Sunday, December 22, 2013

Playing in the snow (Ode to my sweet clothes)

I do love to play in the snow. I love the beautiful snow on the trees. I love laying on my back and letting the snow fall in my mouth. I especially love somersaulting in the snow (If you have never seen me somersault then you really missing out). While I think I have always loved playing in the snow I don't think I realized just how great it can be when you have the proper clothing.

I used to wear layers of clothes in order to put barriers between me and the snow, but the snow would eventually soak through and I would have to be done with my playing. However, a year ago I made a series of important purchases. I bought everything that I needed to be completely waterproofed and warm from head to toe. This week when I went to play in the snow I was able to lay on my back and let the snow fall in. I just lay there with my eyes closed listening to Florence and the Machine and enjoying the falling snow. The best part is that I got up when I was done enjoying the moment and not because I was cold.

This was a super pretty tree on my full moon hike. 
It is very out of place, but it looks like a small Christmas Tree.

I have spent this last week walking through the snow, testing the ice of the nearby pond, hiking solo at night, running through the trees in the moon light, and hot tubbing in the cold. One thing that all my adventures have in common during the winter is that I am always very warm. There are so many people who tell me that I shouldn't go camping or hiking in the snow because it's too cold. In fact I have been called crazy by more people than I can count. There is a simple concept that I have been trying to help people understand--You can control your own environment.

I found a sweet icicle on my run and practiced my sword fighting techniques while running 

I have learned that it doesn't matter how cold it is outside, it matters how cold it is against my skin. If I can stay dry and wear the right amount on layers then I am always warm. So those of you who are afraid of the cold or the winter remember that it is possible to stay warm in any situation. If you need any tips feel free to let me know. I have had a couple of friends recently put me in charge of helping them purchase a warm winter jacket so that they don't have to be so cold all the time. It is all about controlling your own environment. It is possible to stay warm.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Adventure Possibilities in 2014

I have been on several good adventures in the last couple weeks, including a good full moon hike, a great full moon run with a sword-like icicle and some quality hot tubbing in the snow. However my best story from the last couple of weeks involves adventure possibilities for 2014. It all starts when my friend Jeff had an interesting facebook post. (not my bff Jeff, but another friend Jeff)

Jeff works for Jet Blue and therefore has some pretty sweet flying perks. He flies for free, but he also gets to have someone else fly for free with him. I guess it is supposed to be some sort of spousal benefit, but since he doesn't have a spouse he needed to find someone else to fly for free. He can change that person every 12 months and it is coming time when he can change his travel buddy. Naturally he posted on facebook that anyone could try and convince him to be his travel buddy.

When I first saw the post the first thought I had was, "Some girl is going to get super lucky to be able to fly for free for a year." But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it would be a mistake for him to choose a girl. If he was dating the girl that would be cool, but even then can be iffy depending on how long the relationship lasted. If he wasn't dating the girl then that would mean he would get to here how she liked other guys on their trips together. Or maybe he could hear how great her boyfriend was, which really would just mean that they proly wouldn't be travel buddies anymore, they would just travel separately. 

Once I realized it would be a mistake for him to choose a girl I knew I had a good chance. In his facebook post he mentioned that when we tried to convince him we could use things like hotel benefits to sway his opinion. Recently my parents bought into a resort benefits program that their children can also take advantage of. It means that I can stay at a whole bunch of resorts all over for super cheap. I knew this would be almost too much for Jeff to pass up.

I then realized that my best evidence was that I was a great wingman and adventure buddy. I have proved over and over again that I can back a guy up in any situation. I also am adventurer at heart. If Jeff chooses me as an adventure buddy this year he will go on more adventures than he has ever been on. He will also go on different adventures. He will get a chance to see someone of the most beautiful parts of nature. He will get invited on some great trips that will be hard to pass up.

Once I realized all this and made my case to Jeff I was much more optimistic that he would choose me to be his travel buddy for this next year. Of course there have been several other people who have made a good pitch to him also. I realize that it may still be a long shot, but my adventures in 2014 just might be the best of my life if I can just be Jeff's travel buddy. If any of you readers of this blog feel that I have been a good adventure buddy feel free to comment on why. I will make sure that Jeff reads this blog with the comment section. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Old Books and Old Friends

I have been to many parties recently where I have run into old friends. It seems the question I keep getting from my friends is:

 “What’s new?”

