Saturday, October 27, 2012

Net Impact...for whom?

It is remarkable to think that I was at this same conference a very short year-ago in Portland.  Much has changed and it was gratifying to attribute many of those changes to my MBA program.  It's like we're learning....  
The Cohort 5 and 6 executive members of Colorado State's Net Impact chapter headed to Baltimore this year to represent our newly achieved "silver status".  Woot!
CSU has arrived Baltimore!
We kicked off Thursday night with some stellar keynotes.   Freeman Hrabowski (<--Click for AMAZING Time bio), the president of the University of Maryland (Baltimore County) received a standing ovation for his recount of time spent in jail at the age of 12, earned during a march for  civil rights in 1960's Alabama; followed by a rousing articulation of the gaps in the US education system.  Yes, we are broken.  Yes, we have certainly lost our edge on the hard sciences...but he finished on a high note borrowed from Aristotle: "Choice, not chance, determines your destiny." And the conference was off.

That night we were all eager to get out and enjoy the bounty of the east coast.  The food in this town is incredible and my fellow Cohort 5 ladies and I blew through our food budgets with no guilt whatsoever. I've been on the strict grad-school regimen of rice, beans, coffee, and beer.  Bring on the homemade charcuterie and crab cakes!

 Crab dip and Ahi tuna...not totally proud of the tuna choice.
Home (restaurant)-made charcuterie!

Something that drove me crazy at last year's event  as well as this time around was the OVERabundance of disposables used.  Yes, there were 2,700 participants.  Yes, we are all caffeine crazed type-As.  Yes, I understand the environmental impact of producing a zillion reusable coffee mugs is probably greater than the waste generated by the thousands of paper cups pictured here.  Most worrisome were the hoards of sustainability professionals dumping their cups into the landfill box with a pitiful shake of the head and a "FOR SHAME" look of they added to the piles.

Sustainable business conference FAIL

People.  This is NOT what Aristotle was talking about.  Choose a better destiny and BYO Cup. 

I realize this is an ironic rant to directly follow my indulgent food pictures.  It's my blog.

I was struck by how different I felt leaving this conference in comparison to last year.  In fall of 2011, I was just cutting my MBA teeth.  Eager to absorb and near desperate to get a handle on this animal called sustainability, I took every panel in with a breath of hope and heard a positive message.  

Cut to fall 2012.  A year into my program and 8-weeks away from graduation, I was initially startled at the critical attitude I was applying to each speaker.  Why didn't the One Laptop per Child founder address his impact measurements at all?  Why doesn't the speaker from Merck Pharmaceuticals know more about the company's water usage?  What is Coke doing speaking about product liter for water liter usage and restoration efforts in such vague terms that it seems to be happening in a galaxy far, far away?  And why, OH WHY is Monsanto at the career/exhibition fair?????

The fact of the matter is that sustainability has. no. definition.  Theoretically, it means to operate in a manner that leaves enough resources for future generations.  I believe it is also a subjective term that aligns with one's personal values; animal rights versus hormone usage versus labor exploitation versus natural resources versus profit maximization versus job creation versus what feels good in your heart and mind...your sustainable reality is based on what matters to you.

What does that mean when we're facing a rapidly escalating population that will hit 10 billion (in my lifetime)?  I realize it was necessary to pull the big hitters in, such as Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, and General Mills.  These are industry giants that have the dollar power to shift markets with sourcing and marketing decisions.  However, when we are given the corporate line over and over on Proposition 37, lack of consumer confidence, and ambiguous language on global water governance, engaging with giants becomes tiresome. 

I appreciate the mostly sincere effort to engage in these conversations by the corporate players.  Business-based global alliances are just as powerful as the political ones and certainly play with more flexible dollars.  Coming away from the conference this year, I realized that I have no idea where I belong in this world.  

