Family Practice Brownies

I cook and bake pretty often and I like to think I’m pretty good at it. There are plenty of times that I don’t really use a recipe or I start with one and randomly change things when I feel like it. Because of this it’s really rare that I actually memorize recipes. Honestly this recipe for brownies is probably the only thing that I could make completely from memory. My dad always made these brownies with us ever since I was a little kid. I remember standing on the step stool at the stove to stir the pan and taking turns with my brother putting in the ingredients. The sheer number of times that I’ve made these brownies is probably the only reason I remember this recipe.

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The recipe was in a cookbook that our church made

Now my dad didn’t really cook and definitely didn’t bake, but he knew how to make brownies. Actually the only other thing that I can think of that he made was waffles. I honestly have no clue where he got this recipe, but it was the one we always used. One time while I was living at home during grad school I made brownies using a different recipe and I’m pretty sure my dad was legitimately offended that I had strayed from the family recipe. I haven’t made a different kind of brownie since.

These brownies are super simple (I made them as a toddler), fast, and tasty on their own or in a magical “brownie mountain.”

Family Practice Brownies:

  • One stick of butter (1 tablespoons)
  • 2 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • Chocolate chips or walnuts mixed in or on top if you want

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    “The brownie pan”, we used this pan every single time and I don’t think I’ve ever used it for anything else.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 8×8 (I think?) pan with cooking spray. In a small pan add the butter and chocolate over medium heat, cook and stir (it’s easiest to use a fork) until melted. Remove from heat and add the remaining ingredients stirring after each addition. Pour into your pan and top with chocolate chips or nuts if desired. Cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (or when they look right, that’s my professional method).

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Flour is last. This was always the hard part when I was a kid, like it was legitimately hard because my arm would get tired trying to stir in the flour

These are delicious plain, but are also great in brownie mountains (I’m actually not sure where this name came from). Top your brownie with ice cream and hot fudge and you’re set for your sugar coma.

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Basically heaven

Bolder Boulder 2016

Pretty much as soon as I moved to Colorado last fall I started hearing about the Bolder Boulder race. I don’t know how it first came up, but I think Tabitha or my mom had mentioned something about it. I was told it’s a huge race on Memorial Day and is supposed to be really fun. After first hearing about it I kept seeing people with various Bolder Boulder shirts around. Sometime early this year my mom and I decided to do the race since it sounded fun. I heard a lot about the race from different people at work, about how there are slip and slides along the course, people handing out beers and bacon, and finishing the course going up a big hill to Folsom Field. Who wouldn’t want to do that race?!

race_1755_photo_37331281The Bolder Boulder is a 10k race that started in 1979 and since then has grown to be a bigger and bigger race. Within a few years they started a wave start and this year had about 100 waves (that’s huge!) for all the racers. This years race and for the past several years has had over 50,000 participants. Before this race I think the biggest race I had done (a triathlon with distances from sprint to ironman) had about 1000 people I think, so this was massive. For being so huge this race was extremely organized. The wave start was smooth and spread everyone out really well that I didn’t have trouble going the pace that I wanted. race_1755_photo_36691140

Along the course there was music (including several live bands), people hanging out on their lawns cheering, passing out beers, Jell-o shots, marshmallows (this was a popular one, but why?!), and even bacon. There were people watching and running in costumes with lots of flag themed clothing (it was Memorial Day after all), tutus, and people dressed as Doritos passing out Doritos. Since this was my first BB I skipped most of the “freebies” along the course, but it was definitely fun to watch and made for an interesting run.

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Looking at all these pictures really made me think I need to work on my form, yikes!

Our wave started at 7:39am which was perfect since it was a beautiful morning with lots of sun and even about half way through I was already getting pretty warm. It was a great morning to run and fun to have so many people out even though it was a bit early for a holiday. We made it through the run with no walking breaks and kept our pace really consistent between about 9:30 and 10 min/miles. My mom did great and was a trooper the whole race. The finish is a Folsom Field with a fairly long, steep hill leading up to this. I hadn’t been in the area for a while so I couldn’t remember the hill before the race, but everyone I talked to made it sound pretty rough. In reality I didn’t really think it was all that bad, but we have some way tougher hills on our regular daily route too. Finishing on a hill is definitely never easy though. The finish takes you around the track in Folsom field where you can look to see everyone running on the big screens with a bunch of people in the stands cheering. Right after this you get to go grab your snack bag which is an actual reusable lunch bag with the best snacks I’ve ever gotten from a race (the Little Secrets candy and Way Better chips were my favorite). You can hang out and watch more race finishers stream in and there a race expo right outside of the stadium where you can find even more free stuff. There’s also a pro race after the rest of the racers are finished, but we didn’t stick around since it was still a couple of hours away.

