Swim, Bike, Run & Eat Away

Blogs vary as much as people themselves vary. This past month since my decision to write a blog I have been reading numerous blogs. There are “how to” blogs on ever topic in sight of the stars. My blog connection in the past has usually been how to cook, bake or braid. Now I am reading more lifestyle blogs and the process of creating a blog. There has been a lot to learn. A visual is a must. Oops I missed that my first time around. Also linking to sources and other blogs is common. I really like the hyperlink.  As I have been thinking of what I want my blog to be (and this idea will continue to develop). I want it to be a way to connect. People are important to me and I hope I can find that online, a connection beyond the superficial. I do not know that this is possible but I am willing to try. As I read, I found a blog with a women who likes to run as I do but she also posted a picture on her couch relaxing with her family as she wrote from her cellphone. I felt a connection, but I have no idea who she is or where she lives. I couldn’t pick her off the street, but our interactions have just begun.

To become better at something we must practice. I practice a lot because I have a long way to get to my ideal self. Many people take the month of January to change, I haven’t changed but I admit there is a desire to try harder. I want to swim more, bike often, run faster and travel to every taste. January is a success. Today I swam, I am slow but somehow between working at 5 am, volunteering at the local food pantry, and attending 5 classes I didn’t quit.

If you are anywhere on the eastern side of the United States this week, you have snow. Getting outside is unadvisable but I was able to continue to bike to work and run the Chicago F3 half marathon (anything under 2 hours is a success!)

Finally I found time to travel. January has allowed a day trip to Washington DC and a weekend adventure to Chicago. Fortunately I beat the snow. I landed in Washington DC close to noon, I immediately hoped on the metro line. I was surprised by how expensive public transit is. I got off about a mile from the National Smithsonian Zoo and walked. It was a beautiful 28 degrees and sunny. I kept gloves and a hat on the entire time but did take off my heaviest layer. My goal was to visit the panda family, especially their newest addition Bei Bei who was born in August. His first public debut was this month. He is beautiful. There was a line out the door of all ages and nationalities. I was able to see the whole family Momma Mei Xiang, Poppa Tian Tian (Whose video from a few days later is now viral) and Bao Bao the 2.5 year old big sister were on display eating bamboo and napping.  Bei Bei was more elusive. Near 1:45pm a zoo keeper came and set him within view. He promptly looked around and headed right back into his den. Though our interaction was brief, it was magical. I relate to the movement and attitude of the panda. They are friendly, nonviolent and chill but they have their own agendas and unbreakable wills. The Panda Habitat closes a 4pm, they enforced it strictly, but you can watch the pandas anytime on webcam.

My flight wasn’t till 7pm so I decided to go check out the White House, Treasury and Washington Monument. Because of the cold, tourist were sparse and I was able to get a photo of the white house and me without interference.  Finally before heading back to the airport, I stopped by a local taco joint, District Taco that was unusually busier than its neighboring competitors. It was amazing. I bought the Breakfast Burrito with bacon and it was worth every calorie.

My other getaway for the month was a weekend trip to Chicago. The airport was a mess with delays and cancellations, I left work early to catch an earlier flight, but it was delayed. I arrived in Chicago earlier than originally hoped. I hoped on the L which is currently a reasonable $10 for a 24 hour pass. I met up with friends and we did what friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time do. We ate and we talked at Reno near Logan Square, amazing cavatelli. We headed downtown to pick up our race packets. Laughed, talked, ate more and we enjoyed the downtown lights and bridges.  Saturday morning we took lyft to the starting line at Soldier Field. The weather was perfect for running and it was a successful race. The rest of the day was a mellow day of more eating and music.

I hope someone enjoyed the above. I’m still figuring things out so any comments suggestions would be awesome!



A Cliché: New Year, New Blog

I am a Journalism major at university. In my attempts to network I am often asked if I blog. The answer until today was no, I have never tried. I journal…on paper… at home… and no one reads my thoughts. I feel often blogging falls on deaf ears, but I want to be a writer. I would like to be able to contribute to society and I am realizing more and more that an online presence is needed. I am a writer who doesn’t over write long descriptions and stories. I observe, I interpret, I write. Sometimes my thoughts and observations are straight forward but often I see multiple points of view and choose to present one.

This blog is for me to experiment and write an additional angle from the one I present in class or for the school newspaper.

I am a simple person with a lot of interests. I am practical and emotional, a whirlwind of contradictions learning to define who I am and the world around me. I feel presenting my interests online in a blog will come across as either common or bragging. That is the main reason I haven’t started a blog. I apologize if I do either. I am imperfect and I learning. I am learning how to see myself and I am learning how to write. Another reason I haven’t created my own blog is because I have no main theme. I’ve decided I am going to let this blog create itself. This is my canvas and I am a nervous to share it with the world. If you are reading this, I thank you and apologize for my short comings. I will improve but I will never be perfect.

I am a traveler. I have always felt an urge to explore and see new things. As a small child growing up in South Dakota it meant my mother would lose me in the mall, I would leave my backyard only to be found stuck in a tree and I was overly friendly to every stranger. My traveling has evolved. In my teens I started driving to new places. I remember the first time I drove downtown without using the interstate. I stopped everywhere taking photos of old buildings. I found firehouses with the Ten Commandments out front, churches with accessible and functioning bell towers and the homeless. I love the homeless. When I hit 18 I bought my first transatlantic plane ticket. My parents flipped. I hadn’t graduated high school yet. I was gone for a month and it was awesome. I will never stop traveling.

Food is my friend. Making food helps me think things through and slow down. I bake cupcakes and cookies quite often. I like to experiment. I also make homemade bread and ice cream regularly. The recipes are always simple, often old fashion and are constantly tweaked. Nothing says I love you more than a plate of homemade sugar cookies with buttercream frosting.

I like to play. As one of the few adults who still skips, jump ropes and climbs I don’t consider myself an athlete or an exerciser. I play. I run. I bike. I swim. I do individual sports where I am only competing against myself. I run marathons full and halves. I am slow, but I finish strong and happy. I compete in triathlons at the same slow pace. I rock climb, lede, top rope, and boulder. I have trad climbed in the past but couldn’t do it without a lot of direction. I love riding my bike. I commute to work regularly rain or snow. As I get older I become more aware of health and fitness but it is all in the name of play.

Pandas are my passion. I don’t remember when it began but I am in love with all things Ailuropoda melanoleuca. I have hundreds of stuffed pandas. I have panda coffee cups, sweaters and luggage. For my birthday one year I saved up all my money to fly to Chengdu, China to go to the Panda habitat reserve. Once there I paid to volunteer and feed adolescent pandas. We rubbed noses. It was amazing. I am excited to go visit Bae Bae the newly born Washington DC panda as soon as possible.

Well there I am, a mile wide and an inch deep as my mother would say. My goal is to write once or twice a month for this year of 2016. I will mostly write when something awesome happens.