Tag Archives: biking

2008: A Year in Review, Part 2

Welcome to the 2nd half of my year. I just realized that I probably should’ve done these in reverse chronological order, but whatever.

July–I took my blog public, making it a whole lot easier to remember what I did for the rest of the year.  I also started biking to work and we had Kristi’s Bachelorette Party Boat Trip:

 

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August– I took two vacations this month, plus a Tour de Philo.  First up was my staycation and then a second trip to Nawlins for Kristi’s wedding:

 

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September— I started running, became obsessed with Mad Men and reconnected with an old friend via Facebook.  We also had Bunco at Erin’s in conjunction with Philo Fest, but-unfortunately- I have no corresponding photos :-(

 

I do, however, have a photo of this thing that I found on my fence (I know you all needed to see it again)

 

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October– was downright insane.   There was a crazy gas station incidentmy cat died, and I was involved in train accident on the way home from seeing Cross Canadian Ragweed in Carbondale.  To top off the craziness, this was the first year in a long time that I *didn’t* dress up for Halloween.  Odd.

 

And then there was the trip to Chicago to see the New Kids on the Block:

 

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November– is always a busy month.  This year, I went to San Antonio for work. And had the usual Thanksgiving with the family.  Oh, and there was that whole historic election thing.


I also made a trip to Chicago for Nikki’s Big Ten Bar Crawl:

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And attended my only (gasp!) U of I tailgate of the season

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December–

 

Family and friends of Ryann Smith held a benefit in Tuscola and raised a bunch of money. I realize that I haven’t blogged about Ryann at all.  She was born a couple days after Christmas with a rare birth defect called CDH.  She is a fighter.  Please keep her and the family in your thoughts and prayers. If you want to know more, visit her caring bridge page:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ryannsmith.

 

I also had Christmases with my Grannie Rich,  my brother, and the rest of my extended family.

 

(And, because I know you can’t get enough of me and firearms, here’s the infamous gun shot one more time…)

 

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I spent my Christmas break lounging, watching movies (Marley and Me and Seven Pounds), reading (still making it through the Twilight saga… I’ll reserve judgment until I’m finished with all the books), and spending time with friends and family.

 

I rang in the New Year in Chicago, but failed to take a single photo.  Maybe I should resolve to be a better chronicler this year :)

 

Reflections on 2008

All in all, the year turned out pretty good.  In some ways, this is one of the hardest years I’ve ever had, but I’ve learned so much.   I’ve learned how to ask for help from those closest to me.  I’ve learned to say “no” on occasion and I’ve learned to enjoy myself in less-than-ideal circumstances. I’ve made some new friends, reconnected with others, and have spent more time with some of my family members than ever before.

 

This blog has really been a great outlet for me and I appreciate each and every reader, hit, and comment you all have given me.

 

Here’s to happiness and prosperity in 2009!


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Foto Friday: Biking for Groceries

I live less than a mile from my local grocery store, yet people are *still* amazed that I’m able to go grocery shopping on my bike.

Granted, there are some limitations. Heavy stuff (soda, laundry detergent, beer) are nearly impossible to carry on a bike and frozen food is impractical in the summer, but most everything else is possible.

I managed to fit all of the stuff below into one small backpack and 3 bags on my handlebars.  The only casualty of the trip was the lone banana that got separated from the bunch. Oh, and my legs. This probably added a good 25-30 lbs to my “load,” so I definitely got a workout that day.

Extra credit if you can figure out what I was making...it shouldn't be too hard!

Extra credit if you can figure out what I was making...it shouldn't be too hard!!

If you live within a reasonable distance, consider walking/biking to the store next time you need to pick up a few (or more than a few) things.

Tour de Philo

Yesterday I participated in the Run4Raley, a charity walk/run in Philo to support Mitochondrial disorder research.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to run the 5K, so I decided that riding my bike to Philo and doing the mile walk would be enough of a workout on a Saturday.

Here’s the route I was supposed to take…

But I made a few wrong turns…  Here’s the route I actually took:

My 8.4 mile bike ride turned into an 11.5 mile ride, but I made it to Philo in just over an hour.  The walk was a huge success, they had over 300 people turn out and plan to make it an annual event.  Luckily, I enlisted the help of some friends to take me back after the walk.

My Summer Staycation

Since I have a ridiculous amount of vacation time built up, and I’m going to New Orleans in a couple of weeks, I decided that I’d take a summer staycation this year.

A staycation is just like a regular vacation, but you stay at home instead of going away. The purpose of a staycation is to not only save money on travel, but to learn a little more about your own neck of the woods. 

Although there are plenty of things I didn’t do, I learned quite a few things this week:

I’m a better cyclist than I thought.

I’ve probably logged at least 50 miles on my bike this week, between long rides and quick jaunts. And I’m really enjoying it. Yeah, I knew I could do the 3.5 mile trek to work in about 25 minutes. But it wasn’t until I took a day-long bike ride just for fun that I realized how much I like cycling. You see so many things on a bike that you would never notice in a car. And I feel so strong after I’m done.

I’m a worse swimmer than I thought.

