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I can’t believe it. Race weekend is finally here. This time tomorrow I’ll be departing from downtown Phoenix, running through the gorgeous Papago Park, running over the amazing Mill Ave bridge and arrive to the finish line at the gates below:
It’s hard to believe that this is all coming to light. I’ve had four months of practice with my running group with Team In Training, I’ve actually tried to run in good form, and I’ve reversed my typical exercise agenda, running more than I’ve been hitting the heavy bags.
The past couple weeks have been especially important. First and foremost I’ve been able to not only meet, but to exceed my fundraising goal to help LLS find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma. I’m so honored and blessed to have such wonderful friends and family that are not only there supporting me as I achieve a personal goal, but are helping with an even more important goal that can impact everyone. I joined TNT in memory of two important people in my life that lost their fight with cancer. It’s the strength and courage they showed throughout their entire lives, even when they weren’t dealt the best hand, that is helping me through this.
It’s also amazing to see me complete this goal for myself. I’m not a runner. You all know this. I can’t guarantee I’ll be running fast this weekend, but I’ll be running fast for me and most importantly, I’ll be finishing. And I’ll be having a blast. This past weekend we ran the final few miles of the course for practice and even without the cheering and the bands, I was so inspired, I actually ran kinda fast, and well danced as I ran through the finish line. Just imagine what it will be like with a crowd of people. Inspiring!
I’ve been doing a lot fo get ready for race day tomorrow. Last night I got an amazing 12 hours of sleep. I have my race outfit out and am getting everything ready. My goo gummies and gatorade and powerbars are ready to go. I am going through my playlist and anylizing the beats per minute of songs to make a race day playlist as I type.
I want to invite you all to follow me on race day. If you’re in the area, please come cheer me on. I won’t be the speediest on the course, so you can probably see me at multiple spots. The half starts at 8:30 and my corral (26) will probably be around 9 or so, so you don’t even have to get up that early. You can see a map of the course at the link below. Please cheer me on.
If you’re not in the area, you can track my progress through competitor wireless:
Additionally, there should be a race day web cam:
Thanks again everyone! Without you this would not be possible, nor would it be as fun.
Hi. My name is T. And I’m not a social media professional, expert, douche-bag or whatever else you prefer to call it.
Quite frankly, I’m not sure what the big deal is and why everyone’s geeked to try and become one and add the title to their resume. It’s social media. And I’m not that interested. Sure, I use it. My face is on the book. I do the twitters. But I use I kinda tailor it for my own purposes that don’t have much to do with the focus of social media. That focus is to be.. well social.
To me social media should gear around your connections with other people on these various outlets. It’s what you have in common and what you make of it.
Unfortunately, it’s turned into going to a bajillion events to be noticed. And checking in on a million platforms. And well, I’m not all that interested in being noticed. Or trying to make friends. Or blasting out where I am at every second of my day. Social networking has turned into people trying to be the center of attention and trying to one up each other. Who can have the wittiest tweets? Who attends the most events? Who has the most followers? Who is seen with who?
I don’t give a fuck.
Sure, I have friends and acquaintances. And I care about them very much. But I’ve learned the hard way and learned a long time ago that it’s not about living your life for other people and to be noticed. At least not for me. And having a lot of followers doesn’t give you a lot of true friends. I’d rather have friends that text me, call me, and hang out with me on more than a social media event setting.
So, while everyone else is trying to be one…. I’ll stand on the rooftop and admit I’m not. Nor do I want to be. You won’t see me out there trying every single platform available and you won’t see me out there scheduling tweets. I tweet and post when I’m up and available and have something to say. I attend the events I am interested in and if I’m too tired or simply am not in the mood, I won’t feel compelled to go or risk my social status. I’ll leave the expertise for those that want it.
Does this make me anti-social? Those who think that obviously don’t know me. Oddly enough, I’m pretty outgoing and somewhat of an extrovert. I just don’t want to be an expert at it
One of the things that made me fall in love with Phoenix so much when I first moved here was a situation that happened a few months in. I was trying to find some social events to attend to meet people, see what different things are available in the area, and someone told me about East Valley Friday Nights (#evfn). Though I’m rather comfortable with myself, I was still nervous in my subconscious about what may happen. I was afraid that it would be a clique where everyone ignored me the entire night.
In reality, it was exactly the opposite. Even though I didn’t know a single person there, I was greeted with complete openness and a feeling of being nothing but welcome. People introduced themselves and included me in their conversations. I enjoyed some beers, laughs, and in the end, found myself even more in love with the valley than I already was.
What I was welcomed into was a community. Community has several definitions, including “where a group of people with similar goals or interests connect,” but what they all share in common is that it is a group of people. There’s a sense of openness and acceptance in a community.
