I’ll Have What He’s Having

There are some topics that you just know my family is going to pick up and run with. We’re pretty predictable in that sense. And it is because of that, that I know that when the Olympics start and we get our first glimpse of Bob Costas, much heckling will occur. You see, we decided several Olympics back, that the man doesn’t age. He’s actually 60 years old – and still looks the same as he did when we saw him 2 years ago in Vancouver, 2 years before that in Beijing, and so on and so forth back to his first Olympics in 1992. Mr. Costas has mastered the art of suspending time. Or should I say, whoever is working on his appearance (be it surgical or make-up, I don’t want to insinuate anything since I have no facts) has mastered the art of suspending time.

Let’s take a look shall we (I’d hoped to go all the way back throughout his Olympic debuts, however the size of the internet in the 1990’s has made that difficult):

I think this is Torino 2006
Image from http://berrydna.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html

Vancouver 2010
Image from nymag.com

London 2012
Image from nydailynews.com

What magic elixir is he drinking and where can I find it?! (Actually, I’m still being carded for Rated R movies on occasion and I’m 25, so perhaps I don’t need that elixir just yet…)

And since I was on a image searching roll, here are a couple more gems 🙂

Not sure what’s going on here.
Image from sportsgrindent.com

Not sure what year this is from, let’s say just assume that was 2002…
Image from thesportsbank.net

And finally, in a shocking twist of events, I found a photo of Bob looking closer to his age! Featuring some gray hair and natural-looking wrinkles. I’m not sure if this is him without cosmetics or someone’s computer-generated age image of what he’s supposed to look like at 60…

A natural looking Bob Costas.
© AP Photo by Evan Agostini.

So there you have it, my family’s odd fascination with the many faces, and by many I mean one unaging face, of Mr. Bob Costas, the face of the Olympics.

Olympics Day 1

With the start of the athletic portion of the Olympics, I decided to start my 2-week long homage to the artistic Olympic events of yesteryear. The medium will be collage with gold paint and black/white markers.

The first images found for my collage

**SPOILER ALERT**

It was quite prophetic that I was Modge-podging an image of Ryan Lochte swimming ahead of Michael Phelps as I was watching him win Team USA’s first Olympic gold medal this evening (a race which Michael took 4th place).

I’m looking forward to Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, hoping for more black and white Olympic imagery to Modge-podge onto my gold canvas 🙂

Opening Ceremonies

So far I’m 0/2 in actually staying awake until Prime Time Olympic Coverage is over at 11pm Central time. I’m a chronic couch-sleeper, though I’ll completely deny it whenever someone asks “were you sleeping?”

The Opening Ceremonies (I managed to stay awake until midway through the parade of nations and then dozed in and out until after Great Britain entered. At which point I finally decided that I’d best head home and catch the lighting of the torch online today) were very conceptual. I really liked where they were going with it – however I felt that it was so detail orientated that there was no real way of taking it all in. I’m sure that the London Olympic organizers and Danny Boyle are beyond sick of being compared to Beijing, but my quick contrast: the Beijing Opening Ceremonies (from what I recall) were more about texture and large scale movement, which I feel probably translated better on television and for someone in the stands watching it live. However, a few big props to London’s Opening Ceremonies:

1. Everyone in it was a volunteer – call me a human rights advocate, but the fact that “The inner workings of China’s proudest night were less a point of pride: participants in the Opening Ceremony were virtual indentured servants, rehearsing for 10 months while living in almost barbaric conditions. The director of the production, Zang Yimou, told the Telegraph of London in 2008 that neither England nor any other country could produce such a spectacle because labor unions would never allow the work force to endure such conditions.” (Yahoo Sports).

2. The set was astounding. I would have really loved to have been able to walk around that meadow scene. And the way that they took it all down in front of your eyes was pretty darn cool. It had a lot of well-thought-out layers to it.

3. The comedic sketch with Mr. Bean (I know he has a real name too) was well done.

4. David Beckham was quite possibly the most attractive torch bearer to-date and he made quite an entrance.

5. But the best entrance of the night goes to her Majesty the Queen of England with another very debonaire man, Mr. Daniel Craig. If you don’t watch any of the other clips that I’ve posted and didn’t see this on TV, this is a must see!

A few other thoughts that don’t really pertain to how London did the opening ceremonies, mostly coming out of the mouth of one Bob Costas during the parade of nations – the real Olympic spectacle is that he doesn’t age. Ever. You’ll come to realize that my family has a tendency to make fun of the anti-aging Mr. Costas.

