Showing posts from 2018

Election Day is Coming

Last week, I took a job doing canvassing for the Washington State Democrats in the Eighth Legislative District for candidate Dr. Kim Schrier. On paper, Dr. Schrier looks like a great candidate. She has experience in our broken healthcare system, claims to be a problem solver and was able to raise millions of dollars during the primary season.

I’ve only been out canvassing four times, but I’m already feeling pretty despondent about Dr. Schrier’s odds of flipping the 8th. The campaign has millions of dollars at its disposal, and is working furiously at the one technique that research has shown to be effective, canvassing door to door and asking people over and over and over again for their vote. The most common reaction that I get when I knock on a door is that someone was just there last week or event the day before and that they are sick of the invasion of their privacy and they just want to get away from politics.
Meanwhile, our opponent, a career politician, Dino Rossi is targeting…

Getting my balloons together

Two things that I need to be the "Balloon Biker" are balloons and my bicycle. These past years since I rode my bike everywhere have also meant that my balloon kit has become more and more elaborate. As my balloon skills increased, I found a great need to have almost every balloon imaginable in a score of colors and shapes. It's a long cry from the single bag that I carried cross-country.

Back when I was traveling, I didn't just carry around my balloons, I also carried all of my most important possessions as well as the balloons, which meant that I was carrying about 100 pounds of gear at any given time.

Since coming back to Washington State, I haven't biked like I used to. I went through some dark times and felt like a different person. But in the past few months, I've been getting back into bicycling. While I don't want to just jump back into fully-loaded bike touring again again right away, I do want to bicycle with balloons some more.

Yesterday I took …

Intermittent fasting and reprogramming how I think about food

It's Wednesday, which mean this is a good time to talk about my fitness goals.  I'm now down about 36 pounds, which means I'm no longer carrying around the equivalent of a cinder block.  I have more energy and all of those clothes which were too tight before now fit just fine. 
The biggest change for me has been to adopt a strategy of eating called intermittent fasting. It's not necessarily a diet, it's just scheduling the times when I eat so that I have at least a 12 hour window where I'm actually fasting. My husband got me started on it, and he's been a great motivator to keep going.
For the most part, I try to have my daily eating schedule set at having 8 hours of time when I can eat, and then 16 hours of fasting (which includes sleeping time, so it isn't really that hard). When I'm fasting I drink water, black coffee, unsweetened tea and sometimes diet soda. I've been doing the fasting for about a month and a half now and what I've notic…

September 11 - Seventeen years later

My freshman year at Gonzaga University was just beginning on September 11, 2001.  I was awoken with the news from my roommate that planes had collided with the World Trade Center, and I remember confusing it with the riots in Seattle surrounding the WTO the previous year in my groggy 18-year-old mind.  Very quickly, like the rest of the world, I was glued to the television to learn more about what was going on and I tried to wrap my head around this catastrophe and I very quickly became alarmed at the immediate scapegoating of Muslims for the attack.
Being a budding orator and political wonk, the next day I wrote the following and posted it on my ancient AngelFire website for no one to read.  I came across it a few months ago, and was struck by how optimistic I was about our future, and how things have turned out:

This is the second Pearl Harbor. I don't think that I overstate it,"
-Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska
December 7, 1941, a day that will live in infamy. Memories that …

Ballooning and bicycling around my neighborhood

Today was a day for working on projects and getting things in motion.  I set the date and time for a public balloon twisting class at Honey here in Tacoma for October 4, 2018 at 6 p.m..  I'm working up my balloon curriculum and I'm getting really excited about sharing my love of balloons with others who want to try a fun art form.

I'm also thinking about making some new designs to sell via digital download.  I'll probably also end up making more instructions for digital download in the near future. My old stuff is all still available at Sellfy, but it's all intended for experienced balloon artists.  Hopefully I'll have my beginning balloon instructions available online soon!

Back in my old life, the last Friday of the month was reserved for Critical Mass, a huge roving bike parade that snarled traffic all over the city of Chicago.That was where I first really got into balloon twisting. I could only twist basic stuff, but then I figure out that I could just tie …

Everyone is the "hero" in their own story

I came across this quote years ago and loved it so much that I emailed it to myself and came across it today when I was doing a long-overdue clean-up of my email inbox. Looking through all my old emails and correspondences was bittersweet, but finding this quote really helped me to put my own story into a better perspective.

Dreams have always been important to me. As a child, I recall having vivid dreams full of action and adventure. Dreams were where you were a hero, where you stood for what was right and saved the day. I always assumed that everyone saw themselves as hero into their own stories because who else could you root for?

Heroism is seen in a lot of different ways, and my view of heroism was probably shaped a lot more by my love of science fiction and fantasy stories where the fate of the entire world rests on the shoulders of the heroes of the story. The real world doesn't actually get saved by a plucky group of travelers united with a common cause.

There's a rea…

Fitness Goals

Since moving back to Washington State, I stopped riding my bicycle like I used to.  My balloon business expanded and I found myself driving a lot.  I even bought a car, a 2013 Honda fit, and in the five years I've had it, I've driven over 90,000 miles.
All that driving, combined with just generally getting older and more inactive meant that I put on weight.  I was never one of those slim cyclists who fly up hills, but I probably gained about 60 pounds in the last five years. It's embarrassing, but I'm ready for a change. I joined a gym and slowly without a ton of effort, I dropped about 20 pounds.  I started working out more seriously about a month ago and lost another five pounds.  Here is a before and after picture of me at my heaviest and me at about two weeks ago.

According to the scale today, I'm down about 30 pounds, so about halfway back to where I used to be.  It's a lot more comfortable, and I can tell that I already have a lot more energy.  The biggest…

Reclaiming the Balloon Biker Project

This blog is a big of a time capsule.  In 2011, I switched over to a new website, and just left this one to the dustbin of the internet.  Then in 2012, I blogged on a different website and partially chronicled my adventures of biking from thousands of miles all over this beautiful United States of America. Then in my lamentable fashion, I moved onto to something else and abandoned the Balloon Biker website to the dustbin as well.

I had I always felt like I left the story of my bicycle journey just kind of dangling.  I've come to realize that while I really admire people who can write about their feelings in the moment, for myself it takes years of reflection and contemplation for me to find the meaning in the stories of my own life.

I'm the kind of person who thinks of the perfect thing to say months later after the moment has passed. And so here we are, it's 2018, and I'm not sure if I can muster the optimism I felt in 2012, when I took a leap from a safe life of a ho…