Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bless Her Heart

I started running again. Regularly.

Unbelievably, I felt nervous heading out on my first run over 3 miles in months. And so, I donned a prior race shirt (in this case, my one ultra) to help me remember who I was as runner.

Off I went. It was freaking glorious. I ran up hills feeling strong. My calves were quiet. My pace was slow but not OMG I could walk faster slow; more cautious than anything. My cardio was good. I was delighted the whole 4 miles.
Finally,I am ready to head out with one of my running peeps.  I can rejoin my tribe.

And so I did.

Just like old times, I grabbed my running bff and we headed out for a FLAT 5 miles. And, just like old times my calves whispered, then screamed. I walked. I gnashed my teeth.

Clearly, they were tired from my victorious run two days before, but really, this was all too familiar.

So, I can’t run the way I want to. I can occasionally run 3 miles, but training is out of the question. I am opening my palm and letting it go.  I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Since I can’t run I’ve decided to give the barefoot/minimalist trend a serious go. You have to start painfully slow with short distances with that anyway. I’ve since run/walked 2 miles in my Newton’s and then barefoot. It was ok, but glorious is not the word that comes to mind. Still, I got it done.

I’ll keep you updated.

In other news, I cleaned off the mess of my nightstand today. Look what I found:

I read that magazine and apparently it didn’t help much. Still, it’s nice to see I can be optimistic.

And in a WOW, pigs can fly sort of way, we had rope climbing as part of the workout of the day (WOD) in crossfit and dayum if I wasn’t the best female rope climber there. Success was sweet. Getting down was not. I needed gloves. And socks. I went up 5 times. Down 5 times.

Sadly, it resulted in a weeping wound on my ankle where the skin was rope burned off and several inner thigh bruises (I’ll spare you that scary sight). Last night it hurt in my sleep. Today I realized it was still weepy. And hot.  It doesn’t look nearly as terrible as it feels.  owwww. I slapped Neosporin on it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Oreo or Sh$t Sandwich? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Sandwich Fixings:

Monday night, Tropical Storm Emily starting making her way towards Florida and the Eastern Caribbean, right where we are cruising next week. I hate flying in inclement weather and I get sea sick. Gulp. This is really in my head.

That same night I went to check into our cruise, online. Our travel agent had said we didn’t need passports. I thought my driver’s license would be fine. I thought wrong. I need a certified copy of my birth certificate AND a copy of our marriage license. Which we can’t find. Naturally, we have the “keepsake license” from the church. I could use my passport. But, it expired July 9st.  FML.

Tuesday night Chloe had 10 of her loudest teen age friends over for a party. I don’t know what on earth made me say ok to this, but I should have just said no. Hell no. This is not a good week honey. As a result, I had to stay in my room babysitting instead of getting in my crossfit workout. I know all parents are supposed to gush over the joy of raising children but sometimes, it just sucks. SRSLY.

Wednesday morning I went to get my Crossfit on.  I moved a large empty box, which I was preparing to jump up on to. This was a watershed moment since I have always stacked 3 weights and jumped on to those and here I was trying the big box. Pushing myself and all that, in the Crossfit Tradition of don't be a pussy. So. Real box jump it was to be.

This was almost me. Almost.
Or not to be. I placed the empty box on the floor and the second it hit the ground something in my lower back snapped like a rubber band. I couldn’t stand up but if I had been able to, I would have simply fallen to the ground writhing in pain. Instead  I stood still like a statue, while a tidal wave of pain overtook me. Have mercy. I tried to finish the work out but it quickly became clear I could hardly move. Well, can you step up onto the box? The trainer asked. I can’t lift my leg to walk, was my reply. Hmmmmm.  Can you do a back squat with no bar? Ummmm, I can’t bend over at all. Indeed standing here is causing me to wince. You know, she said, I really think it would be best if you went home and iced. yeah. Think I’ll shuffle off now. 

I ordered my husband several handsome Tommy Bahama shirts (on sale, mais non) from Nordies, paying extra for two day shipping (something I never do), because he needs some nice cruise-y dinner-ish shirts. 

While I was at it I threw in a matching dress that was cute and also by Tommy, being that it was in the same colors as the shirts, just to try 'cause hey I'd already paid for shipping so what the heck. I already have a boat load (pun intended, of cute cruise-ish dresses and certainly didn't need another, but we'll get a family photo and it might look cute).  The dress arrived promptly and looked FABULOUS. It was also so expensive, I virtually never buy clothing when it is not on sale. I seriously hadn't expected to actually like it. 

