Even the title of this post makes me laugh. And hang on, cause it gets better!

I came home the other night and was immediately told to sit down and shut my eyes. Ok, that makes me a tad nervous but I played along. So Eva, Domi and I sat on the couch with our heads covered with my jacket. Finally Darrin came into the room and said, “Surprise!” Well holy shit, this really was a surprise!! A huge stuffed beaver! It appeared to be swimming past a log.


My San Francisco self screamed, “And What In The Hell Do You Plan on Doing With That Thing?”

“Mounting it on the wall of course,” Darrin said while looking at me like I was from Mars.

Ok, I’m not the alien in this situation. Who the hell has a BEAVER mounted on their WALL???? Apparently I do.

Let me take you back to the summer of 2007. Darrin lined the road into our house with trees. When he planted them they were smaller than our 2 and 3 year old.


Now fastforward to 2012. The trees are more than 25 feet tall. They are gorgeous and the fruit of Darrin’s hard labor.


That is until Darrin noticed all of them were being eaten alive. He assumed a beaver was gnawing on them because a beaver’s front teeth never stop growing so they have to file them down. Our trees were suddenly emory boards.


So father and son went on a beaver hunt (did my San Francisco Self really just say that???).

One night, they took a flashlight and sat on the banks of the ditch that runs through our property and waited. It didn’t take long before a 60 pound mammal came swimming through a culvert and headed right for our trees. With one shot, Darrin and Domi had their beaver. (Note, we tried to trap the beaver several times.  It didn’t work.  This was truly our last resort)

Living on a ranch, Darrin buries animals when they die. So I just figured that’s what he had done with the beaver.  So now fastforward to the other night and imagine my surprise when there, in my family room, was a stuffed beaver.


The kids wanted to name it.


Donner went bananas trying to figure out if she should attack it.


Max figured it was a new friend to rub up on.


Even Cody, who’s rarely a part of my crazy family antics, made an appearance to see what all the commotion was about.


Days later it was mounted on the wall. Now for the rest of our lives, my husband’s beaver will be on display for all to see.   20130822-210933.jpg









 But you know me!  I’ve had a little fun with it as well.  Like when a couple we recently met came over and I grabbed the husband’s hand and asked, “Would you like to see my beaver?”







So you all know by now I’ve been dealing with some heinous health issues lately. OK, heinous might be too strong a word. I have to remind myself my dad died of brain cancer (2009) and my mom from breat cancer (2011). THOSE are heinous! My ailment has just been lagging and irritating. So this week, I went to a pulmonary specialist and got some answers. And I’m sharing this with you because I bet many of you suffer with the same thing!20130725-223320.jpg










 Basically I have allergy induced asthma. See if this sounds familiar.  The cottonwood trees start to shed their cotton around March/April. For those of you not from Reno, it basically looks like it’s snowing when this happens.20130725-223137.jpg

I start sneezing and then one day, I feel it. It’s the same feeling in my sinuses every year. It’s the onset of a sinus infection that if I don’t get on top of it early enough, it becomes a full blown sinus infection, which it did this year. So now, I’m still suffering from allergies, but I’m now just treating a sinus infection since that’s my primary complaint. And this year, allergies were so bad in northern Nevada, they agitated my lungs and since I still wasn’t treating the allergies, my lungs became inflamed and started producing phlegm (I’ve never actually written that word!). My lungs kept breathing in allergens, kept being inflammed, produced more phlegm (it was easier to spell the second time!) and suddenly, my lungs became asthmatic. All the while, my sinuse issue never got under control because at this point, it’s a vicious cycle. And 2 months later, I’m stillsick.  So there you go! I have to admit I have asthma. As an athlete that’s a horrible thing to admit.


But there’s a plan! Next March, my doctor will prescribe me Cingulair to be taken from March until the first hard freeze. That will stop the initial cause of my asthma which my doctor believes to be allergies. And there you have it… it was  Miss Scarlet with the candlestick in the kitchen… mystery solves.  

