Daily Archives: February 16, 2013

Pay it forward

In preparation for the Mt Kilimanjaro Marathon that is going to murder me be an unforgettable adventure on March 3rd, I recently became obsessed with the idea decided that I would greatly benefit by wearing a watch during the run. Now doing this probably goes without question for most runners, but I’ll leave that for another post (aside from just saying that I prefer to run by feel – and I think that it makes me a stronger runner as well). Anyway, upon coming to this conclusion I had only 10 days until my departure. This means that I didn’t have much time to thoroughly research a good running/athletic/outdoorsy watch and order it and receive it in time. So what to do?

  1. Buy something quickly that looks good based on a few reviews?
  2. Buy something cheap that will be good enough to get me through (and thus it doesn’t really matter how good it is)?
  3. Borrow something?

So I quickly struck #1 off of the list. I’m not big on impulsive/non-anal-retentively thoroughly researched purchases, I can’t afford a new good running watch, and I do actually already have a good (Garmin Forerunner 305) watch that is with my sister right now (someone who strongly prefers to run by feel does not need two watches).

Frankly, #2 was struck from the list even before I completed the initial thought. If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a bit of a hippy. I don’t like to use things that are disposable, I’m a big advocate of reduce/reuse/recycle-ing, I bring my own bags to the grocery store and I prefer my bike and public transit to driving my own car. (No offense Beetle. Honestly though, you have been a real pain in the ass lately…but never mind…)

That left #3. The question then was simply from who to borrow said watch. Who did I know with a (potentially nice) watch that they would be willing to borrow me to take to Africa for 2 weeks? I asked around at school. No luck. I asked around among my non-school friends. Same. The fam? Nope.

Damn.

So, I decided to turn to the rather embarrassing (yet effective) default of so many of us 20’s-yr olds…Facebook! I posted the following:

Does anyone have a plastic digital watch that they’d be willing to borrow me from Feb 21st – March 10th? If beggars can be choosers, I’d be thrilled if it had a timer and a lap function. Your watch will have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania, to “run” the Mt. Kilimanjaro Marathon and will be returned in the same condition as when it left.

To my delight, with-in an hour I had enough smart ass comments from DFR to fill up most of one hand 3 seriously offers from 2 friends that I hadn’t thought to ask and one very random acquaintance, B, from high school! After a handful of messages, B and I decided to meet the next day for the watch hand off.

And what a watch I was handed–a brand new yellow Suunto Vector!

Please excuse the pasty skin, extra long arm hair and sad case of a rosemary plant

Please excuse the pasty skin, extra long arm hair and sad case of a rosemary plant

B is letting me a (brand new) BMW of outdoorsy watches to Tanzania!

I could not believe my fortune! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This was the best that I could come up with (over and over and over again) to express my appreciation. Why would B borrow me this? Money isn’t growing on the trees in his back yard (…at least I don’t think it is…hmmm…maybe I should go for a spin in his neighborhood…oh yeah, that’s right the GD poor Beetle is sick again…anyway…), we are definitely not friends much less good friends (…we were hardly acquaintances in HS…not that we had anything against each other…at least I don’t think we did…we were just a few years apart in a big-ish school…) and I have no idea what could be in it for him in return from me.

Unfortunately, I’m apparently a total open book (even when I do manage to keep my big mouth shut) because by the time I got back to my office B had left me a message explaining himself (not that he needed to).

Medium/long story short, pay it forward. This is B’s philosophy. He saw that he could help someone out – family, good friend, friend, acquaintance or not – and felt that it was his responsibility to do so because that’s what people should do for each other. People should not look to see what’s in it for them or what the other person has done for them to warrant such a favor. People should look around them, take note of what is going on, what other people are doing and dealing with, and take every reasonable opportunity to lend a hand and extend them selves to make someone else’s life easier. Now we are just talking about  a silly watch in this case (as B pointed out numerous times) but maybe next time I come across someone who needs a hand it will involve a bit more than a watch, maybe a bit less. Regardless, I should pay it forward. Step in when or before I’m asked to make someone’s life a bit better. I LOVE THIS AND I COULD NOT AGREE MORE!!! 

