surprised at all that every member of her family that I’ve met is also so kind, funny, generous, and smart.

After a leisurely morning of lounging, it was time to sweat.  Tim, inspired by all my posts about going to classes at Slimmons (like this one), had recently bought the DVD box set of Richard Simmons’ “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”!  When he told me that, my heart skipped a beat.  The feeling that I get when I hear that I’ve inspired someone to actually take a step towards getting healthier is one that I’ll probably never get used to, and that’s fine by me, because it’s such an amazing feeling.  Here’s what the box set looks like (you can order it here):

Despite knowing Richard as well as I do, the only “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” video that I’ve ever done is the fifth one, which isn’t included in the box set (read about it here).  So when I saw that Tim had the first four in the series, I practically jumped from my chair.  I got even more excited when I realized that some of the people on the cover of the box set were friends of mine from Slimmons!

That’s Sherri, front row center, Felise to her right, and Kathy behind them.

We popped in the original “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” which was released in 1988, and Robyn, Jake, Tim and I started dancing.  The DVD was a lot of fun, and it was great to watch Richard, 23 years younger but with the same enthusiasm, energy, and smile.  There were a bunch of moves that I wasn’t familiar with, and a bunch that I’ve been doing every week at Slimmons – it’s pretty impressive that Richard’s aerobics methods are so successful that they’ve haven’t really required much change over the decades.  He really created a winning formula:  great music, along with easy yet effective movements, delivered with an emphasis on having fun in addition to having a good workout.  Sherri, Felise, and Kathy weren’t in the “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” that we did, but another Slimmons friend, Anne (a personal trainer who also teaches at Slimmons), was in the video, with a fantastic ’80s perm and bright orange outfit!

All in all, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” wasn’t as intense of a workout as I’m used to, but I’m familiar enough with Richard’s moves that I found ways to push myself above and beyond what Richard was doing onscreen.  Apparently, each “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” gets progressively more difficult, so I look forward, some day, to doing numbers 2, 3, and 4.

By Sunday night, Robyn, Jake, the dogs and I were back in the car, headed back to Los Angeles.  I had a lovely time in Palm Springs, and am so thankful and appreciative to Tim for having me for the weekend.  THANKS, TIM!

In addition to the Sunday DVD workout, I also ate really well over the weekend, but you’ll hear about all that tomorrow.

Keep it up, David!