Hitting the… Well, I’m Not Quite Gym-Ready Yet…

So I’ve finally done it… I’ve hopped on the healthy train, and I’m working my way up from the caboose. The myth of the Freshman 15 (or 40, depending on who you talk to…) finally got to me, and I want to prevent a wardrobe reform in the short-term. Clothes are expensive. In the long-term, I just want to be healthy– less money spent on doctors, drugs (legitimate medication, never the illegal kind), and other bad health-related expenses, monetary or otherwise.

Now I’m heading into completely uncharted territory. For one, the only time I ever really “worked out” was at recess in elementary school and in gym throughout the first nine years or so of school. Outside of that, it’s mostly been sitting at my computer or in front of a television or reading a book or doing homework. And those don’t burn too many calories, unless you’re walking and reading as I do every so often. So I’m starting a walk/jog routine three days a week. It’s more like a walk/walk/jog/walk deal right now, but I’m starting slowly. And I’m doing resistance exercises and ab workouts and attempting push ups. The girly kind. I’m working my way up. Eventually, I’ll feel comfortable enough to do some real exercise in the recreation center on campus.

The second problem is eating healthy. Granted, we have a fantastic dining hall on campus with plenty of healthy options, including vegetarian and vegan menus. But I also don’t have unlimited funds in my student account, which I also use for books and gifts and other necessities for college living (like that $60 sweatshirt I bought; it gets cold crossing campus). And dining hall food gets boring after a while. This is the nice thing about the cash flow from the bowling alley, since I’m able to go buy fresh ingredients from the local giant eagle and create my own healthy concoctions. Which means I’ll also be working on something else I’ve never really done: cooking.

I guess that means the benefits of living healthier are two-fold. I get into better shape, and I learn how to cook. Fantastic! Wait… Three-fold. I get to buy new books. I’m very excited about this. And I’ve found some really great cook books in the campus book store. I’m excited about this. Even if my muscles are screaming at me. They rather enjoyed the company of Chair and Couch. They don’t seem to excited about meeting Pavement and the Resistance Bands. I guess they’ll just have to get over it. Wish me luck!

Any good tips for this new journey? Any delicious recipe ideas?


Young Adulthood Angst

This is most likely the shortest post I will ever write. And the whiniest. But these things need to be said, need to get out of my head and out of the way of my inspiration (and sleep).

Right now, I am simply frustrated. Frustrated by the newspaper. Frustrated with the Catholic Church and other opponents of free contraception for all. Frustrated with those against gay rights here in America and those against other human rights around the world. Frustrated with the state of the economy. And simply annoyed with politics– I’m tired of hearing about the election.

I’m angry with myself. I’ve let school become stressful because I get distracted too easily. I procrastinate like no one else, and need to fix that. I ignore my goals and slip right back into bad habits. I missed the deadline by a few hours on my first article for the student newspaper because I didn’t start working on it the second I got the lead. Of course, they still haven’t released the issue with that article in it, which adds to this mass of aggravation. And I’ve missed my personal blogging deadline.

I’m tired of putting effort into people and places that don’t return the favor. I’m tired of being told I’m too young, I’m too female, I’m too easily offended, I’m too hyper, too tired, too passionate, too quiet, too me. I’m tired of bothering other people for rides, tired of depending on other people for things I should be able to do myself– I’m not patient enough right now to appreciate the fact that soon that won’t be the case.

And right now, the most frustrating thing in my life is the fact that I can’t even open the window to get some fresh air and clear my mind. Because if I do that, it will simply get hotter in my dorm, though the heat is already on full blast.

This delightful cup of spiced chai tea is helping. And so is the Partridge Family (thank you, Pandora). A deep breath, a good night’s sleep. Things will look better in the morning.

And Along the Way, She Found…

I have discovered a few things about myself recently. Rather, I’ve identified a fewthings that I’ve always sort of known, I just now know what to call them and have no difficulty acknowledging them. I guess that’s what’s supposed to happen in college, and life in general.

1. I am an intrexovert.

Yes, I’m fully aware this is not a word (English major, remember?). But it describes me perfectly. A combination of introvert and extrovert, it applies quite well to my personality. Sometimes, I crave the company of others and have the most fun in a crowd. These also seem to be times when I become energetic and talkative. Other times, I would much rather disappear into the woods and stand in awe of nature or curl up with a good book and a cup of chai tea. When this happens, I certainly am not conversational, and I may forget to eat. Books and rivers distract me from normal human functions like these. And of course these may overlap sometimes. That’s just how I operate.

