Happy 40th anniversary to my parents! I wish I had a funny anecdote or at least a little eloquence, but I’m coming up blank except to say that I am so relieved they are still married. This year has left me feeling slightly cynical about marriage due to the divorces happening around me. Growing up, I’m sure I took my parents’ lasting marriage for granted, but now I appreciate it so much more. They have always been very affectionate* and eager to spend time together, providing an encouraging example. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

(Oh and my mom does not have a large, double-thumbed man-hand in the above photo, despite how it looks. That’s the pastor that I [mostly] cropped out.)

A more recent photo, taken by my sister:
*These photos don’t exactly back up this claim, so you’ll have to trust me on this.

Review: Walk It Out!

Walk It Out! is my current game addiction. To play, you just step in place to the beat of the music. When you stay on the beat, you earn credits to spend on Rhythm Island, the game’s walking environment. The credits can either buy more things to dress up the island, like trees, flowers, buildings, etc., or you can buy new routes to take which open to new scenery. For instance, you can walk along the beach, on a mountain lookout, into a fountain plaza, etc.

You can also buy constellations (for the night sky), Magic Clock times, or more music. You begin with about 15 or 20 songs, so you have to buy the rest with your credits. This is a great motivator since obviously it can get boring to listen to the same songs. Each song must be purchased in pieces, so you have to buy all pieces (2 or more) before you can unlock the whole song and add it to your play list.

Depending on what time you’re playing, the game will reflect the hour (somewhat) in the scenery with a sunset, night sky, full daylight, etc. I haven’t been up to see the sunrise on it, yet, nor do I know in what time slot that happens (the sunset is between 4 and 5pm). But you can also purchase different time slots with your credits so that you can jump to them whenever you want (that’s the Magic Clock I mentioned before). This is important since many of the song, constellation and time pieces are in different time slots, so you have to go there to get them.

There’s a lot to say about this game but it would take forever. It takes quite awhile to unlock the thousands of things they have available, which makes it a nice long-term game. So far I’ve only unlocked a total of about 50 songs out of 121 available, and I have yet to purchase an entire constellation to see what that looks like.


  • It’s not a high-impact workout, unless maybe you want to jog in place (which you can’t do on the balance board).
  • Many of the songs are way too slow and I had to take them out of the play list.
  • You have the option to not use the balance board and instead just put the nunchuck in your pocket like a pedometer, but I have found this doesn’t work very well without exaggerating my steps too much. Maybe if I wasn’t worried about bugging the downstairs neighbors I’d try it a little more.
  • The “walking” you do for it can be a little weird on the feet at first.
  • The personal trainer gets kind of annoying.
  • You can’t make your character wave at the others on the island, even though they wave at your character. There are constantly people stopping and waving at me while I totally blow them off. It’s sad!


  • Pretty scenery, with the ability to move the “camera” to see all around you as you walk.
  • Plenty of new stuff to motivate you to keep playing the game over a long period of time.
  • Even if not an awesome workout, it’s definitely more tiresome than sitting, and I have found I am way sleepier at night lately. Exercise is exercise!
  • Affordable compared to many Wii games, especially if you buy it used.

Have any of you tried this game? Does it interest you at all? I think I want to play some more right now!  

NOTE: Walk It Out! screencaps were taken from this site. I hope that’s okay.

Flower choir

Whoops, I forgot to upload one of the photos, so now it gets a post all to itself, whether it deserves it or not.

The usual flower photos

I’m so predictable sometimes. I know that a lot of my flower photos have the same techniques, and you’re probably thinking, “Haven’t we seen these before?” I guess I’m just not tired of certain techniques yet! Bear with me, Lovelies. Here are some more photos I took yesterday.

A closeup of the previous photo because I thought that center part was interesting. I really need to memorize flower parts so I can refer to them by the right name and sound like a botanist.

I was loving this plant because of the lines and stuff, so I took several. (Pictures, not plants.) I’ll dedicate these ones to my sister R, since blue flowers make me think of her.

Plus, by dedicating photos to someone, it makes them more patient about looking at all of them. 🙂 Not that R ever shows even a hint of impatience at my photos–she’s a nice fan.

I’m mixing up the order, just for fun. Oh and these looked better in real life. Colors in the red family are harder to capture in photos, I’ve noticed.