While I will always lust after a cabin in the woods near a babbling it finally time to put the big girl suit on?  Is it worth it to jump in and attempt to make incremental shifts in the companies where change is slow to come but large when it arrives?  Do I shoot for the smaller, more agile organizations, whose goals I more likely align with.  I no longer feel that corporate = greed or that start-up = poor or that nonprofit = altruistic.  The rules are constantly bending, changing, and being rewritten.  All I'm sure of is that I want to be one of the co-writers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Colors...of Rejection

Autumn has hit Colorado with full force.  I don't remember being so struck by the colors last year.  Perhaps that's because I was preoccupied with drinking the MBA kool aid through a fire hose, as one professor put it.  The sky is still shockingly, Colorado blue most days but I can't say I don't wake up giddy when it's overcast and gloomy; reminiscent of Alaskan summers....and Ohio most of the year.  

This is also my cohort's season for job applications.  While I'd give anything to break-in my new Simms (!) waders a little more often or even read a book for fun, the job hunt relentlessly calls me... more like nagging really.  This on top of the final semester sprint of grad school.  Busy? Yes.  Ready to put the last 18-months to good use? Absolutely!  Time to find a new sunrise to follow?  You betcha!

While I've only just started shooting out inquiries to all corners of the ethers touting my amazing ninja-employee skills, I did recently receive the nicest rejection email one could get.  A personalized, two-paragraph letter from the interior of Alaska saying that I in fact, do very much align with their organization's mission, I just need more experience.  Now, I've had a hell of a time traveling, Peace Corps-ing, fishing, Alaska-ing, and learning.  No apologies and no regrets but geez is it hard to convey that much awesomeness and that many lessons learned in a cover letter.  And really, if someone is going to reject you for a job, feedback is like a runner-up I got that going for me.

And so when friends went out for a little jazz and fancy drinks last night, I indulged in a smoked salmon martini with bleu cheese stuffed olives...because it certainly tasted like Alaska since I can't get back there just yet.  

Took myself out of Fort Collins proper today, enjoyed the tree colors popping against the grey sky and discovered one more maintained natural area, managed by the city. Enjoy the photos, hopefully more to come as I have mandated personal outings to keep the sanity alive.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hello Self...and a movie of my trip

"On paper", this summer has been fantastic and full of adventures.  But just so we're clear, the paper version usually omits the internal wounds, trips to Crazy Town, and the spontaneous moments of blubbering that usually alarm strangers.  But through a certain lens, I am one lucky lady.
Since the last post, I finished getting the Adorable Truck road-ready and set off to have a few of those discussions one has with oneself when you two haven't spoken in a very long time.  I delivered a case of "thank-you beer" to my guardian angels (Rocky Mountain Mechanics) at 7am and hit I-25 north to the Tetons.  Most of my summer obligations here were fulfilled and I had planned to take this chunk of time off in Alaska anyways.  No use sitting in my 120-degree apartment during one of the hottest summers Fort Collins has seen in awhile.
After a day's worth of driving, I arrived in Jackson Hole...and was promptly smacked in the face by the Tetons.  They weren't really even on my radar as I was suffering from Yellowstone fever, but friends had emphasized their grandeur.  At this point in the trip, I still wasn't able to make it through the "Best of the Dixie Chicks" album without cursing men and instilling fear in fellow motorists with my monologue rants about life's injustices, complete with gesturing (the truckers were definitely on their CBs about the wacko lady in the white truck) .  But then I saw the Tetons.