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Overall this was the most fun race that I’ve done and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year and hopefully for many more years after.IMG_3605

*All the pictures in this post except for the selfie were downloaded for FREE (hence the logos in the pictures) from photographers for the race which were everywhere. Plus iRewind made race videos, not embedded because I’m too cheap to pay WordPress for premium.  https://irewind.com/public/video/AN6UxhJWBlFBEGpqhWhP260ts

Silver Falls

Silver Falls was probably one of my favorite places to go in Oregon. This is where I took pretty much everyone that visited me while I lived there. It was close to Salem and a pretty easy trail with a lot to see. It’s near Sublimity, Oregon which was about a 30 minute drive from Salem. You basically drive through a small town, a bunch of Christmas tree fields (which you might see getting picked up by a helicopter) and then keep driving until you feel like you’re lost in the forest. They have the “trail of ten falls” which is about 7 miles total plus a shorter loop that misses the last few falls and is a couple of miles shorter. The first two times I went I took the shorter loop and then took the full loop the last time I went just before I moved. It’s a beautiful area and the long loop is worth it because this takes you to the North falls which is one of the coolest ones there. The trail is pretty boring at the very end because it’s about a mile without anything you really see. This is how both loops end so no matter what you walk this part. If you’re looking for a great day hike and want to check out a lot of waterfalls (an Oregon classic) this is the perfect place to go. Plus even when there are more people here it’s not nearly as busy as some of the really big falls near Portland (like Multnomah).

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This was in late November, the falls were much more intense this time of year compared to earlier in the fall

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There are a few falls that you can walk behind, which is fun to have a different view

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There are a couple of different parking areas, but the main parking lot and visitor’s center is by the South Falls

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North Falls (I think)

 

Oregon

When I graduated from PT school I was planning to start out with traveling jobs. This is usually a 3 month contract in a place that has a temporary opening or they’re just having trouble finding a permanent employee. This had been something I had planned to do for a while, but didn’t really know where to start out. Since PT licenses are done by state you have to choose a state you may want to work in, apply and wait to get your license, and then start looking for jobs in that state. Since I didn’t really have a particular state I wanted to look in one of the recruiters I was working with (Kelly Mitchell at the Anders Group, she’s very nice) suggested that I look in Oregon. I checked out the Wikipedia page for Oregon and decided it seemed like a cool place. They are also really fast about processing your application for your license. Seriously, it only took two weeks (and that was because one of my forms got misplaced) vs the two months that it took for my Colorado license. Anyway after that I started looking at jobs in Oregon.

It was a slow process and either I wasn’t interested in the jobs available or they wanted someone who already had experience. Eventually in the end of July I went out to see the area and to do an interview in Portland, which was really where I wanted to live. While I was there I was already set up for a phone interview for a temp job in Salem/Dallas, but since it wasn’t far I decided to change it to an in-person interview. Well the interview in Portland went okay, but it was not somewhere I wanted to work. I kept looking in the area, but still everyone wanted a PT that already had experience. I ended up getting offered the job in Dallas, OR but instead of a temporary position they really wanted to hire be permanently. After thinking about it I realized that I hadn’t really lived in one place for more than 3-4 months in the past 2 years, so I decided to take the job. The job was in Dallas which is a small town about 15 miles outside of Salem.

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Little Buddy in our hotel

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Trying to take a selfie with Buddy when I moved into my apartment

Since I wasn’t interested in being in that small of a town and also because I only found a few apartments in the area that I could have Buddy (who was 6 months old and already 50lbs at the time) I ended up living in Salem. I moved the end of July and I think started working the next week. I actually ended up living in a hotel for 2 weeks because I hadn’t found my apartment until after I had moved. I feel like I have done similar things a couple of times now where I really didn’t have a place to stay until I was there. Don’t ever do this if you can avoid it. It sucks and living in even a crappy extended stay hotel costs an insane amount of money (again I’ve done this multiple times). Be smarter than me and plan ahead to save yourself a signifiant amount of stress. Anyway it all worked out, I liked my apartment, it was close to a great park that I took Buddy to all the time and Salem really wasn’t too bad of a place.IMG_2813

Oregon is a beautiful state and can be very different based on what part of the state you’re in. I lived in Oregon for just over a year, but I really tried to explore a lot of places and have some new experiences while I was there. I’m going to have a few posts highlighting different places in Oregon because it is definitely too much for one post. More to come.