More R flowers!

I’m not sure what this is, but it looks like Star Jasmine and Hydrangea’s love child. Hydrasmine.

I also really like photographing this type of plant. Every time I see it somewhere, I want to take pictures of it. It’s a combination of the color, the tiny buds and the little crooked stems/branches that brings out a photography desire in me.

And one more blue one. The end!

I don’t know what to put here.

I was feeling a little blah earlier today and figured some photography would help. I made a few stops but didn’t really take all that many photos, considering. I’ll post more later, but here are a couple just to help me get back into more regular blogging.

Have a good week. This is kind of my last week of summer since choir and some other things start back up the following week. Maybe I should do something extra summery-special next weekend! I’ll have to think on it. At the very least, I should put tiny umbrellas in all of my beverages.

Roasted Broccoli and/or Cauliflower

I’ve been a terrible blogger, and I think just knowing that makes it worse. I’m pressuring myself to post something cool, but it’s pretty hard considering I’m not cool. But my sister mentioned something about my absence tonight, so that prompted me to post.

Lately I’ve been into roasting my veggies. I had put off trying it because at first it didn’t seem all that enticing, but I just wanted to try something new and I’m so glad I did. Delish!

I looked at a few recipes online for the basics; it’s not that complicated. Here’s essentially what you do (sorry, measurements not available–if you want those, you’ll have to look up a real recipe):

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Toss pieces of broccoli, cauliflower, or both in olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped garlic.
  3. Bake in a pan for around 25 minutes, give or take. Obviously it’s going to depend on how you like to eat your veggies.
  4. When they’re done, toss with a bit more olive oil and some Parmesan. I used the shavings rather than grated because it makes me feel restauranty.

I think roasted broccoli does better than cauliflower (the “leaves” get kind of crispy for a nice bonus texture), but cauliflower is great too. Tonight was the first time I blended them and I think it was perfect.

Some recipes mention lemon juice and other things, so you might want to look at those for better ideas. I’m kind of afraid to try the lemon juice, myself.

And this photo is just to brag about my adorable heart-shaped measuring spoons that my friend got for me years ago. How lovable is my kitchen? You should come over and find out.

Review: Wii Fit

I’ve been waiting to talk about my Wii Fit until I had it for a little while. It’s easy to get excited about something on the first day or two, but now I’ve had it for two-and-a-half weeks. I’ve used it every day, even though a few days were just for the body test (and the stamp on the calendar!).

I bought the current Wii Fit package which comes with the balance board and the Wii Fit Plus software (that includes both regular Wii Fit and the additional games and features with Plus on the one CD). I have a cover over my balance board (pictured), which I’m really glad I bought.

So far, I really like it! When you first turn it on, it has you set up a profile where you enter information manually as well as let the balance board get information from you. I am the type that loves tracking and records, so this appeals to me. The program suggests that you do a “Body Test” each day. This includes taking your weight, calculating BMI and optionally checking your balance and some other things like reaction times, memory, peripheral vision, etc.. Whether the tests are good judges of such things is debatable, but I have found the balance portion the most insightful. It shows if you’re putting more weight on one foot than another, for instance. After the few tests, it gives you a “Wii Fit Age” based on your age and your scores on the quick tests. That part is pretty silly, but whatever. My “age” has fluctuated from early 20s to late 40s depending on the tests.

Then there are many games and exercises that are supposed to help in a variety of ways. First I’ll talk about the yoga/strength exercises. Here you get to choose between a male or female trainer and then pick whatever exercises you want to do. He will show you how to do them and keep giving instruction each time. I think the best part about these is that the balance board is used to judge your weight distribution and steadiness throughout each move, which is insight you wouldn’t get otherwise. It rates you after each exercise based on those factors. I’ve found some of these exercises to be overly easy (or too few reps), some are right at my level, and some are pretty impossible. An experienced yoga-er (or yogi, as Scrabble taught me) would probably be kind of frustrated with the slow pace and lack of difficulty, but I am pretty satisfied.

You can set up routines where you pick all the exercises you want to do (and you can pick them in multiples to increase reps), and then it strings them together with fewer pauses (it doesn’t give you a “grade”). This is nice, though I wish it would put together a longer routine for me where I can just delete the exercises I don’t like. (There are pre-made routines but they are not quite what I’m looking for.)

