My Life as a Dog

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Month!

I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions but I am a fan of resolutions. I was watching E! News the other day without paying too much attention but my ears perked up when one of the hosts talked how she doesn't do New Year's resolutions. Her resolutions were for just January. That struck a chord with me. I feel like I used to do the same kind of thing but haven't in quite a while. So I'm going to make a few January resolutions.

  1. Go to sleep with the TV off. I have gotten in a bad habit of going to sleep with the TV on and it runs all night. I think I would sleep better if I could break this habit.
  2. No chocolate Dunford donuts from Holiday Oil. I've already got one bad habit of getting my morning diet soda. Why did I have to make it two? I'm not going to attack soda this month but donuts are out.
  3. Do push-ups at home at least 5 times a week. I'm really good about going to the gym and lately I've been planking at home most days for about 2 minutes. That may not sound like a lot but trust me it is for me! Anyway, I've liked that its something that I can easily do from home. So now its time to do some push-ups at home.
  4. Read more. I used to read while in bed before I slept. But TV has ousted that habit. Now that TV is out I should have plenty of time to start reading again. Plus it will help me fill that void. Also I need to finish Mockingjay before the movie is out.
In doing resolutions, I don't want to sign up for too much. Not because there isn't lots that I would like to accomplish, but I think its important to choose things that are doable. If I am successful at my resolutions I am much more likely to keep going and choose new resolutions for the next month. So lets keep it simple!

Here's to an awesome January 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Year in Review 2013

2013 has been another great year. Sure it's not quite over but it almost is. So it's a good time to look back over the year and remind myself as to how blessed I am. It's fun to see Facebook's "Year in Review" but I like to create one including those things that I want to remember most. Thanks to family and friends for being a part of my life. Each year seems to just gets better. Looking forward to an amazing 2014! See you there! :)

Places I Traveled To
Phoenix, Orlando, Zions, Bryce Canyon, Las Vegas, Peru, and Panama

Concerts I Went To
Vampire Weekend, The Waterboys, Kelly Clarkson & Carly Rae Jepsen at Stadium of Fire, and Wicked Divas

Hikes I Went On
Cecret Lake, Stewart Falls, Y Mountain, Rock Canyon, and Squaw Peak

Birthday Celebration with Great Friends

Races I Ran
Del Sol (Phoenix) Ragnar
Las Vegas Ragnar

New Addition to the Family
Drew - Great Nephew

A Few Photographs I Took

Shows I Saw 
Divas, Jersey Boys, Elf, Annie Get Your Gun, Rent, & Spring Awakening

Mom's 80th Birthday

Things I Experienced For The First Time
Japan Festival (SLC), Kimball Arts Festival (Park City) & Ethiopian Food

Peru / Panama 2013 - Panama City

Thursday, Sept 12

We started the day's tour of Panama by heading to the Panama Canal. It was interesting to learn a bit of the history and see just how massive it is. I didn't realize that there are actually two sets of locks and a lake in between. They are in the process of building new canals to help efficiency.

After the tour we were surprised to find ourselves at the LDS temple grounds in Panama City. Our tour guide, a former LDS bishop, didn't tell us that this was going to be part of the tour. The temple grounds were beautiful as they always are even though the weather had been a little gray. The temple was having some kind of work on it apparently as there were a bunch of guys up on the top of temple in bright yellow shirts messing up all my photos. ;)

Next was a visit to the old Panama City. It was very much how it seems New Orleans would be. The same kind of architecture. Very cool. They are in the middle of a big renovation project there. Some of the building are in horrible shape and yet there are people living in them. There were several buildings that were basically just walls with huge trees that had grown up in them. When the renovation is done it will be very cool.

That evening we spent on the rooftop of our hotel where the swimming pool was located. It provided an awesome view of the city and the sunset. It was our last night out of the country and we just enjoyed it relaxing.

Peru / Panama 2013 - Amazon to Panama

Wednesday, Sept 11

After breakfast, we pulled on our galoshes and headed back out for a jungle walk in the daylight. I expected that we might see a lot animals. I was clearly spoiled from my South Africa trip. We spotted the sloth that we had seen the previous night on a jungle walk and he was in pretty much the exact same spot. We did see lots of butterflies, which were incredibly difficult to take photographs of. There were lots of interesting plants and insects. But no lions, tigers, or bears! :(

After the jungle walk we boarded our boats with all our luggage and headed back to Iquitos. This time we were going up river and it definitely seemed to take a lot longer than it did traveling to the resort. In Iquitos we went to eat lunch at the same hotel we ate at when we arrived.

Then it was time to head to the airport and catch our plane to Panama City.

We arrived in Panama in the evening, met our local tour guide, boarded a bus, and headed to the hotel. I was surprised by Panama City. There were tons of sky scrapers. I'm not sure what I expected but it wasn't that. Reminded me a little of a mix between Dubai and Las Vegas. I was surprised that it appeared so wealthy.