Community doesn’t mean that everyone is your best friend. I think most adults agree and understand that not everyone is your best friend and there is such a thing as an acquaintance. There are a countless number of activities I do with my dearest friends that I do not do with the community I consider myself a part of here in Phoenix.
Hindering a sense of community can create and be caused by cliques, which are small exclusive groups of people. Clique-type groups have their place in small groups of best friends. They don’t belong in place of communities. Activities and people that tend to nurture cliques rather than communities are hindering the potential of an area or another group of people with a common interest. Though someone may realize who their acquaintances are in comparison to their closest friends, labels and groups that are prominently displayed may make someone feel excluded form a potential community because of the clique feel it gives off.
Small groups of close friend are healthy and normal but labeling small groups of people that can make others feel excluded can hinder and prevent strong communities from forming. And everyone knows that large numbers of people can accomplish great things. Don’t exclude. If something is meant for a select group of people, keep it between them. Open it to the public if it’s meant for the community.
This is just a note for any of you that follow my blog. I am taking a temporary hiatus from Grace.Balance.Courage while I am on a few big endeavors.
One of them is a half marathon I am challenging myself with in order to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am blogging my journey on my donation site, which you can visit at http://pages.teamintraining.org/dm/pfchangs11/tbartz#home.
Additionally I am in the progress of starting up a new UX blog which is taking some of my time and house hunting. I promise when I get everything squared away I will be back, better than ever. Love you all!
Hurray! I am very pleased to announce that as of July 29, 2010 I have finished all the items on my 30 before 30 list. It’s hard to believe I finished it nearly a month early considering I was out of the country for awhile. I’m so thrilled to have had an opportunity to challenge myself and do some fun things in the mean time too. My last 3 consisted of cooking something fancy, getting back on the piano again, and submitting to a conference.
As much as this was my own list, it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of several awesome people that I wanted to take time and mention now.
It’s far too often I hear the skewed perception of how ugly and horrid Arizona is; that it’s filled with dead grass that won’t grow, ugly desert plants, and no greenery, water, or beauty.
Interestingly enough, Arizona’s one of the first states that I’ve traveled more in while living there than going to other states. When I lived in the midwest I always took weekend trips to other states when I traveled. I’ve only traveled out of the state for leisure twice in nearly two years. Most of the time, I find the state I have made home a land of so many different types of scenery and people that it always feels like I’m traveling somewhere new, when I’m in fact staying in my backyard.
Look at all the lakes that are miraculously stuck in the valleys of mountains, and you don’t even have to travel outside of Phoenix to see them either, although I did here in this gorgeous picture of Lake Havasu. Lakes are beautiful anywhere in my opinion, but in the middle of the desert they just seem to have so much more awesome beauty. How can you possibly say this is not a place you’d love to visit frequently? Hell, I want to retire here.
Water isn’t your thing? Looking for something more normal? Some good ol’ woodlands scenery? Maybe even some snow? Look no farther than Flagstaff. Mountains, snow, pine trees, all within a day trip’s distance from my house. You won’t even have the heat of Havasu or Phoenix, promise. On average, it’s 20 degrees cooler at any given time!
Not to mention, desert plant life is just beautiful so I’m not sure how people can claim otherwise. Take a trip down the highways, especially during the spring wildflower season, or head to Boyce Thompson Arboretum where you will see just how glorious desert plants can be:
I rest my case! Arizona is the awesome!
Well I have a little over a month left and three more items to finish. I’m planning on the speaker submission by the end of this month (as that’s when it’s due), and getting back on the piano by August. All that’s left is cooking an amazingly awesome dinner. I cannot believe how much shit I’ve done!!
Finished | Definite Plans to Finish | Finalizing Plans | Still on Backburner
So there, most of them I am on my own with now, but if I beckon you to try some odd ass dinner, don’t be surprised, and please come
I’ve spent the last month or so trying to make a better attempt at recycling. It’s been hard after putting it off for so long and having it be the last thing on my mind. I wasn’t sure how much progress I was truly making until a few days ago.
First and foremost, I’ve discovered that I have been recycling almost 3 times more what I end up throwing away in the garbage on average. Pictures like the one here, which is of the recycling bag and trash can in my bedroom are repeated all over my house. I have a bag/bin for recycling on each floor to ensure that I am being conscious before I toss something in the garbage. It’s amazing what you can recycle when you think about it.
Not only that, but I recently put a recycling bag in my office too. We have a recycling bin, but I often don’t think about it because it’s easier to toss things in my trash can at my desk rather than get up.