This looks cuter on than you might think.
The shirts were nowhere to be found because I soon discovered they were shipped from stores and could not have two day shipping and so would be arriving after we had left. So now I have a pricey dress I want to keep that matches nothing. Ack.

I have 2 more days of the Whole 30/Paleo diet. I miss eating so many things. I don’t crave them. I’m not hungry. I simply like eating and by that I mean sometimes I just want to physically move something into my mouth and enjoy chewing it’s goodness. Last week Chloe said oh mom, it’s too bad you’re Paleo because otherwise you could come get froyo with us. I could have wept, I tell you, wept.

The Oreo:

I can get you started on your  the way to the gun show (HA!).) Oh yeah, and that makes me so, so crazy happy.

I can fit in my shorts. Not almost fit, but fit as in I would buy them today they feel so comfy.

My husband wrangled a meeting with the passport office in San Francisco for Friday morning, so I should be able to go on vacation afterall. But let's wait until Friday afternoon to do that full on happy dance.

As Dr. Ho worked on my back today he said “Oh Justin, you never change. You always have a big smile on your face. It doesn’t matter if you can’t bend over and can barely walk, you have a smile and always your sense of humor.” That made me laugh and feel good. It was such a compliment.

The first two in the list are definitely due to the Paleo eating. I’m gonna stick with it, but relax the rules. A weekly social treat is definitely in order. Or less, if no weekly  opportunity presents itself. Yeah right. Here is recent meal:

Chloe’s party went great and she is happy. Anyone with a teen age daughter can tell you that when they are happy, the whole family is happy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gone Paleo

What exactly is this new Paleo thing I am doing?
Good question. Let’s focus on the what I AM eating on this plan: lots and lots and oh my is that another vegetables, lots of organic, free range, barn raised, grass eating meat, plenty of avocado, and a little bit of fruit.
And now, let’s consider what I am NOT eating: no grains, no legumes, no dairy,  no alcohol and no sugar.  No processed food. PHEW.

Even I can’t believe I’ve stuck with it for 15 days and am not dreading another 15.

Why Paleo for me?
I have been counting calories and STARVING. I lost a few pounds but I couldn’t stand myself. I went to a BBQ while considering paleo and talked to a guy who has been Paleo for years. In my mind, that was a sign that it could be done and I should try it.  I stalked him like a creeeper chatted him up for a couple of hours and felt more prepared. Plus, I felt as though I could go ahead and prove this lifestyle wrong. Paleo promises a bunch of things I was pretty sure it wouldn’t deliver. What the heck. I’m game.

Ok, before we get to the diet, what do you the Great Justine, think of it so far?

So glad you asked! I am amazed by a few things.  Unlike when I am counting calories, I am not starving all the time. Indeed, my hunger is pretty much in control, unheard of for me. My stomach is quiet. Typically, when I diet my stomach is LOUD. Seriously loud. It growls when it’s empty and I swear it growls after I eat too. So far, my stomach has rumbled a few times but then I go feed myself some turkey wrapped around avocado and cucumber and I’m fine. 

I don’t get shaky. I have always had issues with my blood sugar, especially when I try and restrict calories. This time out my blood sugar has stayed fairly stable. Once or twice I felt shaky, but then I ate some almond butter and celery and felt fine.

Shockingly, I haven’t craved sugar, at all. WOW. When I did that little 3 day sugar challenge I couldn’t wait for day 4. Not so this time. I have completely stayed away from dried fruit because I find that is one food I can happily sub out for any desert with added sugar . I find myself cramming fistfuls of raisins in my mouth and feeling like some kind of drug addict the whole time. Problem? I don’t have a problem. I could quit these raisins any day. Just not today, oh please for the love of all that is holy, not today.So, I’m just saying no to the dried fruit.

This stuff? Love it so much I can't even have it in the house.

Come on. You can’t possibly have given up all that stuff this whole time. Tell us about your fall from the wagon of righteousness.

Caught me. 
Once I had a salad that inadvertently got an edamame on it and I ate it. 

I accidently ate one  peanut. 

This VERY MORNING I tried a sample of freshly made iced coffee at Starbucks and found that, naturally, it was full of sugar. Who does that? Just adds a bunch of sugar to iced coffee and then calls it iced coffee? Starbucks does, that’s who.  My bad. 

