Friday, January 31, 2014

Tina Fey:Jerry Seinfeld::Cars:Coffee

This is not an analogy question. This is an awesome short-ish video with Jerry Seinfeld and Tina Fey.  There are some really funny parts but honestly?  The highlight is the video shots of coffee preparation.  It's art!  And I need another cup of coffee.

Tina Fey Feces Are My Purview - Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee by Jerry Seinfeld

BTW, does anyone recognize the punctuation in the title from the old analogy questions on the SAT?  You know, the version where the max score was 1600, not 2400?


So, SMS left on Tuesday, 21 January.  We were both sad but at this point, we only have 0.3 decimal years to be apart so hopefully it'll fly by.  It won't, but at least I can attempt to be cheerful!

Before he left, we played Park Golf.  We were driving around to go to the park when what did I see??!?!?!  Old people playing Park Golf!  I thought it was only open in the Summer but apparently, there's a Winter League.  So, SMS and I paid our Y500 game fee and Y100 rental fee and headed out to the course.  It was so much fun and we were so bad.  So bad that a Japanese woman laughed at our score, "Yonju-yon!??!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"  She then walked over to her friends to tell them and they too thought it was so funny.  Trash-talked by old people, the shame!

We took the Base Shuttle to Narita which was fast and free.  Both good things.  We said our good-byes (for now!) and I took the Shuttle back to base.  Now, the apartment is cooler and SMS-free.  Oh well.  May will be here soon.

Not too much has gone on the last week and a half.  I've worked, worked out, studied and been on call.  I've also been making some nice progress in my Japanese classes so that's a plus.

I also got some great news in that Ed and Meg are coming!  Hooray!  It sounds like they'll be fairly independent and tour around on their own for the first half.  Then, we're going to hang out Sunday and then ski Monday-Tuesday.  I can't wait to go on our overnight ski trip.  We're going to Nazawa Onsen. There is a great resort and a town full of free hotsprings.  Awesome!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Long Weekend- Monday

Monday was awesome!  It was a sight-seeing packed day, which is how I like it!  It was also my awesome parents' 35th wedding anniversary.  Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

We woke up at the New Sanno and had room service.  We ordered the "Traditional Japanese Breakfast."  For $14, we got fish, soba, miso, pickles, fruit and green tea.  It's tasty and a fun thing to order while in Tokyo.
CW from left: Memorial, Sweet Bread Shop, Nakamise

After breakfast, we got ready for the day and headed to Asakusa.  It was pretty crowded!  We made our way up Nakamise, the main shopping street.  It is lined with vendor shops and carts selling many different forms of rice treats, souvenirs and clothing.  It is also the main approach to Sensoji shrine.  We walked around for a bit and SMS took some pictures.  I went to a cool little shop making "Japanese sweet bread."  It was a delicious, light roll with granulated sugar on top. Yum!  The store owner was very nice, directing traffic in his restaurant and outside in line while waiting for bread.
Left: You can't take me anywhere Right: The daijoubu (sumo ring)

Then, SMS and I walked down the Sumida Riverfront down to Ryogoku, the sumo stadium.  We got there a little on the early side.  It was noon so the tournament had been going on for a few hours but the big guys (ha, ha) didn't really start until 2:45.  We watched until 5.  It's pretty engaging.  We rented a radio between 4-5 and that helped us understand some of the finer points.  It cost Y100 and a Y2000 deposit, which was easy to get back upon radio turn-in.

We took the train to Tokyo SkyTree.  First, we ate at Rokurinsha, an incredibly popular tsukemen, or dipping ramen, restaurant.  The line was quite short and we had delicious ramen.  I even used the bib although I initially refused.  Then it was off to the SkyTree.
From Left: SMS, View from 350 m, artsy SkyTree renditions

It's Y3000 to get to the top and I think it was totally worth it.  It was nighttime by the time we got up there and to see the entire metropolis from the high, 360 views was completely amazing.  On the main observation deck at 350m, there's even a double-layered glass floor.  Sagoy!  We had our picture taken there and even though it was totally cheesy, I bought it!

