Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Big Changes

As I said in our last post, we felt the need to squeeze in the last bit of summer before.....

Arthur started his new job!

Earlier in the summer our good friend Paul introduced Arthur to his team at AT&T and the slow process of hiring began! After about a month, we can safely say that Arthur really enjoys his new employee, his team and the type of work he does.

One thing that we had to do was revamp his work wardrobe-- he was specifically asked to wear shirt and tie everyday-- and neither of us mind. Arthur really enjoys dressing up for work and I don't mind in the slightest-- he looks good!

On his first day of the new job! And his new job has facilitated other new changes to be announced soon...

South Padre Trip

In the middle of Dad being in the hospital, we went to the beach. It wasn't an all of the sudden pick up and go thing-- we had planned this little vaycay for at least a month. Arthur is a beach person and has to go during the summer. So we went with our friends Justin and Michele and met up with Dorothy and Aaron and their friends Dave and Carlo-- who graciously hosted us.

And you know what? It was the perfect thing. There was nothing I could do for my dad or my family because we were 8 hours away at the beach. It made me realize that there is so much out of my control and that I need to chill. And take time for me.

Michele being a goof on the ride down.

We stayed at Carlo's house. Now, when friends invite you to a beach house, in my mind, a sandy shack appears, and I expect to rough it for the weekend. Not this time. I was floored by the beauty and decor of Carlo's beach house-- which has now set the standard for all beach houses in my mind. A few of my favorites:

Really cool mirror in the master bath.

Kitchen that I would take in any house.

Great mix of traditional, modern and beachy things-- it felt like we were staying in a great house that happened to be at the beach.

It was SO relaxing. I only really hit the beach for one day and even though I shade bathed (there is such a thing, and yes there is photographic evidence) for a good chunk of that time, I still got burned. So I also did a lot of reading, sleeping and general vegetation...

The burnt and fried crowd takes refuge.

We had a great time out at dinner one night...

And goofing around on the pier afterwards. The second night we cooked in, after a trip to walmart. And hey:

Wal-mart does get trashier when it's pink.

Overall it was a great trip and a great way to finish out the summer. Thanks Dorothy, Aaron and Carlo!

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Tuesday that wasn't the best ever...

Some of you may or may not be friends with my dad on Facebook. For those of you who aren't, all you're missing out on is post after post of training updates. That's what my Dad does: he trains for triathlons. Which means he does a lot of running, swimming and biking.

Tuesday about two weeks ago I was standing in Target debating what chocolate to buy for my visiting teacher. My phone rings, and from the ringtone, I can tell it is a family member. (all immediate family members get Robert Earl keen's "Merry Christmas from the family" as their distinctive ringtone. It's very effective in rushing to the phone or screening a call.) I pick up the phone expecting to hear my father's voice.

But it's not my dad. It's a woman's voice.

"Hi Jessica, you don't know me but I am with your father and he has been in a bike accident."

Our family friend Kazuyoshi got my dad a road ID for christmas. Its this little wristband with my dad's name, and three contacts of people he knows. We never thought we would ever need to use it. We were wrong.

In the less than a minute phone call, the woman tells me where my dad's accident is, and that they have called 911, EMS is on the way and that I should go straight to the hospital downtown that specializes in Trauma. All I can say is ok. One of the last things she tells me, is that, "He is still with us."

I power walk through target and when my feet hit the parking lot, I break into a run.

While driving faster than I have ever driven in Austin, I also manage to dial and speak with no less than 3 family members and a home teacher. After I get off the phone and have at least 20 minutes left to the hospital (which I made it to in 10 FYI), I pray like crazy. I do not want my Dad to die.

You see, for having a world-famous cycling athlete call Austin home, and for having some really great roads on which both professionals and amateur enthusiast cyclists can train, Austin's culture and road works are actually not that biker friendly. People in cars drive like they own every inch of asphalt. New and renovated roads are built without shoulders. I've witnessed people clip bikers and keep driving like they did nothing. Sadly, many bikers die every year in Austin from traffic accidents-- and to help bring awareness to how many people lose their lives on Austin's streets-- the ghost bike campaign was set up. White bicycles are set up at sites where people lost their lives while cycling in Austin. My stomach churns every time I see a ghost bike around town. As I'm driving, all I can think about is if Austin will have to add another ghost bike.