1. Best Bob Costas quote of the night “From the ‘I didn’t know that’ file”

2. Mawali is the “warm part of Africa” (insert thought about how all of Africa is pretty warm) apparently this was meant to mean that Mawali is the friendliest nation in Africa.

3. Bob ALWAYS gets to announce Gabon in the parade of nations. Why? Because Bob likes to say the name ‘Gabon’.

4. This has nothing to do with Bob Costas, but during the parade of nations, NBC posted a map graphic so you’d know where that particular nation is found on the globe. The only problem here was that it always first showed where the United States was, and then the country in question. What is that saying about our geographical education that we need to first be shown where the United States is before we understand where another country is located? Geography is far from my strong suit, but at least I know when looking at something highlighted on a globe, where it is without needing to know where the United States is located.

Some Olympic Trivia

While North America patiently waits for NBC to air the Opening Ceremonies (technically happening live at 3:30pm Central) tonight (taped), here’s some trivia and current happenings to tide you over 🙂

From the Washington Post
• This is London’s 3rd time hosting the Olympics (1908, 1948 and now 2012)
• No surprise after seeing The Bird’s Nest and the Opening Ceremonies, but Beijing’s Olympics were the most expensive to-date with a $40 billion price tag! Conversely, the budget for this year is in the ballpark of $4 billion.
• London’s main Olympic venue this year was constructed with 50% recycled materials!
• Due to the increase in worth of gold and silver this year’s gold medals are 30% lighter than the 2010 Olympic medals, but cost $165 more. Total worth of each 2012 Olympic gold medal? Priceless. But seriously, it’s $640.
• Larisa Latynina is the most decorated Olympian of all-time with 18 medals – Michael Phelps has 16 and is hoping to break that record. Would it be a modern summer Olympics if Mr. Phelps wasn’t breaking some record?
• This is the first Olympics where all 205 nations are sending female athletes to compete!!! And Team USA has sent 8 more women than men this year (269 women to 261 men). And most importantly, even Brunei, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are sending women to the games! Girl Power 🙂

From ABC News
Word on the street is that long-time teammate Ryan Lochte is going to be giving Michael Phelps a run for his money in his quest to be the most decorated Olympian ever. Apparently Ryan has been beating Mike lately (at the 2011 World Championships and at the U.S. Trials). Come on gentlemen, there’s room on the podium for multiple medal winners! The two claim to be fierce competitors but also great friends.

From the Los Angeles Times
Still trying to wrap my brain around this headline: “Legally blind archer sets world record” This happened today in a ranking round and yielded Team South Korea a team record as well.

And finally, while in the elevator today at work, I saw a headline that Team USA’s swimmers created their own spoof of the popular “Call Me Maybe” video. Enjoy!

Insta-patriotism

Americans generally like to be patriotic. We hang flags for 4th of July, Memorial Day & Veterans Day, we have parades, cook-outs and purchase the iconic $5 Old Navy flag t-shirt each year.

Every two years, we get a refreshing 2 week jolt of patriotism that unites the country in one goal: going for the gold. We love to win and our athletes are good at delivering on that. This week I’ve heard several plans being made by my co-workers for Opening Ceremonies viewing parties – and naturally I’ve already lined up who I’ll be glued to the TV with on Friday night as well.

Just as when I was growing up, during the last Olympics, back when I had TV (as you may recall, Mike and I now just stream our TV shows through the internet via the Roku) the Olympics were pretty much on the entire time I was at home. I’m always surprised when someone admits to me that they never really got into the Olympics growing up. I was all about the competition of the races, the artistry of gymnastics and skating and the fashion of the Opening Ceremonies. I knew Team USA by name and could tell you which country was suspected of cheating (China in women’s gymnastics) and who took out Nancy Kerrigan (Tonya Harding). I stood up in suspense watching Michael Phelps break his records (it’s just a coincidence that I happened to marry someone who looks like a young Mr. Phelps…) and picked my jaw up off the floor while watching free-style skiing (mind still = blown). How could you not get into the games?!

Earlier today I happened across a link on Twitter that caught my eye, it was something along the lines of art being an olympic sport and the Nazis ruined it (no surprise there, the Nazis pretty much ruin everything…). How could you not click on that? The article was fascinating. Seriously, read it (link is in the word ‘article’).

As a kid, I dreamed of being in the Olympics – how cool would that be! Unfortunately, my less than stellar athletic performance, at well, anything, kept that dream at bay. And now I find out that had various unfortunate happenings not happened I could have had a shot competing in the Olympics as an artist!!!