Snooze

I love food. I really love breakfast food. Like a lot. So most places that I live I look for different breakfast and brunch places. Yelp always does a good job of leading my to good places and Snooze was one of the top places that came up. I’ve gone a couple of times now and it’s been great every time. They have a few locations around Denver and Boulder, but I’ve only  been to the Boulder location (on Pearl Street). The Snooze at Union Station in Denver would be really fun on a nice day with the outdoor seating. If you’re in the area it’s worth a try.

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The mocha was great. Snickerdoodle pancakes were the special that day and OMG

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Keystone

Back in September I got a text from my brother asking me if I was planning to snowboard in the upcoming season. Since I was going to be back in Colorado this year would be my first chance since 2011 to really by able to go snowboarding. I said I was planning to go and he told me that I should get a season pass soon then. There was a Keystone/A-basin season pass that was only $300 at the early rate. This seemed like a pretty good deal so I got it and started looking forward to the upcoming season.

We got our first chance to go snowboarding in December right before Christmas. They hadn’t gotten a lot of snow yet so not all of the runs were open, but it’s a huge mountain and since I had never been it was a good time to start checking things out. It’s definitely a busy mountain and it doesn’t help when you go while everyone is out on winter break. After only snowboarding twice in the last 4 years in was nice to find out that I actually still know what I’m doing and could still make it down a black diamond without too much difficulty. IMG_2858

Since then we’ve had a few chances to go and every time has been a good experience. I’ve heard a few people say that they think Keystone is too busy or too touristy, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s one of the closer mountains, it’s huge, and it’s really easy to get away from the crowds.

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There has only been one day this season that we’ve gone that the snow was really stellar, but that day was probably one of the best I’ve ever experienced. I’m off on Wednesdays so Donny took a day off and we headed up the mountain. No traffic driving up, parked quickly and up close, and got right on every lift. If that wasn’t enough it started snowing soon after we got there so the snow just got better and better throughout the day. It’s not often that you get to make your own lines at a place like Keystone so it was a pretty amazing day.IMG_2975

We had a chance to go up again on a Wednesday and this solidified that this is my favorite time to go. It’s been warm here and there hasn’t been a lot of snow in the mountains. Keystone had gotten about 3 inches of snow the day before we went, but it was easy to tell that there was still ice underneath. This meant that every run was super fast. I usually like to go pretty fast, but when I knew my speed was coming from barely covered ice I was a little more worried about my ability to stop. Fortunately I made it through the day without any issues on the ice and actually had less trouble this time then I’ve had on a couple of other trips up the mountain. We did manage to find some snow that was actually pretty good and we were able to spend some time enjoying that. Even if the snow wasn’t the best it was a beautiful day, blue skies, tons of sun, and less wind than I expected. Always nice to be able to take advantage of those beautiful Colorado days and enjoy some time spent on my snowboard. 12768335_10153712434447550_7631330529895913289_o

IMG_3117The best way I’ve figured out to do Keystone this season is to basically head straight to The Outpost. It’s basically the farthest back you can get on the mountain short of taking one of the snowcats out into one of the back bowls. This really decreases the number of people that you see out on the mountain. There are also a lot of fun black diamond runs in the trees and since trees are my favorite this, in my opinion, is the best place to be. I’m still not super familiar with Keystone and since a lot of these runs seem to run together it’s tricky to tell what I’m actually on sometimes, but this doesn’t really matter one way or the other. We usually end up going on Wolverine quite a bit and going over into Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride (I think, that’s where it gets a little unclear). This a a great spot to be since there are a lot of routes to choose from. The same goes for when you go the opposite direction off the lift and head towards The Wolf Den. Again there are several runs over here that sort of run together and since it’s in the trees you can’t really tell where you are until you get to the bottom and everything runs back in to Coyote Caper. This side was where we found better snow when the rest of the mountain was pretty crunchy. I think it’s a little more shaded on this side and that with the trees seemed to maintain the snow a bit better. I could spend my whole day basically split between these couple of runs since there are really several runs that you can move across and when you’re moving through the trees it’s easy to find good variability and to take different lines each trip down. Even on busy days I usually only see a few people while I’m going down these runs, so if you don’t like crowds it’s pretty easy to get away from them. 1209345432.jpg

Back to my mention of that season pass being worth it. I paid $300 for the 2015-2016 season with a few blackout days (less than 10 days total). A regular day pass at Keystone? $130. Getting a season pass seems like you would have to go a lot to make it worth it, but if you buy it early enough you can go just a couple of times and it’s more than worth it.

