That Time I started something before I knew how to do it very well….

So, I was walking through the isles of Target one afternoon in mid December (isn’t that how all good stories start?), and I found myself in the office/school/crafty supply section (shocker….). I was looking for cool pens for my new bullet journal, which was supposed to be my ‘new winter/indoor hobby’, when I saw these  beauties –

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It didn’t take me very long to follow them down the handle lettering/calligraphy rabbit hole. A quick google or Insta search shows a ton of resources for learning and I am (true to my nature) trying them all at once. It’s so fun and relaxing and I totally fell in love with it. I practice every day, on my own or with a lettering challenge or a Skillshare class, or even an in person workshop. ‘Small’ pens like these, pointed dip pens, I’m 100% for it all.

This is so weird to me, I was never the creative one, everyone else in the family – but not me. And then I found this thing, that I wasn’t even looking for and it feels like I’m at the beginning of something. So, I’m following that, I’m learning as much as I can, I’m creating wherever I go. Meeting minutes in a bouncy syle? Sorry. Not Sorry. My supply collection has grown from a dozen pens to a tray full, with paper and inks and more. And I haven’t even started looking at watercolors yet – EEEK!

It’s this tiny, infant of an idea and it’s kind of taking over. I’ve named it Blackberry Creative, after the place I love. You probably know that the Indians who setteled this area named it Kekionga. One popular theory suggests the English translation is ‘blackberry patch’.  I kind of love that too.

New Hobbies, Old Friends

December is cold in northern Indiana, so outdoor hobbies are limited. In the warmer months, I love to be outside. Bikes, parks, rivers, and (sometimes) even my own garden.  Christmas brought us some warm weather hobby gear, and that gives us something to look forward to. In my Oprah voice, ‘YOU get a kayak and YOU get a kayak!’ YAY!! We have lots of river to explore, and now we’ll be able to. The downside of kayaks for Christmas is that we probably won’t break them out until spring.

I’ve never really though of myself as a creative person. I’m a problem solver, a thinker, a researcher, a connector, a relationship builder. But creative? nope. A blank sketch pad makes me nervous, I feel like it should be full of to-do lists…

But then, I stumbled on some brush pens at Target (wouldn’t you know it….), and another new hobby was born. Hand lettering and modern calligraphy are not things I would have guessed would be part of my days, but they are- and I’m just happy making loopy letters and playing with shapes. Practice makes progress, and I’m really just having fun. Scan insta and you’ll find a whole community of artists and creators. Pretty Cool.

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I think this will be a fun adventure. I’ve already started a couple of daily challenge groups to help me and keep me practicing.

In the midst of starting this new hobby, we also said goodbye to our sweet black cat. He was 15 years young, and we loved him very much.

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He was the cuddliest, sweetest, neediest kitty we’ve ever had. He was a terrible jumper, and loved shiny things. No one napped better than a black cat. Goodnight my babe, we’ll keep you in our hearts.

Fallidays and a November Reflection

November and December are crazy busy for most of us. My family is no different, and were grateful to be able to gather together during this time. My parents live several states away, a bit south. We often celebrate holidays the weekend before or after, we are pretty flexible like that. It just so happened that our early celebration made it possible for us to give a butterfly a lift.

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. Jennifer found an injured butterfly, Amy took him in to help him heal, and he then joined Jade and Meg on a 600+ road trip to get him more south. Kent and Melita agreed to a new house guest.

Morty the Monarch’s adventures were made possible by my mother’s gardening expertise. She had the perfect experience and knowledge to accept an injured butterfly house guest. Add to that, my dad’s woodworking skills and they had the means to care for and protect this little bug until spring.

Little Morty was the topic of our Thanksgiving festivities, but there were plenty of family memories as well. Wide open spaces, pots and pots and pots of coffee, mom’s home cooking, puppy energy, crazy weather, new friends, bike rides, so much highway, ‘Kelsey Quotes’ that are late night talk show level hilarious, that no one remembers five minutes later. Laughter for days and a new driver – and that’s a Kelsey weekend.