The events (yes, plural) centered around athletic-inspired art (and composed music). So, in honor of the fallen sport of my people (fellow artists and musicians) I’ve decided to come up with some 2-week-long athletic-inspired art project that will last the duration of the Olympics. I’m mulling over a few ideas as to mediums used and size. The current front-runner is newspaper photographs + sharpies and maybe a little paint. I’ll document my progress here – and get back to blogging regularly in general (I promise!)

So, t-minus 25.5 hours (6:30pm Central Time on Friday)… let the games begin!

Brown Rice Cleanse

I keep happening across articles and books encouraging a simplified, healthy lifestyle. For example, the DIY book that I purchased for my kindle that I thought was about DIY-ing things around the house, spent its entire first section talking about DIY fixing your eating habits (weird right?). So between the books/articles and my mom checking in to make sure I’m getting enough fruits/vegetables in my meals, I decided to take that as a sign that I should do something good for me.

Mike can attest, I’ve tried various eating habits in my day (I choose not to call them diets, because my goal is always to overhaul how I eat to eat better). And while detoxes and cleanses are a great way to kick off new eating habits, I never get more than a day or two into them before calling it quits. Usually it’s because I’m trying a juice cleanse and I really don’t care for vegetable juice (bleh, carrot juice) – so it ends up being a lot of sugar and money – 100% juice is not cheap.

The DIY book talked about a simple cleanse called the Brown Rice cleanse. The concept made sense enough to me: you eat fruits, vegetables and brown rice for 3-7 days and it gives your body a break from everything else. I did a little extra research on it and found that unsalted almonds, unsalted walnuts, chickpeas, spices and quinoa are also okay, so is a little olive oil for cooking. But no bananas, oranges, corn (oh darn… haha) and mushrooms. The theory is that with the fiber from the brown rice and fruits/vegetables, it’s acting  like a pipe cleaner, clearing your digestive system of many existing toxins from the everyday foods that we eat. I figured that as an added bonus, it would force me to integrate more fruits and vegetables into my eating habits and I’d get to try a few new things along the way (like my first peach on Sunday morning – no joke!)

Since I had decided to take some vacation time after the 4th of July day off work, I figured that was the perfect time to do a 4-day version of the cleanse. I’m nearing the end of day 4 and I must say, this was relatively simple. The food that you’re allowed to eat really fills you up. I will admit, that I did have the occasional glass of white wine over the past 4 days since I’ve had company over a few nights, but otherwise I’ve really stuck to the plan.

Breakfasts have included blueberry/blackberry/ice ‘smoothie’, blueberry/strawberry/ice ‘smoothie’, apples, and peaches. For lunches I’ve heated up a brown/black/red rice medley from Trader Joes (delicious!). Dinners have been brown rice with vegetables, a little olive oil and some oregano (or other fun kitchen spices). I’ve been snacking on fruits and sliced almonds and drinking plenty of water.

Key learnings/things I noticed:
• The things I read were correct, this cleanse really controlled my cravings, especially sugar.
• 10 minute brown rice is super quick/easy to make (quicker than pasta even!) and tastes great with olive oil and spices and vegetables. It’s also really filling.
• Fruit in the AM kept me full for the most part until an early lunch – perhaps mixed with some greek yogurt starting on Monday and I’ll be good to go on work days.

Looking ahead I’m planning on bringing a little dairy into my breakfasts with some fresh fruit and may continue to have rice and vegetables for lunch instead of my usual sandwich and salty snacks with apple sauce. A little bonus was dropping a few pesky pounds that were causing my clothing to fit poorly, but we’ll see if that’s only temporary once I start to bring dairy and meat back into my system. I’m going to do my best to keep as much processed food out of my eating habits as possible and to keep my fruits/vegetable counts up – hopefully this was the little food overhaul that I needed to adjust my daily eating habits since I feel really good (though don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to enjoy things like cheese burgers, cookies and french fries now and again, but they will be the exception instead of the rule.)

If you’re interested in some learning more about a Brown Rice cleanse, check out the links below. I read them all and then made my own plan based around what would work for me within as much of their guidelines as possible. As with anything involving your body, you should probably check with a doctor before starting – and remember I’m in no way a medical professional (I’m a graphic designer), so please don’t take my suggestions as anything official, I was just reporting what worked for me, but every body is different.

Dr. Zepp
Dr. Linda
Just Cleansing

Shopping 101

Over breakfast this morning Mike and I realized that we hadn’t much time left to take advantage of our 10% off deals with the places that we registered. Since he may have a busy next few weekends, we decided to head to the mall today to hit up Williams Sonoma, Macy’s and Crate & Barrel, with gift cards from the wedding/Christmas/misc. in tow.