Finally, on a special anniversary dinner out I decided before I left to have wine with dinner. Everything else was Paleo. AND I’ve decided to have wine one night on this long vacation weekend we have planned. Gasp In Shock.

Have you lost a ton of weight? Take a before photo?
I don't mean to be bad. I'm just drawn that way.
On this 30 day program I am not allowed to weigh myself, but who are we kidding, of course I have. Once.
I found I had lost 2 pounds, which made me happy. Furthermore, my stomach is not so bloated all the time, something I suspect happens from dairy and not from the salt I used to blame. 

A lot of people out there take a before photo. I considered it. The problem is that in my black lycra work out shorts and a sports bra I look pretty much just fine. Those shorts suck you in like nobody's business. So I tried on a pair of jeans that are neither to big or too small. Muffin. Top. City. No way on God's green earth am I taking a photo of THAT. Heck no. I'm adding heels, a blousy top and BOOM  I'm long and lean again, so please take a snapshot or two. 

I decided I'm just not a before and after kinda person. I'm more of an after and let's pretend there was no before type. So, heck yeah, after I am lean like a long cool glass of water on a hot summer's day, then I'm taking a bunch of after photos. You know, to document my progress and all that.
Why no grains?

The Paleo diet claims that grains and dairy cause inflammation.  Furthermore, grains cause kind of a funky response in our system.  Grains are composed of carbohydrates, and those carbs are turned into glucose (a type of sugar) in our system to be used for energy and various other tasks to help our body function – any glucose that isn’t used as energy is stored as fat.
Grains evoke an inflammatory response in the gut. They spike insulin levels. They have an acidying effect on the body. Ultimately, they are “empty calories.”
Here’s a page that nicely explains each of these points:

What about artery clogging saturated fat?
To know me is know that I am by nature an inquisitive creature. I do no take your word for it. Nor do I blindly believe some half assed, poorly run study funded by a major corporation with a dog in the fight. I did a lot of reading. You can too. Google saturated fat + paleo diet.  Suffice to say that I am no longer at all convinced it’s bad for you.

Is saturated fat healthy?

If you don’t want to click and read here’s an excerpt from Mark’s Daily Apple:

“As you can see, there is a faint, weak correlation between fat intake and heart disease, but it’s just that: a correlation. It shouldn’t confirm anything except the need to run controlled experiments to directly measure the effects of dietary fat. Unfortunately, that correlation was enough to get Keys the front cover of Time and widespread acclaim as the father of dietary science. His hypothesis gained traction in the scientific community and mainstream CW, a position it has never really relinquished. Subsequent controlled experiments to measure the effects of saturated fat have been either inconclusive, poorly designed, or completely unsupportive of the saturated fat-is-evil hypothesis, but because the starting point assumes it to be true, those inconclusive or unsupportive results become aberrations while the poorly designed studies become canon.”

So that's what up for me during this 30 days.

So far?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Momentum is Your Friend

Turns out once I miss my own deadline of a blog post at least every two weeks, well, it’s hard to begin again. The whole thing seems too daunting. Too many topics, not enough topics. And what about the photos??? I love the photos. Anyhoo. Time to climb back up on the blog horse, so speak. 

Transitions are hard (ok, I may be lacking a little wit and introspection with that but stay with me). A couple of times I started to write but the only thing that came to me were all the things I miss about running: the camaraderie, the people, the hot sweat on a cold morning followed by cold sweat and hot coffee. Who wants to read such melancholy drivel? I didn’t even want to write about it. When things are hard I tend to slap a smile on face, put my head down, and keep moving forward. Which is how I started considering what would fill my running void at least a little bit.

And that is how I started my yoga practice in earnest. I found a power yoga studio where the instructors have a sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously. I was in love when one instructor said “come down out of the pose gracefully (THUNK as several of us fell out) or awkwardly…if that’s what your body has today then go with it.” Clearly, this was a yoga teacher made for me. Cementing my love is that this studio focuses on astanga yoga, which means it kicks my ass strength wise and cardio wise.When you're done, you feel like you got a workout, not like you just had a nice long stretch. It's not the same as a good long trail run, but nothing is.

The yoga has been great to help strengthen my weak right leg and increase my ankle flexibility.  In fact, it is slowly increasing all my joint mobility inefficiencies and my body is feeling better, more balanced and stronger.