We got to our the Victoria Hotel & Suites after a lot of slow traffic. For dinner we wandered down around the corner to a place called Manolo's with Alan, Melissa, Deanna, & Harry. It was interesting because it seemed that people in Panama had a harder time understanding English than the people in Peru. And yet the menus were in English and Spanish. It was also interesting to learn that they use USA currency. We had to be careful on getting change though because sometimes they would try and give you Balboas. Nobody wants those Balboas!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Peru / Panama 2013 - Amazon

Tuesday, Sept 10

After breakfast at the resort we got back on the boats and headed further down the Amazon to an Indian village. We went a little stroll through the forest seeing interesting plants and butterflies before we got to the natives. When we arrived we were greeted by this only woman wearing some kind of sarong and a fringe around her neck. She didn't speak English but welcomed us. Mainly it was the women of the tribe that were there and when we arrived many of them were walking around in just their sarongs. Apparently the men were off farming. All the men except for the chief. He was there to talk to us (and he didn't speak English either.) We gathered in the big building and he performed a ceremony were he went around and smeared orange paint on our cheeks as a symbols that we were friends. Next he demonstrated how he would use a blow dart gun. He demonstrated on a balloon that our tour guide had. He then allowed anyone to try it out.I don't think there were many successful attempts. When the presentation was done we had the opportunity to purchase little trinkets that they had made. I purchase a few little items and gave a little girl some coins to take her photo.

We left the village and walked out back to the boats. We walked by other locals and saw how they lived. There were some kids with their pets: a few sloths and lizards. Several of our group took photos hold them. The tour guide was one of group to hold them and he later told us that the sloths were covered in tics. Eek! The kids were super cute and the sloths were pretty cool to see.

We got on the boats and headed farther down the Amazon to see the worlds largest lily pads. They were on the property of a man who is the most wealthy in the area. He also make moonshine. We were shown the press where sugar cane would be made into the moonshine. We were given the opportunity to sample it. I didn't. :)

After lunch back at the resort we headed out to spot pink dolphins and fish for piranhas. We spotted several pink dolphins but it was nearly impossible to photograph them because they would just surface in random spots. And as for piranhas, the boat I was in only caught catfish but the other boat caught a piranha. The catfish we tool back to the resort where they served it up for dinner.

We got back to the resort for dinner and then went on a night time jungle walk. It was kind of spooky but we all came back alive! Before bed we spent a little time in the pool. Pretty cool to be swimming in the middle of the rain forest.

Peru / Panama 2013 - Amazon Arrival

Monday, Sept 9

This was a day of travelling. We were supposed to get up early (which we did) and catch a flight to Iquitos. The weather was not cooperating and the flight was delayed a few hours which we spent at the airport. We eventually got on our plane and headed to our next destination. We landed in Iquitos at the smallest airport terminal I have ever seen. I believe that there were two gates. We squeezed the whole group into a tiny bus shown above and headed to a hotel where we would be served our lunch. The city is the largest city (I believe in the world) that has no roads that go to it. You can fly to it or boat to it up the Amazon. The city is full of rickshaws.

When it was time to get on the boats and head to our resort on the Amazon the rains started to pour. It is the rain forest after all. So again we spent a long time waiting for the rain to slow down enough that we could board the boats. Fortunately there was a nice structure that we could take shelter in rather than the packed bus. Eventually we got to board the boats and we were on the Amazon. It was a bit surreal to me. We traveled about an hour down the Amazon before we reached our destination. I was glad that towards the end of our trip we got to pull up the plastic windows because the rain had stopped.

By the time we reached our resort it was dark. We just ate dinner, explored a bit and headed to bed. The food that we ate on the Amazon was sooooo good. Probably the best from the trip. As we wondered around the resort on the walkways it was cool to hear the frogs going crazy. We spotted a few frogs and actually a few tarantulas as well. Honestly it had freaked us out a bit. Some people had frogs or other bugs in their bathrooms. We found out that the electricity would turn off at 11pm. That meant that the ceiling fans would stop then as well. That first night was a long one. I slept with just a sheet on me because it was so hot and humid. But I also was a little freaked out at what might be crawling over me. After seeing things in the daylight the next day I slept much better the other nights.

Peru / Panama 2013 - Lima

Remember how I went to Peru months ago? Well I had the best intentions of blogging all the details. Several months later and I have not finished. I created all these great collages of photos but never wrote the text. Well here is another attempt...

Sunday, Sept 8

While in Lima we checked out Huaca Lucllana shown in the collage above. It is located in the middle of Lima in the area known as Miraflores. The ruins date back to 200-700AD. They are mud and adobe. They are located right in the middle of several other large downtown buildings but haven't been excavated until relatively recently. We learned while there that it doesn't rain in Lima. I'm guessing that is why the ruins have survived so long. Otherwise it seem that they would have washed away.

Next we checked out the Plaza Mayor. Some kind of celebration or event was going on because the area was packed and there was plenty of police presence. The plaza is surround by all sorts of beautiful old architecture: the Government Palace, Cathedral of Lima, Archbishop's Palace of Lima, and the Palace of the Union.

From there we walked a short ways to  the Monastery of San Francisco. There we took a tour and even went into the catacombs where you are no allowed to take photos. Oops!