Sharp, craggy, and unapologetically in-your-face; these mountains evoked a feeling I hadn't experience since standing in the presence of Denali the first time she showed herself to me.  While ruthless in the worst of times, she is a rounded, maternal formation and will always be my first love.  But then came the Tetons.  They were exactly what I had been craving; instant gratification and requiring nothing from me to get some views.  The park offered some great biking and I did that for a whole day.  After all, when the brain is so focused on harvesting oxygen, there is much less energy available for "the dwelling" as I came to call those moments (or hours) when you get lost in your own head.
And so I spent a few days camping around that area and getting re-acquainted with my tent and sleeping arrangement for one.  Again, on paper it was luxurious.
I headed north to Yellowstone, our nation's oldest national park.  And was promptly smacked in the face by the tourist scene.  My first wildlife sighting up there was a small group of harassed elk trying to just find some shade to hang out in...but alas, the elk were pursued by an unrelenting barrage of tele-photo lenses.  I had no idea what this park was all about in the crowded summer months.  RVs everywhere and spectacular people watching, especially the parent/teenager combination.  It is truly a magnificent place I can not wait to return the winter.  Key take-away: So thankful people can't drive themselves around Denali National Park.  
Ironically, my favorite part about this trip was the people I encountered.  It's always encouraging to see folks enjoying the outdoors, whatever their comfort level.  I was reminded of Ted (name changed), a guest I hiked with back in Alaska.  Ted had had both knees replaced and while the inner image of a younger, sprier man shined through his eyes, his body had forsaken him.  We decided to take a mile-long hike to an overlook of a glacier, close enough to feel the frigid air that comes off the ancient ice.  Ted tottered along and we took each step with care.  We eventually reached the glacier, and his wife was in tears because this was the most Ted had walked since the surgeries.  Ted was pretty damn proud too and relished the cool breeze that greeted us.  Some days it's all we can do to walk that mile and I was glad to see a lot of Teds in Yellowstone; some who had waited their entire lives to see these sights and saved their pennies for years to share it with their families.
I ended my trip with visits to several friends in Montana and Colorado.  Quiet time is a necessity and crucial to self-progression...but it can also circle back to Crazy Town if you're not careful to temper it with great people along the way.  The ones who let you cry in your whiskey and help you laugh through the tears.  They help you to accept, process, embrace, and celebrate the things that aren't "on paper" and walk with you when you turn the page.  

Excited to finish school this fall and begin again.  For a visual recap, here's a short movie of videos and stills from my trip, the iphone video camera performed stellar-ly.  Hope all is well in your worlds!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Because Life Goes On

As I pack up the part of the apartment that isn't mine, I reflect on the day I've had.  A friend invited me to go backpacking in the Tetons, I almost finished updating my cute little truck, I have delicious home brewed beer to sip, the guy I loved isn't an asshole, just a realist (granted reality struck a little late in the game), and most importantly (yes today, this is the most important thing), friends invited me to dinner.  We all cooked and laughed around the table.  Two Americans, a Brazilian, and two lovely people from Kosovo sat down to break bread.  We talked about politics, family, global wars, discussed trips we've been on, and talked about our futures, because life keeps happening.  Every single day!  A fact that has eluded me as of late.

We are work partners, classmates, each others' sounding board for those wacky ideas after one too many beers, and most importantly a port in the storm.  While I may be processing my personal life online, for all to see, I know it's my friends who will read it and draw out the conversation later.  They wait for the quiet moment and pounce, they even throw in a "Well, it's time to buck the f*ck up).  Which is usually necessary in times of wallowing.  As Jane Austin said "Friendship is certainly the finest balm for the pangs of disappointed love."  Right on lady!

The friends we make in this life are the most important investment we will make in ourselves and in creating a better society.  If not for friends, there would be no one to call at all hours, no one to share your family stories with, no one to call you on something when you get a little too high on that soapbox, and no one to scrape you off the floor (however you managed to get down there).  Most importantly, there would be much less compassion, less forgiveness, and no fun in general.  (I can only hang out with a corgi and my truck for so long :)  These are all things I've learned from the very important people in my life.

Different sunsets for different people.  Getting excited to follow a different one for now and make some new friends along the way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Break-Up Story

What is one to do when her boyfriend dumps her, AND finds he has immediately shacked up again?  So much for recovery time.  That's about the fastest I've seen Rocky move on anything, ever.  "Sigh".  Well if you're anything like me, you would have a good cry, wave goodbye to all sense of trust and dignity, call your best friends who will always be there to scrape you off the floor.....and then go buy a truck.

Two weeks ago Rocky and I began the process of amicably parting ways and divvying up the life we had built together for 3 years.  Sad, yes but hey, he was so consoling I figured he was hurting just the same as me.  I mean, I just had 6 more months to go before graduating and was ready to move our collective life along in a beautiful place to perpetuate the tradition of porch coffee.

But it was not to be.  Alaska is cold and a close friend's body heat is absolutely necessary right?  Never mind that we had made a go of it for years and the light of graduation was at the end of the tunnel.  Once that bit of knowledge was dropped, I couldn't get the checkbook out fast enough to separate myself from all dependencies.  Thanks for the lesson Rocky, duly noted.  And you better thank your stars that I didn't just load up the Subaru and park it on the side of the highway :)

And for me?  Friends are vital and moms are rockstars.  I'm allowed to be snarky and sad for a spell, but I'll enjoy being snarky a whole lot more in my truck.  

