happy …birth-giving?

happy Thanksgiving!

if I tried to write about all of the things I’m thankful for, we’d be here for a while. a few things that I’m thankful for, though, are all of the people I’ve met in Ohio who have made the past six months so incredibly beautiful and Trisha’s family for allowing me to spend Thanksgiving with them in Louisville.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and this year, it also happens to be my birthday. I’m thankful for all of the blessings of this past year and I’m looking forward to everything that will happen in the next year.

next year will be my golden birthday, which means virtually nothing, but I’ve spent the past few weeks drafting up this list of things I’d like to do in the next year.

here’s 15 things I want to do before November 22, 2013:

  1. read the entire Bible (I actually started this in September, but I’m determined to finish this time)
  2. run a half-marathon
  3. read 50 books
  4. beat my 5k PR – 25:47 (2009)
  5. beat my 10k PR – 1:11:02 (2012)
  6. (finally) donate blood in Ohio
  7. get a tattoo
  8. visit three new states
  9. watch the sun both rise and set in the same day
  10. go to Tim Horton’s
  11. watch the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie (because I’ve seen the second and third numerous times)
  12. consume my first smoothie
  13. successfully cook pasta
  14. buy a commentary
  15. travel out of the country

I plan to blog about each of these things once I complete them, both to keep y’all updated on my life and to have a way to hold myself accountable (especially after that miserable attempt to blog every day in November…).

I can’t wait to experience this next year of my life with you all! :)

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an ode.

I didn’t really like you for the first 20 years of my life.

I didn’t enjoy how I felt when you were around.

I didn’t appreciate how everyone gave me a hard time for not liking you or your friends.

I could maybe enjoy your presence a few times a year, but it took a lot of effort.

I didn’t want to spend holidays with you, especially my birthdays where you were expected to be.

but then…

I moved to Cincinnati and I fell in love with you.

you have changed my life for the better and there’s no turning back now.

so here’s to you, Graeter’s, for introducing me to a world of ice cream I never thought I could enjoy.

(can you tell I’m incredibly uninspired and struggling with blogging 30 times this month? ;) minesweeper and now Graeter’s… what strange thing will be the topic of tomorrow’s post?)

the taste of defeat.

note: I didn’t post yesterday, but I do still intend to post 30 times in November. :)

everyone has things that they’re good at.

if you know me, you probably know that I’m pretty dang good at minesweeper.

I’m ranked in the top 5% of the 99,508 people who have won at least one advanced game on the minesweeper app I have on my ipod (it’s called Minesweeper Q, if you’re interested (you probably should be…)). my fastest time is 94.5 seconds and it’s definitely something that I brag about.

I love finding people who also really enjoy the things that I like. my friend, Sam, also enjoys playing minesweeper, although he’s definitely nowhere near as obsessed as I am. Sam is super, super smart aka better than me at most things, but I’ve always found pleasure in knowing that I’m multiple minutes faster than him when it comes to minesweeper (and that I had a better Spanish placement score at Calvin, but who’s keeping track? ;)).

most people I know can’t win an advanced game of minesweeper, let alone compete with me…

…and then yesterday, I found out that Pat, one of the other leaders for NSM, can not only win a game, but can do it TWENTY SECONDS FASTER THAN ME.

to put this into perspective, that’s like your friend running a 5k in 16 minutes while you’re consistently running in the 18s; that’s like your friend getting an A+ while you’re fighting for that B-; that’s like your brother receiving 15 presents at Christmas while you only get 11.

as you might imagine, I felt a bit defeated when I found this out. it’s funny how some of the most meaningless things can impact your mood.

what little things make you feel defeated?

3 things I don’t love about Cincinnati.

yesterday’s post was a positive look at Cincinnati, so I figured it’d be a good idea to balance it out with a not-so-positive post today.

1. speed limits. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been annoyed by the speed limits in this state. honestly, I’m very surprised that I haven’t been pulled over in the past five months because I often forget that the speed limit is 55/60/65 on the highway as opposed to Michigan’s 70. not only is the speed slower than I’m used to, it’s constantly changing. I can take three different highways to get to Norwood (a fifteen minute drive or so) and they’ll all have different speed limits. consistency, Cincinnati – something you might want to consider.

2. roads (or lack thereof). on the topic of driving, most places I want to go are fairly close. . . but you have to drive the longest way possible to get there because none of the roads will get you directly there. even Ronald Reagan (my favorite ‘nati highway, similar to M-6, but way better), which is really close, takes too long to get to because you can only get on it if you’re going west.

3. stop signs. I live near the border of Finneytown and Wyoming (very similar to the Kentwood/Wyoming border near my house in Michigan). Finneytown is wonderful because you can enjoy your drive while maintaining a pleasant speed (because 35 is pleasant and normal (25 is stupid. always.)). but Wyoming… there are multiple things wrong with Wyoming. there are at least four different streets I could take to get from Finneytown to Wyoming and they all involve going down huge hills, which is okay, until I have to come back to Finneytown and drive up these huge hills, which my car does not appreciate. Wyoming also is way too stop-sign-friendly. I barely have time to accelerate to the speed limit (okay, I accelerate slowly, but I love my car…) before I’m stopping again. if you ever ride with me, don’t be surprised when I take the long way to Wyoming to avoid the stop signs.

so there you have it. three things I don’t love about Cincinnati. wait. bonus!

4. single n, double n. aka it took me almost a month of living here to be able to spell Cincinnati correctly. but that’s okay because my grandma is much older and much wiser than I am and she still can’t spell it. ;)

now that I’ve told you about my apparent road rage, what are your least favorite things about your city?

3 things I didn’t expect to love about Cincinnati.

note: November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). this is the first of what will hopefully be thirty posts in the month of November. I haven’t felt especially creative lately, though, so I’m not going to make any promises. some days, I’ll use the prompt that the blog challenge suggests, but I’ll probably free write most days.

when I moved to Cincinnati five months ago (has it seriously been five months?!), I expected to love it. it was a new town in a new state with plenty of new opportunities and things to experience. there were a lot of things I didn’t necessarily expect to love, though. here’s a few of them.

1. Starbucks. while I have yet to fall in love with any of the local coffee shops in Cincinnati, I do have a much larger appreciation for Starbucks. when I lived in Grand Rapids, I was kind of a coffee shop snob. I preferred the local coffee shops (Mocha n Music in Hudsonville and Kava House in Grand Rapids are my favorites) and if I had to go to a “chain,” it was Biggby or nothing. Starbucks went off my radar after they kept putting espresso in my steamers and misspelling my name on my cup (okay, that part isn’t completely serious… but seriously, it’s not hard to spell!). I’ve only had one bad experience at Starbucks in Cincinnati (way to be, Kenwood Mall…) and I’ve loved each of my experiences at the one in Colerain. the baristas there are super friendly and they make one heck of a peppermint white mocha steamer.

2. the sky. I don’t know if I just never took time to appreciate the sky when I lived in Michigan, but oh my goodness, it is beautiful here.

3. the bridges. this sounds silly, I know, but there are a ton of really awesome bridges here. my favorite ones are the ones that go over the highway and say on the side of them what city/town you’re entering. apparently, it’s kind of a waste of money (“kind of” = “really”), but I think they look awesome. not included in the list of awesome bridges is definitely the creepy bridge over the Ohio River that brings you into Covington (at least, I think it’s Covington).

and because it’s the first day of the month, I’ll even throw in an extra one for kicks and giggles.

4. all of the potential husbands lined up outside. oh wait. ha. (get it? there’s the giggles. let’s save the kicks for later.)

what little (or big) things do you love about your city?