Sometimes it’s hard to change your habits, but with enough will it can be done. I can’t tell you how proud I am to cross this 30 before 30 off my list.
There’s a lot of power in the title of this that is relatively accurate. In the months since I’ve returned from my trip overseas, I’ve began to realize that I’ve become pretty lazy. I’m not constantly worried about keeping my house clean, I let my email stack up for weeks at a time without answering it, I don’t feel inclined to work on a side project or cross items off my to-do list if I’d rather watch a movie or go for a bike ride. To most, this may seem normal. To me, it’s almost a complete 180.
Prior to departure, especially the immediate two months beforehand, I was the goddess of chaos. I always had a million things going on; always had to do lists everywhere that I felt obligated to cross off before I would let myself even take a few hours of sleep that night. I would obsess over the smallest things and want to make sure everything was in order at every minute of every day.
I’m not sure how much anyone else really noticed, but I noticed. I was anal about getting my car in or vacuuming to the point that I would cancel plans when those small tasks could’ve easily waited. I don’t recall if it drove me crazy though. I remember sometimes being stressed out, but I don’t ever remember feeling like I was too overwhelmed or out of control.
Since I’ve been back, I’ve had a much different outlook on life. I’ve learned to let go of things and truly appreciate the things that mean the most in life. The ones that don’t, can be put off. However, this has meant having a lot more me time and not catching up on some things that are important. I forgot to pay a bill on time once, and I still have a trunk from Afghanistan at the foot of my bed that has not been unpacked. I don’t remember the last time I washed my car and I have calls I need to make that I just haven’t made time for.
It’s interesting though. You’d think I’d be carefree; feel happier and less chaotic. However, I feel more out of control of my life because I can’t seem to get on even ground again, no matter how much I try. While I love it, I need to find a nice balance between before and after to make my life less stressful.
It’s also amazing what happens when you open your eyes to situations that truly matter in life and not just ones that matter to you or your circle of friends and family. Life and death situations, the safety of our country and other factors make everything else seem minute and pointless, even paying bills and keeping my house in top shape. Going through an experience like this is something that will change your life forever. While I’m not suggesting everyone sign up to head to Afghanistan, I think similar experiences can come from volunteering for projects that truly impact life. Just be cautious that you still have responsibilities on your plate. That will be what I’m working on the rest of the summer.
This has to be one of my absolute favorite parts of my 30 before 30 so far, probably tied with performing at Desert Bloom and visiting the Grand Canyon. Hmm, I just realized I never blogged about either of those events, my apologies.
Most of you that know me understand that up until this particular day in May, I had never painted anything really… especially not on canvas. I’m a sketcher – pretty much lo-fidelity is my game. I’m good at getting the ideas going and generating my ideas and thoughts onto paper for graphic designers to turn into reality. Occasionally I can use Photoshop to create a gem, but it’s rare – a true diamond in the rough.
I’m actually a little embarrassed about how poor my drawing art skills are. I know a lot of very talented artists and graphic designers and I’ve just never been that person. Even more reason to add it to my list.
Initially, my plan was to invite a few of my female folk over to paint in my garage and have a few glasses of wine. I had planned on asking one of my friends Jinia, who is one of the owners of Loveland. As I’m heading to personally invite her, I get an idea. Would she really be up for hosting it? Inviting customers and my friends alike. Would it work?
She was. And it did. I was amazed at how many showed interest, and how many of those had little or no painting experience. It was going to be a first for several of my friends and customers of Loveland, though a few of them had painted several times before.
When I was asked to describe the event, I used these words in an email I quickly drew up to Jinia, which became the message sent to everyone interested in the event:
I’ve really been trying to focus a lot on learning to do new things, and focusing on creativity outside my profession and everyday activities. By no means am I an artist by nature, and to be quite honest, I’ve never painted a canvas before in my life. That in itself made me want to do it. The more I talked with other people, the more I realized there were many people I knew that had never painted before, never having tapped into that part of their creativity before. Why? Some are probably intimated because they consider themselves art challenged (as I often do). Some may have just never thought about just painting a canvas before. Whatever the reason, I have seen a definite need for the mind to tap into different areas of creativity, and I wanted to create a way for my friends and others to do this without fear of embarrassment or intimidation. I can guarantee to them all, the only thing I can do is turn a lower case m into a seagull in the sky. Let’s do this together and create art for our homes, friends, offices, or to trade within our painting session.
Soon we had people donating time and supplies, including Arizona Art Supply and the amazing Jenny Fontana who helped those that had questions in regard to technique.
While I spent the beginning portion of the night watching what others were doing, by the night’s end, I had painted two abstract pieces – one for my bedroom and one for my dining room.
They are finally hung, and I am proud they are mine.