Add caption

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Smart Phone Stroke

A self-indulgent, rant of a post.  You have been warned.

I bought a smartphone.  This decision was not an easy one as my poor sales-guy at the shop can tell you.  Perhaps it was the two-year commitment Verizon straps you into, maybe it was the fact that an iphone (my eventual decision) packs more processing power in your palm than what the original space shuttle used, or that it costs more to replace than a couple months of rent.  OR maybe it was the feeling of crossing the phone chasm I knew had been looming around the bend for some time now.  Is there really no going back after going "smart"?  This vicious cycle of a thought pattern was entering my mind at all hours, making me re-evaluate my priorities.  What the hell was wrong with me?  Fairly certain that I was blogging last June about halibut and hiking; a far cry from gigabytes and dual-core processors.  Of course societal pressure is always great to push you right over the edge and conform.  "You're an MBA student with a dumb phone?" or "Wow, a paper day planner huh?  So vintage."  

While researching phones, plans, carriers, and speculating on where I'll be and what I'll be doing until this contract is up, I drove myself and everyone around me nuts for the last few months.  I even started counting and recording the times I was out and about and would have used a smartphone, just to see if I really could use one or if it was a childish "I NEEEEEEEED it" feeling.   God help anyone around me who whipped out their little hand cannon of a computer to make a call or check their daily schedule.  "Excuse me, sir?  Do you like that phone? What carrier are you with?  Oh family plan...I see.  Well are you happy with it?  What would you have done differently?   And so it went.  While I coveted these little shiny blocks of wonder and efficiency, I had to stop and think: If these things indeed make you more productive on the go, do I even want to be that person who Instagrams everything in a sexy sepia tone or madly swings her phone around trying to "calibrate" so I can get a perfect read on the constellations?  I know, I know... privileged person problems.  See the following for another example of this condition so you understand that I understand I'm ridiculous...

Ireland - $2500
Malta - $1500
Australia - $2000
I don’t have $6000.

With all of this mind-numbing knowledge, I decided that it is ok to make the jump.  Because maybe...just maybe, if I finally made this decision, I could stop obsessing about it and move on.  So, game day.  I plotted my week out on my paper calendar and realized that I could indeed upgrade on the same day Verizon launched their new plan, the share everything.

Entered the store with shaky legs and nearly yelled my name to the nice guy at the door que-ing up people ready to take the plunge as well.  Actually, they were all on their  4th or so smartphone and looked at me like I had the plague...probably due to my red faced, sweaty demeanor.  I was about to sign a contract for another TWO YEARS!!!!!!  Does anyone else freak out when they sign a contract? You SHOULD!  Think about all that has happened in the last two years, it is a very long time!  

Salesman spoke slowly and walked me around the store in a few circles to let me touch all the pretty screens.  Salesman then started talking plans and I kept up, inserting my needs and pre-determined criteria when necessary.  Not sure why I hinged my decision on coverage in Alaska.  I don't work there at present and visits are a few weeks max at a time.  But I think this is a gene passed from my Dear Mother, the woman who, when purchasing a camp stove made sure it would run on all sorts of combustibles, including jet fuel.  Just in case the zombie apocalypse does happen and we have to hole up in an Air Force base and MUST boil water for survival with no other materials to burn.....

So, I stuck with the iPhone 4s, 3g coverage is JUST FINE.  Since it's my first one, it's magical anyways and works in way more areas than the 4g territory.  Yes I know other phones switch back and forth but the deal breaker for me was design.  I am still a slave to Apple.  They may not give a damn about customer freedom and continue to reign supreme over the land of unnecessary new product roll-outs, but their style just screams at me.  Actually, it's more a subtle whisper, Apple is too cool to scream.  "Buy me, I'll solve alllll your problems."  "Come on, you know you want to swipe my screen just one more time to see if you've gotten a text in the last 15-seconds."  "Apps? Oh yes, I rule the app game.  Sibley's bird guide has never looked better"  And so I caved.  