We headed back to Horinouchi around 9.  The train was packed.  We got seats for about half the journey but it was impressive how crowded it was on a Monday night.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Long Weekend- Sunday

So, Sunday got off to a slllloooowww start.  The morning was a bit of a wash but I started to get ready for our dinner date in Tokyo and off we went.  We checked into the New Sanno (yay!) and headed to the Fuji Corporate building in Tokyo Midtown.  SMS had found out there was an exhibit on the first floor.  I thought we were going to see a Mt. Fuji exhibit and I was very confused as we approached the building.  Instead, it was a Fuji camera exhibition and a small photography retrospective of Wynn Bullock's work.  He enjoyed manipulating light and had some beautiful landscapes.  The camera timeline was pretty amazing- they have a very thorough collection.  I liked seeing the old camera obscura and some of the first pinhole cameras.  After the very earliest cameras, it gets very Fuji-dominated as you can imagine in the Fujifilm museum!  The museum was free.  It was small but well-done and I would recommend a stop for the film buff tourist.

After the exhibit, we walked around Ropponggi Hills for a bit.  We had a warm drink at a coffee shop since it was so cold.  While it is cold, the wind is what really makes things miserable.   Then we went to dinner.  SMS had set it up and I was excited to go out and enjoy more upscale sushi than our normal Y100 sushi joints (which are good, but still there is a difference!).

We went to Seizan sushi.  It was really beautiful.  The restaurant had a long sushi counter and semi-separated dining area.  Sets were only able to be ordered in the dining area so that's where we went.  We ordered the Y6000 set and had multiple delicious courses.  We started out with two small appetizers.  Sashimi came next and that was delicious.  We both thought the salmon was the best.  Then we had half of a fried fish with "french fries" of little minnow-like fish.  We ate that without too much hesitation but then our second course of "appetizers" came out.  Hmmmmm...what do you think this might be...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Long Weekend- Saturday!

SMS and I enjoyed the holiday weekend, which was also the last weekend that SMS was in Japan, at least for now.  We didn't dwell too much on the sads but instead had a really fun weekend.

On Saturday, we headed up to Yokohama and went to the CUPNOODLES museum.  It was way better than I expected, mostly because I had really, really low expectations going into it.  But it was really pretty awesome.  Yes!  Seriously!  I went from "meh" to "awesome!"

Friday, January 17, 2014

Week Recap

SMS and I had a really nice week. On Tuesday, we headed out to Zushi to get ramen at the best smelling ramen shop ever.  Oh, I'm sorry, best smelling any other night of the week since it was CLOSED on Tuesday.   Whah whah.  We spent a few minutes wandering through Zushi, which had all of a sudden seemed to turn into a culinary ghost town.   Would we ever eat, our poor stomachs cried.  Non-melodramatic answer: yes.  We went into another ramen shop near the JR station and ordered two karai miso ramens and an order of gyoza.  It was an acceptable substitute and I was happy that I had rallied to go out since when I first got home, I was feeling le pooped.

On Thursday, we had our last Japanese lesson together for the month.  SMS had gone bouldering and hiked from Takitori-yama to Oppama, which impressed Mayumi-san and I quite a bit.  My Japanese is slowly improving and I'm pretty happy.  I'm going to keep studying while my oral board prep gathers steam.  At least that's the plan for now.

Friday, we had a pretty early dinner and then went to American Hustle.  It was pretty good.  I found it a little hard to follow here and there, but would catch up quickly.   The acting was excellent and it was definitely different to see a fat Christian Bale.  I am really not a big Bradley Cooper fan but his character was so weird and borderline psycho that I begrudgingly admit that he has good acting chops.  Amy Adams is always a fave of mine and Jennifer Lawrence did a wonderful job with her unhinged character.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Yokohama Quest

Well, hello!  Won't you join me for a cup of the BEST COFFEE IN THE WORLD!  Although Buddy the Elf in the eponymous Elf thought he had found the world's best coffee, SMS and I are #1 fans of the Kona coffee from The Honolulu Coffee company.  We had some on our honeymoon (twice!) and SMS was determined to find a store here in Japan.  This quest led us to a beautiful, but coffee-free, beach in Zushi and on Sunday, to World Porters in Yokohama where we found it!  Hooray!  