I’m definitely ready for spring at this point, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more snow in the mountains to take a couple more trips up before my snowboard gets put away until next season.IMG_2861

Denver Zoo

I love living in (or near at least) bigger cities because there are so many more opportunities to go out and enjoy. I love animals and going to the zoo is one of my favorite things. Not aquariums though, they seem like they should be cool, but they’re not. Never aquariums. It’s only about 20 minutes to get to the zoo from where I live and since it’s so convenient we got a membership. We’ve had a few chances to go and each time it seems like there’s something new. This summer they’ll be finishing a new tiger exhibit that I’m excited about.

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Baby zebra in October

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Zoo lights in December

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Lion cubs in February

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Playful polar bear (plus a sleepy bear in the back)

So…

So I knew it had been a while since I had posted on my blog and even longer since I’ve posted consistently, but OMG I honestly had no clue that it had been two years since I’ve really used my site. I always feel like time is going by fast, but this definitely proves how fast things go by.

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Blame Buddy for my absence

Since most of my last posts I’ve moved a few times, graduated, and had a couple of different jobs. I’m currently living in Colorado after moving from Oregon back in September. I left my first ever physical therapist job in Dallas, Oregon to move to Broomfield, Colorado to be closer to my family. This move meant moving back home to live with my Mom and my little sister so this has really been helpful with me continuing to live as an adult child with my mom to take care of me.

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Back in Colorado

After taking a couple of months off after my move I started a new job in a PT clinic here in Broomfield. Going out to look for a job was stressful after years of people telling me how hard it is to find jobs in this area. I looked up PT clinics nearby, stopped by and dropped off resumes at four places and ended up with three interviews followed by three job offers. For the record the only place I didn’t get an interview with was in Boulder and they weren’t hiring so maybe if you’re looking in Boulder it really is a little tougher. Besides getting paid less (apparently Oregon is the place to be if you want to make money and have low rent) I really like my job. It’s just a couple of miles from home and everyone I work with is great.

It’s been very nice having the chance to be near my family and being able to spend time with them. This is the first time since I was 18 that my family has all been in the same place so it’s been a nice change.

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Dad’s hats

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Colorado is a beautiful place and has great opportunities for almost all of my favorite activities. There are multiple trails that I can run right from my house, climbing gyms (and outdoor climbing) nearby, bike trails galore, plenty of resorts to snowboard within a couple of hours, and even a few places to go paddle boarding this summer. The only thing that’s missing is the beach…

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I guess it’s an okay view at Keystone

Even though it’s only been a couple of months coming back to Colorado seems a lot like coming home. Since this is the third time I’ve moved to Colorado maybe that makes it a little bit easier to get used to. Even though I’ve already lived in this state for 9 years previously I’m trying to treat it like a totally new place and checking out all that this state has to offer. Since this side of the mountains is mostly unfamiliar to me this hasn’t been too hard and it’s definitely been fun so far.

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My adventure Buddy

Last year was a rough year, but this year I’m looking forward to some improvements and the chance to have new adventures in a new place. IMG_2648

Dad

My dad at the LHF race in 2014

My dad at the LHF race in 2014

I don’t even know how to begin to say how much I love my dad and how much he will always mean to me. I always thought my parents would live well into their 90’s and I kinda hoped they would outlive me because I honestly didn’t know what I would do without my parents. It breaks my heart that this isn’t the case. This last Tuesday, March 31st, my dad passed away.  He had dropped my mom off at the airport that morning to fly out to see me in Oregon for the week. He told her then that he was going to go out for a bike ride later since it was a nice day without a lot of wind. I can just imagine how excited my dad was to get out for a bike ride on a nice spring day after the winter. While he was out on his ride he had a completely random accident that resulted in severe injuries that caused his, most likely, immediate death. Help was there quickly, but there was nothing that anyone could have done.

He loved biking so much

He loved biking so much

I never thought I would be left without my dad this way. He was and will always be such a huge part of my life and so very important to me. There are so many things that I still wanted to be able to do with my dad, but there are also so many incredible things that I already had gotten to do with him. My dad is the reason for just about every activity that I do. He taught me how to bike, rock climb, hike, and even attempted to teach me how to sail even though I was no good at it. He gave me a terrible sense of humor with an appreciation for the dumbest jokes. He instilled a strong sense of sarcasm in me that I would never be able to get rid of even if I tried. He helped me to be confident and encouraged me, even if at times that meant pushing me into things that I didn’t want to do at first. I’m so happy that he was always there with me, getting me to do more and to be better in everything I did. My dad was constantly pushing himself and he really seemed to have no limits that he couldn’t go beyond. He was competitive and loved to break his own records.

