31 December 2013

How To Cure A Hangover

Hangovers. They suck, and they get worse as you get older. Long gone are the carefree days of college where you could drink 5 nights a week and wake up every morning like a champ. Nope, you only get so many freebies, and you my friend, are out.

The Symptoms: You wake up from the sheer pounding of blood gurgling through your brain-box with liquid-fire intensity. You take some aspirin, chug more water, and lie in bed wallowing in your own misery. In the moment, this is the WORST hangover you have EVER had. You swear even your hair hurts. Only one thing is certain: you are never. drinking. again!

But then things get worse. You come to the sudden, incomprehensible realization that you cannot fall back to sleep. In fact, nothing you do will lull you into the sweet, blissful, pain-free slumber for which you are so deeply longing.

What now?

Now... now you start on The 5 S's.

I wish I could take credit for this theory, but I was introduced to it by my friend Johnny. We've known each other for going on 15 years now, and for the past 10ish years we've been fine tuning this theory; 60% of the time it works every time.

Here are the 5 S's guaranteed to cure any hangover:

SHIT: This should be pretty self explanatory. Everyone knows the sweet relief of taking a good alcohol poo, as well as the sad disappointment of unfruitful trips to the porcelain throne. Your body is full of toxins, and assuming you don't have Ipacec handy (or an otherwise method to induce vomiting), shitting is the most effective way to purge your body of all that nastiness.

Bonus: when you're done you can say you "shat" and give yourself a high-five. So what are you waiting for? Grab a magazine (don't lie - you poop with your iPhone) and get to it!

Please do remember to be kind to your housemate/stall-partner and execute a few courtesy flushes. A good alcohol poo can be completely noxious and stink up an entire apartment floor for half a day when not handled with the utmost consideration.

SHOWER: Something about the combination of heat + water + gentle pounding on the outside of your already pounding-on-the-inside scull = Oh God I Feel SO MUCH Better! Reward yourself with a little extra shampoo and really go to town with a scalp massage. Be liberal with the soap. You reek of alcohol and you'll need to scrub it out. Use a loofah. A loofah is your friend and can help remove that wrist stamp from the night before. Don't leave your inky tramp stamp, claiming it was "too hard to scrub off". It's tacky and makes you look like a douche. 

Ladies - this is your opportunity to rid your face of the makeup you were too drunk to deal with last night. Gentlemen - now you can cry angry 'tears of regret' in peace for making a stupid ass in front of the cute girl at the bar. Everyone - enjoy this shower. It just might be the highlight of your day.

SWEAT: It seems counter-intuitive to get all sweaty right after you've showered, but trust me on this one, you need the shower to motivate you do do anything but sit on the couch all day. And now that you've done a little cleaning on the inside (shit) and you're clean on the outside (shower), it's time to get sweaty. Take heed to remember the water in > water out equation. You're trying to get bad stuff out of your body, but you need to be refilling as you go.

Highly recommended sweating activities include: running, arduous hiking, skinning up the side of a mountain, cycling, sitting in a sauna while drinking a gallon of water, anything you can do while wearing a camelback. Guzzle from the hose as if your very life depended on it.

Not recommended sweating activities include: leading a rock climb, hot yoga, playing in a park with children, sitting in a hot tub, anything that requires a high level of focus. There's nothing worse than needing to vomit when you're halfway up a rock face and a fall would mean catastrophic bodily harm. Not that I know from experience or anything... 

SEX: I'm no scientist, but apparently sexual pleasure is associated with the release of dopamine in the brain. And as I learned in high school chemistry or something, dopamine is a natural mood enhancer AND works as a pain reliever. Talk about a twofer! Use this knowledge as your official hall pass to just go to town in search of the dopamine boost that, if executed properly, will surpass the shower as the highlight of your day.