Whether I am running or yoga-ing I need more. More of whatever I'm doing (why hello marathoning/ultra/100 miles bike ride/half ironman tri, you sure look sexy today; come sit down and let me get to know you bettah). So, I couldn't naturally just go to yoga a few times a week. Oh no. Instead, I started my own 30 day challenge. Yoga people often comment with great reverence that 30 consecutive days of yoga practice will change your life. To which I reply, good thing my life doesn’t need changing (but it does need a challenge). I made it 27 days in a row before we went waterskiing and had a weekend of too much drinking and too much sun vs too much yoga.

This was me coming OUT of the water after floating for hours. Never let it be said I don't take sun protection seriously.

This is where the other beer drunks and I floated. All. Day. With a floating cooler, to make it all possible.

I floated so there would be more room on the kids who wanted to do this all day.

While I was getting drunk floating, the kids got tattoos.

Back to my 27 days of downward dog. It may not have been a round thirty, but it was long enough for me to notice two things:

First, it may change your life if you have never trained for a marathon or other endurance event. If you have, you are accustomed to doing everything in your power to stay on track. During my 27 consecutive days of yoga , I went to early classes and late, I tried new studios, I went when I was sore, tired, hungry and/or just didn’t want to, I went when I felt desperate for a day with no yoga, no matter how I felt,  I went. I even went on Father's Day. Had I never had this type of dedication before it would have changed my life, but because I had, it just made me happy in that same way that an early run in the cold and the rain makes me happy.I know plenty of people who have never dedicated a month to doing something every day and they should try it. It's good for the soul to realize just what you can do, even when you don't want to.

The second thing I noticed while reading the newspaper. I had one hand on my chin, one near my bent arm, when I leaned over and…..felt something….there on my arm…was that? Could that possibly be…oh yes ohmy it was, a …wait for it….TRICEP.Yahoo. I haven’t felt one of those in years (probably since I stopped training for tris and started training for an ultra). Indeed, I’d begun referring to my triceps as my bat wings, being that they kinda hung down and waggled like, well, bat wings. To say I was ecstatic is downplaying my reaction. Nowadays I go ahead and stroke my triceps while murmuring sweet nothings to them. Love yourself and all that.

I am ready to get back into running, but it turns out that I only want to run when it’s cool. Charrisa and I had a run planned and then the weather turned a diabolical 90 degrees. I opted out. I asked her, what’s gonna happen if I don’t go run that measly 2.5 miles? I have no running fitness to lose. I’m not slipping on my training build, because I don’t have one of those either. Bleh to running in the heat.  The weather will eventually cool and I’ll start lacing up my Nikes on a regular basis but until then I have yoga.

And crossfit.

And  30 days of paleo (day two of the whole 9. So far I’m going strong).

Yep, I figured I end this post with a few ideas for my next, just to help my own momentum.

Monday, June 20, 2011

On the Road Again

Hey Justine, I am loving this easy warm up.
Since you last heard from your intrepid reporter (are there any other kinds of reporters? I wonder), she has started running again.


Yipppeee. Last week I put on my sexy Newtons and headed out for a mile. I felt sleek and fast in those things and without a Garmin there was nothing to interfere with my fantasy of having Kara Goucher next to  me, pony tail bouncing as we warmed up with a 7  minute mile, discussed her new baby, Cole and our chances of winning Boston next year.  I concentrated on Kara as I ignored  my right foot rolling in and my lower calf nudging the edge of consciousness.

That night, oh geez, my knees were killing me.

I iced.

I stared at my Newtons accusingly. 

Next day: OFF.

Next, next day: ON. I put on my good ‘ol built up Nike’s and headed out for another mile. This time no pronation, no calf murmurings and, sadly, no Kara. Sigh. My legs felt good, but far from fast and sleek. Again, I didn’t need a Garmin to tell me I was running slowly enough that Kara had passed me by so quickly she was but a blur.  That night, my knees were fine. No ice, no craving Advil. I cuddled my Nike's and whispered that I had always loved them best.

Next day: OFF.

Next, next day: time to bump it up a notch: TWO miles, baby.

I was nervous but ready...wait, it’s 89 degrees at 6 o’clock?  Seriously? We’ve had no heat this summer and now it’s smoldering. I did what any smart person would do when presented with this temperature change and napped. I woke at 7 feeling rested and apprehensive. Finally, at 8 I headed out. The heat was radiating off the sidewalk but I was running. It’s probably been a year since I ran in any kind of heat at all, so it wasn’t pretty. My asthma kicked in, my mouth was dry, my heart was pounding, my feet were…… WALKING after the first half mile. Ack. I berated myself for not running the whole measly 2 miles.  Then I ran the last mile without stopping and kept reminding myself I’d been missing this. Or not.