Finishing a marathon like you finish a cup of tea. No limits for this man

Finishing a marathon like you finish a cup of tea. No limits for this man

My dad had the type of no-nonsense, blunt attitude that probably at times made him seem cold or harsh, but he was so incredibly caring and compassionate. I remember when I was a little kid my dad had take me to the zoo. We lived in Michigan and we went to the Detroit zoo all the time. I don’t remember why, but that day it was just me and my dad that went to the zoo. I know it was a fun day because I loved the zoo, but what I remember the most clearly is that before we left the zoo my dad got me a balloon. It was a big red balloon, because I loved red, that had the zoo animals on it. I was so excited about my balloon. When we got home I went right inside to show my mom my balloon that dad had gotten me. I went through the front door which had a metal screen door in front of it that shuts automatically. When I walked through with my balloon trailing behind me the door closed on it and popped my balloon. I was so upset and was crying over this balloon. My dad being the wonderful dad that he always was, went all the way back to the zoo and got me a new balloon. If that’s not love for your child than I don’t even know what is.

1996 maybe?

1996 maybe?

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I can’t say that I remember as many things as vividly from my childhood as I do that story, but there are plenty of things that my dad taught me as a kid that I still do today. My dad taught me how to ride my bike, but when I was young most of the biking I remember with my dad was actually me alone out in the desert. When we moved to Colorado when I was 9 we started mountain biking. Now I would say that I wasn’t any good at it and struggled a lot. My dad would take off with my brother and I would be left behind. Sometimes with my mom and sometimes when I was a bit older I was literally alone. There are a lot of trails at 18 road in Fruita, CO but I knew them well enough to at least get back. Now this is something I liked to bring up and tease my dad about. Who leaves a child out alone in the desert to just try to catch up? My dad that’s who. Because of this though one of my proudest accomplishments was when I moved home for grad school and started biking with my dad. Why was I so proud? Because I was finally fast enough that he actually stayed with me! I mean he still could have totally left me in the dust, but he didn’t (well he did a couple of times, but that was when I dragged a few friends along as well). I loved going on bike rides with my dad. Some days I didn’t really want to go, but he would convince me. There were other days that I rushed home from school or work because it was a beautiful day and I wanted to be able to go out for a ride. My dad was with me when I finally transitioned to clipless pedals and I don’t even think he laughed at me the two times that I got my foot stuck and tipped over. I’ve ridden up many hills with my dad’s hand on my back helping to lessen my struggle (Britney told me this was cheating as I passed her). I often felt bad for slowing him down, but he never made me feel bad and always told me I was doing a good job. We would get home and he would tell my mom that I was getting stronger and faster. I know my dad was proud of me and that meant so much to me.

My dad with my brother's after a race, my brother definitely  got that whole "no limits" thing from my dad

My dad with my brother’s after a race, my brother definitely got that whole “no limits” thing from my dad

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Running was something I actually started kind of on my own in high school, but failed miserably at. At that same time both of my parents started to run. I was kind of back and forth with it, but my parents actually both got quite into running. I did my first 5k with my parents and my sister when I was 19 (I think) when I had gone to stay with my parents in Cedar Falls, IA for the summer (I was going to school in Colorado). I finished that 5k in about 45 minutes and had to walk most of it, I was clearly not a runner. Again a did a bit of running here and there, but mostly my running was trying to get past a walk and still be able to breathe. Finally I really started to run when I was in grad school and back living at home. I finally broke through the mental barrier that had kept me from running for years. I ran mostly by myself for a few months and the started to run with my mom and sometimes my dad. My mom was always my running partner, but often the 3 of us would go out on weekends to run together. If my dad was training for a race he would take off and meet us in the last half mile to finish with us. Other times he would manage to slow down to stay with us. When my dad was training for the Des Moines marathon in 2013I went on one of his training runs with him. It was his race pace day and he was doing about 16 miles. I went out for the first two miles with him and since his race pace was around a 9:30 I could actually keep up pretty well with him. It was his slow pace and my normal pace, but I was still happy to be able to start his run with him. I always kinda worried about him on those longs runs, I basically forced him to carry water or gatorade with him because I know otherwise he would just push himself and not worry about that. He listened to my advice though and it was even the book that I had given him that he used for his training. He did great in his marathon and I was happy to be there to see him finish. My dad might not be the whole reason that I run, but he is the reason that I race. I’ve done tons of 5k’s with him and my mom and they both finally got to see me in my 5th triathlon last year. One of my dad’s favorite races in the last few years was the Living History Farms race here in Des Moines. This is a race that he trains hard for. In 2013 though I planned to do the race with him. We had done a 5k just a few weeks before and I got a new 5k PR. I knew I could do the 7 miles for the race. It got to the race day and it was about 16 degrees outside with snow and ice all over the path for the run. And this was an off road race with hills to climb and creeks to cross. I was feeling rough. I think I made it about a mile and a half before I had to stop to walk. I think the only time recent to that when I had to stop prior to 3 miles was when I went out to run a 5k at school the day after giving blood. I was so mad that I was struggling so much with this run and again felt bad to slow my dad down. He did mind at all, he stayed right with me and just encouraged me the whole time. I am so happy that I got to do that race with my dad. I want to keep doing races and wish that I could do them with my dad. I know he won’t really be with me, but for some reason I know that running, biking, and racing will be some of the times that I’ll feel the closest to my dad. That makes me happy and gives me the courage to continue to do the things that I loved doing so much with my dad.