My shaky credit card signature must have looked like I was in the middle of having a stroke.  As Salesman was piling the counter high with accessories..."Sir, do I really need the pack of 7 screen protectors?"  "Well yes, otherwise you won't get the (minuscule) discount on your allegedly bomb-proof case that is absolutely essential to your phone's survival"  At this point I was so glazed over I just needed to get out of the money-sucking store.  "Bag it up and get me out of here, Salesman."  Walked through the doors and immediately took a solid 90-seconds to figure out how to call my mom.  "Well now what are we going to talk about?" 

Today I am headed out to touch my tomato plants and attend a clam bake.  Friends and food, what it's really about...and probably an Instagram pic or two....

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Me, my MBA, and Obama

And so it began, the fable-ed summer project of Colorado State's MBA in Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise.  In this 18-month program, we as students are charged with learning as much as we can about all things sustainable and execute our learnings over the one summer we have in MBA-land.  We spend the initial fall and spring semesters salivating over the impending summer experience; writing team charters to ensure we don't go nuts on each other in close quarters, asking "why 5-times" as Lean Start-Up author, Eric Reis tells us to, printing off thousands of Osterwalder's business canvases to fill out...only to discover a crucial gap in our business development.  No longer is it acceptable to believe the "green-washing" we are inundated with, by sly marketing campaigns, no more do we believe that progress for the sake of progress is creation without destruction!  We are pushed to empower ourselves with information on an industry of our choice and turn that info into a little nugget of triple-bottom line sustainability.

My team of three has chosen to pursue the Crowdfunding space.  Popular sites such as kickstarter, indiegogo, rockethub, and wefunder are some of the front runners you may have recently heard about.  With almost 500 relatively new funding websites and several more projected to launch by the end of this year, and $1.5B invested in projects/businesses last year (globally) via crowdfunding, the powers that be in the US simply can't ignore this industry any longer.

On April 5, 2012 President Obama signed the JOBS act into law.  The crowdfunding act, a crucial piece of this legislation, stipulated that small private startups can now offer (and in the near future solicit investors to purchase) shares of their ventures.  This essentially means the 99% of the US who have been historically called "unaccredited investors", like me (based on net worth), are now able to play a role in job creation, business development, and are also able to better capitalize on their savings by investing in their friends, family, and strangers for a financial return on their money.

We traveled to Salt Lake City for one of the first conferences on this 8-week old industry to see who's who and make some face to face connections.  The conference was a mash of old, white guys from Salt Lake trying to figure this space out, about 5 women, students from the area, and the industry architects who drove this act to law.  The audience represented a wide spectrum of specializations and crowdfunding knowledge.  All in all we had a blast, made some great connections, and realized that this is going to be huge.  Even if crowdfunding becomes an eventual bubble akin to the era, some very key players in the US government and business worlds are standing up to say that this is important.

A very special thanks to the Rocky Mountain Innosphere for sponsoring our trip and valuing this cause!

Jill at the swank Camelot Inn

Crowdfunding celebrities from Rocket

Bonded, educated, and ready to capitalize on crowdfunding, the GSSE-MBA team!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Putting Down Roots

Ahh yes, summer in the lower-48.  I haven't been in the continental United States for a summer season since 2006.  Between Benin, traveling, and Alaska, I've gotten accustomed to living a transient lifestyle, actually planning trips to a store, and making do with whatever I happen to find at said store.  The last 10 months spent in Fort Collins have snapped me back into the world of wading through the many, many choices of every product in creation.  Not too sure how I feel about this, however access to Whole Foods HAS reintroduced me to the luxury of fresh, organic produce allllllll the time.  But since there's a reason it's also called "Whole Paycheck" I decided to go for the garden option.  I was pretty lucky back in August to find an actual human landlord who would let me put things in the ground.

Trolling the Larimer County farmer's market was fantastic; fresh bread, honey, cheese, and most importantly, veggie starts.  I just didn't have time to tackle seeds this year...but there's always next summer...and so the madness starts.  Fairly certain I inherited the gene that drives my mother to blow her knees out every year planting enough produce to feed all of Northern Ohio.  If we ever get a plot of land together, look out world!

