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

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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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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)

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

Flagstaff

I know I had a few posts about things I did while I was in Flagstaff this summer, but I still wanted to make a bit of a summary post. I should have written this about a month ago right after I got back from Flagstaff, but as usual I am way behind. I just looked through my last few posts and I have barely been putting anythig new up! So I apologize for that, I’ve had a lot of blog ideas but I have been totally slacking on actually writing things up.

So I was in Flagstaff, Arizona this summer for my second clinical internship. I was working in the inpatient therapy department at the Flagstaff Medical Center. The internship itself was such a great experience. I had done very limited acute care observation in undergrad so this was all really new to me, but I absolutely loved it. I’m still not sure what setting I want to work in after graduation, but acute care is at the top of my list so far. Everyone in the department was incredibily nice and I even stayed with the family of someone that worked in the outpatient department for the 10 weeks that I was there. They were honestly all such great people and Flagstaff in general seemed to be quite a friendly place.

When I told people that I was in Arizona for the summer most people automatically mentioned something about how hot it is there. Flagstaff is much different than the rest of the state in that respect though. Flagstaff sits at just under 7,000 feet in elevation and therefore stays quite mild over the summer. When I first got to town I think the temperatures were in the upper 80’s to mid 90’s and everyone was talking about how hot it was. The rest of the summer is was a more normal 75-85 degrees most days, which was amazing. It would also cool way down during the night and still be nice and cool in the morning, around 50 degrees most early mornings. Flagstaff also has a monsoon season in the summer and this summer it was no joke. It rained every day for almost 3 weeks straight! It didn’t usually last long and it would be beautiful most of the rest of the day, but it always seemed to rain right when I was getting off of work. It was a little inconvenient at times, but it was still nice to experience some different weather for the summer. After leaving Flagstaff I was not at all prepared for the extreme heat in Colorado and Iowa, I was totally used to the lower temps already.

Serious about the monsons

Serious about the monsoons

One of the favorite things in Flagstaff was the downtown. It was so nice, there were tons of shops and restaurants and a lot of unique and local places. Parking there was a pain but I was living close enough that I could ride my bike there easily. I could just go and wander around for a while and it was always so nice. I didn’t take advantage of things too many times but they always had events going on downtown as well. It was a great place to hang out on the weekends.

They had some great murals on a bunch of the buildings downtown. This is the side of Absolute Bikes (turns out I have a 2nd cousin who works there)

They had some great murals on a bunch of the buildings downtown. This is the side of Absolute Bikes (turns out I have a 2nd cousin who works there)

I loved this store

I loved this store

I already had a post about running in Flagstaff. The Flagstaff Urban Trail System was amazing and there were also a ton of other trails around town. I wish I would have spent a little more time exploring them. A great way to experience new trails and meet some new people was running with the Flagstaff Trail Divas. It was a great group of ladies that organize a run each week. Again lots of very nice people and it’s a good way to find new trails. It was a great group.

First time I ran with the group

First time I ran with the group

Flagstaff apparently has some pretty incredible mountain biking but since I had only taken my roadbike this summer I can’t comment much on that besides that I know the trails exist! The town is pretty friendly to bikers and has nice, wide bike lanes on several roads. Especially Lake Mary Road which is a great place to ride. Pretty much if you’re riding in Flagstaff you’re going to be doing some hill climbing but there are enough places that the grades are gentle enough the riding can still be pretty easy and fun.

Lake Mary Road

Lake Mary Road

Near the actual lake

Near the actual lake

Flagstaff also is supposed to have some really nice climbing. Sadly I didn’t go experience any “real” outdoor climbing, I know, I’m totally lame. My excuse was that I didn’t know anyone there to go with. Instead I climbed at a bouldering gym all summer, which I still really liled. There were two climbing gym in town, one that was more top roping and looked pretty nice, but I was going to be climbing alone so I was more into bouldering. So I got a membership for a couple of months at Beta Bouldering gym. It was an awesome gym and everyone there was always super nice. I really liked climbing there and had been trying to go 2-3 times per week. I think they did a good job of rating there climbs consistently and were always putting up new routes so I always had a few projects to work on.