John Deere 5k 2013

John Deere 5k 2013

Before the LHF race 2013

Before the LHF race 2013

After the Hot Chocolate 5k 2013

After the Hot Chocolate 5k 2013

Another thing that my dad taught me everything about is rock climbing. I don’t do it nearly as much as I would like to, but it is truely one of my favorite things to do. I started climbing with my dad when I was 3. I remember going to Planet Rock in Pontiac, MI to climb with my dad. I also remember that me and my brother would beg for Clif bars and Reeses when we went and my dad often gave in. We would also climb out at Grand Ledge and my mom would be there and belay my dad. My mom isn’t much into climbing, but she would usually still come along to hang out and watch. While I was in Iowa for grad school we went to Climb Iowa a couple of times a week to climb. My mom would use the little gym and I would climb with my dad and sister. We usually bouldered but when our egos were damaged from failing a V1 would would go down to top rope to remind ourselves that we could still finish 5.11’s. My dad even showed my sister how to belay me once, it was a hard climb but I refused to fall because I was not super confident in those belaying skills yet. I yelled directions to my sister the whole way up out of fear that she would drop me. In the past few years of climbing together me and my dad had established a team effort at finishing climbs. Basically my dad would choose a route he wanted to do and then ask me to tell him how to do it. I would try it, fall, and then figure out the best way to make it happen. I’d tell him what to do and then he would follow my advice and often finish it before me, much to my disappoint of not beating him up the route. Sometimes he would try it a different way, convinced it was better than what I suggested. He would fall repeatedly until he finally listened to me and finish it. I still remember finishing a route that my dad could never finish before they took it down and he was no happy that I got it and he couldn’t. My dad all the strength to climb, but I like to think I had the finesse. We would do ladders after bouldering and we would both do the best we could, me always trying to beat my dad. I think I came close once and that’s how I measured my strength gains. We did pull ups too, which I never had any hope of beating him at. I would get 6 to his 30. Mostly pull ups were a time for my dad to show off and my sister to try to make me fall off the hang board. I haven’t climbed much in the past few months because there isn’t anywhere to go in Salem, which is honestly probably the thing I hate most about that place. Now that I’m thinking about it the last time I climbed was with my dad when he came to visit me in November. We went to a gym in Tigard and I was so happy to get to climb with my dad again.

Last time climbing with my dad a The Circuit in November

Last time climbing with my dad a The Circuit in November

My dad at the top of Ancient Art on Fisher Towers, 2006 I think. It was me, my dad, and my brother climbing

My dad at the top of Ancient Art on Fisher Towers, 2006 I think. It was me, my dad, and my brother climbing

Another things I did with my dad throughout my life is hike. We moved to Colorado when I was 9 (or about to be 9) and we hiked a lot. And I hated it. A lot. I don’t know if I had some kind of asthma as a kid or what but we would hike and I would be out of breath and I hated it. Apparently I had hated in for a long time. My mom always tells me that my parents figured out when I was little that if my dad gave me his watch and told me that we would turn around at a certain time then I would be fine. I always hated the unknown and wanted to know when I could be done. At least they had me figured out. At some point in college I went out for a hike and I enjoyed it. I remember thinking “wow, my parents would be so happy that I finally like this” and I really do love it. I love being outside. Donny and Tabitha had come to visit me in Oregon and took them on a hike to see a bunch of waterfalls. It was apparently a 5 miles hike, but it didn’t seem that long to me. They were dying and I think they might have wanted to kill me when I suggested we could have taken the longer 8 mile route. I took my dad on the same hike a few months later and when we were nearing the end he said “If I would have known that was it I would have said we could do the longer route.” It made me laugh. It’s just like my dad to tell you “oh, this is gonna be easy, it’s really quick”. Then 15 miles and many hours later when everyone wants to just sit down and pass out he would be yelling at you to pick up the pace because it’s easy. I took my sister out on a 7.5 mile hike to a waterfall in Bend, OR a couple of weeks ago. I figured it would take and hour or so and told her it wouldn’t be bad at all. We got back and she pointed out it was taken 3 hours and that she still in fact didn’t like hiking. That was when I realized I had become my father, taking people on hikes that I said would be easy and then dragging them around for several hours. Unfortunately I didn’t get to tell my dad that story, I know he would have appreciated how I tortured my sister with a beautiful hike.