So here’s what I did short term to get out of this cycle I’m currently in. I got a Kenalog shot (steroid) at the pulmonologist office. Iwas also prescribed prednisone (another steriod) to be taken for the next 6 days and I’m staying with my Advair inhaler (yep, more steroids!) for another week. Oh, and have I mentioned I have a USTA sanctioned triathlon on Sunday? Do you think they drug test? If not, I’m a sure bet to CRUSH the cours record!! Wish me luck!




I came home to this in my family room.











No shit! A shitter 20 feet away from the kitchen.


And then my husband saying, “Did you see what I bought you today? See! I do think of you when I go shopping.”

Ok, now to be fair, we did just get back from a camping trip.



We tent camp. I refuse to buy a trailer… even though Darrin would give up a year of me making dinner just to have one. But I live indoors so when I camp, I want to sleep outdoors. I know! A tent has four walls, but ours has a netted ceiling so I can see the stars at night. I’m not moving into a trailer. Except for the bathroom issue. I may have mentioned a few times during our campout how nice it would have been to have our own bathroom while camping.

And waaalaaah! Essential camping gear parked out in my front room.


Here’s my next thoughts.  I changed thousands of diapers when our kids were babies.   I’m not changing the diaper on this new baby!

 (just one more random camping shot because my dog and daughter are such studs!) 




One of life’s greatest pleasures, ok maybe I just see it this way, is having an ice cold beer after a dirty workout. Now, I say dirty, because the beer only tastes sinfully good to me after a trail run, mountain bike ride or any other outdoor activity where you finish back at the car filthy. Mud on shoes, dirt like warpaint on your face, fingernails black. I love those workouts. And I almost love the post beer just as much. So imagine my pure pleasure when Darrin and I discovered The Brewing Lair.




It’s Blairsden’s (about 70 minutes outside of reno) newest gem. But unlike the bakery, which is right on mainstreet, the brewery is a bit harder to find. It’s off Highway 70 about a hundred yards to the east of the turnoff into Blairsden.




There’s a small sign on the highway…








and then this guy…


to assure you you’re on the right dirt road. And at the top, a beer lover’s haven.


The building is small, but hip. The conditioning tanks line the walls, beermaster Rich never stops moving as he does everything from pouring beers to washing the glasses, and then there’s the tour.








It’s a self guided tour that takes you around the property as you sip on 5 different beers Rich is highlighting. On our stop, one of them tasted like a bite of pizza! It was earthy and herby and finished off with a hint of oregano. Oddly delicious! The IPAs, which is my favorite type of beer, were all fantastic. Be sure to try the red. And you know why this is such a great brewery?? Yes, the beer… but because of this!








You got that right. A frizbe, or the cool cats call it disc, golf course.  And Rich even thought of things for the kids to do.










Eva and Domi love slack lines and sure enough, The Brewing Lair has one. Dogs are even allowed here, off leash! The property expands into the timber so there’s plenty of land to explore. But most, just sit at the picnic tables enjoying the beer. Oh ya, and there’s no food. But Rich is fine with you bringing in your own!








So here’s your plan the next time you head up to the Graelge area. Drive to main street Blairsden. On the left, there’s a new food truck (I’m guessing during summer only) that has great pulled pork sandwiches. Grab enough of those for your party, head back to the brewery ( a 2 minute drive) and enjoy your afternoon.


Stay thirsty, my friend.















“Mom, how are your boobs?”

“Mom, when’s your next mammogram?”

“Mom, what’s this lump on my chest?”

Those are common questions around my house.  And when I say common, I mean like every day.  I guess that’s the backlash from having elementary age children lose their beloved grandmother to breast cancer.  At age 8 and 6, my kids were old enough to understand my mom died of breast cancer, but not old enough to understand that I’m not going to die of breast cancer… at least not any time soon.  So conversations started about mammograms and self breast exams and, lately, dense breast tissue.  I’m sad because my kids are too young to even know what a mammogram is… certainly too young to literally have it marked on their calendar when I get mine.  But they do.  That’s our reality.  And today was the day.