Watching Mike try to shop just to shop was very amusing since he’s usually a man on a mission – he never just shops for recreation. So when the mission was to spend $x on un-predetermined stuff, he patiently wandered the stores and was actually disappointed when he saw that things were on sale (only my husband…). See, he’d made it his mission to completely spend the gift cards, and that was made more difficult when something didn’t cost as much (his logic was flawless).

Photo from Williams Sonoma’s website. This is a wine caddy that keeps the wine inside chilled for up to 2 hours. Not only was this piece on sale, all sale items were an additional 20% off. So they were practically giving these away at around $10!

Thankfully, we have pretty much everything that we need in the kitchen – or at least everything that we use on a regular basis, and then some. So walking through Williams Sonoma, we were purely looking for little luxuries. What we stumbled upon the wine caddy seen to the left. That barely made a dent in the dollar amount that we needed to spend, so we grabbed one and kept wandering. Unfortunately, Mike didn’t really like any of the table linens that WS sells, so that wasn’t an avenue that we could explore (you can never have enough table linens right?). He did spot some cheese tools and suggested those – but changed his mind when I reminded him that we’d received cheese tools for our wedding.

Photo from Williams Sonoma’s website. This is the milk frothier that we decided to try. Hello speedy hot chocolate – this may just change my winter breakfast routine 🙂

Photo from Williams Sonoma’s website. These were the salt and pepper mills that we decided to purchase. The automatic ones seemed excessive, and the one handed ones were too small to be practical.

While perusing the coffee paraphernalia section we found a milk frothier. I’d always wanted to try one for my hot chocolate (usually I boil the milk in a sauce pan on the stove). So we picked up one of those as well. At only $20, we still had quite a bit to spend. Thankfully, in our journey we remembered that we never registered for salt and pepper mills because they seem unreasonably expensive. Problem solved. The rest of our money went to a salt and pepper mill set (I still cannot wrap my head around how much those things cost each!)

Photo from Macy’s website. While not good for coffee, we got this beverage dispenser in a color that matched most of our existing Chirp by Lenox table linens. We figured we could use this both inside and out, and for a sale price of $25, it was a deal.

When we got to Macy’s we thought we’d look for a coffee urn for when we’re entertaining. A sales associate informed us that it was no dice – they didn’t sell those. However we did find a fun looking beverage dispenser that Mike cursed for being 50% off. We had double to spend what we had at Williams Sonoma, so the hunt continued. It wasn’t until we found ourselves in the table linens section that a light bulb went on. We have a few pieces (table runner and two different sets of cloth napkins) from Lenox’s Chirp collection, why not get more of those table linens, that would actually make sense. Wouldn’t you guess, those were on sale too at 30% off! We were able to get the spill-proof table cloth and 6 spill-proof placemats (oddly enough, while the table settings in that collection are super fragile and expensive, the linens are spill-proof and easily machine-washable).

Photo from Macy’s website. The table cloth and two-toned place mats that we purchased today to continue our collection of Lenox’s Chirp line.

Photo from Macy’s website. A two-tied cookie stand from the china portion of Lenox’s Chirp collection.

Mike was excited, he thought we’d finally reached our limit at Macys… nope, there was still more to spend. I decided that we should see if we could afford any of the actual china pieces from the Chirp collection (also on sale – we were on a roll today!) It was difficult to determine prices, but eventually we figured out that we could both afford and use the two-tiered cookie stand (perhaps for my delicious doughnuts…) The only ones left was the one on display or one in the back (we saw a note stating that on the display box) so Mike unassembled the display cookie stand with his keys and between the two of us we managed to pack it back into its box – there was much ripping of cardboard to make it fit and the extra cardboard was left behind. The sales associate at Macy’s seemed amused by our spend-the-gift cards mission and chuckled a few times at our dialogue.

In the home stretch we headed over to Crate & Barrel to look at a china hutch that we’d been eying online. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to our expectations, and neither did anything else in our budget. So it’s back to the drawing board there.

All-in-all I had a lovely day. Nothing like spending a Saturday afternoon at the mall! It’s so interesting to me how differently Mike and I perceive shopping. When I declared that that was a fantastic outing and asked him if he thought so too, Mike stated that to him today’s trip was an afternoon of errands rather than an outing. I’ll always be amused by the differences of the sexes. I thanked Mike for his positive attitude and enthusiasm while shopping, especially since wandering aimlessly through home-stores couldn’t be further from how he usually shops. Perhaps I’ll save Crate & Barrel for later this month…