Tuesday, December 9, 2014

12 Days of Charity

This post is a little late, sorry! There's still time though:
Starting on the 14th I am doing my "12 Days of Charity" challenge.  Based on the 12 Days of Christmas song.  I have chosen my local animal shelter (where I volunteer), as the charity I will donate to.

My Mom also chose a charity - the local food pantry.

So, starting on December 14th, I will be posting everyday about the gift for that day!

Well, I don't have much to post right now, but I hope you'll all join in, though it's a little late.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Before I Turn 18 List

As you may know, I broke my 100 things list down into sections.  It's an easy way to get everything done.  Anyone who creates a list of things they want or need to do, whether it's for a day, or for their life, should break it down into sections.  It's helpful for organization.

Now, on the "Before I Turn 18" list I have:
  1. Stop being shy
  2. Dye my hair
  3. Play laser tag
  4. Play Paintball
  5. Watch a full Season of "24" in 24 hours
  6. Collect hard copies of all of Fall Out Boy's albums
  7. Start a FOB cover band
  8. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
As of today, I have completed two of those things.  I'm also well on my way towards a third, and fourth.  What about the other four?  As with most people I procrastinated, thinking I had quite a while before I need to finish them, and now time is running out for me to complete them before I turn eighteen.  

I currently volunteer at an animal shelter once a week walking dogs.  I dyed my hair for the first time in summer 2013 with kool aid, and in April 2014 with boxed dye.  I have made a lot of progress to not being as shy, little things like dying my hair, and wearing unusual outfits, things to make me stand out so I can't be shy.  I also have three of Fall Out Boy's albums on CD (I have more of them electronically).

So the list is now: 
  1. Stop Being Shy
  2. Dye my Hair
  3. Play Laser Tag
  4. Play Paintball
  5. Watch a Full Season of "24" in 24 Hours
  6. Collect Hard Copies of All of Fall Out Boy's Albums
  7. Start a FOB Cover Band
  8. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter
There are three on the list that I'm not sure I'll be able to finish.  Numbers 3, 4, and 7.  Though for number 7 I've considered doing a solo project, and performing at open-mic nights nearby.  

My problem is time, and, in some cases, money.  Mainly time.  Time is the thing that none of us ever seem to have enough of, but if we don't make time for the things we love to do then what's the point?  If we're not enjoying what we're doing why are we doing it?  I, personally, enjoying being busy.  Unfortunately, that doesn't often doesn't give me time outside my schedule for things like Paintball.

Unless online Paintball counts, I'm going to have to get busy planning! Hopefully, I'll be able to finish this section of my list, soon.  It's only eight items, how hard can it be?  (Famous last words)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ebola, should the US be worried? Part 2.

Apparently the answer is yes.

According to one article I've found New York City has 357 people being actively monitored for the disease.

While we panic about our own safety we forget to think about the safety of the people who are really dealing with it.  We don't hear about the children as much as the adults.  Maybe we don't want to admit that children get it, too, or maybe it's just that not as many children are being tested, and treated.

According to the CDC's website the USA still has only had four confirmed cases.  Three in Dallas, and one in New York City.  Two of those were people who had traveled or worked to effected countries, the other two caught the virus after coming in contact with the Liberian man in Dallas.

Let's not forget that there is actually another Ebola outbreak going on! It's not related to the one taking place in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and everywhere else there's been a case that's caught the media's attention.  In the Democratic Republic of Congo there is a separate outbreak happening.  It was first announced on August 26th, "The index case was a pregnant woman from Ikanamongo Village who butchered a bush animal. She became ill with symptoms of EVD, reported to a private clinic in Isaka Village, and died on August 11, 2014. Local customs and rituals associated with death meant that several healthcare workers were exposed to Ebola virus."

Here is the latest update from WHO.  I've been trying to keep an eye on these updates, and they've been pretty grim.  Hopefully we'll see the end, soon.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Tragedy in Nepal/Why Climb

Back in April there was the biggest disaster in Everest climbing history.  16 Climbing Sherpas died in an avalanche climbing through the Khumbu Icefall, one of the most dangerous sections of the mountain.