The other activities with Wii Fit (Plus) are games to help balance (juggling, tight rope, ski jump, skateboarding), coordination/rhythm (Rhythm Kung Fu, step, boxing), or just get your heart rate up (jogging, cycling). Many games serve several purposes. Most don’t give you an incredible cardio workout, but it depends on how much you put into them. The important thing is that they are better than just sitting down, which is what you’d do with most video games and other indoor entertainment.

I’ve purchased a few other Wii exercise games to help keep things new and fun for me, since I find I grow bored quickly in certain areas (visually, for instance). I’ll review those later on.

Some complaints: the scale isn’t all that accurate, there’s too much transition time between exercises in a routine, the trainer sometimes says nonsensical words of encouragement or criticism about your exercises, there doesn’t seem to be a way to skip a yoga/strength exercise in a routine without stopping the whole routine.

Overall opinion of Wii Fit: I’m really glad to have it, especially in Oregon where soon it’ll be dark and rainy most of the time when I’m at home. More and more exercise games are being created to use the balance board, so even when I get sick of the Wii Fit games, I can still make good use of the balance board.

Favorite games on Wii Fit (Plus): Ski Jump, Hula Hoop, Rhythm Kung-Fu, Rhythm Parade, Basic Run Plus.

I have some favorite yoga and strength exercises, but I can’t remember their names. I rock at Warrior, though!

I know Wii Fit has been out for awhile now, but before I got mine I hadn’t really talked to anyone about theirs. Do you have one? How do you like it?

Nature Trail

At work, I’m lucky enough to have quick access to a hiking trail, so I took a break and walked it the other day.

I think that scene on the left would be a great place to photograph a bride and groom. I had the wrong lens to get a good angle on it, but you should trust me that it would make a good portrait background.

I’m anxious for the blackberries to be ready so I can have some with yogurt. Of course I’ll take pictures when that time comes–thank you for asking!

Some spots are pretty close. Or maybe already there. I don’t know much about berries.

It’s a happy bee.

Hi. 🙂

Flowers and Birds

Here are a few random photos I have taken over the last weekend or so.

I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s raining in this photo. I thought it was weird because the sky was very clear. Obviously there was a cloud above , but it wasn’t dark or thick, so it was amazing that it had anything coming out of it.

Just a pretty sky.

Proof that hummingbirds do hang out at the flowers sometimes, but they are really hard to photograph there.

I killed many of the flowers when I tried to kill the aphids, but some are hanging on.

Are you sick of purple petunia photos yet? Notice the Topsy Turvy has faded to white.

This hummingbird looks like it has yellow frost painted on its head. I know it’s really hard to tell in this photo, but if I crop it down anymore, you’ll see how out of focus it is. It was far away.

The neighbor’s hanging flower baskets. All of the colors in this picture make me happy and I think I need to take more pictures later. I heard them coming outside right after I took this, so I had to stop pointing a big lens in their direction.

Aren’t you excited to get up for work tomorrow morning? Man, I TOTALLY AM. Not only do I love getting up to an alarm, but I love knowing I have five more days of work!

Summer Friday

I feel like I’ve been posting about food a lot lately. When I originally made this blog I had hoped to post recipes pretty regularly, but then I kind of got out of cooking mode and into outdoors mode with all of the new animals, birds and foliage. Then there was the butterfly thing, of course. But I’m back to wanting to style and photograph my food more. I think it makes me enjoy it more, too.

Anyway, the other day I saw some crab cakes on sale, and they sounded so SO good. What crazy person doesn’t like crab cakes? I decided they’d be my Friday treat dinner. They were great with broccoli and my first try at homemade lemonade. Well, sort of–it wasn’t fresh-squeezed, despite the lemon wedge pictured. I bought some lemon and lime juice to have on hand for such occasions, and mixed some with ice, water and Truvia. It seemed to turn out okay. Not quite as natural-tasting as I imagined, but at least it’s pulp-free! I don’t understand people who like pulp. That means you, R.

Having these frozen crab cakes has inspired me to make my own (or maybe salmon cakes). How hard could they be? I’m wondering–is canned crab expensive? Is it good? Fresh is about a million dollars.

Enjoy your weekend!