The French Press were individual sized instead of for two, so we each got our own and had the most delicious cup!  The mall was super-crowded, especially in the food court.  We preceded the coffee with Bibimbap for lunch, which was delicious.  I love the food court at World Porter's- the bibimbap place is awesome.  There is also a delicious bakery adjacent to the food court and my favorite sushi go-round on the other side from the bakery.
 After lunch, we walked around the mall and SMS got an awesome man bag.  They're pretty de rigueur around here in addition to being really practical.  His looks awesome.  It's very difficult to find one that a. does not look like a lady bag and b. does not look like a fanny pack casually draped over the shoulder.  BUT, he found one and it is awesome!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Thrash Zone!

Last night, we went out with Doug, Rose and Aaron for a night out in Yokohama.  Our destination?  THRASH ZONE, a place with "Extreme Beer Only" and heavy metal on the sound system, although at a very low volume.

We arrived at Yokohama and after a few false starts, found ourselves walking towards the Thrash Zone.  We arrived and it was pretty empty.  Some-one (Doug) was all set to start drinking but the rest of us begged off and we decided to leave and get some dinner first.  We didn't buy Doug's argument that the French Fries would suffice.

We walked past a small noodle shop where Doug and Rose had been before, but it was a little too crowded.  SMS led us to a cool izakaya that he had seen.  We were loitering around the entrance while we were trying to peer inside to see if it would work when all of a sudden, the door flung open and this young waiter said, "Come in!"

Yokohama Merchant Shop...thanks to SMS for figuring out the Kanji!

It was awesome!  We were able to go upstairs to the "sitting section" and we ordered lots of yakatori.  SMS ordered his signature ginnan (gingko nut), which wasn't even on the menu but everyone loved them.  We even ordered a second round!  Aaron tried to order two beers but instead, a full round came out so we all took one.  When in an izakaya...

After a delicious meal of yakitori, tofu and edamame, we went back to the Thrash Zone.  Never fear, we still had the French Fries and they were delicious.  The one bartender/brewer/owner did double-duty filling beers and making fries one batch at a time.

Rose, SMS and I weren't too into the hoppy beers, so we stuck with the Nagahama and two of the stouts.  We had a really nice time hanging out at the bar.  We headed out after a couple of hours since Rose and Doug had to get back to the sitter.  We could have stayed longer, but we were all pretty tapped out (I am so funny!).  

Yokosuka Museum of Art

I was feeling pretty lazy on Saturday but since weekend time is field trip time, SMS and I headed down the road to the Yokosuka Museum of Art.

It is a beautiful building.  It is very bright and white with high ceilings and cut out windows.  It reminded me of the La Jolla Contemporary Art Museum but with even cooler architecture.  There were several exhibition halls filled with kids' art and a special exhibit featuring Japanese artists from the 1900s.  It was a great find on SMS' part and we had a really nice time.  

The museum costs Y300 for adults and is free for children.  The parking is free for the first hour and then Y300/hr after that.  It's next to Kannonzaki Park and I'd really like to go back at some point to explore the trails around there.  

After we looked around the museum, we headed down to the waterfront right in front of Spasso.  It was a beautiful, cold day.  At some point, I'd like to go to Spasso but we had a date for the Thrash Zone!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Delicious Dinner!

SMS is so talented!  We had such a delicious dinner the other night- salmon made in the fish broiler, fresh soba, fresh tomato and grilled baby bok choy.  Yum!

Yokohama Raumen Museum

Left: Overhead shot of the B2F level Right: One of the shops
On Tuesday, SMS and I headed up to meet a friend of his from SDSU.  We were going to meet for dinner at the Raumen Museum! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Strawberry Fields Forever!

Blergh, I am so not a Beatles fan.  But this is a perfect title for our awesome Sunday.

The day did not start out super promising but there's always time to turn a day around (hello Pollyanna, hijacking my blog!).  I was called in early, early Sunday morning and admitted a tonsil bleed so that I could operate on him first thing in the morning.  He wasn't bleeding profusely and it's just better to wait until daylight whenever possible.  So, I admitted the guy, came back home by 4 and was completely RIPPED from the deepest sleep by my alarm at 6:45.  I went in, stopped the bleed in the OR, came home and went back to bed.  Yay!

