Weekend: Wild & Crazy Winter Weekend

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12-16-13 wild and crazy weekendI’m sure that, for true winter enthusiasts out there, our weekend was decidedly not wild and crazy. However, Sam and I are both fairly new to winter sports (or I should say, I’m reintroducing myself to most winter sports I enjoyed as a kid), and we spent the majority of this past Saturday burning a lot of calories and exerting our minds and bodies more than most weekends in the winter.

Our morning started off with an early cross-country ski at the Vasa trail. We’ve gone out once already this season, but it was too icy and there wasn’t a good base layer to make it entirely enjoyable. It’s been snowing on-and-off for the past week now, and while there isn’t a ton of accumulation there is a nice coat of fluffy flakes all over everything. It’s absolutely beautiful outside up here in Traverse right now.

12-16-13 vasa trail

12-16-13 vasa pine trees

12-16-13 on the trail Continue reading

Let’s Talk: Mindfulness

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11-12-13 mindfulness

Yesterday, I was on a track to have a very, very bad day. It was a Monday, which was already hard enough, but it was my first Monday at work while my boss is out of the country (meaning many of his responsibilities fall on me while he’s gone). I don’t mind the extra responsibility, but I have to say…it seems that every time my boss is in a halfway-around-the-world time zone, something (or many things) go wrong. Well, that was my Monday.

I had a situation on my hands that didn’t seem to have a solution. We needed 13,000 envelopes to mail a customer letter by the end of this week and, at most, we had 5,000 of our most-expensive-to-print envelopes on hand. It is not my responsibility to monitor how many envelopes we have or to order them when we run out, and here I was needing a lot of envelopes that we didn’t have. I was realized that this situation, which was wholly not my fault, was quickly becoming my problem and I was likely to be given the blame if the letter wasn’t out on deadline. If I really had to, I could contact my boss and explain the situation, but there wasn’t really anything he could do. It’s not like he was hoarding 13,000 envelopes over in Europe or something.

Then, something miraculous happened. I listened to some “hold” music while on the phone with one of our vendors.

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Anatomy of – A Bike Commuter, Autumn Edition

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10-5-13 anatomy biker

One of the major criteria for us when looking for our first home was how bikeable our home was from our jobs (and the city, for that matter). When we couldn’t find anything inside the city limits, we starting looking just outside the limits…which in the case of Traverse City means you’re going to go up a hill. All roads lead down into TC and the waterfront…the ancient glaciers that gave us all this beautiful water also carved up some pretty steep slopes on the edges of the lakes.

So, while I only live about 2.5 miles away from where I work, commuting on my bike isn’t always a simple task. Going into work is great: it’s basically all downhill and I arrive in ten minutes. Coming back home, however, isn’t quite as easy. I have to scale the hill home, and my commute easily doubles in time.

10-5-13 bike handles

Just because my commute takes twice as long on the way home, though, it doesn’t mean I should drive. The past few days I’ve counted the cars I’ve seen stopped at a major intersection on my way home as I bike right by them: I biked past 38 cars one day and 43 the next. Can you believe that? This is not a big city at all and it’s not even summer-busy-season, but rush hour is still pretty fierce. I would need to wait at that stoplight at least 4 cycles before getting through via car, but on my bike I can breeze right up to the front and cross with the cross walk signal. I don’t technically know if it would take me longer to drive or bike home, but I do know that I’d rather be doing something I love (biking) than something I hate (sitting in a car, idling with no purpose).  Continue reading

On Grounding and Growing

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9-13-13 feet shotNow that we are officially into our new house, we get to start doing all kinds of fun homeowner-y type things. The inside of our house remains a cluttered mess filled with boxes, which should drive me crazy, but I’m learning to be patient in putting everything away. It will happen, piece by piece, so in the meantime I’m not going to full-out stress about it.

However, the outside of the house is where we are focusing a lot of our efforts. Perhaps it’s because the lot holds so much potential, but I think the real reason is just that Sam and I love being outside and are so proud of the land we own. Sure, right now it’s got a ton of weeds and is completely overgrown, but it’s ours and we love it. Plus, I feel partially gypped out of my summer after all the wedding planning and coordinating so now that we have the time to be outside, we are soaking it in. Continue reading

Bike Like – North Lake Leelanau Loop

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8-27-13 biking 2-1As much as I hate to admit it, summer is winding down. It’s harder to gauge these kinds of things happening since my biological clock is no longer aligned with a regimented school year, even though I’m living in a four-season environment. August always coasts in nice and easy, and this August is no different: the lake is warm, the air is hot, and it feels like the beauty will last forever…until about this time, when I recognize that it’s Labor Day weekend already and September is on its way. Fingers crossed the weather stays this fantastic to see us into October!

The saddest thing to me about summer ending is realizing that my daily bike commutes to work and around town are about to get a lot more cold, a lot more wet, and unfortunately a lot less frequent. When we lived in town, I would try to ride my mountain bike on the streets in the snow, but without studded tires it was basically a mess and took me twice as long–if not more–to get to work. (A common misconception about winter bike commuting: it’s not the snow that’s bad, it’s that light brown-ish snow where the snow has mixed with the sand and salt to create some super slick substance that is absolutely deadly to try and navigate on a bike. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve wiped out on that stuff. Ick!) Continue reading