Don't have a horizontal gymnastics partner right now? That's okay. I have reviewed the rule book and solo sex sessions totally count. As does group sex. And exhibitionist sex. And dungeons and dragons sex. The 4th S is for anyone and everyone. Do whatever makes you feel better you filthy, saucy minx. Hop to it kids - just remember, safety FIRST!

SANDWICH: All of this pooping and showering and sweating and sexing is bound to make someone hungry! Sandwich - the last and final stage of your hangover cure - is the sign that you are almost out of the woods. Finally feeling ready to eat is a REALLY good sign. Just be careful not to let Hangry (hungry+angry) creep up on you. ANTICIPATE your sandwich need the night before and do yourself a solid by having some greasy food in the house (or nearby) so that you don't have to focus your eyeballs enough to drive to a store/dive bar.

A sandwich can be a literal sandwich, or anything that makes you feel better after a night of drinking. Some people crave healthy food, while others swear by the restorative power of a protein-filled omelet. I've heard friends wax poetic about food-truck burritos for hours. Personally, there's nothing better than the sweet, milky taste of a Dick's shake sliding down my throat. Although when geographically feasible, I will always go for some quick In-N-Out.

Regardless of your poison remedy (literally - alcohol is poison), the important point is to get some food in your belly. It will soak up the lingering alcohol remnants and give you the energy you'll need to make it through the rest of this godforsaken day.

So that's it. There you have it. The 5 S's in all their glory.

We (Johnny and myself) encourage you to get creative with these 5 S's. Why not try for more than one at a time? Shower while eating a sandwich. Shit while having sex (no judgement - see above - some people are into that). Take a sweaty shower. You can get creative in other ways too - save the planet by showering with a friend for the environment. Or, aspire to achieve the ultimate TRIFECTA: sweaty shower sex. 

If all else fails there is a secret 6th S: sleep. After all that work to get the 5 S's, you bet your hangover you'll be able to go back to sleep. And after a sweet cat nap, you should be right as rain.

Of course, if you're a doctor you can just stick a banana bag in your arm and all of these recommendations are irrelevant. But I'm going to assume most of you don't have access to IV Fluid at the ready, so....the 5 S's are your RX.

Happy Drinking!

19 December 2013

Jumping out of a Perfectly Good Airplane - with Skydive Snohomish

Most people would be surprised to learn I'm not much of a risk taker. I don't gamble, I avoid looking at my stock reports, and after nearly burning down my last apartment, I decided I can never again own a toaster oven. I am apparently not someone who should 'toast'.

I realize to most of you this statement is in direct opposition to the pictures you see of me climbing mountains and scaling steep rock faces, but REALLY, I'm not a risk taker. Most of the activities I participate in are focused and methodical, and for 26 years skydiving was something I SWORE I would NEVER do! But slowly over time it became more appealing...

I woke up one day and all of my friends were doing it, and DAMMIT! I had to do it too! So onto the 30 Before 30 list 'Skydiving' went (replacing 'Ride the STP'; because I just don't like riding my bike that much and frankly I suck at it).

I signed up on a whim, two days before my friend Allison was set to jump with a group of bros. I called Skydive Snohomish, they could squeeze me in last minute, and that was it, done deal. Our group was scheduled for the last jump on a Sunday afternoon - 4pm. We squeezed 5 adults into my tiny Jetta and drove to the surprisingly beautiful Snohomish airstrip where we watched an informative video, signed our lives away, donned our "flight suits", and waited to board.

Jumping for joy!

I'm surprised that I never really got nervous. I was just a ball of EXCITEMENT, and I got EXTRA excited when they let me and Allison wear the tutus I had brought for the occasion. What? The pink tutu has been to the top of Rainier, it might as well jump out of an airplane!

So, of course we did some obligatory ballet moves:

Fisheye Ballet

Before we knew it our group was up. Running out of daylight, they loaded 8 jumpers on to the plane and we were off. I have to say, the scenery was stunning. You could see all the volcanoes: Rainier, Baker, Glacier, Adams, Helens, even Mt. Hood! And bonus the San Juan islands, plus the Olympics and Cascades. I love my job but, after the views on this flight, becoming a skydive instructor was suddenly much more appealing.


load 'em up


The doors opened at 12,500ft. I watched as Allison fell out of the plane right in front of me, then it was my turn. Following instructions, I hooked my feet under the airplane and tried to lean back.