I also started bullet journaling this month. It’s been an interesting experiment, I’m enjoying it more than I expected. I had a really hard time conceptualizing how it would work until I hand a journal in my hand and was adding pages and updating the index. Then, I couldn’t stop adding things! Goals, Gratitude, stencils, handwriting – all of it!

More positive change in November – back to Weight Watchers! I love me, and my face and my circumference and all of it! I’d just like to be me, only a bit lighter in step. 20171108_183816-COLLAGE

 

Blackberries

Or, If You Can’t Be With the One You Love, Love the One You’re With.

I love my city, I love the spirit and the people and the challenge. I love that it’s familiar, I love  that there are new nooks and crannies to discover. Many times I wish it were easier for our community to make room for progress, but I love the tenacity and the passion that comes out when people are so committed to seeing their dream come alive. I love being a small part of that, I love helping shape what comes next.

Sometimes it’s hard for people to see things that might be, but sometimes a vision is so clear and so bright that it can’t be ignored. Take a risk. Try a new restaurant, Check out that gallery opening, catch a groundbreaking performance.  And if you don’t find what you’re looking for, create it. Lots of festivals, events and ideas started with, ‘I wonder why we don’t have something like that here….?’

I love being around problem solvers, evolvers, dreamers and volunteers. They share a common thread. They share. Time, talent, funds, network, they bring their gifts to the table as an offer to the cause. They energize me.

 

Ke Ki On Ga. A blackberry bush.

Coffeeneuring 2017, Part Two

Coffeeneuring 2017, Part One outlines my first rides of the year. Below are the final outings of the challenge.

Ride #5 to Conjure Coffee. This was a very special ride. I played a very small part in the story here, and am very proud and grateful to know this crew. A team of hardworking volunteers has been planning a pop up bike lane/traffic calming elements, block party, art show and more at this intersection. We rode over the day before the event to check out the progress and lend a hand.

We won a grant from AARP to bring Team Better Block for consultation as to how we could make this particular intersection more pedestrian and bike friendly. I pass this multiple times a week, it’s a main artery into down town from my neighborhood. Because it’s a main artery, traffic often exceeds the 30 mph posted speed limit by 10-15 mph. To some it’s a necessary pass through, but it’s also a true neighborhood with kids walking to school, greenway trail access and, to the coffeeneuring point – a perfect neighborhod coffee shop!

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Date: Friday November 2nd

What I Drank: americano

Mileage: 3

It’s kinda hard to get to (thus the catalyst for this event!) by bike. Recent remodeling added bike parking and racks were brought in for the event as well.

Ride #6 It’s early, and cold, but today my city is celebrating 100 miles of greenway. Trail advocates gathered to mark this occasion with a pre-dawn bike ride! The news was there to capture our excitement!

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Date: Monday, November 13

What I Drank: pour over, with 1/2 and 1/2

Mileage: 8

No bike parking, but we were on the trail

Ride #7

I didn’t expect to end up finishing the challenge in another state, but between weather and schedule I couldn’t complete the challenge before my vacation. What’s a girl to do? Well obviously, make time for a coffee shop with out walls on vacation. My parents live in a nice suburb, with the beginnings of a Greenway Trails system. So, my sister and I went out exploring. We took our parents new puppy to see what we could see. Crunchy leaves and a good cuppa joe. Much warmer temperatures than we normally see back home around this time of year.

Datr: Saturday, November 18th

What I drank: pour over with half and half.

Distance: 2.4 miles

Overall

Home location: Fort Wayne IN (with one control in Memphis TN!)

I didn’t find coffeeneuring until just a few years ago, but, I have unknowingly been coffeeneuring since my first adult bike ride. I love coffee, and my city has lots of local shops to choose from.

Bikes are another thing that I like. As President of our local advocacy organization, bikes have introduced me to a whole network of community and city leaders.

Combining the two is perfection!