In October severe weather caused more deaths.  Rainstorms, blizzards, and avalanches on October 15th killed at least 43 people.  This weather is thought to have been caused by Cyclone Hudhud in India.  Many people are still missing.

As in any tragedy, the survivors stories are inspiring.  Knowing how close they were to death can really change a person's perspective.

This is the story of one of the "missing".  Not only did these two survive, they saved the lives of others! To me, it seems like these travelers trusted their instincts, a cliche, perhaps, but you should always follow your instincts about these things.

So, these things happen on mountains, yet people continue to climb?  Why?  Well, as Nigel Vardy said, in the first article, 
"They represent freedom and I always find peace whenever I am among them. Climbing a mountain is, for some, a spiritual experience. For me, it is also a place where I can reflect upon my injuries, my memories and my feelings.
"Being on a mountain is most relaxing – phones don't work – and it's a pleasure to talk to people."

When I hike, even a small "mountain", a hill, by mountaineering standards, I can't help but realize how small everything is.  Standing above everything, knowing that once you get down you'll be small and insignificant again, makes you want to be on top of the world all the time.  Things like airplanes aren't the same, because you're not touching the earth, you're above it, not part of it.  

Even the climbing is amazing, it helps me be confident to know that I can do whatever I feel.  I am strong enough, and I am determined enough.  In the end, that's all you really need.  Confidence is something I've struggled with for a long time, so having that feeling is different and invigorating. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Why should I go to college?

This is a serious question that I've been dealing with a lot lately.

Being in my late teens everybody assumes I'm going to be in college fairly soon, and when I say I don't plan to go to college it's a shock to people! They try to argue with me, and tell me that I have to go to college.  I need a serious answer here; why should I go to college?  Saying that I don't know what I'd go to college for doesn't help.

If your answer is one of the following, then I don't want or need to hear it, because I've heard it before:
"To get a good job!" Define good.
"Everybody should go to college." Why?
"Well, what are you going to do, if you don't go to college?" Whatever I want!
"You don't need to know what you want to do, you can always change your major!" While wasting thousands of dollars and/or getting more and more debt to be paid off later?
"It'll be easier to get a job if you have a college degree."  What kind of job?  Maybe I don't want a job that requires a college degree.

My problem with going to college is that I don't know what I'd go for.  I want to be a blogger, and an author, neither of which require a degree.  It's a waste of my time and money going to college for something I don't really want to do.  Honestly, I'm sure I'd love college! It just doesn't sound like it's worth the time/money if I'm just going to be a blogger/author anyway.  If I really want to I can always go to college later.

Let's look some of the things I plan to do while my friends are in college:
Thru-hike the AT.
Have a job, other than blogging.
Write a book.
Road trip the USA, and visit all the National Parks in the states.

The thing is, I can easily do all that, and more, in the four years that my friends will be in college.

Not wanting to college doesn't limit my life, in fact, I believe that it opens up more possibilities.  By thinking outside the box, and wanting to do things that aren't considered "normal", I am making it possible to do more exciting, and interesting things with my life.  How many people will wish they had taken four years to travel before going to college?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Save the White Nile

Today I stumbled across the Save the White Nile project on one of my favorite blogs.


This project is so important because it's not just paddlers that will be effected by this dam if it goes up.  Let's leave as many places as we can as natural as possible, okay?

To anybody who wants this dam to go up, first of all, please comment a really good argument, because obviously I've only heard one side of the story.  Second, please go spend a day paddling the river in a place that will be destroyed by the dam.  Spend some time in less-developed areas, appreciate it, and then, if you can still bring yourself to destroy it, I know that nothing I say will change your mind.

Sorry for the link format, I'm currently posting via iPhone. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

13 Days of Halloween 2014

If you know me, at all, it's no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday.  This year I'm starting a new tradition - The 13 Days of Halloween.