I channeled my 15-year old self from the landscaping days and donned my hiking boots and shorts (my legs haven't seen sun in at least 3 years, ca-ute!).  Coming from the rich Ohio soil, the clay in my current backyard shocked my still-vibrating wrists when I was trying to raise the beds.  No mind, landlord Ben to the rescue with composted horse manure...and grubs.  Very curious to see how this planting season goes in a land of little water, high winds, and unfamiliar pests.  Photos below, suggestions are definitely welcome.

Squash, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, strawberries

garden in the far corner...we're working on the grass situation

ready to plant

Herbs that WILL live through the winter

Looks sparse...fingers crossed

It's so dry here things are already starting to fry.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happenings in Colorado

I haven't blogged since February???  Oh boy, grab a cup of coffee, this may take awhile... but I promise pretty pictures along the way.  I'll keep it chronological and full of highlights.  This should have been 7 or 8 blog posts.
Matt, Sally, and Tucker enjoying the view
For spring break I headed back to the familiar land of Leadville.  I am still completely charmed by this town.  It was so nice to walk in to the coffee shop, chat with old friends and see some familiar faces around town.  While I did have a looming finance project, there was still time to get out and snowboard and snowmobile a wee bit.   Sally even invited me up to Copper Mountain to get buried in a snow cave so the avalanche dog she works with could find me.  Getting found by a cute golden retriever face is not a bad way to spend a Tuesday morning.
Happy Dog who loves snowmobile trips!

Rocky continues to live the life
So that was spring break.  After an all too short week (but wishing the whole time we could just get on with the semester), I headed back to Fort Collins to finish up the last 8 weeks of the second of three semesters for my MBA.  I've always known I'm a multi-tasker and enjoy switching gears to keep my brain fresh.  Classes have been a grind for me this semester, statistics in excel is just not doing it.  So I began looking for additional opportunities to build my skill set...but mostly have some fun while I'm here.  My MBA team and I decided a few months ago that we will be staying in the United States for the summer.  Other teams are headed to Bolivia, Mongolia, Kenya, and Guatemala, can't wait to follow them!  Since we ditched our initial venture in Brazil, we'd been evaluating our strengths and opportunities and came up with a pretty cool summer endeavor.
But that's another post.  
What I REALLY wanted to say (unrelated to the school stuff) is that I was recently hired as the outreach coordinator for the Shortgrass Steppe Research and Interpretation Center at CSU.  

View from the research station.  
What a cool place!  You all will be hearing much more about it.  Big sky, amazing eco-system, and as a secondary self-assigned task, I'm learning about a whole new world.  Baby rattle snakes and burrowing owls? Yes please!  The director of the center does research on prairie dogs.  Now, I have friends who ranch and my mother has waged a war on ground rodents on a scale comparable to Caddyshack.  It's been interesting and more than a little ironic to learn about and appreciate the ins and outs of prairie dog towns.  My office is in a lab where they do research on the black plague as it relates to p. dog towns.  That's right, p. dogs get the plague, clear out and start-up a few years later.  
But that's another post
Switching gears, I began brewing beer!  This is a spin-off personal project from a past potential school project.  After talking to several people in the community about barley & hops, I got the brew bug.  I tasted my first brew two nights ago, a pale ale.  Fizzed, tasted, looked and provided a homebrewed buzz just like real beer!  I'm pretty sure angels sang when I took my first sip.  Now that I've gotten over the hump of buying the kit and understanding the process, it is ON!  So many recipes to try...
But that's another post

I've already improved upon this method, carboys get HEAVY quick.

The goods to make the goods

Right after transferring to the fermenter.

14-days later, we're ready to bottle!

The sanitation station.  Surgical conditions right here.

Bottle/carboy cleaner.  Best. Tool. Ever.

This is what fermented beer looks like before bottling.  Don't worry, we avoided including the crud (trub) in the bottom.

And now we wait, 14 or more days.

Clean-up is not the best part.
So while Fort Collins did not immediately win my heart, what with the big box stores, copious amount of vehicles, and the staggering number of people between 18 and 21 years old, it IS growing on me.  Spent some time last night at a great bar with great music, part of the FoCo MX 2012 music celebration.  Saw the group Highway 287 and am looking forward to a summer of music and brewing.  

PHEW! If you got to this point in the post, congrats. You are now just as up to speed on my life as I am.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Zip Cars!

