Monday, March 30, 2009

On to week 2

If you've never stared off into the distance then your life is a shame, and though I'll never forget your face, sometimes I can't remember my name

Counting Crows

Some more food shots for you. The waffle and grapefruit are your standard Sunday breakfast. The french toast was Friday's breakfast and we had the stuffed pepper for dinner Friday. The food has really been a very pleasant surprise. The quality is up, the rotation is now more on a two week schedule, and I maybe dreaming but the meat level and quantity seems to have increased.

I went on a really cool hike on Friday last week. It was scheduled to be the 101 hike but when only Natalie and I signed up for it, Paige improvised and took us for some climbing. We went to piano rock and the stairmaster which are pictured to the right.

It was challenging and fun and I ended up in places I had seen people before and thought to myself "there is no way in hell I could ever climb up there." But I did.

This was a real highlight for me. It is the pond where Butch Cassidy ( Paul Newman ) falls backwards into during the movie. Just to be hiking where Butch and Sundance was filmed, and to share the same view as Newman, Redford, and George Roy Hill really brought a huge smile to my face.

Shadow puppets on the wall. See if you can figure out which one is me :)

Natalie, I and our St George Sherpa Paige. Paige started working at the Ridge right when I came back in late August and I can confidentially say that no one has had as positive an impact on the overall success of the program as her. She is 100% per cent in charge of the fitness end of the program and she has designed a program that is challenging to everyone no matter their fitness level. She has also so improved the system for insuring everyone gets home from the hikes and everyone is accountable for their class schedule. The changes since last spring have been great and Paige is the reason why.

A lot of people dream of helping those in need. A lot of people talk about having a positive impact on the lives of others. A lot of people go on about their days and don't realize that on our planet, some of our fellow citizens live in abject poverty, in countries where AIDS is rampant and your next meal is always a question. Someone who makes a difference, someone who raise millions of dollars for humanitarian relief, and spends years in Africa helping those that most need help is the wonderful lady on the mountain top with me. I was extraordinarily proud to spend the morning with Natalie, someone who has done so much to make our planet better for our brothers and sisters.

Something that always brings a smile to peoples faces..... Knowing that the morning hike is over and you're just a van ride back to the ridge

Friday night we went on a run to walmart, but then as we are sometimes apt to do we got a little sidetracked. It seems one of these four people was very interested in betting the 4 weekend basketball games and so one of these four people kinda dragged the other three 30 miles to Mesquite for a short trip into the sportsbook. The ridgers went crazy drinking diet soda and splitting a single serving bag of wheat thins. I also didn't think a trip to walmart was an appropriate place to spend someones 30th birthday. Just know that it all made sense in my head.

I really hate Sundays at the Ridge. Here we are at 6:50 am making sure Wendy's bag was under 50lbs. It was about a twinkie shy of 50. It was again so hard to say goodbye to my new friends. We have 44 new campers this week, 18 stayovers, for a new record of 62. That record will only last a week. Should be fun!! Peace, Jim

Friday, March 27, 2009

29 Forever

Yesterday's a dream
I face the mornin'
Cryin' on a breeze
The pain is callin', oh Mandy
Barry Manilow

I want to start today by giving a happy birthday shout out to the girl from the smallest state, who had a mom who thought she should name her baby after the popular Manilow tune above. She turns the big 3-0 today and gets to celebrate with us at the ridge.
Paige and I hanging out before the new addition to the program which is an Anatomy class she teaches.
Paige giving the back muscle portion of the lecture. The Ridge spares no expense when it comes to graphic art as can be seen in the background. The scale drawing of the human body was Rembrandtian if thats a word.
BLT's for lunch yesterday. I like them. Had to go in the kitchen to get a pic as I inhaled my sandwich without taking a picture
Dinner tonite was the salmon burger with corn on the cob. Exceptional. It's truly hard to describe how great this meal was. It was funny to watch people try to get the salt and pepper to stick to the cob by adding water or vinegar. I think a stick of butter could have sold for $50 easy.
Finishing up a circuit with Eric and Cameron. Not too hard to see who worked the hardest by examining the sweat. Also got in a treading class with Michelle yesterday, some weights in the afternoon, but no pool as the winds whipped unmercifully. Friday at the ridge...hiking, pool, circuit, and hip-hop dance. You guys know that last one has no Jim in it for sure. Peace and Duke heading home thanks to a lower seeded team again. It must be spring, Jim

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Well now I'm no hero

That's understood

All the redemption I can offer girl

Is beneath this dirty hood

With a chance to make it good somehow

Hey what else can we do now ?

Bruce Springsteen

Good Morning as it is actually Thursday morning at 6am. I'm tired, sore and skipping 6 am open gym to make sure you guys get your blog fix. :) Okay I may be skipping open gym cause I have hike til 10:30am, circuit training with Eric and Cam at 10:30, pool at 11:30, lunch at 12:30, treading at 2:30 and 3:30 and pool at 4:30, 4 NCAA games tonite as well. And just for fun I stayed yup late playing scattegories and getting life stories from some of my fellow inmates.

I have been doing a lot of sand work this week. This is about a 200 yard stretch of sand that is the entrance to fern gully. I jogged it 20 times yesterday after doing a 45 minute hike thru "pioneer names". I was told there was carvings made by early settlers on the path but all I could see was a St George High class of '08 tag.

Lunch was the "new" pizza. I liked the old pizza better. This has a thicker, wheatier crust. still good but not as good as the flat bread pizza

Dinner was something new as well. They called it cafe salad but it was a sort of Mexican salad. it had a whole wheat tortilla lots of lettuce, pico de gallo, chicken, rice, and black beans.

