Sunday, August 7, 2022

#61 - Camp Somewhere New

I've posted about how annoyed I get that so many people have said "We should go camping" and then get annoyed when I'm skeptical that we will and then we don't. So it was a nice surprise to get an invitation to go camping with less than 24 hours notice, completely skipping the "We should go camping" conversation. 

Somehow this is only the third time I've been camping--as in, only the third night I've been camping. It doesn't make any sense. Camping comes very naturally to me. The day before, I went and bought a tent and sleeping bag. (I already had a sleeping pad.) Dan offered to help me set up my tent when he was done with his, but I set it up, without reading the directions, in minutes, no help needed. I'm down with cooking over an open fire. I like sleeping outside. I just like all of it. I don't know why I can't find others to camp with me more often, but now that I have my own gear, I'll likely find times to go, even if it's just me.

The main activity was river tubing, also on my list this year. Then after, we camped at a busy campground but had plenty of space on the site. We cooked over a fire and played some yard games. At one point, some folx in a golf cart invited us to go see a "DJ" at this pavilion, so we did, and it was a guy playing music for people to line dance to. We pet some dogs. Then it was an early night and we were headed back home.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

#82 - Tube Down a River

It was midday on a Friday when I got a text from Dan Burns, asking if I wanted to go river tubing / camping the next day. I certainly did. I had to scramble to get everything I needed, especially for the camping part (described here), but I managed to get myself together in time to pick him up at 9:00am on Saturday and to the site for the noon tube reservation... which we really didn't need to be on time for because the tubes weren't ready, and we had to wait a few hours.

Eventually, we were off... and shortly after, we saw the end. Apparently, they cut the course short. So we joined many other tubers on a bank and hung out.

It was a delight.

That's all I have to say about it.

Monday, June 27, 2022

#12 - Watch 3 Films That Have Won the Best Film, Actor, or Actress Academy Awards

I decided to start this item with the lead women and to go in order of films I've never watched, from most recent to least recent. Turns out, I've seen most of the films where the lead actress won the Academy Award. I had to start at 1992 and then go to 1988. I just happened to also watch the 2021 film when it showed up on HBO, so I've now seen all of the winning lead actress performances since 1988!  

1. Emma Thompson in Howard's End (1992)

I'm a little lost on this one. It makes me want to read the book because I can see E.M. Forster's style of story in the plot, but the film itself was so boring. The supposed tension didn't drive the plot, and none of the characters were likable. Emma Thompson was good, but there was so little to her character that I'm shocked it gained attention. I haven't seen any of the other nominated performances from that year, so perhaps they were somehow less interesting?

2. Jessica Chastain in The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2021)

I watched this before the nominations came out because I adore these two actors and had never even thought about Tammy Faye Baker's story. For as much as this version is true, what a lovely human whose life and work was manipulated by powerful, straight cismen for their benefit. 

For the purpose of this list item though, Jessica Chastain was incredible. While I didn't always feel like I was watching the real Tammy Faye, who is familiar to me because she had so much TV time when I was growing up, it never felt like Jessica Chastain. She fully developed the character and grew with that character throughout the film. It's a really, really great watch.

3. Jodie Foster in The Accused (1988)

Well, this was a tough watch, especially in the midst of the Supreme Court pulling all kinds of dangerous shenanigans, and extra especially because this film could be made today, almost shot for shot, with almost no rewrites, today. This was 1988. And people who have been raped face the same bullshit they displayed in this film. 

Jodie Foster was incredible. She really melted into her character. I'd never seen her play anyone like that, and I can't imagine what it took for her to shoot some of the scenes. Fucking stomach turning.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

#9 - Bike 150 Miles

In 2021, it took me until October to bike 100 miles, so I figured upping the goal to 150 would be doable but not easy.

Well, it's June 8, and I'm over 150, in exactly 30 rides. All of these miles were bike commuting, mostly to host trivia (and I've been hosting a lot of trivia). 

Once the temps went above 40, at the end of February, I biked, with just a few exceptions for really nasty weather. It's just my preferred way of getting around the city, especially in the pandemic. 

While my bike still needs a lot of major repairs, it's still getting me around just fine!