I woke up at 12:30 and lazed around for a bit.  SMS was super patient but I knew from the day prior that he really wanted to go strawberry picking.  So, I rallied and asked him if he still wanted to go.  Yes!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Zushi Daytrip

This morning was pretty lazy. I got up, went to the hospital to round, ate breakfast and went back to bed.  Awesome!

This afternoon was more interesting.  SMS and I went to our Japanese lesson, which left me feeling slightly depressed and feeling pretty stoopid.  While the feeling is somewhat motivating to study more, I still felt kind of down.  But rather than go home and wallow in my ignorance, SMS and I decided to head out to Zushi since we were already in Oppama.

Zushi was awesome!  We walked to the seaside and along the beach while SMS recited haikus in Japanese to me.  Just kidding about the poetry, but it was a really nice walk.  We were both hungry since we had a light lunch.  We thought about Cantina for a few seconds but decided we weren't totally craving pizza.  I saw a Japanese restaurant ahead and we went to check it out. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Singapore Tour, part 2

In case you couldn't tell from the last post, we were clearly trying to starve ourselves while in Singapore. Ha, ha. We were gorging ourselves like the fat man from Seven whose stomach exploded after eating too many spaghetti-O's. But the food we ate was way better than that!

New Year's Day, we headed over to a Toast Box store for breakfast. Kaya toast is a traditional breakfast set so we had to try it!  Kaya spread is a sugary spread of goodness with coconut, sugar, honey and egg. It's served on toast and often accompanied by soft boiled eggs.  We spied on another couple and emptied our eggs into a shallow bowl and added a little sauce, which seemed to be a thickened soy sauce.  It was delicious. We also had really good, dark coffee.
Then we decided to go to MOCA based on a 36 Hours in... article but fail!  Museum closed!  The taxi driver thought it was funny but we were up the hill from the Botanical Gardens so he just let us off there. 

The gardens were so beautiful. It's a huge, free park with gardens that are meticulously maintained. There is a $5 charge to see the orchard garden, which was well worth it. 

Prom picture pose!
After we worked up an appetite walking, we headed over to East Coast seafood park for some chili crab, a well known local dish. SMS had had it once before during a brief layover when he was coming back from Nepal in 2010 and he wanted to show me the place. It was really good although crab is not my favorite dish. The presentation and sauce were impressive though.

After lunch, we took a really nice, mellow walk along the seaside. We stuck our feet in the ocean and just hung out for a little bit. Then we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out to the O'Connors. 

Yes!  I'm so lucky!  I got to see San Diego friends while in Singapore. Tawnne and Seanhave been friends for a few years and are really wonderful people. We've gone to Coachella together (T and I twice, Sean once) and New Orleans Jazz festival. We hung out at their place and went out to dinner. It was so nice to see them and partially catch up. Their son is growing so fast!

After dinner, Mark and I headed to the night safari. I have mixed feelings about zoos, but the display was really amazing. The animals are really active at night and they are in natural-like settings although when a tiger needs 1000s of square kilometers of space to live in the wilderness, I'm not sure any zoo display will be big enough. But it was really near and I felt like I was watching a nature documentary, the animals were so active!  There was a bear playing with a log, a prowling lion and tiger (different areas), active lionesses and invisible flying squirrels. 
I am bored with this blog post and walking away.

Singapore Tour

We had the best time in Singapore.  It's a beautiful, diverse city. Our hotel was in a central spot for exploring and we saw a lot if sights in three days.

We also had the bonus of seeing a lot of Christmas decorations that were still on display. Since I am all about extending fun holidays, I loved it. It was also very beautiful. 

After arriving at the hotel, we headed to the waterfront/Marina district. We are at a waterfront restaurant which was a totally tourist thing to do but it was very beautiful and relaxing to sit by the water. 
We also ended up waking through the Chinatown night market, which was pretty awesome. The decorations for the Chinese New Year were already in the process of being put up and the lanterns over the market were really beautiful. 

The best part of our walk was meeting Stephen Wang at the Chinatown visitor's center. I asked him for a dim sum recommendation and he gave us the name and approximate location of Red Star, which ended up being near our hotel. 