Rocky is MIA as of late due to work in the mountains and up until now I've been just fine using a friend's car here and there when I needed to haul something bigger than my Cannondale could handle..which isn't often.  I made the decision to sell the only car I've ever had (owned for 6-months) last April before I headed to Alaska.  Felt great because as well all know with vehicles, with the freedom comes the expense.  I've been eyeing the zip cars  strategically placed around campus for some time and I finally just bought the $25/year membership as a back-up plan.  I'm sold!  I finally decided to complete the home brewing equipment kit I purchased a few weeks back and had to find supplies at (GASP) Wal-Mart.  Haven't been there in quite some time and walking through the doors made me feel like I'd just returned from Benin!

But first, zip cars.  Car-shares - What a fantastic idea.  Among the many Prius-es (Prius-i?) around, I had to reserve "Emmy" the Ford Escape because everything else was booked.  Not exactly the eco-image I was going for but whatever, the glaring zip-car logo on the side took care of my need to flaunt my greenity.  I show up at my reservation time that I so conveniently set up online a few hours prior, slap my personal zip card on the windshield sensor, hop in and drive away.  There was a half tank and they only request you leave a quarter, so Emmy and I were ready to roll.  When you DO fill the tank, please use the included gas card above the visor.  The total service is $8/hr but I end up spending less anyways because I'd fill a friend's tank just for goodwill.  As a last bonus, these are the nicest cars I've driven since staying with mom and dad.  No burning oil smell, smoke, or monster truck muffler faux-pas.  Again, I'm sold.

And yes, my eco-friendly car-share ride rolled me right into the Wal-Mart parking lot where I was desperately looking for a 15L kettle to steep my grains and boil my malt in.  No such luck and happy for it!  I may end up spending a few dollars more at the local brew store but I was so over Big Blue by the time I walked out, I'd have given my first born corgi (ok, maybe not) to avoid the droves of folks who had piled their carts high with corn dogs, fritos, and pallets of soda.  Not that I'm unsympathetic to the cost of food and hey, baby's gotta eat something!  It just threw me for a loop after my latest Whole Foods shopping spree.

So think twice before you fire up your 11-mile/gallon ride and start looking around for the strategically placed Prius.  It's totally worth your dollars!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spring Happenings

Hey friends!  Decided to post an update during a much needed break.  It's been a month since the last post and nothing is as it that's fun! Onward for the details: 

First, since I'm sure you're dying to know.  My fellows ruggers and I voted and we are now the fierce Fort Collins Cutthroats.   However, our colors are light blue and (I think).  We all know how nicely blood comes right out of light colors...  We start outside practice this week with a potential coach so hopefully we'll get some time on the pitch this spring.  It's been a little start-stop-y due to lack of ladies and other teams who want to let us try out our sweet rugby skills.

Fort Collins has been kind with her weather.  Nothing too severe and I've been able to leave my road tires on my bike, though sometimes the cold wind requires I don my uber-fashionable snowboarding helmet, ca-ute!

I did make it up to the mountains with some friends who lit the motivation fire a few weekends ago.  Awesome time at ski cooper and got to see the new overnight yurts ( <-- click this link! ) at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse.  What an amazing spot!  They just keep getting better and having a beer on the porch looking out to Mt Massive and Elbert made me appreciate the time I spent in Leadville even more.

X-Country skiing away from the cookhouse.
I'd like to post about the venture my team and I decided on since we bagged the Brazil green roofs idea, however I think I'l leave it with that photo for now.  Happy Sunday, stay tuned!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fort Collins Lady Ruggers

Sore.  Every muscle in my body is screaming at me due to the 7-hour rugby camp I elected to attend yesterday.  Shout-out to the Glendale Raptors women!  These ladies hosted the camp and offered their expertise and facilities at no charge to growing teams in the area.  Their goal was to promote safe rugby and progress the sport, especially for women as we are so often left to our own coaching devices due to lack of funding, spotty commitment from players, and the absence of facilities.  Not to bring on a pity party, we did just fine at Kent State and had a blast doing it!