 They could just be making conversation, but I think they often want to know how my life has changed since they have last seen me. The answer that I have been giving is:

 “Honestly, not much. I still have the same job, I still go on lots of adventures and I still chill with quality peeps.”
 This is me on an adventure last Saturday with some old friends

The more I have thought about though, the more I realize that I have added a couple of things to my life the last six months or so. The first, which will not be address in this blog, is online deal shopping. The second is my discovery of audiobooks and becoming rededicated to reading.

The catalyst for all of this is actually an interesting one. At work I changed teams where I take phone calls half the day and the other half of the day I respond to instant message chats. Doing the chats is way better than the phones for several reasons. First, it is considerably less emotional taxing. Second, it isn’t nearly as busy. Most importantly, it doesn't require much concentration or my ears so I can listen to what I want.

Naturally when I started on this team I started watching everything on Netflix.  Then I ran out of good things to watch on Netflix. It turns out there aren't very many good movies on there and I didn't want to start anymore TV series. Eventually my old roommate changed his Netflix password, so then I had considerable amounts of downtime to fill. So I started reading. I have always loved reading. I definitely read in waves though. I go several months without reading then I will read a whole bunch in a few weeks. The big problem with reading was that I kept having to find my place and it is a little tedious. So, naturally I turned to the library for solutions.

I have listened to about 30 – 40 audiobooks since then. I have also read about 10 regular books (you know, the ones with words on pages). Since I started going through so many books I have decided that for every two new books I read I will read an old one. I have reread some favorites from childhood in addition to greats that I have enjoyed in the past few years.  I have also tried to add several non-fiction books into the mix to make sure that I was learning new things. It has been a great ride.

In my life I have always love new things, I think most of us do.  However, the lesson that I have learned once again is best put by this saying, “Make new friends but keep the old ones; one is silver and the other's gold”. I have always tried to reserve my Sunday evenings for keeping in touch with old friends. Sometimes I drop a friend’s apartment if I haven’t seen them in a while, or I will call an old friend on the phone. It is always good to keep in touch with old friends.

I have learned similar lessons about books. Reading a new book is fun and exciting, just like new friends. But reading an old book is like a warm blanket, it makes you feel content and happy. It is well worth devoting time to feeling feelings that made me feel alive as a youth, or enjoying a ride with a beloved character who feels just like an old friend.  I have recently once again joined my good friends on an adventure that I have never forgotten. Friends such as:  Ender and Bean, Theo and Mickle, Rina and Isi, Jack Ryan and John Kelly, Harry and Hermione. These old friends from old books have kept me occupied this autumn.

I love old friends and old books, but the more time I spend with both, the more I wonder; is there really a difference?
This is part of my birthday adventure when I listened to "Forest Born" again.
I do love my adventures with Rina-girl.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Running in the Snow

I realized recently that there are several things that I enjoy doing that have a high activation energy, and so I don’t do them very often. I love to run, I love how it makes me feel. The feeling of the wind past my face and the freedom of being outside in nature is great, running is wonderful. Something else that I have enjoyed doing in the past is writing. I’m not a great writer, I much prefer speaking to writing. However, writing is something that I enjoy that I haven’t done for a long time. So here I am writing again about my run today.

Today is my day off and so I felt there were some things that I needed to do. I’m not like other people who run ‘errands’ on their day off. I rarely, if ever, have errands to run except for going to the library (if that counts). I started the day by finishing reading “Ender’s Game” for the 6th or 7th time (I don’t really keep track). I then decided I needed to do something active. I’m not the kind of person who exercises for my physical wellbeing, though I certainly see those benefits. I exercise for my emotional health more than anything else. I like how I feel inside when I run, hike, swim or any other physical activity.

So I decided to go running today. It snowed a bit this week here in the valley and I haven’t spent much quality time out in the beautiful snow yet. So I put on my running shoes and started running. I run almost the same route every time, which I realize would get boring if I ran with any frequency. I always run through the trees near my apartment. I love to run through the trails and by the ponds. My route often takes me to duck under branches and dodge around trees. It is great being out there. My favorite pond was frozen over with some amazing ice crystal designs, so I took a couple of pics to share with you.

Here is my favorite pond, I visit it often

I do love the ice crystals on the pond, they're great

While I was on my run I wondered why I don’t run more often. I go on a lot of adventures, some involve hiking and others don’t get my heart rate up as much. I think exercise is one of those things that takes discipline because it never sounds fun when I am thinking about it, but it always turns out great for me in the long run. There are a lot of others things like that in my life. I am working on adopting more of them into my schedule to try and make a regular part of my life.