The next morning, we walked over. Wee didn't realize that the location was approximate, so we had to ask a concierge nearby and we got the address. 
Never in a million years would I have gone into this place without a recommendation!  It was on the 7th floor of what looked like a slightly rundown apartment building. There was a slightly beatup, unlit neon sign. We got in the elevator and pushed the button. We passed 6 levels that all looked slightly abandoned but when the doors opened on the 7th floor, viola!  Red Star!

It was delicious!  I was super happy that the food came around in carts (which Stephen had said a lot of restaurants don't do anymore but this one was big enough). We had two kinds of shrimp dumplings, steam buns, Peking duck, glutinous rice wrapped shrimp, fried shrimp wonton like things, triangle pastries with pork. We finished with custard buns. YUMMO!  It was all really good and since I've wanted to go back to a dim sum place ever since I've been to Maxim's in Hong Kong in 2008, this was the perfect experience. I highly, highly recommend this place!
After breakfast, we headed back to the Marina area to get a cup of Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee. SMS and I have decided that our péché mignon will be expensive coffee. Then we went back to the hotel and hung out by the pool. 
Next, we headed over to Little India and the Arab Corner. We had lunch at the food center by the Little India food centre and it was delicious. I had prata, which I don't think I've had before and it was awesome!  We also had chiapati, butter chicken, dal and a noodle dish.  

We saw the Sultan mosque in the Arab corner. There were beautiful fabric stores there and a really nice pedestrian street. We stopped in the Working Title coffee shops and got icy drinks. SMS got a iced chai and I got the most delicious thyme tea soda. It was SO good. 

We went back to the hotel to rest and then we headed out for New Year's Eve. Along with 300,000 other people by official count, we went down towards the Marina to watch the fireworks show. It was a crush of people but felt like a pretty awesome thing to do as two American tourists. 

Singapore Fling!

SMS and I made it to Singapore!  It was so lovely to go from down jackets to short sleeves in the span of 7 hours!  

I had looked up the AMC flight schedule and there was a flight leaving 30 Dec. I booked a hotel in Singapore, which I was a little nervous about since the flight wasn't guaranteed. But, I thought the odds were in our favor and it definitely wouldn't have been smart to show up without a reservation around New Year's. 

We drove up to Yokota after our fun day on the 29th. It was a long drive. There are only local roads available and lots of lights. We arrived at the Kanto lodge at midnight. In retrospect, going out to dinner may not have been the smartest idea but it was so much fun that I'm glad we did. 

The next day, we showed up at the AMC for check-in. I didn't realize that you could also do it the day before so we didn't have to get there so early. But really, there's not a huge difference between 4 a.m. and 4:45 a.m.  Both are ungodly early. Plus, one guy who checked in the day before didn't get on the flight because the clerk entered his destination incorrectly.  It was so aggrevating for him and his family because there was no accountability or anything that could be done. It's a free perk so there's no money/customer service to leverage. 

Yes, that's right- free flights!  We got on the flight, which turned out to be a chartered Boeing 757 so we had nice seats and climate control. What blew us away though was that there were meals and personal entertainment headsets on board, no charge. It was amazing!  I've been on a Patriot Express where there were similar amenities but I had to pay $10. Oooooo, $10. But still, free?!?!  Total bonus!

Some things about the boarding process were a little longer than expected such as adding all the leave info into the computer, but overall, the checkin to boarding was about 2 hours so not that bad compared to commercial flights. 

The flight was 7 hours, which was a little longer than we expected.  We arrived in Singapore and it was so warm, humid and delightful!  We went through customs (about an hour total on arrival), signed up for roll call for the return flight, and then called a cab to take us downtown. It was about 15 minutes and $15 to take us to the Park Regis. 

The hotel was beautiful! The decor was very modern and in purple and gray. Our room was great and had a waterfall shower head. The toilet space was small, which made some heavy people on TripAdvisor complain but we had no problems. 

The pool was nice and had a waterfall. The lobby had free wifi. The location was amazing. We were a 3-5 minute walk from the Chinatown MRT and Clarke Quay MRT. We were 2 km from the harbor, which we reached by walking down the river walk. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2013 Wrap-Up!