The most impressive part of the day was learning from women my age, who are svelte-er than I have EVER been, and watching them teach the game.  There was no screaming about "champions getting up even when they can't" or "digging deep" while I rupture something or feel my muscles sliding around under my pansy, turf-torn flesh.  This wasn't a competitive camp, its sole purpose was rugby education.  The Raptor ladies were humble and bad-ass at the same time and genuinely love the sport they have worked so hard to play. We covered everything from appropriate scrum techniques to ball handling to safe tackling; offense and defense general strategy and articulation of field positioning.  Great for our new girls and I learned new things every drill...mostly that I'm out of shape.  I was in good company though, one girl got up from being tackled and said "Oh yeah, the muffin top pinch, just a little reminder that it's the beginning of the season..."

To add to my awe of Glendale's rugby program, we played at Infinity Park, right outside the same-name stadium.  That's right rugby folk, I said STADIUM!!!!!  For RUGBY!  Try-posts, seating, and everything.  Seriously, click on the link.

The Fort Collins team showed with 7 ladies and I say ladies because we certainly aren't girls anymore.  I am 27 and hate the words "I'm too old to do that anymore", especially from my peers.  We're not "OLD"!  There are 70-year olds who run marathons so let's get over ourselves people!  That said, there IS a significant difference in how tackling affects me now versus when I started almost 10 years ago.  There were many moments yesterday when the team almost collectively decided to make ourselves the Fort Collins Cranky Old Bitches.  Anyone available to be our mascot?

All in all, it was as great though painful kick-off to our season of conditioning, scrimmaging, grant seeking for travel and jersey funds and getting our name out there in the community.  Check us out on Facebook AND our new website!!! Fort Collins Women's Rugby  The bio page is pretty funny.   Stay tuned for more details of excruciating fun and team bonding!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hiatus of madness!

Hello happy readers!  Looks like I've adapted a 3-month blog cycle, New Years intention #1: record more, communicate better.  I've added a few pictures to encapsulate my semester.  Each photo should have been a blog in itself.  Here's the run down:
Since we last met, I attended Net Impact 2011 in Portland, Oregon.  It was a fantastic conference, focused on innovation across all fields.  Some key highlights involved hearing executive officers from REI and Nike speak as well as every day people who truly make a difference doing what they love.  Click on the link above to get a run down.  One of the most important take-aways came from interacting with several of the hundreds of other MBA students who also attended.  While many were taking a class or two on sustainability, we in the GSSE program are totally immersed in it.  It was nice to feel validated by every single speaker I saw.  We are, in fact, setting ourselves up to compete in the world of innovation and change.  The morning we flew out, a group of us made the trip over to Multnomah falls and though it was a rainy day, it was great to see some sites outside the city.
At Net Impact, Portland.  Breakfast of champions!
Multnomah Falls after our weekend conference.

Just as we all hit our mental capacity, Thanksgiving break arrived and I had 10 sweet days to sleep, marinate in what we had learned so far and head up to Leadville for some friends and home cooked food.  Check out those rolls by Rocky!

Thanksgiving in Leadville, great friends and food!
In the few weeks between fall break and winter break ( I forgot how much I love the academic schedule), classes kicked into high gear and we wrapped up presentations, projects, and finals.  The work paid off and I'm sincerely looking forward to building on what we learned, next semester.  Sidenote, one of my spring textbooks is "Statistics in Excel for Dummies".  Good thing we're all realistic enough to avoid being insulted...

Our very last final of the semester...40 hours and many pizzas later.
After some post-finals celebration, I headed up to Leadville and realized altitude + exhaustion = extreme sloth.  Recovered nicely in clear view of the Rockies and flew home for some family time.  Hadn't seen them in a year so it was great to eat mom's food, see friends (Shout out to Keith Chervenak & Co!), and pet my dog (who keeps fighting the good fight and never loses that puppy glow amidst the tumors).
Coming home always tastes so good!

I'll just re-start working out in January...
 Colorado State has a fantastic winter break, a complete 30-days!  Classes start on the 17th and in the mean time, I'll be searching for just a wee bit of snow to board on (it's a low year in Co), prepping for classes and grant seeking for a projected summer trip to Brazil to research sustainable housing solutions in the greater Sao Paulo area...but that's a whole different blog post. 
On continuous watch for dropped food.

Happy New Year everyone, may your good intentions be fruitful and communication channels be open!