New Year, I swear I’m still alive

I’m a month into the new year, and realized that it’s been probably six months since I’ve posted anything on here. This makes me sad because I really do enjoy putting up a bit of what’s been going on!

There was just a little too long where I didn’t feel like I had anything interesting going on in my life. I’ve pretty much been rotating between work, working out, curling, and being a bum, with a few fun adventures with friend thrown in.¬†Too many small little things to cover, but I’ll get the big ones covered.

Let’s start with curling. That’s always a pretty big thing for me, right? Well this season we worked our butts off and traveled a TON. Sadly, we seemed to have this curse where we couldn’t win more than one game per event. The crazy thing was the teams that we were beating! Some of the top teams out there, many of whom went on to crush the rest of their games to qualify in the same event we beat them at. Oh well. The end result is that we missed the Continental Cup Qualifying, and have opted out of playing in US National Championship. With no hope of qualifying for the Women’s World Curling Championship, we decided to save our time and money and apply it towards next season.

This year I also got to play in the US Mixed Doubles National Championships in Denver. This is an event where, this year, you sign up with your teammate and you go to Nationals. Nationals does not have a set number of teams. There’s a good chance that the qualifying format will change after this year, as there were over 30 teams playing for the one spot. There was a bit of a team boom due to the inclusion of the Mixed Doubles discipline in the upcoming 2018 Olympics. My teammate and I made it all the way through the A side of the event, only to lose all three qualifying games. Therefore, we’re out. The upside of making it through the A side was all of the cool things we got to see in Denver. I’ll add some pictures once I get them fixed of the struggles that come with having taken them on my phone.

In other news, I’ve been really enjoying my workouts lately. I’m pretty much down to kickboxing and running. Only now I’m signing up for more and more races, and they are getting longer and longer… therefore I’m trying to stick to my training schedule I designed. So far I’ve been getting 2 or 3 runs a week. On top of that I’ve been getting 2 or 3 classes in at ilovekickboxing.com. My one run a month has been going well, I’ll get them all added to a side panel here so you can all keep track with me!

As for kickboxing, I’m happy to say my push-ups are getting better and better and my punches are getting stronger and stronger. There is a contest I’ve entered, which is called the 45 day body transformation contest. It was going great for a little while, but recently I’ve had a horrible run of low blood sugars, which require eating some of those not-so-great-for-you fast acting carbs. Delicious though. Lucky Charms have been my go-to recently. YUM! Weight loss or not, I’m proud of some of the new habits I’m gaining.

And last but not least, work. I’ve been working at Dick’s Sporting Goods through the USOC Contenders program. It has been great, especially through our crazy travel and competition schedule this fall. They have been great understanding that I was going to be unavailable a lot of the busy shopping weekends. And man was it a crazy thing to be back working retail over a holiday season! The biggest struggle by far is that I already owned a lot of nice work out clothes… but I never seem to actually have enough if my continual purchasing of more says anything.

In the collection of other things I’ve been doing to stay busy, I took a trip out to Milwaukee to visit friends, stopped out to watch some of the Junior National Curling Championship, played in a couple fun spiels, and have been playing around with my new camera (Christmas present!). In the up and coming short term, I’ve got a trip to Florida to visit my dad (and see some sunshine) and some more races and fun curling events.

A really quick summary of life at home

Generally, I’ve been trying to enjoy all the awesome things we have right at home that I often forget about in my love and desire to see new places. So that means plenty of time in the parks enjoying the end of summer and time with friends.

Chilling with some ducks at the park on the Mississippi River.
Chilling with some ducks at the park on the Mississippi River.
A pretty sunset I caught on my way to kickboxing one night. Perhaps it's because I read the schedule wrong and was really early... but totally worth it!
A pretty sunset I caught on my way to kickboxing one night. Perhaps it’s because I read the schedule wrong and was really early… but totally worth it!
Another day at the park by the river. Cool paddle wheel boat.
Another day at the park by the river. Cool paddle wheel boat.
A nice batch of chili to toss in the freezer for meals during the hectic curling season. New recipe with quinoa and it was great!
A nice batch of chili to toss in the freezer for meals during the hectic curling season. New recipe with quinoa and it was great!
Medtronic 5k with Katie, pre-race picture.
Medtronic 5k with Katie, pre-race picture.
All ready to go at the start line! Gorgeous day for a race.
All ready to go at the start line! Gorgeous day for a race.
We got our medals and some nice sunshine!
We got our medals and some nice sunshine!
Post race picture with the Medtronic Lion.
Post race picture with the Medtronic Lion.
My sign for all the runners of the Marathon.
My sign for all the runners of the Marathon.
A trip to Fontenac State Park. I was hoping for some fall leaves, but it was a bit early for that still.
A trip to Fontenac State Park. I was hoping for some fall leaves, but it was a bit early for that still.
What a view. Gotta love the Mississippi River Bluffs.
What a view. Gotta love the Mississippi River Bluffs.
Perpetual snuggles from this guy are totally appreciated.
Perpetual snuggles from this guy are totally appreciated.