Basically, the idea is that you wear a costume everyday for the 12 before Halloween, and then on Halloween day.  This year I am coordinating costumes with my little sisters.  Some of our costumes include:

  • Slenderman, Jeff the Killer, and Eyeless Jack (Creepypasta characters)
  • Jack, Sally, and Zero (From The Nightmare Before Christmas)
  • James, Jessie, and Meowth (Pokemon's Team Rocket)
  • Batman, Superman, and Spider-man (Popular superheroes) 
And, obviously, there are going to be nine more :)

Everyday during the 13 Days of Halloween I will post pictures of all three of us on my Instagram, a picture of just me here on the blog, and some reactions from people when I go out places here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

To anyone who would like to be added to my "13 Days of Halloween 2014" list on Facebook: Comment here, email me, or send me a message on Facebook.  I will only be listing first names or nicknames.  Send in the following information:
  • Name (or nickname)
  • Country (No more than country is necessary, let's see if we get anyone outside the USA!)
  • List of costumes for each day (Preferably in order, I will add to each blog post who dressed up as what on each day)
  • How you found out about it
  • If you are part of a group (If you have a group of people you're doing it with please take note.  Groups can send in information individually, but if you want to be counted as a group I will also need a Group name.)
Let's take it one step further though: a costume contest! Send in pictures for costume contest.  The best costumes win Mystery Prizes. There will be a few different categories:
1. Best coordination - For groups only, so make sure all of your group members are in the picture! This wil go to the group whose costumes go together best!
2. Scariest costume - For one person.  Obviously, this is for the scariest contest.

3. Cutest costume - For one person.  For the cutest costume!
4. Most creative costume - For one person.  Let's see how creative you all get.
5. Most fun group - For the group who has the most creative/most fun costumes! (Not necessarily the best coordinated costumes, just the most fun)

On November 1st enter your pictures if you'd like to be in the contest.  The Best coordination, and Most Fun Group contests will be held here.  The Scariest costume portion will be held on Instagram.  The Cutest costume will be on Twitter.  The Most Creative costume will be on Facebook.

Since this is the first year let's try for at least 20 individuals and groups, myself included as part of a group, though I won't enter for a prize.  Get your info sent in by October 1st to be put on the Facebook list, we start on October 19th :)

Good luck, hope to hear from you soon!

Note: You can look forward to more challenges later in the year.  I have one planned for Thanksgiving, and one for Christmas! There will not be contests along with those.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thru-hiking: The AT

I know I've gotten behind on posting, and I'm sorry.  August just kind of flew by.

I had my first ever job interview on Tuesday, it looks like I'm a step closer to knocking "Be a waitress for a year" off my list! I'm not going to be hired for a serving position, but it's still in a restaurant.

So, I'm starting to plan my Appalachian Trail thru-hike.  Before I can really settle on any plans I have a few decisions to make.

  • 2015, or 2016? Obviously if I go in 2016 that gives me more time to plan, and save money, but will I really spend that time planning, or save that money?
  • Nourthbound or Southbound? (NoBo or SoBo?)  This is a big question for some thru-hikers, and most choose NoBo.  Going from Georgia to Maine is easier.  In Maine there's Katahdin, and 100 miles of nothing right away, from what I've been reading.  It means you're carrying around 20 days worth of supplies from the start! New Hampshire is also (one of) the hardest section(s).  However, because I live in New England I won't need a plane ticket or anything to get to Maine, so I plan to go SoBo.  (10% of AT thru-hikers go SoBo, and only about 10% of those finish)
  • Gear?  I've been reading a lot about what other people pack for gear.  It's not helping.  It's really just up to personal opinion, there's no one who can pick gear for you.  I'm going to be researching what I think will work best for me (I'm hoping to pack somewhat light, or lighter items, because I'm very small, and not very strong - yet), and I will post them here! A little bit at a time until a few weeks before I leave, then I'll post a complete packing list.
There is one problem if I decide to do my thru-hike next year starting in late-June, though.  I planned my first long distance biking trip for next summer.  What I think I'll do, if I decide to thru-hike next summer, is do my long-distance bicycle trip in April, or May, and then thru-hike starting in June.

