Friday, May 22, 2009

Seems that I have losing my bike mojo over the last few years and all attempts rekindle it have failed!

I know it's gone now, but as I just had $3k to spend wildly and not even .01 of it went to a bike related part. I never even had a thought of purchasing bike related parts or gear. In years past I definitely would've had some bike "thingy" that was shiny and new with this kind of loot to spend.

I'm not sure how I began to loose my interest, maybe it's that I'm not a racer and everyone else is. So I want to ride just to enjoy and challenge myself, while others want to ride to blister new times while running you (& others) off the trail.

Politics have also certainly played a large roll in the demise of my riding. If I could do it all over again I'd certainly think twice about my involvement with a club beyond helping to promote it. What starts out nobel quickly excellerates into too much info, too many headaches, too much time, and for too many years. Which in the end = a sour taste for the hobby.

Lastly, I know that not having time to exercise or at least having another form for exercise has dampened my mtb spirit.
I rode because I enjoyed riding and any health bene's were simply a plus. But as time wore on I relied on it to be my "needed" exercise too, which creates a whole new outlook for a hobby. It turned something fun in to a must! When I must do something I begin to view it with "distain" in which I end up doing anything and everything to avoid it.

I guess that is where I am today, avoiding it.

During the last year Richmond,Va became the lucky recipient of a Trader Joe's store. For years I've heard about them, but I've always used the "talk" about TJ's to just be a "yuppy" store. This theory was mostly based on the fact that just about everyone who buys from there talks about their great wine deals & all I could picture in my head was a bunch of blue shirts & khaki pants pushing & shoving their strollers past each other to fight for the last box-O-wine. As it turns out, they literally having bottles of wine for $3.00 and still being able to get volume discounts by purchasing by the case.

After being completely disappointed in the new Whole Foods in Richmond, (The store seems to be more about, "who's watching who pay stupidly inflated prices for the same foods they can buy across the street for 2/3's the price." Don't get me wrong, I was all about getting a Whole Foods in Ric, as Lisa and I would drive to Char'ville just to hit up that store. Somehow once introduced to the West End of Ric, it became a store more about posh than content (quality & more healthy foods).

So we finally broke down and headed to Trader Joe's & since that day we've been kicking ourselves for not getting there sooner!
For me though, most of the wine is irrelevant when you consider all the other goodies TJ's has to offer.

Their food selection and pricing is second to none!! Seriously, some of their pricing is on par with large volume box retail chains, and or store brand prices at places like Foodlion, but the quality is SO-O much better.

Just a few examples:
- Organic Breads on par or better than the quality of local bakeries and starting at $2.29.
- Organic Chocolate Syrup for $2.49
- Organic granola & fruit bars $1.49+
- Organic & Fair Trade Coffee $6.99 - 9.99 and usually 1lb too.
- Organic Peanut & various Nut Butters (Quiet!) $2.49 +
- Pasta's, Italian made & full pound servings only .99 w/whole wheat for $1.25.

And the list keeps going.

Perhaps the best part of the store is that they are doing what mainstream has said can not be done.
They are providing many products that are cheaper than name brands while using better ingredients and still having great taste. Most products that aren't Organic are most likely HighFructroseCornSyrup free!

That IMO is worth the drive any day of the week & while most stores will have you paying more for using sugar cane, TJ's is charging less.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Walk the walk

Sometimes (& to a fault) I find myself too anti-establishment.

It makes me feel bored, constricted, even dirty. I've been this way from as far back as I can remember. It seems that even as a young child being read the rules to a board game, my first thoughts were always to question the exception or even the validity of a rule.

But this past weekend I took part in what many may consider everything I've questioned or stand against. I took part in my Graduation ceremony by walking; and it was one of the best days of my life!

As it turns out, if you argue with yourself long enough about something you realize that even the stance of "anti-establishment" is itself, an "establishment." And as such, I owe it to myself to truly way the Pro's and Con's of participating or not.

A few months back I realized that the day I was to walk & accept my diploma also turned out to me my birthday. Me being someone who tends to get caught up in the "things happen for a reason," looked at this as a huge signal that I need to give this some serious consideration.

In the end my decision was more about I owed it to me, myself, & I. I have spent many years fighting my way through school, on & off, full-time, part-time, working & not, and now everything is coming to a conclusion.

For me, walking gave me a sense of closure, an end point to a journey, my goal, to attend and finish college.

Oddly enough from the moment I arrived at the Siegal Center it hit me, this day was as important to all those who gave me the support that I needed to make this dream a reality! This day will help them to have closure too; witnessing this event is their return for for their unquestionable and unwaving love and support that they have always shown me.

So for those who find themselves pondering the same question I had, I say do it!

Very few moments in life can ever measure up to hearing thousands of people cheering & clapping as you enter the Graduation Ceremony. For those few moments, the magnitude of your accomplishment strikes. It touches you on a level that is difficult to put into words.

So to all my friends and family who put up with my stories & rants over the years, "Thank you." To all my friends and family who help me keep my spirits up when things looked grim,"Thank You." To all my friends and family who were simply there for me, "Thank you."

You have all taught me as much about giving, kindness, and caring as school has on the studied subjects.

One last thing, several friends just since yesterday has informed me of their regret to having not walked, but I have yet to meet someone who feels their time was wasted by attending.

In short, the underlying lesson goes beyond partaking in a graduation ceremony or not, but rather is a challenge to you, me, & everyone else to really gauge why we make the decisions we do and force us to reconsider any personal opinions that just may turn out too antiquated for today.