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I was working mostly on V3's and V4's this summer

I was working mostly on V3’s and V4’s this summer

Flagstaff is also close to a lot of great national parks and whatnot. The Grand Canyon was 75 miles away. Sunset Crater was about 25 and Wupatki about 30 (I think, that’s a total guesstimate). Walnut Canyon was a another Native ruins site that was just outside of town. There are several Native reservations in the area and obviously that’s a big influence there. So it’s also really to be able to go check out the more ancient Native sites as well.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

 

Sunset Crater (actually this was a different one, but the same area)

Sunset Crater (actually this was a different one, but the same area)

This is Sunset

This is Sunset

One of the sites at Wupatki

One of the sites at Wupatki

Walnut Canyon

Walnut Canyon (try to spot the ruins)

Overall in my opinion Flagstaff is an amazing place. People asked me if I would move there and I would definitely consider it. I really loved it there and the summer was amazing. I heard how much snow they get in the winter though and I’m not quite sure I could handle it. I guess I would just have to do a lot of snowboarding, which I think could maybe make the snow worth it. I’ll just have to wait and see where life takes me, maybe it will be back to Flagstaff one of these days!

Running Flagstaff

Last Sunday I went out for my first trail run in Flagstaff. The family that I’m staying with here in Flagstaff is super, super nice and their house is really close to the hospital but possibly my favorite part of living here is that the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (or FUTS, pronounced foots supposedly) runs right by their house. I mean literally right next to the house, I basically walk 30 feet out the door and start running.

Where I start my run

 

It’s amazing. Anyway I took off on my first run with a plan to go out for 1.5 miles and turn back for my normal 3 miles total. Since I had only run once in the previous two weeks or more and I had only been in Flagstaff one week (it usually takes about two weeks to acclimatize to a higher elevation and 7,000 ft is no joke) I didn’t really have high expectations for my first run. I figured at worst I would just end up walking more of the 3 miles. Once I started running I was actually feeling pretty good and decided that I should try to run at least my first 1.5 miles. My legs felt good and I was breathing kinda hard but even at my halfway point I was feeling good enough to keep running on my way back. I made it to 2.5 miles before having to stop. This just so happens to be in the middle of a super steep hill. Seriously this hill is ridiculous, it’s only about a tenth of a mile but it’s soo steep. Running down it is hard and even just walking up it is tough. I really only had to walk about 0.05 of the hill but had to take a short break at the top to try to breath again before finishing my run. I ran super slow throughout my run but I was really just happy that I was able to do as much as I did because I was thinking it was going to be way worse. It’s been just over a week since that first run and I’ve just gone out for four more runs since then; three on the urban trail and one on the Aspen Trail (separate blog about that and the running group I went with to come). They’ve all been pretty slow but have still gone pretty well and I’ve been happy with my running lately. It’s been really nice to run in a new place and to have a chance to run on trails more. I had gotten off of work a bit early today and it was a bit cooler this afternoon so I went running a little earlier than usual. Today was my best run since I’ve been here and ran my fastest three miles on this trail so far (it was still slow, but my fastest yet here). Especially my first mile and even the second were pretty fast. Today was the first time I’ve listened to music while out running (listened to “Omens” the new CD from 3oh!3 and loved it for running) so I think that’s why a ran almost 2 minutes faster than I had been for my first mile and still at least a minute faster for my 2nd (that hill in the middle of the third mile kinda killed my time). I’m still working on it but I’m really loving running in Flagstaff. The weather and the trails really make this an awesome place for running.Flagstaff-Urban-Trails-and-Bikeways-Map_thumb_pdf

Grease Monkey

There are very few things that I know about cars. I know I like driving them and I really like pretty ones, that’s about it. But the one thing I do know how to do is change the oil in my Jeep and this is something that I am immensely proud of. Seriously how many girls are willing to be roll around under a car getting covered in grease rather than pay someone to do it for them? I guess I just think it’s pretty cool. I’m definitely not great at it, I usually get oil all over myself, burn myself at least 3 times, (seriously wait for the car to cool down, oil filters get freaking hot), and have to stand on the front wheel and bumper just to be able to reach into the engine. It’s definitely not a glamorous skill to have but it’s an interesting one that also happens to save me like $50.