Bye bye Allison. Hello my turn =D

Then we were falling.

Faster and faster we fell.

I screamed. I screamed again. I screamed a third time but stopped when the wind rushing in my mouth was going faster than I could push back. My mouth went dry and I remember thinking, "Man, I screamed a lot and we are STILL falling." So I screamed one more time. For good measure.

Pure. Unadulterated. Bliss.

I was overwhelmed by the sensation of SPEED! The two littlest on the airplane, my tandem-dive instructor Jordan and I probably only got up to about 120mph. Phsaw, only 120....

Then the parachute deployed and we were floating on a cloud. I cannot describe the sensation of the parachute opening - you all should really just experience it for yourselves - but it was something else. I never got that "stomach flip" feeling as I might have anticipated. Just...floating on awesomeness.

At one point we scooted over and said hello to Allison. "Oh, hey buddy, I didn't see you there."


"I couldn't help but notice you... noticing me." Allison in the foreground, me in the background.

Once we were done taking in the views, and they were spectacular (the sun was setting over all of the aforementioned mountains and sound - really really really pretty), Jordan and I did some quick maneuvers, lots of spins and such with the parachute. This hurled us to the ground much quicker than Allison's genteel float, so I waited there for her with much excitement!

Round and round and round we go - where we land? I hope Jordan knows!

Safe and sound! This is my face of pure bliss.

Allison coming in HOTT!


Best friend FACE

I cannot say enough good things about this amazing experience. The people at Skydive Snohomish were absolutely fantastic and made sure we all had the best time ever. Which really, how could you not? It's freaking skydiving!

The verdict? I want to go skydiving. Every Day. Always. It was THAT fun. And you know what? It's only like $2500 to get fully trained to go solo whenever you want. Not that I'm considering it...but I'm not NOT considering it.

So...if you're thinking about a Christmas present for me (or someone else, although that is not nearly as super for me), I HIGHLY recommend a jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. With your best friend. In a tutu. 

Yes I really am that short

Group Selfie

25 November 2013

Climbing in Limski Kanal, Croatia

For our last two days in Croatia, we found some truly spectacular climbing in Limski Kanal. Situated right along a tributary from the Adriatic Sea, these limestone walls were truly a climbers paradise. With so many routes in the 5s and 6s, we had our pick of high-quality, highly rated climbs. That's not to say that we didn't have good climbing the other days in Croatia, but....okay, fine, once we landed in Limski we could definitely admit the previous climbing had been pretty sheit by comparison.

Beautiful, interesting limestone

This is what love looks like

Pretty awesome view

On the first day we had the crag completely to ourselves. Quickly pairing off, I think we all put up 8 routes that day. Impressive, given that two of those routes required the full use of our 70m ropes. The climbs were long, sustained, but most of all super fun.

Sarah leading the way: day 2 at left, day 1 at right
Ed's rock bite

Linnea showing of her guns; Playing on the sharp end of the rope

At the end of our first day, I decided to put on my big-girl-pants and try to on-site a 6a+, which is equivalent to a 10c. I've only ever led one other 10c outside (in Mexico) and that was after sending it clean on top-rope. This would be my first true 10c onsite.

I'm happy to report: it went! I got it clean and came down super stoked. Maybe I will be able to lead an 11a in time to check it off of the 30 Before 30 List! 

Warming up day 2; My first 10c on-site.

This giant grasshopper was cheering me on

For our last night in Rovinj (after our first day of climbing in Limski), we had dinner at the amazing Sidro Restaurant, owned by the fellow who rented us the AirBnB apartment. Should you find yourself in Rovinj, go to Sidro and ask for Vanja and tell him we said hello. The food was delicious, the view was incredible, and the hospitality was far and above what was expected or necessary. The perfect place to spend your last night in climbers paradise.