The one question every thru-hiker is asked is "why?"  A lot of people do it as an escape from their everyday lives, or after something big happened in their life like getting divorced, or losing a job.  Personally, I'm doing it for the challenge, and because it's not something everybody's going to do.  I need to prove myself (to me, of course) on something "small" like this before I'm 100% sure I can do something like climb Everest.  The longer I wait to start the bigger things on my list the less likely I am to do them at all.  I know myself well enough to know that if I don't prove I can do it soon, then I won't.  That would be fairly tragic, I think.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Why I Want to Bicycle Around Europe

Originally, I planned to road trip, backpack, or hitchhike Europe.  There's only one reason that I decided to bike instead:


Let me clarify, nobody says that females cannot drive, backpack, or hitchhike around Europe.  They don't allow women in the Tour De France.

One of my goals was to ride in the Tour De France, I have never watched the Tour De France, and I didn't know much about it, but I wanted to race in it.  I didn't care if I won or not, obviously.  Then, when I started reading about it, I found out that only men are allowed in the race.

To adventurous girl this came as almost a shock, I thought that cases of sexism like this only happened on a small scale in certain places, but a famous race?  The biggest bike race there is?  Really?

Here's a pretty good article about the subject.  The comments are really worth reading as well.  Personally, I believe that if we can't be in the men's race that we should have our own at least, but as mentioned in the article, not as many people would watch, and sponsors would be harder to get.  That's a problem in my opinion.

Perhaps the only reason I care at all is because I'm still upset that I can't race in the Tour De France.  I do intend to do as many races that I can enter as possible.  If more women riding is the way to get our TDF then I'm in!

I'd say most little girls in America learn to ride a bicycle, I don't really know about other countries, but I'd hope that it is the same most places.  If it is, then why is there a problem of fewer female cyclists?  Assuming the same number of girls learn to ride bikes as boys (which is a pretty big assumption I know), the same number of girls should be encouraged to ride as well as the boys, then there wouldn't be a problem with this.

So I am going to bike around Europe in my own mini-protest of sorts.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Proving yourself, to you.

You might hear that the only person you need to prove anything to is yourself.  That's true.  However, if you're extremely competitive and/or like to prove people wrong, you're going to have to work at it.

Here's five things you can do to be able to do anything!

  1. Work at it.  Captain obvious here to inform you that you do have to put some effort into what you want to do.  Work up to it with smaller goals.  Want to ride your bike 65 miles in a day?  Ride the area you're going to be riding and just see how far you can go in 30 minutes.  You might surprise yourself!
  2. Believe in yourself.  Everyone's telling you that you can't do it?  Who cares! Do it anyway.  Show them, and yourself that you can do whatever you want. 
  3. Challenge yourself. So you're working at it, and you have a strict schedule you're sticking to, but what if you can do 100 sit-ups a week before it says to do so on you "30 day sit-up challenge"?  Try it.  If you don't make it that's okay! You just know you need to work at it a bit more.  If you make it then you know you were ready! Always push yourself to go just a little further. "In life, if you don’t risk anything, you risk everything." - Unknown.
  4. Be spontaneous.  You're at the beach, it stormed earlier that day.  It's still chilly, and it's still windy.  You want to go in the water, but you're afraid it'll be too cold for you.  Do it.  You might be perfectly comfortable.  You might be extremely uncomfortable, but hey, at least you didn't let your fear get the best of you.  "You'll never even know if you never, ever try" - Hall of Fame, The Script feat. Will.I.Am.
  5. Fail, but don't lose hope.  Let's face it, you're going to fail.  Failure is a fact of life, it's going to happen.  The way to prove to yourself that you can do it is to try again. "Let's go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday" - Steve Jobs
Proving to yourself that you can do anything isn't easy.  In fact, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do, and that's the point.  If you can do the hardest thing possible, you can truly do anything.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Productivity - how to stay focused in order to reach your goals

You have something you'd really like to do, say you want to climb Mount Everest, you need a way to stay focused to train instead of getting on Tumblr for six hours a day.