I went to the Renown Breast Center because they also offer SonoCine.  This is an adjunct screening approved by the FDA to help see cancer sooner, especially in women with dense breast tissue.  That would be me.









SonoCine is basically a movie of your breast tissue.  A wand glides over your breast a couple of times and the computer makes it into a streaming video.

This technology uses ultrasound, so there’s no radiation exposure.  Unlike mammography, cancers show up like dark spots up against the white background of dense tissue.  This is easier for the radiologist to see compared to mammography where dense tissue and tumors both show up white.  It’s often referred to as looking for a snowball in a snowstorm.

This is my radiologist.  Dr. Susan Ward.

Dr. Susan Ward reading my Sono Cine

She was nice enough to let me barge in while reading my reports!  Yes, I’m that impatient.  She didn’t finish completely looking at them but she didn’t see any problem areas while I was there.  Phew!

There’s no pain nor compression with SonoCine.  It takes just a few minutes to get done.  At this point, it’s not covered by insurance.  Regular cost is $195.  Renown is running a special if you book in June for $150.  To me, it’s like insurance.  It gives me a little more peace of mind that I’m doing everything in my power to make sure I don’t have breast cancer.  And if I do, I’m catching it as early as possible.

And since SonoCine is considered an adjunct screening, I still walked down the hall and got my annual mammogram.

Getting a Mammogram

Along with monthly self breast exams, I really believe I’m doing all I can to stay on top of my breast health.  So the next time my kids say, “Mom, do you have breast cancer?” I can honestly look them in the eye and say “No.”



20130620-172942.jpgI am that lame. Yes, I am that girl who sits at home watching infomercials… and actually buys the stuff. Especially when it comes to “It will make you look 120 years younger” facial products. Example? I bought Meaningful Beauty by Cindy Crawford. I used it for about 6 months before admitting to myself, “I bet Cindy doesn’t even use this stuff!” So I dropped my subscription (oh yes! every three months they would send me more!) and went back to my plain old tub of Cetephil. I use Cetephil because several dermatologists have recommended it to me. But it’s just not sexy enough. It’s too cheap. It can’t be that good!







So imagine my excitement when my friend, Sarah Sommers, said she was selling Rodan and Fields ( and wanted me to try it. It’s the same company that developed Proactiv® Solution.  And if that’s good enough for Jessica Simpson it’s certainly good enough for me!  So here I go again. Switching up my facial regimen and trying something new. I’m so excited!  I’ll let you know what I think in a few weeks.  But between now and then, if you see a 22 year old anchoring the news, it’s just me!




Have you ever opened your refrigerator to this sight?


After 13 years of being married to a Damonte, I’m still not used to this sight. A bag full of nuts. I guess it’s the same as being married to a fisherman and coming home to a frig full of crab. Oh wait. No it’s not. These are calf testicles. Not crab legs. Nope, hard as I try, I just can’t compare this to anything in the normal world. And I know what you’re thinking. “Did she really cook them?” “Have I ever been to her house and been offered an appetizer of mystery meat only to be tricked into eating testicles?” “I’m never eating over there again!” “Does she feed those to her kids?” OK, allow me to answer that final thought you’ve all had. No, I haven’t cooked them for the kids. But, yes, we did trick them into thinking they ate them. We are that mean. We look for every chance to humor ourselves, even at the expense of our children.   The other night, I made a Chinese dish with some chicken.  After Eva and Domi finished their plates Darrin said, “Wow you guys really like calf nut stir fry!”  Eva ran to the sink.  Domi looked at me with surprise and disgust on his face.  It was the same face I saw at his first communion last month when he finally got to take the host. For years, I’ve told my kids the wafers have flavors. And it’s a different one each Sunday. Chocolate, strawberry or my favorite coffee. Immediately after accepting communion for the first time, he glanced over his shoulder and slowly shook his head when our eyes met. I chuckled, he glared. Humor is subjective I guess.  You know what else is funny?  I just combined calf testicles and the holy communion into one post.   That is my life, people.





