Monday, August 23, 2010

Doing What You Love

There's really something to be said for people who do what they do simply because they love doing it. I think the majority of the time, a person learns to like their occupation because it brings home a paycheck and because they do it everyday. You have to like what you do day in and day out or it will positively make you miserable (I know from experience!) but rarely do I think people start out doing something with an immediate love for their job. Not the case with my youngest brother CJ ~ 20 years old and set out on the unusual path of becoming a professional bass fisherman regardless of the stakes involved with such a choice. I mean, it's not cheap to fish this series of tournaments! There's entry fees, hotel, food, gas, plus equipment costs - rods, reels, lures, etc. I really admire CJ's willingness to stay at the cheapest hotels, eat crappy food, get minimal sleep, and endure cold/wind/rain/sleet/or extreme heat all in the name of doing what he loves; following his dream.

I went to the final day of the ESPN Bass Pro Bassmaster Northern Open #2 tournament in Detroit, MI to watch the last day of weigh-ins and I was literally bursting with pride when CJ walked across the stage with his bag of fish and came in 20th place out of 180! At 20 years old, he's probably one of the youngest who fishes in these professional tournaments, so he's competing against guys 2 and 3 times his age who have been fishing that much longer than him. It's not like other sports where there's a tight median age because people retire. Just makes me beam with sisterly pride at CJ's determination to forge ahead no matter the obstacles. Way to go little bro!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Take me back to Lake Michigan!

Beautiful first couple pictures, huh? Blue skies, sandy beach, colorful umbrellas....don't be fooled! This is North Beach in Maryland and apparently beneath the peaceful facade lies jellyfish and bacteria! Ewww!! This was the ocean, so I expected there may be jellyfish, but the bacteria?! The beach lifeguard assured me the levels weren't high enough to close the, okay? I now want to swim with only moderately high bacteria?? I don't think so!

The boardwalk was fun and building a sandcastle was fun, but I can do all that on Lake Michigan and I won't have to worry about jellyfish or bacteria! So, when it comes to swimming in a place other than a pool, Petoskey State Beach in Michigan is still number one in my book.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Carpe Diem

Can you believe it??? I NEVER thought I'd see the day when I willingly chose to take a motorcycle ride. I still don't really know how to describe the feeling of being on one....for starters, me being the very claustrophobic person I am, needed about 30 minutes to just wear the helmet around inside and get used to the confined feeling of not being able to breathe, but after that I was fine :) Actually, when I first met Sam and he said he had a bike, I told him right away that I would never ever ride on it and he was fine with it. However, it wasn't until Sam was getting ready for a motorcycle trip with his dad that I was talking to my dad who said he would love to be in Sam's place getting on a bike and riding wherever the wind took him, that I decided to give it a try. So really, thank you to my dad for encouraging me (in a very indirect round about way) to give motorcycles a shot :) Haha! Dad's gonna love me putting this back on him :)

Anyways, after convincing Sam to take me for a ride (that wasn't as easy as it sounds since he's met my parents and I recall my dad telling Sam that I better never get on his bike, plus he is going to see them again in just a few weeks!) I said a quick prayer, hopped on the back, and actually found myself enjoying it! Sam got up to 40 mph before I started screaming it was fast enough, but hey, it was my first time. We took a leisurely ride through the streets of Arlington and McLean, VA and slowly I relaxed my white-knuckle grip to enjoy the wind rushing past. was fun and I would not be opposed to another 40 mph ride again soon :)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Row Row Row Your Inner Tube....

...gently down the Shenandoah River! This past weekend, I went on a float trip in Shenandoah, VA with Sam, a couple friends from Ohio, and 8 other people from VA/MD/DC/PA. Quite an adventure! What started out as "it will just be a short float maybe 2 hours" turned into "let's do the long 6 hour trip" and by hour 2, I was ready to abandon tube and hike back to the lake house! Haha - no really, I was contemplating it. I've always considered myself an outdoorsy type girl (stop laughing all those who are reading this!) ~ I love to hike, go creeking, kayak, take bike rides, explore new parks and woods, etc., and I'm always up for a new adventure, but this was a humongous river and my butt was touching the water and did I mention it was 6 hours??? Unfortunately the river wasn't running very much, so much of those hours were spent paddling with our arms....well, I guess I should be honest and say most of those hours SAM spent paddling both our inner tubes with HIS arms :) And it was very low in spots, so we had to watch out for sharp rocks and walk the tubes in parts, but it was relaxing to be surrounded by nothing but nature. There were even a couple places where cows grazed on the shoreline and in the river....course, that immediately brought to mind what exactly was IN the river we were floating and swimming in, but I tried not to think about that.

Overall it was a fun trip and the house we all rented was great with a full kitchen, multiple bathrooms, a hammock, pool table, air hockey table, and bonfire pit. Nice to get away from DC for a weekend and spend time with friends enjoying the outdoors :)