Once I get to the hospital though, correct information is dispersed and I can breathe easier: Dad was injured, but not fatally. He doesn't have a head or spine injury. Just maybe some broken bones.

Make that 9 broken ribs, a punctured lung and some serious road rash: (WARNING: really graphic photos below)

Dad thinks he hit something, or something hit him: either way it sent him flying superman style, into the air. He had enough time to roll and brace himself and he landed flush on his right side and slid a few feet. Although there was literally no one to witness and call in the accident (the woman who called me, found my dad on the side of the road 10-15 minutes later), after driving by the site several times, I have no doubt he was hit by a car. It makes me angry enough to start a campaign in Austin with red bikes for every serious injury caused by a bike and car interaction.

A week, some serious meds, and some amazing drug-induced quotes later my Dad was able to come home. I'm so happy that he's doing so well, and that he's here with us.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Are you on Instagram? I have to say, it's one of my favorite apps. Find me and we'll be friends.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

the decision: gluten free and me

So earlier this year, Arthur and I went on this diet called the paleo diet or the paleo solution. Or in other words, the caveman diet. Eat like a caveman-- basically vegetables and meat. We ate a lot of guacamole and rotisserie chicken. And it lasted about three weeks.

The first time we cheated on this diet, we both had rushed home to feed the missionaries and ordered a pizza. I had a piece. And about an hour later-- I sat on the couch, clutching my stomach thinking, "I am going to die."

That experience put the idea in my head: maybe, just maybe I was allergic to something I had eaten. The contents of pizza aren't that rare or unique-- I started paying attention as I ate things: what made me feel good? What made me feel bad? Even though I had an idea as to what I was allergic to most of this summer, I just didn't want to face facts-- it would require a major life change.

But then towards the end of July, I had to go to the doctor. I've been facing some major hormonal issues lately and even though we don't have health insurance, I've been so frustrated that I felt I needed to go to the doctor. (if you're really curious as to what's going on, shoot me a message, I'll tell you.) and it was at the doctor that I was told for the first time ever, you have to lose weight and get in shape.

So I figured, what better time to test my food allergy? At the beginning of August, I stopped eating anything with wheat in it.

Why wheat? Well, if we go back to the pizza incident-- I hardly ever ate pepperoni. Cheese and other dairy never bothered me. I liked the taste of tomatoes and other fruit. What was left was the crust.

And for the rest of the summer, I took mental notes every time I ate something with wheat in it. And the result? Cranky, tired, sluggish, bloated, angry Jessica. Every. Single. Time.

So, after the doc laid down the law, I figured, why not try it out? And so I started to eat gluten free.

Changed my life!

I can't tell you what a difference I feel-- I haven't had this much energy in years. Literally the words, "I'm tired," have been coming out of my mouth 3 to 4 times a day since I was eighteen, no matter how much rest I had gotten or how much diet coke I had pumped into my system.

And you know what? It's not that hard to do, that is eat gluten free. Once you have a slip up and eat something with gluten in it once, and then an hour later, double over in pain, you avoid gluten like the plague. I don't ever feel tempted to eat cookies, or cake or ice cream. (yes, lots of different types of ice cream have wheat products in them) Who wants a fruit bar? This girl.

It's the start of something really good for me (I can feel it) and I just wanted to share. and to prepare y'all: Any recipe I'm sharing in the future will be gluten free.

Oh and Wendy, p.s.-- I gave up diet coke. In June! Holla!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Trip to Utah

At the beginning of July I took a weekend and headed up to Utah. It was a last minute decision made possible by my sister in law's father who was able to get me a buddy pass on the airline he works for. So grateful!

But why did I take a weekend? One reason: Friends.

(I look so goofy in this pic!)

My closest friends from college were getting together and I just didn't want to miss out. As much as I like my friends that I've made here in Austin since living and getting married here, the bond that you share with girls who you were single with is unlike any other. If someday in the eternities, if it's possible to be next door neighbors, they're the ones I'm picking.

We didn't get enough time together. I wanted to spend way more time catching up, and really getting to know their kids but alas, when your kids are little, there's only so much time you can get. I'd show you some photos, But they aren't my kids. Oh well, the pics will end up in my end of year book.