Well you have some options.

Downloading an app or extension for you browser that limits your ability to visit certain sites.  Personally I've downloaded Stay Focused for chrome.  I immediately setup the nuclear option, AND turned on the thing that doesn't allow you to change your settings unless you can type in a message (over 420 characters) without making a mistake.  Any mistakes and you have to start over.  Caps, and punctuation count.  Also you can't just copy and paste because it counts the number of characters you type in! It's pretty difficult, and I typed "The procrastinator is often remarkably optimistic about his ability to complete a task on a tight deadline;" about a million times because I'd only make mistakes after that point...

You have to enjoy your training! If you don't like it then why are you doing it?  I understand that sometimes you don't have a choice, but if you're riding a bike as exercise when you hate riding a bike then find another option! If you just plain hate exercise then Everest is not for you, and I suggest you sit at home on Tumblr.

Maybe you just don't have the right tools at home in the right place for you to want, or be able, to do it?  Put all your exercise equipment in one place, a place where you walk by often.  That way you'll see the equipment and think "Oh hey I should use that".  You're more likely to do it, at least at first, I promise.\

Another good idea is making it a habit.  I've heard it takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months to form a habit, so you're going to have to commit to it!

Some people might say "just do it", however, if you're as distractable as I am then that'll be hard for you! I'm great at remembering things like numbers, names, dates, dance routines, etc., but I'm so easily distracted that most things never get any attention, or at least not as much attention as it needs!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Why a backup plan is important - Learning the hard way

  You should always have a backup plan for something to do.  If you're going to climb Mount Everest but you break your leg before you can, have a backup plan for what you're going to do until your leg heals for the next season.

  Today I was planning on seeing how far I could ride my bike in a half hour, and then it started thundering.  I didn't have a backup plan for today, so I didn't really do much.  If I had thought "well what happens if it thunders?" I might have had a more successful day.  For tomorrow I'm going to have a plan, and a backup plan.

  This has happened to me several times, like I planned to sail on the Titanic II in 2016 (when it was supposed to set sail on its maiden voyage), but now it's not scheduled to sail until after 2018! That throw my plans off a bit because I didn't have a backup plan.
  Now I've decided to put off Thru-hiking the AT until 2016 so I can earn money and do some extra training for my other list things! It worked out, but it took a while.

Your backup plan doesn't need to be settling for less, it should be a slightly different adventure.  Always go back and do your big adventure if you still want to.  Just remember everything you do is up to you.

Also, my 24 marathon is going to happen this month, and I'll be doing hourly updates for anybody who wants to do it with me, or who just want to see where I am!
  I'll be watching all of season two in 24 hours.  Starting at 8AM on either Tuesday the 19th, or Tuesday the 26th.  This isn't as much of an "adventure" as it is an excuse to stay up for over 24 hours and blog constantly. Hooray!
  It's safe to say that I'll be drinking a lot of coffee that day.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hope for humanity?

  I just finished a movie called 13 Sins.
  It makes you wonder, "what would I do for money."
*Spoiler alert*
  In the movie the main character is given 13 tasks for a grand total of over six million dollars.  He doesn't know what the next task is until he completes the one before it.  At first they're simple "kill the fly", but by the end they're much, much more difficult "kill a family member".  The "game", as it's called, is to prove that anyone can be corrupted when enough money is involved.
  The outcome is different.  The main character changes his mind after challenge 10 or 11, but he's already in too deep.  He's gotten a few million already, but if he backs out it all gets taken away, which is why he took it as far as he did.  He was getting married, had a baby on the way, a mentally ill brother to take care of, and had just lost his job.  When they started asking for murder he couldn't do it.

