getoutside2015

Work in the 9-5. Adventure in the 5-9.

Build yer own foam roller — May 8, 2015

Build yer own foam roller

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Okay, here’s a thing that’s cool: Foam rollers!

I’ve LOVED using the one at the climbing gym the past few months… It’s hugely helpful in keeping my back and neck all happy. Because I’m sitting all day in my desk chair, I think my neck has a tendency to get a little knotted. One good foam roll, though, and it feels much better.

I don’t always have time to waltz over to the climbing gym, though, so I decided to make one to keep for my very own. Here’s the process:

1. Gather materials.

Home Depot has all the stuff you’ll need, including:

  • 1 PVC pipe (I used one that was about 4 inches wide and 2 feet long)
  • enough foam pipe insulation to cover the PVC pipe
  • duct tape
PVC pipe. Duct tape. Foam.
PVC pipe. Duct tape. Foam.

2. Cut the foam so it’s the same length as the pipe. It’s not rocket science; it doesn’t have to be exact. In fact, a couple of my edges hung over and a couple more were slightly too short. It did not make any difference to the end product at all.

Cut the foam so it's the same length as the pipe.
Cut the foam so it’s the same length as the pipe.

3. Use any type of junk tape to secure the foam to the pipe. It probably won’t look pretty, unless you’re Martha Stewart.

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I’m using my palm to smoosh the foam down and my thumb to secure it with tape.

You’ll notice that the surface is very uneven. That’s okay! Only the most exquisite foam rollers have textured surfaces for optimum back smoosh.

4. Wrap the whole thing in some fancy duct tape. This makes it look much nicer and ensures that all the parts will stay immobile.

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I’ve noticed that when I use it, my homegrown roller is a little bit noisier than a professionally built one. It creaks ominously, and the foam tends to squeak against the plastic PVC pipe. It’s not terrible, though. I think it even adds to the general aesthetic of duct tape and PVC pipe.

Maximize adventure time — May 7, 2015

Maximize adventure time

Pre-race jumping. There was no post-race jumping.
Pre-race jumping. There was no post-race jumping.

It seems that we’ve all collectively decided that the best way to be is really really busy. I saw a lady reading newspaper while walking down the sidewalk. My first thought was: “Cool. That lady really prioritizes reading in her day.” My second thought was: “Dang. She must be really busy all the time.”

I don’t think there’s a hard and fast rule that people should only read books at home with a cup of tea or whatever, and I don’t think that people should get down on themselves for engaging in all sorts of activities. I do think, though, that it was cool of her to be thinking about how to maximize all of her moments in ways that she enjoyed.

Another person that’s really good at this is my friend Rosy. I drove north to visit her and run a half marathon this last weekend. A few things didn’t go as expected, but Rosy kept up a great attitude and an adventurous spirit, and hey! we had much more fun than if everything had just gone as planned.

The weekend started with a long debate about the pros and cons of driving versus taking the courtesy shuttle. Pros of shuttling: The race was an additional 60 billion miles from Rosy’s place of residence and gas is expensive. Cons of shuttling: The scheduled shuttle departure time was obscenely early (7 AM), 20 minutes away, and would get us to the race an inexplicable 2 hours early. We decided to take the shuttle. Result: Much caffeine chugged before we left to get the shuttle.

The shuttle, however, never came. We ended up hanging out in the parking lot with 6 other folks for about an hour and a half before deciding that it was probably best just to drive. Result: 6 new good friends!

We still arrived at the race start about an hour early, so we wandered around and mingled for awhile. Rosy found a basketball in the woods so we played a game of “GoatRock”. I lost. Result: an hour-long pre-race basketball warmup!

At about mile 10, I was still feeling pretty snappy and wanted to speed up the last couple miles but Rosy was feeling that our current pace was ideal and wanted to stay steady. I busted ahead and this resulted in my Favorite memory of the race. As I was ambitiously charging up this approaching hill, I heard Rosy yelling behind me: “YEAH, MOOPS! GO FOR IT! GOOD JOB, MOOPS!” She cheered me on for a while; I still heard the lingering woops when I was about a half-mile ahead her. Result: Rosy is the best race partner.

All in all, plans don’t always go according to plan, but an adventurous attitude that makes the Best of every situation will always pull you through. Maybe it means you’ll be walking down the sidewalk with a newspaper, or maybe it means you’ll be cheering on the friend that ditched you. Either way, I think it’s the best way to be.

Adventure in the 5-9 — April 22, 2015

Adventure in the 5-9

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One way that I’m trying to maximize my adventure time this summer is to use all of the time that I’m not required to be at work, not just the weekends.

We can’t spend our whole lives gallivanting around the earth; if we could, everyone probably would. A balance has to be struck between the fund-production and fund-consumption areas of life. Weekends are great, except that they only happen once per week. Nights, on the other hand, happen every day!

Here are some brainstorms for 5-9 adventures:

  • Bike/drive/hike/run somewhere and camp.
  • Sleep under the stars in the back-yard.
  • Attract some moths (shine a flashlight onto a white sheet).
  • Forage for dinner and breakfast.
  • Bike/hike/run to a destination body of water and jump in.
  • What else?

I think this will also tend to be one of those things that snowballs.. the more I get myself moving at out and about after work, the more ideas I’ll have for adventures and the more motivated I’ll be to do them.

Activity produces more activity. Laziness produces more laziness. – Anonymous, or at least I can’t find it right now.