Love our lake shore path
1 - 2/28/22: 5.4 miles

2 - 3/2/22: 4.4 miles (9.8 total)

3 - 3/4/22: 4.0 miles (13.8 total)

4 - 3/9/22: 2.7 miles (16.5 total)

5 - 3/14/22: 5.8 miles (22.3 total)

6 - 3/16/22: 2.7 miles (25.0 total)

7 - 3/21/22: 6.3 miles (31.3 total)

8 - 3/23/22: 2.7 miles (34.0 total)

9 - 4/5/22: 7.6 miles (41.6 total)

10 - 4/13/22: 2.2 miles (43.8 total)

11 - 4/18/22: 2.9 miles (46.7 total)

12 - 4/20/22: 2.2 miles (48.9 total)

13 - 4/23/22: 3.8 miles (52.7 total)

14 - 4/25/22: 5.8 miles (58.5 total)

15 - 4/27/22: 2.7 miles (61.2 total)

16 - 5/2/22: 5.8 miles (67.0 total)

17 - 5/4/22: 5.4 miles (72.4 total)

18 - 5/9/22: 5.8 miles (78.2 total)

19 - 5/11/22: 5.4 miles (83.6 total)

20 - 5/12/22: 5.4 miles (89.0 total)

21 - 5/23/22: 5.8 miles (94.8 total)

22 - 5/24/22: 7.6 miles (102.4 total)

23 - 5/26/22: 5.4 miles (107.8 total)

24 - 5/29/22: 5.4 miles (113.2 total)

25 - 5/30/22: 5.8 miles (119.0 total)

26 - 5/31/22: 7.6 miles (126.6 total)

27 - 6/1/22: 5.4 miles (132.0 total)

28 - 6/2/22: 5.4 miles (137.4 total)

29 - 6/6/22: 5.8 miles (143.2 total)

30 - 6/7/22: 7.6 miles (150.8 total)

Thursday, May 5, 2022

#42 - Get Another Tattoo

Once I got my first tattoo, I realized why so many people often have zero or several. Once you have one you love, you start think about other ones you could love. They feel like wearable art, unique to the person wearing it. They tell stories. They offer reminders.

I got my first tattoo in 2013. I'd always told myself I'd never get a tattoo because there's nothing I could be sure I'd like forever. And then one day I thought, "Oh, except sharks. I'll always love sharks." So then it felt like I had to get a shark tattoo. It took me awhile to find a design I liked. As you can imagine, so many tattoos of sharks are violent or scary, and that's not how I see them. I see them as beautiful and essential for healthy oceans and thus a healthy world. I wanted something simple and graceful to honor them.

The idea for my second tattoo came to me in a dream, the week my cousin died, in 2012. I didn't have the right design for that one until 2015. I was on a 2-week trip to Sri Lanka about community models of leadership. We were sitting in on a children's meditation at a meditation center and retreat. Having meditated with this group many times before, I didn't expect the huge wave of emotions and vision during this practice. I got the tattoo later that year.

The idea for my third tattoo came from reflecting on what I might get if I were to get another tattoo and where I might put it. I don't quite remember where I got the idea for a sailboat, but it stuck.

Growing up, going to Camp Michigania each summer, I was introduced to sailing. Just little Sunfish, first with my dad and then with friends and on my own. I loved how fast and free a day on the lake could be and that even if we pushed the little craft too hard, the worst that happened would be it would capsize, and then we'd just right it and try again. Of course, there are dangers on any water craft, and that boom could surely knock even a grown person on the head or into the water, but the lifeguards watched us carefully and we'd be off exploring and learning on our own.

In my 20s, in Chicago, I was lucky to know a couple of instructors with the Northwestern Sailing Club. Three of us signed up for a beginning sailing course, and in this course, I finally learned about some of the things I'd practiced but had no name or reasoning for. I learned about wind directions, angles, and how to sail slightly bigger boats, I think Lasers. I'd only sailed on a small mountain lake, and it was a big transition to Lake Michigan. We started in May, and on Day 1, we had to do a capsize test. I was quite intimidated, trying to right a much much bigger boat and in much, much colder water (though in wetsuits). After that, the intimidation faded, as they simply wouldn't let us sail in conditions too tough for our skill level.