The view from Sidro

Party boar


Happy Climbers

Thanks everyone for reading my (obnoxious) blogs about Croatia. And thanks to Sarah, Linnea, and Ed for an amazing trip. Who's ready for Thailand Christmas 2014?!?!

19 November 2013

Cliff Jumping in the Adriatic Sea

In my last post I told you about rock climbing near Pula, and now here's how we spent the rest of our day - swimming in the Adriatic Sea! 

Croatia is kind of shaped like a sideways "u" (if you turn it 110 degrees to the right). Most people are familiar with Split and Dubrovnik, which are along the SW side of the country. Across the water from Italy, Croatia is not actually on the Mediterranean as I originally thought, but instead shares its coast with the Adriatic Sea. We chose to travel and climb in the Istria Region, which is a triangle shaped peninsula in the NW corner of Croatia (the little squiggly at the end of a "u" if you will). For our swimming adventure, we went to the tippy tip of the "u squiggly" to the Premantura Penninsula, where we found amazing beach bars, crashing waves, and fantastic cliff jumping.

To stave getting lost, we took a photo of the map in a window. We still got lost.

After reading about the Safari Bar in our guidebook, we knew we HAD to go to there. Alas, like EVERYTHING ELSE in Croatia, the Safari Bar was an elusive wench. We drove to the end of the peninsula only to find NOTHING, and had all but given up when we saw a TEENY TINY sign sort of pointing in a direction.

We drove in that direction and found nothing, until Sarah (or someone) spotted a group of cars. And SUCCESS! We had found it!

Harder to find than you would think

Thankfully, also like everything else in Croatia, the bar was well worth the journey and we were not disappointed. A playground for adults, the Safari Bar had rope swings, jungle gyms, a spinning wheel barrel, secret hideaways, oh, and of course a bar with yummy food. It did not have a bathroom...but, you know, you're at the beach.

Safari Bar Lookout

Tucked away tables

Balance beam and jungle gym! I made it all the way across the monkey bars thankyouverymuch!

Spinning wheelbarrel. I was the only one who could stand fully upright inside. No, no one is surprised.

More outdoor seating, this one with a view of the sea

No caption required

We must have wandered through the Safari Bar for a good 10 minutes before we found the actual "bar". But no worries, we got to swing and go down a special slide for grownups. It didn't pinch your hips like most kids slides, but it wasn't exactly glute friendly either. Here's Sarah showing you the works:

Excited for food!

With full bellies (I had a delicious gyro, thank you for asking) we made our way down to the water. The views were stellar - the beach went on for miles. We also discovered some people cliff jumping. For those of you who know me, you're aware I'm not a big fan of the whole jumping-into-water-thing (I generally avoid water altogether actually). Well,something was completely inspiring about this place, and guess what? I JUMPED!


Mohawk Hair!

More gorgeous views

Ed also jumped (first, I should mention) and I took a few awesome photos of him. The most spectacular, is below. I apparently have a knack for taking the MOST AWESOME JUMPING PHOTOS ever, as displayed in my shot of Brad in 2010 cliff jumping near Smith Rock, and Ed seemly walking on an invisible slack line.

Brad 2010. Ed 2013.

We lounged until it got cold, then went to explore Pula, which is the largest city on the Istria Peninsula. The architecture was interesting, the food was delicious, and there was a miniature size city for Grandpa Max to stomp around on like Godzilla. All in all, an excellent day =D

Downtown Pula

Gpa Max had to go...apparently

Tee hee hee... it takes so little to amuse me

Pula Coliseum

Goodnight Coliseum

And finally, in keeping with more tradition, I ate an emergency-siesta-inducing calzone bigger than my face. I am both proud and ashamed of the below photo montage.

2006 in Milan; 2009 in Prague; 2013 in Croatia. Apparently some things never change.