20130604-195348.jpgIt was Monday morning and I had just wrapped up a great mountain bike ride with my Little Friend Lynn. It was 10:50. I was sweating, muddy and sporting a sweet helmet head look. My phone chirped, signaling a new text massage. It was from Gina at my work making sure I knew AB 147, the breast density bill I’ve dedicated the past 4 months of my life to, was going to be signed into law today by the Governor at 11:30. WHAT????????? was my reply. Governor Sandoval’s office had called and emailed me… but on my work contacts. So the only warning I got was 40 minutes before the bill was to be signed. I’ve posted before about how my life is like a duck; calm on the surface, but paddling like hell beneath. That was me on this day. I literally ran to my bathroom. Showered in less than 2 minutes. Threw a dress on. Combed my dripping wet hair and ran back to the car. I called the kids’ school and said, “I’ll be there in 7 minutes. Make sure the kids are outside.” At 11:05 we were heading down to Carson City. We found a decent parking spot at 11:25. As we briskly walked into the state capital, I was pulling on my belt and shaking the remainder of the water from my hair. 11:38, we were escorted into the Governor’s office… as if that was my plan all morning long! Governor Brian Sandoval was amazing. He engaged my kids in conversation. He showed them is coin collection. He answered their many questions about the state and his family. He even asked them which desk he should use to sign the bill into law. Normally in Nevada, the Governor uses a small historic desk. But my kids wanted his grandiose, every day desk and he obliged. He then had just the kids and me come behind him so we could get official pictures taken with just the four of us.


He then invited assemblymen James Ohrenschall and Randy Kirner (sponsors of the bill) and lobbyist Audrey Damonte to join us for the official signing.


And this was a live signing. Sometimes it’s just ceremonial and the actual bill was signed ahead of time. But he saved this piece of legislation for us to witness him signing it live. He used several pens and then gave each of us one of them. He also handed me a copy of the bill, personally signed to me by the Governor. And he gave the kids his Governor coin.


All in all we were in his office about 25 minutes. 25 great, historic minutes. I cried out of pride and sadness. I’m proud to have helped pass a law that will save women’s lives. I’m sad this bill came too late for my mom. But days like this  make the sadness easier to tolerate. And I know my mom was watching. When I got home that night, I put on some shorts and was making dinner. For no reason, I put my hand into my back pocket. My fingers curled around a thin piece of paper. Surprised, I pull it out and broke into laughter when I saw what it was. Two 5 dollar bills. One for Eva. One for Domi. A present from my mom in heaven saying, “Good job guys! Well done today.”








Remember about a month ago…OK, more like several months ago, I promised you guys 2 things:

1) I would post my workouts once a week in the hopes of motivating you to workout yourself.

2) I would do a book report on a book called “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes. This book was given to me by an exercise nutritionist who works for a well respected weight loss program in Reno. It isn’t a beach read… and since I’ve been spending some time on beaches lately, this book was tough. I could hang with Taubes’ endless research examples early on. But after one Mai Tai I found myself reading the same line several times to fully understand it. Two Mai Tais and the book was put down! But look for yourself. I did read it. I earmarked more pages than I left unbent.


I even underlined passages that were important. The problem is, this whole book is really important. But if reading what amounts to 294 pages of scientific research (the guy has 22 pages of resources he quoted in the book! He didn’t mess around) doesn’t sound fun to you, then you’re welcome! Because I did read it and here’s my book report.