After that, a friend and I had been at a little neighborhood dive bar when around 10 very tan, blondish, windblown men came in. They looked like surfers. But that didn't make any sense. So eventually, our curiosity was too much and we asked them what their deal was. They were sailors out of Matchrace Sailing. I'd always assumed I couldn't keep afford to take on sailing as a regular hobby, and these sailors explained that they actually really need people who will show up and take on some of the less desirable roles. They asked if we'd want to come out and be spotters, which means we would stand on the back of the boat and signal the position of the other boat (as they did one-on-one races). We were in large mono-hulls that would speed directly at each other and then make 90-degree turns, so close to each other that you could reach out and touch people on the other boat. 

In San Diego, when I was working at San Diego State, I learned that as a staff member, I could take free and very discounted classes through Mission Bay Aquatic Center. My last summer, I opted into a sailing course, this time sailing on Mission Bay, again a very different beast than lakes. I think we sailed J-22s, as we could comfortably fit 3 people. Again, we had to do capsize tests and had to learn some techniques to use leverage to right the boat alone. Like at Northwestern, we could take out boats on our own, and I was happy to have that option to just go sail on the bay, hanging on the water in the beautiful San Diego weather.

My tattooing partner

One of the reasons I love to sail is that it's essential to be present and connect to the environment. For safety and success, sailors must be aware of the conditions--the wind, the swells, other water crafts--and, even more so, how those conditions shift moment to moment.

Sometimes, the conditions are perfect and move the craft swiftly toward its destination. You can close haul your way, the wind and sail in perfect alignment.

Usually, when sailing, you don't take a straight line from Point A to Point B. Sometimes, you have to tack and jibe, connecting to your surroundings to yield a full sail, without going too far out of the way. Sometimes, you have rely on your training because there are some strategies that seem intuitive (like running) that aren't actually the most efficient or safe way of travel. Sometimes, the wind dies, and you have to patiently wait and watch, hoping for a change in conditions to get you going again. Sometimes, it's just not safe to go out at all, and you have to make the tough decision to stay home. Sometimes, you don't even have a destination, and you're just out on the water, enjoying the wind, waves, and view. Sometimes you're the skipper; sometimes you're the crew; and sometimes you're all alone.

This little sailboat is my reminder to stay present to my situation and the conditions, that it's okay if my life isn't moving in a straight line from Point A to Point B. My tacks and jibes are examples of paying attention to the conditions and changing my course appropriately.

There was quite a gap in deciding on this metaphor and tattoo idea and actually getting it. Lots of love to Laura Masters for finding a design I finally loved. Then, of course, there was a pandemic, so there was still a bit of a delay.


Then, one Saturday, when I had some tentative plans that fell through, Missy reached out to me because she'd also had plans fall through. She asked if we should go get the tattoos we had been talking about getting together for years. So we did. 

I'm so thankful to have friends who do such much planning that it makes what might seem like an impulsive decision to be a sure one.

I love it.

Friday, April 29, 2022

#60 - See a Friend I Haven't Seen in at Least 3 Years

I put this item on my list every year because I love connecting with friends, especially friends I haven't seen in quite awhile. Then pandemic certainly put a lot of time and distance between people, so 3 years feels more like 1. 

I was back in Boston in February 2019 for a NIRSA conference and haven't been back since. When Michigan men's ice hockey qualified for the Frozen Four, which was to be held in Boston, I texted Al to see if we could go, and he quickly said yes. So I texted Angela to let her know I was coming, and ta da: a trip to Boston.

While I did get to see Michigan play in the Frozen Four, take my first (of what will be many) trips to Salem, and had my first (of what will be many hot pot meals, certainly the best part of the trip was catching up with friends. I'm so thankful everyone's schedules allowed for some activities and also some down time, just catching up and being together. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

#30 - Have a New Culinary Experience

I have no idea why I've never been to a hot pot spot. I like having lots of options and trying new things. I like all the flavors. And I definitely like an activity. So when Angela suggested hot pot when I was visiting Boston this year, I was all about it. 

We ordered all the things she and Patrick usually order, and I picked a few I wanted to try. 

It wasn't until Patrick suggested I could just add things to my list that I realized this was kinda already on my list. I'm pretty pleased that this year is all about checking things off the list without making an effort to do so... or even really realizing they're things on the list. Instead, I just do things I've been wanting to do. Yay!