2. I am a total nerd.

And cue image of Steve Urkel. Alright not quite. But I know a little about a great deal of topics, and also quite an amount about a few specific areas. And I am very enthusiastic about all my knowledge, from the musical theater to German culture to wilderness survival. More than that, I’m always in want of more information. I enjoy learning, and I find a plethora of subjects fascinating. I think I was the only person actually intrigued by what our tour guide was saying when I went to Washington, D.C., in the eighth grade. Everyone else was fascinated by the black squirrels and cute boys getting off buses from around the country…

3. I am very open-minded.

Everyone is human, regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or any other determinant that has been used as a basis for discrimination. For some reason, there are still people who haven’t figured out this simple fact. But I have. I live on a campus with a large GLBT (gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender)-friendly community. And honestly, some of the nicest people and those I’ve become the closest friends with are gay. Who cares? I also know people who have a very strong belief in their religion, so strong that their entire life revolves around it. Great for them, even if I’m not interested in attending mass five times a week. I see no reason to base my entire opinion of a person on a difference in beliefs, therefore ruining any possible relationship I could develop with them. I believe that since everyone is human, they should be treated like a human. The Golden Rule comes into play here: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”* It only makes sense. You’re human; they’re human. Why differentiate?

I’ve always known these things to be true about myself. I just wasn’t aware that I was aware of them, mostly because I didn’t have a name for this characteristics. And let’s face it, no one wants to be called a nerd. But I am, and I have no problem with it. It describes me well. So there’s a little more about me, for those of you who aren’t in a position to experience my… eccentricities. Don’t worry, there will be plenty more self-discovery as I go along. Why don’t you do a bit of your own?

What are some things you’ve discovered about yourself, either recently or a while in the past?


*There’s a down side to this philosophy. Treating others like crap will only lead to a return of crappy treatment. Ever seen what happens in that situation?

An Introduction To My Obsession With The Outdoors

The weather has finally broken here in Northeast Ohio (for a moment anyway…) and despite a sore throat, I decided it might do me some good to enjoy the gorgeous weather outside. Who can say no to bright sunlight beaming through the window after so many overcast, rainy, snowy, bone-chilling days? And when it’s fifty degrees in January on the shores of Lake Erie, one must take advantage of it. That just doesn’t happen.

So that’s what I did today. I hopped on my new bike, made a pit stop at the grocery store so my throat would quit shouting at me, and rode as fast as I could into the park.

Berea is located in the heart of the Cleveland Metroparks, a system of natural parks with hundreds of miles of trails for biking, hiking, horseback riding, jogging… I think you get the point. I grew up traipsing around the Metroparks just a short distance from Berea, and I’ve been dying to explore the reservations around here. Each one holds something unique. For instance, The Viaduct is a tiny little park in my hometown, through which the inaptly named Tinker’s Creek flows. I say inaptly named because the term Creek means “a stream smaller than a river.” It lends itself to visions of small waterways that can be easily forded or hopped over and in which children enjoy playing. That is not Tinker’s Creek. It seems more like a full-blown river, complete with a powerful waterfall and a viaduct for the railroad (hence the name of the park). While many parks have viaducts, since the railroad has always been a big deal in this part of the state, waterfalls only cascade in a select few.

Half of the Tinker's Creek Waterfall

The Other Half

Where was I? Oh, right, riding as fast as possible into the park.

I followed the main trail for about three miles, passing through marshes and stands of trees, under overpasses and over bridges. While I really wanted to get off the beaten (paved, in this case) path, the combination of mud and not-mountain-bike bike didn’t seem to allow for it. So I simply enjoyed the wind rushing through my hair as I coasted along. Naturally, I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment. Dozens of people with dogs and mp3 players walked, jogged, and biked alongside me, taking in the delightful springy day.

Now the point to this post, aside from gushing over the wonders of the Metroparks and the amazingness of the weather is really what I found on my way back, though I had already passed it. My legs being angry because they haven’t had to ride a bike for six miles in quite some time, I decided to take a break and have a snack. In searching for a suitable place to lock my bike up and rest, I found something that made my heart stop, my jaw drop, and my brain scream YES!!


The most awesome thing ever-- for me, anyway

At the end of a little offshoot from the main trail is this most magnificent little observation tower. It looks out over a lake and waves of cattails, and seems to be a great place for contemplating and brainstorming. Though the sounds of the rest of the world can still be heard– cars zooming down the parkway, people talking as they jog and walk by, the drone of airplanes coming and going from Cleveland Hopkins– it seems to sit outside of all that in some strange way, and that makes it a perfect little niche in the world for me to write.

There is one downside to this delightful structure, though. It’s outside. Which means it can only be utilized in weather that is uncharacteristic of the climate I live in. Which means sunny and warm, as opposed to grey and cold. But that’s alright. I do my best writing outside on a sunny day. So I can be patient.

I think that’s all I wanted to say… My adrenaline was pumping when I decided to write this post, so if it seems sort of rambling, that’s why.

Where’s your favorite spot to write?