In other news, I lost two toenails last week. I have not been running, and yet I get to experience losing toenails due to running. The world is so unfair. Some ultra runner had his toenails burned off with acid, and sadly, I can relate. My best toenail times are right after they come off and there is no nail. If they didn’t grow back in, I’d start putting polish on the skin right there and continue wearing open toed shoes. Looking at that photo you might cringe to think of me in open toed shoes. I know I am. For goodness sake. I've got to get ahold of some nail polish remover asap.

My newest toenail. So sweet.
So, there you have it, I’ve been running a mile or two every other day, on 8 toenails and two nascent nails. The weather has cooled. I’m looking forward to getting back to my usual 5-6 mile runs with my BRB (best running buddy) Charissa. 

As I run now it is amazing how my mind takes off without me. Half my mind is busy congratulating my speedy performance and plotting a redemption trail run wherein I return to Oakland, the scene of my last half marathon debacle and this time actually run most of the course. The logical, reasonable side of my brain is laughing manically at this plot but the other side is thinking, heck you’ve got nothing planned this Saturday, let’s go for a drive, let’s just explore the trail, let’s see what happens.

I’m thinking I need to plot out a training plan to get my mileage back up and then go for a drive, see what happens.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trail Running Wisdom

Even though I am not currently running trails <sobs> I do still have loads of accumulated trail running wisdom. Oh, yes I do. Wisdom earned the old fashioned way, which is by traumatic experience, rather than the new fashioned way of surfing the internet and watching videos on you tube. Actually, I surfed the internet for trail running help; I just managed to still make plenty of mistakes, because I'm a life long learner.

Rancho San Antonio
And with that, I present to you the fruits of my learning curve, in the order I plucked them, because I’m fun that way. 

I learned my first lesson early on, while I was running the gateway trails of Rancho San Antonio. At the top of your first hill of the day, pause a moment to bend over and kiss your quads goodbye, move your foot all the way back in your shoe and retie your laces extra tightly. I don’t care if you like them somewhat loose or if they are perfect the way they are (at least, that’s what he said, laughing hysterically). Retie. Make them tight.  As you run downhill you will find those laces loosened up somewhat. You will also find your toes do not go slamming into the front of your shoes, thus saving you painful toenails all day and into the night.  My first few times running trails I did not do this. I was bent over breathing like a buffalo, trying to stuff my lungs back into my chest and yet I could not take a moment to retire my shoes?  Apparently, my shoes were fiiine. Loser. <shakes head>  I remember one night when the pressure of the bed sheet on my toenails was agonizing. Learn from my painful, missing toenails my little wanna be trail runner. Retie those shoes and you'll sleep better that night.  It really does make a huge difference.

Lake Chabot, visor-less
Next up. Wear a visor (if you run hot, like me) or a cap (if you run cold or don’t have a lot of hair to protect your delicate scalp), regardless of the weather. For my first long trail run (Lake Chabot, 17 miles) I made a conscious decision to leave my cap in the car because it was a solidly overcast day and I didn’t want that sweaty thing on my forehead for hours on end . Well. Two hours later, I was on a ridge (ridges are often where your trail running will lead), running without tree cover beneath a mostly sunny sky without a cap or sunscreen. I would have been better just wearing the cap. If it rains, the wet is kept somewhat from your face and if it suns, you have a little portable shade. I never ran without a cap again, except once, in the rain, when I lost it (the visor that is).

Bring a bag for your shoes after the run. Do this every time, even if it has been dry because you never know how wrecked your shoes will be, sometimes from dust, sometimes from water. The first time I ran through a surprise muddy spot I had not thought of bringing a bag, my shoes were a mess and I LOVE MY CLEAN CAR. I survived to bring a bag the next time, but i was not happy. Sadly, the next week I didn’t bring a pair of shoes to slip into, which resulted in me walking into Peet’s barefoot. Not ideal.  No need to learn a new lesson two weeks in a row, just bring a bag and pair of flip flops, every time you run trails. Don’t question me on this. Seriously.
Sometimes your shoes will look like this.