My theme within a theme became “local shops only”, and that was nearly effortless.

Coffeeneuring 2017, Part One

Drink coffee, ride bikes. Pretty simple, and pretty perfect.

Like any other -neuring, there are rules, but they are easy to follow. By telling the story of each visit, the rules are covered. The story, the spirit of coffeeneuring is pure. Spend some time for yourself, ride your bike, drink something tasty and warm – and be happy. There are days when a cold wind makes you rethink a zip around the block, but then you get some sun on your face, some rosy on your cheeks and you know it was worth it.

Ride #1 was a double shot of early morning meetings at one of my favorite places, Fortezza. I often laugh that it’s ‘my office’ with as many meetings as I seem to have there. The first meeting was to help plan upcoming bike education classes (!!!) with a mentor, fellow advocate and friend. 20171014_184644-COLLAGE

The second meeting was about volunteering, and life, and our city, and making things cool and talking about everything that pops. This was about as perfect a morning as I could create.

 

Date: Opening Day, Friday October 13th.

What I Drank: meeting #1 – latte, meeting #2 – black coffee

Mileage: 8.7

Plenty of bike parking, bike lanes on both side streets

 

Ride #2 was a quick stop at another favorite cafe, Old Crown. The coffee shop is named for a brewery that was popular in our city from 1862 – 1973,  they do the old name proud. I was meeting Mona for a sip before we headed out for a morning of exploring. We wanted to see a couple of things. One stretch of trail had some repairs that had been recently completed, a brand new stretch of trail was just finished,  connecting a park with the rest of our greenway trail system – and a brand new trail in progress.

But first, coffee. Ah.

We rode all over, chatting about this and that, enjoying the expansion of our  trail system. We found the new Pufferbelly Trail in progress. It’s been cleared, and some gravel has been laid out. We found some ‘adventure’ too….

20171105_092522So, that sign is a warning that an ‘aggressive coyote’ had been reported in the area. This is part of the brand new trail in progress, it should be complete soon and will connect downtown to northern suburbs.

Date: Saturday, October 14

What I Drank: a breve with four shots – hey, I had to keep up with Mona!

19 miles

2/10 bike parking at Old Crown. I tried locking up to a fence rail, but it was quite challenging. The parking lot is small, but a bike rack would be much appreciated by the neighborhood.

Ride #3 I didn’t really have a destination in mind, I just headed out in a direction, hoping to find something and enjoy the warm fall morning. Rolling downtown, I saw groups of people heading toward the baseball stadium. I followed, and found a party! It was a fundraiser for cancer research, so the parking lot was full of food trucks, music, vendors and supporters. I took the opportunity to try a new coffee truck, Amanda Lee Coffee  and an old favorite for pastries, Hetty Arts.

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Date: Saturday, October 21

What I Drank: Americano, with a perfect almond croissant.

Mileage: 5

no real bike parking – but this was a walk/run event. I could have found bike parking closer to the stadium,

 

Ride #4 was by far the coldest. The wind was very sharp, but this pumpkin pie chai was exactly what I needed. It’s pretty famous in these parts, and for good reason. ahhh, I need another……Firefly Coffee is right in the neighborhood.20171105_131031

Date: Saturday, October 29th

What I Drank: pumpkin pie chai, hands down my favorite drink of the fall season

2.7 Miles

6/10 bike parking – they normally have a rack up, but the tubing has a really wide circumference and my ulock doesn’t fit. In the winter, they take the rack down for more car spaces.

 

Halfway through the challenge, keep a lookout for part two!

 

 

What I like

I wanted a place to collect things I like and things I think, so I created one.

Animals, coffee, bikes, yoga, my family, volunteering, my city, being outside, food. There will probably be a bit of everything here.

Me? ESTJ. Liberal. I volunteer a lot. I drink too much coffee, I try to eat healthy but I’ll never say no to cheese. I like having a plan, and crossing things off of a list.

I love Jay and my family. Animals are better than most of us. I love yoga and bikes.

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