Mee Canyon in 2008 or 2009

Mee Canyon in 2008 or 2009

My first 14'er in 2007

My first 14’er in 2007

Silver Falls last November

Silver Falls last November

My dad was even the one that taught me how to snowboard. I always think of snowboarding as something I do with my brother, but it was my dad that I went with the first time. I was not even 10 yet and my brother was away for Winter fest with the youth group. I was too young to go and my mom was at home with Anna who had just been born. We went to Denver and then took a train to Winter Park. I don’t remember much else about that trip besides the first ride up the lift and going down with my dad. I also remember on the train ride back they had said you could sit in any seat. We found seats and my dad had left to get food or something. While he was gone a couple came and said I was in their seats. I said how the conductor said we could sit anywhere, but they said they had left things there from the first ride and they wanted to keep their seats. I was 9 and wasn’t about to argue so I got up and waited for my dad in one of the in between cars. We found new seats and my dad left again. This could be totally not true, but I’ve always wondered if he went back to tell those people off. It wouldn’t surprise me.

Out of all the things my dad has taught me some I loved right away (rock climbing) and some I grew to love (hiking). At east one of the things he taught me was a total failure. Cross country skiing. We went when I was probably 7 or 8 and I haven’t done it again since and I still hate it. We were out a a park in Michigan, my mom would know the name, but I don’t remember and the four of us went out skiing. The ski boots I had were used or hand me downs. I don’t know if they were too small or just bad shoes, but my feet were freezing. I’m sure I complained the whole time and was not moving fast. Because of this we were still a ways out from the car when it started to get dark. My mom and brother went ahead to get back to the car while my dad lifted my up on his shoulders and carried my. He carried me while I carried my skis. I was small enough for him to carry me but I’m not I wasn’t still so small that it was easy. We got closer and my mom had turned on the Jeep lights to help us find out way back, We finally got back and I haven’t wanted to cross country ski since. I may have not learned to like skiing, but it always reminds me that my dad loved me enough to carry me on his back through the snow in the dark.

Graduation from MSC in 2011

Graduation from MSC in 2011

My dad was absolutely awesome. I’m so happy that I got to spend so much time with my family and that we have done so many cool things together. I almost wish I liked my dad less so that maybe I would miss him less. He was just too wonderful and I love him so much for who he was and the times that I got to spend with him. I know that I will always miss my dad and I’m so happy that I have so many fun ways to remember him.

Graduation from DMU 2014

Graduation from DMU 2014

I hope this post gives people an idea of the kind of man my dad was and how cool he was. Cool really is the right word for my dad I think because that’s what he was. Anyone that knows my dad though doesn’t need me to tell them anything for them to know how great he was. I know people loved my dad and that he loved them. He loved his family, he loved his friends, he even loved my friends like they were more of his kids. I can’t say enough about him and how much he means to me.

Castle Rock 2006

Castle Rock 2006

I love you dad and I really am going to miss you so much.

Donald Avon Warbritton III

November 25th 1958 to March 31st 2015

This is my Dad

This is my Dad

Where Have I Been

Last year was a rough year. It definitely had some high points, but it was year of me mostly having no clue what I was doing or what I was going to do. I also think I had a total of three posts last year…my bad. I still have no clue what I’m doing, but things are at least mostly settled in a routine for the time being. During the last year there have been a lot of changes and I’ve spent time in a bunch of different places.

I started off last year in Houston, Texas. I actually did have a post about this. Overall, this was probably one of the best times of last year for me. I got to avoid the winter by spending January and February in Houston. I got to do an internship at an awesome sports medicine clinic where I met some great people.

Downtown Houston near the aquarium

Downtown Houston near the aquarium

First MMA fight experience. LFC 27 (I think...)