He basically debunks the modern day theory of calories in calories out. You have to expend calories that you eat if you want to lose weight. He sighted countless examples of how this simply can’t be true. One example is the Pima Indians of Arizona. Today, they have one of the highest rates of obesity and diabetes in the U.S. But when they were living on the land alone back in the 1850′s, a U.S. Army battalion surgeon described the Pima as “Sprightly” and in “fine health” with the “greatest abundance of food” That food was local game, clams out of the Gila River and other meat sources. By the 1870′s the Pima’s natural state of existence ceased because Anglo-Americans and Mexicans began settling in their region. The Pima entered their “years of famine.”  You would think they would became thinner, emaciated.  But they didn’t.  They grew to be obese.   They were now living on government rations of white flour, sugar and coffee. They had considerably less food to eat but they were getting fatter. So fat, by the early 1900′s anthropologists were studying them. One argued, well, they are more sedentary. But the women, who did all the hard manual labor, were the fattest of the Pima. They concluded it wasn’t the quantity of what they ate… it was the quality.  They went from a high protein diet to a diet of refined carbohydrates and sugar.  And that’s what made them fat.  This is a picture of an obese Pima woman.


For dozens more examples like the Pima, you have to read the book. I’m moving on.

Taubes says it all boils down to carbohydrates and sugar. Those are the two things that make us fat. Fat doesn’t make us fat. Protein doesn’t make us fat. Carbs and sugar make us fat. And they make us fat because of how they are processed in our bodies. Here is a combined paragraph from the book explaining what happens in our bodies when we eat carbs and sugar.

“First, when insulin levels are elevated, we accumulate fat in our fat tissue; when these levels fall, we liberate fat from the fat tissue and burn it for fuel. Second, our insulin levels are effectively determined by the carbohydrates we eat…. the more carbohydrates we eat, and the easier they are to digest and the sweeter they are, the more insulin we will ultimately secrete, meaning that the level of it in our bloodstream is greater and so is the fat we retain in our fat cells. In other words, the science itself makes clear that hormones, enzymes and growth factors regulate our fat tissue, just as they do everything else in the human body, and that we do not get fat because we overeat; we get fat because the carbohydrates in our diet make us fat. The science tells us that obesity is ultimately the result of a hormonal imbalance, not a caloric one-specifically the stimulation of insulin secretion caused by eating easily digestible, carbohydrate-rich foods: refined carbohydrates, including flour and cereal grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes, and sugars, like sucrose (table sugar) and high-fructose corn syrup. These carbohydrates literally make us fat and by driving us to accumulate fat, they make us hungrier and they make us sedentary.”

So there you go!  According to Taubes, it’s as simple as that.  In my next post, I’ll give you his meal plan for a day.  Plus I’ll post a GREAT recipe for chicken nuggets… A lot of you have been asking me for it!  

Let me know your thoughts on this book.  This should open a fascinating conversation! 




We went to Hawaii for spring break. You all know this. I took you on a tour of Kauai and showed you where to take your kids and where to go eat. What I didn’t show you is how much we ate! I failed to highlight pictures of BBQ’ed pizzas poolside, or the daily basket of fries we had as an appetizer to our appetizer at dinner. I did show you hula pie at Duke’s.










 I didn’t show you all the other desserts we indulged in. And when I got home, I nearly froze when I strode past the mirror in my bathing suit. Woah! Are there no mirrors in Hawaii? How did I not know my body had plumped! My abs are hiding beneath a warm winter layer IN SPRING and my gluteal fold… look! 20130506-210436.jpg









It can hold a pencil. My ass could sign an autograph!! Hawaii sucks. I’m never going there again. Instead, I’m going to detox. Like how I say detox instead of diet. I don’t diet. I hate dieting. That means I can’t eat. I don’t believe in that route. I believe in changing my diet to eat healthier. That way I can still eat large amounts of food. The food just won’t be drizzled with chocolate! I’m going Paleo again. And tomorrow I’ll tell you why Paleo is right for us and why you might want to consider it as well.  My ass and I are now going to bed.