One of my favorite staycation discoveries is the pool at Crystal Lake Park. Usually, I just hit up my friend Kim’s pool in the summer. But because she’s working, (and I’m not—ha!) I decided to go the public pool route. I like Crystal Lake. It’s close. It’s cheap. It wasn’t too crowded. I easily found a chair. And there are nice lanes for lap swimming. But, somehow in the 25 (?) years since I learned to swim, I’ve lost my ability to, well, SWIM. I was tired after the first lap and had the most awkward stroke possible. I wonder if they have adult swim lessons, ‘cuz I clearly need them.

I’m not made of sugar after all.

As we were getting ready for our day-long bike trek, it looked like rain. Now, I’m no weather-watcher, so I hadn’t actually checked a forecast, but the sky was a little dark and gloomy. We started off anyway and, you know what…The rain was really refreshing. And I didn’t melt. When it got a little too hard, we stopped under a pavilion, but it never got so bad we had to stop completely. In fact, when the weather cleared up in the afternoon, we were kinda hoping the rain would come back.

No plans? No problem!

On normal vacations, I usually like to have a plan. Not necessarily a minute-by-minute itinerary, but a general idea of what I’m going to do and when. For my staycation, however, I decided to just play it by ear. This strategy didn’t work so well the first couple of days because I literally couldn’t decide what to do. But being schedule-less paid off this week. Because I’d made precious few commitments, I was able to have a last-minute lunch with a friend or an impromptu Friday afternoon pool party.

Lightning bugs and fireflies are one and the same.

Or so I was told by a 4-year-old. Now, maybe you don’t automatically think “babysitting” when you think “vacation,” but I had the opportunity to spend part of mine playing with a smart, precocious and amazingly observant little boy. It’s amazing how interested they can be in everyday things and it’s fun to see their eyes light up when they learn something new.

I can’t unplug or sleep in.

Neither of these things are especially shocking. I told myself I wasn’t going to sleep in and that I’d avoid being online as much as possible. I wasn’t going to check work email until at least Wednesday. No dice. I haven’t slept past 7:00 all week and I was checking and—gasp—responding to work email Monday morning. I’ve gotten better as the week wore on, but in order to completely unplug I need to go somewhere I’m literally unreachable.

I like this town.

I often think I need to get away to appreciate natural beauty; the beach, the mountains, whatever. But it’s really pretty here. From the wildflowers at Meadowbrook Park to the three deer I saw on the way home from the pool yesterday, there’s a lot of natural beauty in C-U. Even the view from my newly-weeded backyard has somehow become more scenic, more peaceful.

One of my favorite things about traveling is getting the chance to just stroll the streets, trying to blend in and feel like a “local.” In a strange way, I think my staycation has made me more of a local here than I’ve ever been before.

So, that’s it. One day left of my staycation and-for once in my life-I’m not happy it’s Friday. I think I need at least one more week to finish all the things I wanted to do and still leave time for some more exploring.

What I’ve Been Up to Lately

It’s hard to believe it’s already almost the end of July.  Summer always seems to fly by.  Most of my free time has been filled by the following:

  • Boot Camp– We started the second session of FitCamps4Chicks.  I can’t stress how much I’ve enjoyed these sessions.  The trainer, Bobbi, is great and the workouts are fun.
  • Biking– I started biking to work last week. I was only able to bike 3 days and I’ll probably only get 3 days in this week, but I’ve finally figured out my route and I’ve worked out a few kinks, so I’m excited to get back in the saddle.
  • Boat Trip– Our annual girls’ boat trip is next weekend.   This year we’re combining it with Kristi’s bachelorette party.  A day on the lake with my fave girls in the whole world.  Can’t beat it!
  • Work– well, it always takes up my time, but I’m nearing the end of a huge project and I can’t wait.  One more week and then vacation!
  • Pool– My friend Kim has been nice enough to let me use her pool all summer.  As a result, I actually have a bit of a tan.  It’s nice to not have to worry about being pasty white in July.

Biker Babe

I’ve decided to become a biker, as in cyclist, not a Harley Chick!

I got my old bike out of my mom’s garage, aired up the tires and took her for a spin.  I’ve been biking around town for fun and exercise, but now it’s time to take the leap and bike for transportation.

A fruitful trip to Target yielded a new bike lock (which I don’t 100% understand), a padded gel seat, and a backpack to carry my stuff.  I tried out all my new “gear” on a short trip to the grocery store.  Everything worked out well except I underestimated how much room my groceries would take up. I was hoping to get everything in my backpack, but I had to use a plastic bag instead.  Lesson learned.

Tomorrow will be my first attempt at commuting to work on 2 wheels.  It’s about 3.5 miles from my house to work and I’ve ridden it in about 1/2 an hour.  But that was at night. Without traffic.  I figure I’ll have to leave about 40 mins early to give me enough time to get there and “freshen up” before everyone arrives.

I still don’t know what I’m gonna do about the clothing situation.  Part of me thinks I should have seperate biking clothes and change into  my ” real” clothes when I get to work.  The other part of me is cringing at the thought.  Plus, my bag isn’t really big enough to hold an entire change of clothes.  I guess I’ll just see how tomorrow goes and then decide.

I’m pretty excited about this new adventure… I kinda thought it would be fun to do and write about my experiences.  Apparently so did the News-Gazette’s “roving reporter.”  She started last week.

A day late and a dollar short, I guess!!