First MMA fight experience. LFC 27 (I think…)

After Houston I was back in Iowa for a short two weeks (actually less because of traveling). After that I headed off to York, Pennsylvania for 8 weeks for my last internship. I can’t say that this was a great time for me. I had just come off of an internship at a place I liked in a cool city. Then I went to a small town, where it still was quite wintery, I lived with a creeper (seriously, I have lived strange places, but this…), I was working at an inpatient rehab (I never wanted to do this, but was there as a requirement), and I was studying daily for my upcoming board exam. These two months were probably the apex of the start of my decline for 2014. I spent most of this time feeling like I didn’t know how to be a therapist and this really culminated at the end of that internship. Maybe I’ll post more on this later, but long story short, things were bad and I was worried I wasn’t going to graduate. It was not a good time and I was so ready to get out of there. I was packed and ready to go and left straight from work as soon as I was done on my last day. Back to the interesting part of this time…

I did go to Pittsburgh for a Penguins game while in PA and it was one of the coolest things ever

I did go to Pittsburgh for a Penguins game while in PA and it was one of the coolest things ever

After York I headed straight out to meet my mom and sister in Washingtion DC since they had flown out so we could do a bit of road tripping. We started out with a couple of days in DC and saw a few things that I had seen when we went a few years back and a couple of new places. 221

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Next we headed to Philadelphia where we stayed along Penn’s Landing so there was cool restaurant that we walked to for dinner since it was Mother’s day. The next day I dragged my mom and Anna along a 2 mile walk through random (and sometimes slightly sketchy) streets of Philadelphia to quite possibly the best breakfast place ever.

Peach french toast at Green Eggs Cafe (I would go back to Philly just for this place)

Peach french toast at Green Eggs Cafe (I would go back to Philly just for this place)


Seriously I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to find another place that measures up (I found one that comes close in Salem). Perfect way to start the day and worth the walk. Then we made our way over to Independence Hall and to see the Liberty Bell. I feel like any time you’re traveling around the East coast a lot of the sight seeing involves historical monuments, which I don’t mind because I’ve always liked those types of things. 279

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Next up was New York City. We stayed in New Jersey where I had stayed a few weeks before when I had met a friend in NYC for my birthday weekend. My dad had reserved all of our hotels the rest of the trip and put us up and a bunch of super nice places. I chose this one and he laughed at me cause we were in a pretty cheap hotel, but still safe and in a very convenient location. Since I had just been there a few weeks before I was fortunate enough to know how to get around. I had it down how to take the train in to the city and did pretty well navigating the subway as well (no wrong lines or stops through the whole trip!). Of course we did all the NYC musts; Times Square, Broadway (Lion King!), and the Statue of Liberty. This was a great part of the trip and it was fun to be there with my family.

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Boston was next. I somehow managed to navigate us through those tiny little streets in the middle of Boston. We did’t spend much time in Boston and I can’t say that day was one of the best for me (again related to possibly failing school and not graduation). We did check out the Freedom Trail and got to explore Boston a little bit.

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Oh and there was a ship! USS Constitution

 

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Old North Church

 

After lots of driving-the tiny East coast states are fun to drive through, but then we had to go horizontally across New York-we were on our way to Niagara Falls. It was pretty cold that day, but we were commiteed to seeing the falls. We had to stay on the US side since I was the only one with a passport and didn’t even have it with me. We took the Maid of the Mist tour which is really an understatement. It’s more hurricane than mist. There was still snow near the base of the falls so that’s how cold it was. It was really cool to see the falls and we mostly stayed dry (thank God for those silly ponchos). Also me and my mom attempted to re-create an old picture…it was probably much easier to hold a toddler me than adult me, but she did pretty good. We were going to stay till the fireworks that night, but that was hours away and since this was getting towards the end of our trip we were all pretty worn out. We left Niagara, which, by the way is not really a great town. Tip: go to the Canadian side of stay right at the Falls. We drove to Cleveland, I think, to start making our way home.

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On the way home we made a side trip to Ubly, Michigan where I had found a malamute breeder. We were going to try to stop to see some family along the trip, but we were in a rush and they happened to be busy. We went and I got to choose my puppy. I was originally set on another puppy, but once I saw my Buddy I was conflicted. I finally made a choice and he was officially mine. For the first time since I bought my car I let someone else drive it, my mom, so I could cuddle my little bear. I don’t think I have ever been so excited and happy.

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His tongue is still always sticking out

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After lots and lots of driving we finally made it back to Iowa! I spent the next three months there while I was somewhat looking for a job. At the end of July I went out to Portland, Oregon for a couple of job interviews.IMG_1885

Within a couple of weeks I was moving out to Oregon. I took a job in Dallas, Oregon and moved to Salem (about 30 minutes away). I’ll have more updates about this to come. So that’s where I am for now, checking out Salem and the rest of Oregon. More updates to come!

Buddy in our apartment in Salem the day I moved in

Buddy in our apartment in Salem the day I moved in