Not based on any religion or religious beliefs, I think this is a fantastic mindset to have. While many times – and for many reasons – people won’t help, won’t come through, won’t do whatever it is – however big or small – to help a fellow human, to make their life easier, sometimes people do. If we all were that person that does, just a little bit more often, this world would be a much better place!

So please, pay it forward. Do something for someone else today, this weekend, every day, every weekend. Do something for family, friends, acquaintances, strangers. If we all chip in we will be able to share a world that is a much better place.

What cool things have you done lately to pay it forward?

What cool things have been done for you?

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6 Comments

Filed under Trotting

Valentine’s Day (and post-Valentine’s Day)

As much of a Hallmark holiday as Valentine’s Day is, it is a fantastic opportunity to capitalize on the tasty fixed menus that fancy restaurants put on for all of the hungry, happy, romantic couples. So this year my best eating buddy and I fed our fat faces indulgent in 5 courses of the finer things in life via the Union Restaurant. The menu that twisted our arms with was as follows-

Union Valentine's Day DinnerOf course, words do not do the same justice as pictures. Thus, I was that person snapping photos of each and every course along the way. Enjoy the vegetarian prix fixe menu below. Aside from the 4th course, the carnivore menu looked impressively similar-

pre-course

Hawley wine and grandma's cheese curds

Hawley wine and grandma’s cheese curds

1st course

charred avocado & yellow beet tartare with frozen red beets, citrus kosho & toasted coriander

charred avocado & yellow beet tartare with frozen red beets, citrus kosho & toasted coriander with cornbread

2nd course

slow-roasted sunchoke confit with brown butter, cashews & apricot preserves

slow-roasted sunchoke confit with brown butter, cashews & apricot preserves

3rd course

fried organic egg with heirloom corn grits, black truffle, frisée & mimolette fondue

fried organic egg with heirloom corn grits, black truffle, frisée & mimolette fondue

(Or the carnivorous version and its ecstatic recipient. To be fair, how often do you get to eat both liver AND bone marrow in one meal?!?!)

grilled beef rib eye with smoked bone marrow, lobster, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

grilled beef rib eye with smoked bone marrow, lobster, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

4th course

swiss chard & ricotta dumplings with roasted garlic, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

swiss chard & ricotta dumplings with roasted garlic, red wine & velvet pioppini mushrooms

intermezzo

hibiscus sherbet with crispy meringue

hibiscus sherbet with crispy meringue

5th course

blood orange mousse with caramel-almond crumble & milk chocolate ice cream

blood orange mousse with caramel-almond crumble & milk chocolate ice cream

(This one took more to figure out than either of us will ever admit.)

blood orange mousse with black pepper caramel cake & milk chocolate ice cream

blood orange mousse with black pepper caramel cake & milk chocolate ice cream

And with that, it was time to waddle home and slip into the beloved food coma! 🙂

While this should have been sufficient indulgence for 24 hours, tonight Samia and I went to town on her left overs from last night. To be fair, I think any sane person would have given in-

chocolate fondue with strawberries and the last (I swear) of grandma's cheese curds, Lunds Bailey's cheesecake, and Hawley wine

chocolate fondue with strawberries and the last (I swear) of grandma’s cheese curds, Lunds Bailey’s cheesecake, and Hawley wine

What Valentine’s Day (or any other day) goodies have you enjoyed recently?

 

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Filed under General

t minus ONE WEEK!!

One week until I leave for Tanzania!

Al and I actually have a pretty complete itinerary set up for our trip at this point. (We have never claimed to be the most well prepared travelers in the world.)

We depart from Minneapolis on February 22nd and return March 9th. What happens in between look something like this-

Where we’ll be

What we’ll do

Where we’ll stay

TZ in Feb

TZ in March

I’m very excited to give a full review of all that we do and of where we stay once we return.

5 Comments

Filed under Tanzania