And sometimes they will look like this.
And last for today (more trail running wisdom to come, don’t you worry), bring a long sleeve shirt unless it's summer, and then bring some arm warmers. On the street I am famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for my love of running naked. I get wicked hot running asphalt. And, NO, I’m not really naked, naked, but I whip off my shirt and run in the cool of my sports bra all the time. Have you seen swimsuits lately? My sports bra is downright matronly compared to what you see at our local beach. So, avert your delicate eyes and get the heck over it.
I haven't been to this camp. Yet.

On the trail, I inexplicably find myself shivering. There’s the elevation, the tree cover, the wind when I am above the tree level and the fact that I’m out there for a lot longer. Suddenly, Little Ms. Sports Bra is shivering in her short sleeve shirt, especially on the downhill...running downhill, my heart rate drops, all the sweat I generated running up that hill starts cooling me off and BAM my teeth are chattering.

I hate getting cold, so it didn’t take me long to start bringing a long sleeve shirt. I’d take it off while I climbed and put it on when I had a long descent and rolling terrain. If I wore that long sleeve over a layer I made my base layer a tank with wide scooped neckline so that my chest could let off steam, because I was still nervous of overheating.  I was surprised to find that I rarely took that long sleeve shirt off for long, but then none of my shirts are especially heavy. In the summer, I pack arm warmers, because I never know when I'm gonna zip right when I'm supposed to zag left, and, well, end up running a tad bit longer than I thought because I'm lost on an adventure in the woods.
At the top the views are gorgeous.

These are all pretty basic trail running thoughts and yet, in the beginning I didn't retie my shoes, didn't wear a visor, didn't bring a bag, and didn't wear a long sleeve shirt. I was a lot happier when I started doing all these things without fail. Don't over think it, just do it.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Why, Oh Why

1. In an attempt to find a yoga class close to home I tried Bikram (set series of 26 yoga poses, including two breathing exercises, each of which is performed twice in a single 90 minute class, in a hot as hell room, filled with Serious.Yoga. People.). The woman in front of me closed her eyes and sorta swayed and danced the whole time, skipping over half of the poses, which irritated the instructor to no end because “you should not  skip a pose….it is very dangerous…..there is an order to the poses for a reason!” The instructor was pretty much spun up the entire class, between She who was not doing the poses at all, and an older indian woman who was attending her third class and kept trying the hardest variation of all the poses, "nonononono, you're going to injure yourself. Stop doing that! Stop. Here do this. Don't look at that woman over there! She's advanced. Don't look!!!!" Pretty sure yoga instructors are not supposed to sound that frantic and irritated but hey, I'm new to this sport, what do I know.

Anywhoo. Besides that fact that the woman reeked of pot (did I mention that the room is heated?), her back was covered with red rings from cupping:  Cupping - A treatment in which evacuated glass cups are applied to intact or scarified skin in order to draw blood toward or through the surface. It was used for disorders associated with an excess of blood, one of the four humors of medieval physiology. Basically modern day leeching. Ew. 

At first, the woman was so distracting I found it irritating, but then I went with it. I decided she was a gift from the yoga universe to me, because I found class boring and very, very SERIOUS, and yet there she was swaying and ignoring the instructor, who's head was about to explode and the whole thing was surreal and very, very funny, in a this can't possibly be happening sort of way.

2. Yesterday morning during swimming there was an older blond Germanic looking woman in the lane next to me. She was approximately 68 years old, wearing a one piece swim suit with yellow/white/blue color blocks which was…well…completely see through. I don’t mean the material was a little thin. Oh no. The material was sheer at best, actually more translucent than sheer. She did the back stroke nearly the entire time. I kid you not.  The only saving grace was that the bottom of the suit was navy. Again, I kept thinking, this cannot be possible. It just can't. And she'd go s l o w l y down the land in her see through suit and I'd laugh hysterically inside.

3. Phew. Now, for something fun. Check this out:

It's a sun umbrella that tells you time and direction. You orient yourself North with the compass (included):

and then look at where the sun shines on the umbrella. The vertical lines and numbers indicate hours; horizontal lines are the summer solstice, the spring/autumnal equinox and winter solstice from the top to bottom. In  the photo it is around 4, during the summer solstice. It's made by zung.
I don't think you can buy it here yet but dang, I LOVE that thing. Perfect for a sunny California day. 

Is there anything out there making you wonder why? Any strangely weird situations that make you want to laugh hysterically? Maybe that's just me. Would you be seen on the street with the parasol?