Well, I started this list in 2011 (after finding it on another blog) and I really like continuing the trend of reflecting back on the year.  I like the summary without being too self-consciously deep.  So, here we go...

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Get engaged, get married, graduate from residency, climb multi-pitch rock climbing routes, run a personal best 10K, win the grand prize in a raffle, traveled to Singapore

2.  Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I couldn't find a specific list but mine tend to focus on work goals and getting/staying fit.  This year, I want to pass my oral boards and match to fellowship.  After eating too many cookies over December, I want to get back to my regular fitness/eating routine (hint: fewer cookies).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes!  A close friend from college gave birth to her first and a good friend in San Diego gave birth to her second.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
Japan, Singapore and Canada.  Domestic travel included Hawaii (January and October), Washington/Oregon (July), New York (August), California road trip (August) 

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
With all that happened in 2013, I definitely don't feel like it was a year characterized by any lack.  I look forward to living in Japan with SMS on a full-time basis starting in May 2014.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
June 8th: The best day of my life!

April 2nd: Engagement!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting married to the most wonderful man.  He is the best husband and I feel really, really lucky and in love.

9. What was your biggest failure?
None really pop to mind although there's always work to be done towards being a better person.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets back to San Diego to visit SMS.  Our LA trip was particularly awesome.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, travel, savings, superfluous silliness.

13. What did you get really excited about?
My wedding- it was the best day of my life and one of the best parties I had ever been to.  Seriously.  The venue was amazing, the food delicious, the DJ awesome and, most of all, attended by the people I love most in the world (who are also really, really fun!)

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?
Songs from the wedding playlist: Lovely Tonight, Josh Radin; Lay Up Under Me and Love on Top, Beyonce; Get Lucky Daft Punk; Treasure Bruno Mars; Golddigger Kanye/Ray Charles Mix by DJ Johnny Knight (SMS' cousin); Blurred Lines Robin Thicke (before all the controversy really heated up)

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? Happier
– thinner or fatter? I'm going to say heavier, not by much but this time last year, I had just finished my Whole 30 and was pretty rocking.  And as I said above, I recently ate a few too many Christmas cookies!
– richer or poorer? Richer (continuing to save)
16. What's one thing you wish you had done more of?

Meditate.  Really, there are so many studies saying it's good for a person and their brain- I really want to give it a sincere shot.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Same thing as last year- read stupid websites.  I haven't read People or Jezebel yet and I think I'll keep it that way.  Suri's Burn Book is still totally ok though!

18. How did you spend Christmas?
SMS and I were together (yeah!).  We opened presents, Skyped with family, baked a cake and went to a great Christmas get-together at the Weber's.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Orange is the New Black

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach; Unbroken by Laura Hillibrand

21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Songs from my wedding playlist and my Beyonce love affair continues...I even bought her visual album the second day it came out.  She's so clever!

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I really don't see that many movies but I saw the second Hunger Games movie and enjoyed it quite a bit.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
33.  I had to work but SMS was taking me out to dinner.  I went to sleep for a "short nap" and woke up to him asking me why I was asleep.  I had super overslept!  Then we went downtown where we were a little late for our reservations at Oceanaire.  We ordered oysters, had special menus given to us and after a few moments, I realized that it was an elaborate build-up to SMS asking me to marry him!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
This year was amazing.  SMS being here from the start would have been great but I am so proud of him and his academic pursuits.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Classic with some trendy pieces.  It distresses me that Land's End thinks I'm a good customer but they do have good staples and their Canvas line is actually pretty cute.

26. What kept you sane?
SMS, family, deep breathing, perspective checks, exercising at least a few times a week.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
It wasn't really a life lesson but one of the best moments was walking down the aisle towards SMS on my Dad's arm and feeling the huge swell of love and pride that all my family and friends felt for me.  It was so special and I feel so badly for guys that they don't get a chance to experience that!

Also, I got to see Louis Zamperini speak and that was pretty incredible.  He had a good advice which is always try to learn skills and prepare for everything so that you are prepared when anything happens.  That's paraphrased, but seems pretty solid to me.