Now that curling season is in full swing, I’m spending plenty of time on the ice and traveling. I love that Mitten insists on many snuggles every time I get back from a long weekend.

Traveling with Celiac

I’ve had Celiac for 16 years now. It still hasn’t gotten any easier to explain things about what I can and can’t eat in foreign languages. Perhaps this has to do with the fact that I only speak English (if only I picked up other languages easily).

However, before my trip to Switzerland for curling (which is 5 years ago now, and seems like it was yesterday), my mom found this website. The creator has posted cards explaining what Celiac is and what can and can’t be eaten. This was amazingly useful even when the person I was talking to spoke rather fluent English. I forget how you don’t learn a lot of technical type language when learning a new language.

I’ve yet to need any language which I can’t find on the cards. I usually print off multiple copies as it has gone best when I can give my server a card and not have to worry about getting it back. That way they can bring it back to the kitchen and not be worried about ruining it. This results in awesome food with very little fear of ending up sick.

Custom Maps and Where I’m Going

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on here. That’s because I’ve been busy doing all sorts of other things online and not online. A lot of those things have been trip planning activities, thankfully. One of the most fun/makes it seem like I’m really leaving/useful activities has been putting everything I want to do and see onto maps. I found this awesome tutorial on Pinterest and it is super amazing. I just wanted everyone to be able to check it out, so I’m linking it here. Obviously I have no stake in posting this here other than hoping you’ll love it as much as I do.

 

Source: How to Create a Custom Travel Map with Google Maps {New Google My Maps Tutorial} | Kevin & Amanda | Food & Travel Blog

I haven’t nosed around the rest of the blog too much yet, as once I got into map making, I got a tad carried away.

On that note, if anyone has suggestions of things I need/must/really should do in the following cities, leave me a comment! I’m still looking for more ideas.

  • Reykjavik, Iceland
  • Bergen, Norway
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Bruges, Belgium
  • Paris, France (this one might already be packed enough with activities)
  • Lyon, France
  • The south of France (Nice is where I’m thinking of staying)
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Lisbon, Portugal

I’m also up for day trips from the cities listed to awesome places near by! This gives you a rough idea of where I’ll be heading and all the fun places I’ll be updating you about over the next couple months.

I would love any restaurant suggestions as I really don’t trust a ton out of travel books as restaurants change so quickly and lots of my books were a couple years old.

Apostle Island Ice Caves

The news of the Apostle Island Lake Shore Ice Caves being accessible this weekend was very exciting! I was bummed last winter when I was much too busy with curling and life to make the 4 hour drive up to the shore. When I found out that my bestie Katie wanted to go hike out to see the caves, I was pumped.

We decided to go with the up early to leave option, meeting at 630AM! These trips are never without coffee for me and I’m happy to say, the sun is finally up at 630 in the morning.

We weren’t sure what we were getting into when we got to the entrance and saw cars parked for maybe a mile before and after the parking lot entrance. Luckily, we were prepared for hiking (it’s a mile from the beach entrance to the caves).

The ice was ever so slightly terrifying to walk over. You could see the bottom! There were lots of cool ice structures to see, some from cracks in the ice, some from what must have been a different sheet of ice the broke up into pieces and then froze again. Take a look at a couple pictures I snagged.

Some shots of the ice on Lake Superior

They weren’t joking when they said you would want some type of ice grips on your shoes or hiking poles. We went with the poles, and plenty of layers to make sure we stayed warm. As you would expect from a diabetic, my back pack was full of everything: water, snacks of all varieties, meter, extra hat and mittens.

We found a cute little cave, and I decided I should try to see if I could fit. It was tough to climb up the ice, but I made it! Of course, the only way down was to use the ice like a slide. I think the people around may have thought I was crazy.

Just some pictures of me enjoying the hike!
Just some pictures of me enjoying the hike!

We spent 4 hours hiking around, which was totally worth it to see the sites. I was impressed by all the different types of ice sculptures the lake made. It didn’t seem like we walked that far, but my fitbit told me that I took 19,000 steps! And we sure were glad that we got there early. Cars were parked a mile father away when we were leaving. I’ll leave you with a couple pictures from hiking around.

Ice Caves - Caves

A quick stop at Grandma’s in Duluth for some (much needed) food, and back home we went. The 8 hours in the car were worth the 4 hours of hiking. Not sure when I’ll get to see something like this again.