For dessert we had the chocolate and vanilla soy pudding parfait. It looks great, tastes great, just doesn't sound great. i'm not sure what soy pudding is but I would never had known it wasn't Bill Cosby approved.

Sara, Sharon, me, Mandy, Wendy, and John. One thing that never disappoints me at the Ridge is the wonderful people I get to meet.

I hope everyone has a great day!! Peace and Love, Jim

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Sandy Tuesday

So, I will head out along and hope for the best

We can pat ourselves on the back

And say that we tried.
Rachael Yamagata

Day two: Breakfast at 7 am this morning was the muffin. I enjoyed it but there seemed to be some grumbling from most of the others Got in one of the 6 or 7 vans that was shuttling people to various hikes. I got on the van to stop sign. Did a couple miles on the path and then headed into the sand dunes to do some running up the sand hills. The sand was deep and I brought a bunch home in my shoes. I think there were at least 5 hikes offered. Fast Advanced, Advanced, Fast Intermediate, Intermediate, and 101. Plus stop sign and west canyon. We were late getting back as we had to find a stray hiker but no big thing. I missed early pool class, but got in a bunch of sit ups with the new heavier medicine ball( thx Paige).

Lunch was fabulous. Something new I had not yet tried Chili and cornbread. Now the chalkboard said 250 calories total but I am skeptical, because it was so good. Followed that with two pool classes and some hot tub time. The group is divided into 3 groups A,B, and C. I'm kind of an A- so I find the class I like and join that group for that class. C is the most advanced and they get an extra afternoon class. I am doing an extra circuit class tomorrow with Eric and Cam so I hope to get some extra afternoon pool time in.

Dinner was a baked penne pasta dish w/broccoli. Edible, but came with everyone's favorite the chocolate strawberries

Sharon looking a lot tougher than she really is. She walked the last 3.5 miles with me up the hill yesterday and I am certain it was only because of her that I made it. Hope all's well Peace, Jim

Monday, March 23, 2009

Back at the Ridge

Well it's all right, we're going to the end of the line
Travelling Wilburys

Let me give you a quick rundown of day one for me back at Fitness Ridge.The second dorm is now open and I believe there are 55 people here this week, 61 next week and 67 for the first week in April. Classes are full, it takes 6 vans to get us all to the mountain, the cafeteria is has been configured as you can see in this picture. There will be some growing pains but day one went well.

Michelle is pregnant with #5. Congrats to her and Cam

I forgot to take a picture of the breakfast ( eggs on english muffin) ate the turkey sandwich bnefore taking the picture but that is the salad that came with it. Also forgot to take dinner which was chicken breast on potato salad.

As for me the good news was I made it to the top which I had not done on the first day on my other two trips. The bad news was because of strong winds I was kinda slow and as I lay in bed I am sore as hell. Knee, hips, toes, feet, and back. quite the combo pack. I am also tired as hell when factoring some long nites in Vegas this past weekend. So I am going to bed and will write more later Peace, Jim

Friday, March 6, 2009

Packing to head west...again

Don't hesitate to speak Your Mind
Never hesitate to speak Your Heart
They'll call You crazy, When You speak Your Mind
So never, Never hesitate
Brett Dennen
It's Friday night and I have the suitcases out and I am trying to jam as much stuff as is possible into my two bags. One thing about flying this trip is I can take much less stuff with me. One good thing is it will take me 4 hours to go from Madison to Vegas as opposed to three days.
I saw two amazing shows this week. Brett Dennen sold out the 1,000 seat Majestic Theater in Madison and played a wonderfully long set, and even threw in a nice Tom Petty cover in his encore. Jacky danced the night away while I sat in the upstairs with a half dozen friends and drank some beers. In other words she burned calories and I consumed them :)

The second show was Monday night at Schuba's in Chicago. Jacky and I drove down that afternoon had a nice dinner, some amazing popcorn from Garretts, and fabulous seats standing room at the Sara Bareilles show. I have no idea why she chose to embark on this mini-tour to really really small venues but I am so happy we took advantage of this. The capacity for the show was 180 people and the room was smaller than your average school cafeteria. This literally was the view from where we were which was right on the right corner of the stage/ She was closer to me than my tv is to me from my couch. How did we get such a good spot? We tipped the bartender 5 bucks and he taped it off for us. It's good that five dollars and a smile still can get you something today.

The show was wonderful she was funny and sharp. She told of her adventures at the Grammy and gave a huge shout out to my 2008 favorite Ingrid Michaelson. She did a bunch of songs off Little Voices, some new stuff, and covered U2, Rhianna, Cheap Trick, and Bruce Springsteen. The crowd had a great time and we were home by 12:30. And I was in the gym at 8 the following morning.

Here's a video from the show shot right from our spot:

I leave Monday hope to catch the West Coast Conference final that night in Vegas. Get to the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday thru Sunday that week. I'll attend the Asd merchandise show Monday and Tuesday, and then have friends coming to watch the first two rounds of the NCAA tourney with them.

I head to Utah on March 22nd. It will be a really interesting 2 weeks at the ridge as that marks the first time they will have 60 people up from their max of 45. The dorms are not ready but they are hopeful, otherwise I believe some of the campers( probably me) will be herded to a local hotel. I am really excited to head back and the grapevine tells me that a pool volleyball net is awaiting my arrival :) The blog will be on vacation with me in Vegas but I will try to update daily from Utah with food pics and reports on how the Ridge is handling their expansion. I hope everyone is ready for spring. One thing for sure is my winter ends the moment the plane lands in Vegas. As always Peace and Love, Jim