I read that quote one time and it’s seriously stuck with me. I didn’t even believe it at first, but it’s absolutely true. I tend to have stretches of either activity or inactivity, and unless I consciously try to get myself out of an inactive rut, I’m usually there for awhile.

Bikes, Bands, and Beers. — April 21, 2015

Bikes, Bands, and Beers.

Visit from my good friend Rosy last week! After she relocated her dumb butt to far-away Lutsen, Minnesota, we’ve had to really maximize every visit with long runs, deep talks, and as much laughter as possible. Mission accomplished– we ran, enjoyed beers and friends, and explored all over my fair city on our bikes.

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Rosemary and I

This visit started out with a nice long run up and down the river. This is one of my new favorite routes– it’s very diverse and keeps my attention occupied while my legs are busy. We also kept occupied by getting really Deep and Philosophical and talking about Life.

One thing that I’ve noticed about life and exercise is that the body and mind are more intimately connected than I often remember. If the mind is healthy, the body will feel energized, if the body is healthy, the mind is healthy. It’s seems counter intuitive to take the time to go for a long run while you have deadlines and responsibility and dishes piling up, but I think consistent physical exercise is key to a balanced mind.

It’s amazing how many times I’ve come home for work feeling tired and uninspired, dreading a run, then find that the run makes me more tired, but also more inspired. I come back feeling like I’m ready and willing to accomplish things.. Maybe it’s the blood to the brain.

Post 8-miler.
Post 8-miler.

We also started a band. Keep your eyes peeled for our tour dates. We haven’t completely settled on a band name yet, but Cyclomentals seems like a front-runner. It stems from each member’s association with a natural element, combined with our obsession with bikes (our tour will be on bike, too): Cyclo-elementals, cyclomentals.

As an example of the element idea, I’ll be the drummer and my element is Thunder. Hauling a drum set on a bike tour seems a bit ambitious so I’ve decided to drum up my thunder beats by beating with rain sticks on whatever surfaces present themselves during our rock show. All in all, it should be pretty good.

After the run we demolished some beer samples at a nearby brewery. It takes a tiny tiny beer to fizzle the brain after an 8-mile run, so we decided to bike to dinner. There are few feelings better than biking with buds toward food, so we made it a theme for the rest of the visit. We biked all around exploring my fair city, eating food and looking at all the different signs of spring. It’s refreshing to look back on these pictures now, because Nature’s thrown us a little surprise today: it’s 40 degrees and snowing.

This is half the band. Roughly half... the numbers are fluid.
This is half the band. Roughly half… the numbers are fluid.
Rain, Springtime, and Thursday– Refreshment — April 9, 2015

Rain, Springtime, and Thursday– Refreshment

It’s raining!

Rain has pretty much always been my favorite type of weather. Maybe I should move to Portland or someplace where the precipitation isn’t frozen for 4/5 of the year, but I think it’s the contrast that really makes me smile. Everything’s been either dead or hibernating out of sight for the past 9 months, and the rain on dirt is just a really refreshing change. It melts the snow, washes the dirty mucky car splash from the bases of the trees by the side of the road, and heralds the transition to buds and blooms and baby baby animals. Also, it SMELLS good.

Poking through. Good job, guys!
Poking through. Good job, guys!

I also love Thursdays. It’s the day we get goofy at work– in anticipation of the weekend, I think. In the earlier parts of the week I usually feel organized and productive (and do things like start blogs), but it’s also nice to have a feeling of release in the later parts. There’s a small but significant difference between the new beginnings of Monday and Winter which need to be hauled up by the scruffs of their necks and the shy but irrepressible beginnings of Spring and Thursdays. Thursday is the week’s equivalent to springtime, when I feel excited and energetic and ready for the fun to come (Weekend and Summer).

Flowers!
Flowers!

Speaking of beginnings, I have two brand spankin’ new things today:

  1. Tonight I have a technique training session at the climbing gym. I’ve been climbing inside all winter and I’m looking forward to/feeling sort daunted when I think about my first outdoor climbing season this summer.
  2. I’m also meeting up with a Craigslist neighbor to buy a skateboard. I’ve decided to “cross-train” for next snowboard season, and hopefully develop some/any hand-eye coordination and balance.

It’s raining, it’s springtime, and it’s Thursday. Bring it on!

Who I am and why I’m here… — April 8, 2015

Who I am and why I’m here…

I’ve spent a long time being dissatisfied with my chosen career in journalism. It seems like half the readers and journalists are just looking for a sensational story to tickle the emotions with no basis on anything real or valuable. I’m also rarely interested in any of the topics. I want people to write about positive things that I’m interested in– a new type of plant, someone’s kayak voyage across an interesting body of water, the best ways to balance working in the 9-5 and adventuring in the 5-9…

What I recently realized, however, that I’m probably just giving myself an excuse to be lazy. You know that quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world”? I hate it, because I’m very lazy. This blog, however, is going to be my attempt at battling that tendency and writing the type of content I also want to read. I don’t think I’m really going to conduct interviews and try to produce a news source as much just write about things the things that I would like to read about. Hopefully, this exercise will inspire both of us to get outside and enjoy our world more.

My name is Grace Moores. I’m a 20-something living and working in the northern Midwest. My two favorite things are Nature and strong healthy people enjoying it. I’m a biker, snowboarder, entomologist, hiker, camper, canoe-er, and all-around adventurista.

Goals

My stories will inspire you.

Your feedback will shape my writing.

Our shared experience will refresh us both.

The Moores ladies. I'm in the middle.
The Moores ladies. I’m in the middle.
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