  How many people would go for it?  How many would complete the 13th challenge?  Maybe they'd justify it in their own minds somehow, after all, some police officers are in on it, they erase everything if you win.  All you have to deal with afterwards is a guilty conscience, that's if the experiment fails.  Since the goal is to transform you into a terrible monster of a person you shouldn't even feel guilty afterwards.
  Personally, I wouldn't have been able to do the second challenge "eat the fly you just killed", even for $3,000, so I wouldn't even have to get to the worse ones.

Update on my bike riding.  I did over 6 miles today in just under 40 minutes.  Bam.  That's with hills and everything, I'm considering going along the flat trail that I plan to bike next summer and just going for 30-45 minutes one way, and then back.  We'll see.

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last few days, I'm occasionally a busy person.

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Yesterday I was reading about some mountaineering workshops, while I was reading the requirements I noticed that physical requirements were being able to carry a 60 lb backpack up 4,000' in elevation.  60 lbs is over 50% of my body weight, and I've never actually climbed 4,000' in elevation at once.   Knowing I can't do this I started looking into fitness training for preparing to climb.

The plan I found to begin with is 3 days a week after 30-45 minutes of cardio, and 2 days of weight training, with the weekends off.  My plan is to use bicycling as my "cardio".  

Since my list includes riding in the Miner's Revenge bike race in MI I figured using cycling as exercise now will help with that.  I also plan to "thru-bike" a 65-mile trail nearby next summer.

Starting with riding my bike three days a week, and at least six miles a day (I'll increase that gradually) hopefully I'll be ready to do my thru-bike, and it'll be good exercise! At least until is starts to snow, and then who knows... So I have until October or November, and then from April until July to be ready! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Kilimanjaro, barefoot?

I just found this amazing documentary on The Adventure Blog that a small group of climbers made about climbing Kilimanjaro, but it wasn't a normal expedition.  They climbed barefoot.

If you have 40 or so minutes to kill I highly recommend watching it.  It's incredibly inspiring to see how much the body and mind can take when you really put it to work.  It makes you realize just how much is possible, and honestly, I look up to anyone who goes out of their way just to show that they can.

There isn't much more I can say about it, you'll have to watch it for yourself!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ebola, should the USA be scared?

  In case you're wondering, I've been checking for new information on the Ebola outbreak every couple of hours for the last three days, or so.

  The short answer is - Not yet, it hasn't even left the African continent.  If it spreads to any other continent then we should worry.  That being said, US health care workers are watching, maybe even preparing, for the disease.

  The long answer (this could take a while) is a little more difficult.  First let's talk about how it spreads, and such.  Of course anybody following the outbreak will know all of this already.

  • The incubation period for Ebola can vary from 2-21 days.  Two days to three weeks.
  • It's not airborne, it can only be spread through contact with an infected person.
  • The mortality rate is over 60%.
  • After symptoms stop (if you survive) you could still be contagious for months!
   In North Carolina they just had an Ebola scare, however they released the patient who was thought to be infected, without testing.  The patient arrived in the emergency room after a trip to "a country known for high risk of infectious diseases" according to the NBC news article I just read.  They expect many more scares over the next few weeks until the virus has been controlled.
   As of July 23rd 672 have died from this outbreak, and over 1,200 have been infected.  The 24th-27th saw 122 new cases, and 57 more deaths.  As of the 27th the total is 1323 (confirmed, probable, or suspect) infected, and 729 deaths according to the WHO website.
   The peace corps are pulling 340 volunteers out of Africa.  Two have been quarantined because they came in contact with a person who later died of Ebola.  Once they are all cleared for travel they will be on their way back to the states. 
   One man, DR. Sheik Umar Khan, died after treating the infected for months.  He successfully treated over 100 patients with Ebola.  He was Sierra Leone's only specialist with Viral Hemorrhagic fevers.
   Another on his way to the USA flew from Liberia, where he was showing no symptoms, to Nigeria, where he collapsed, and later died.  59 contacts to this person were identified and are currently observed.
   The first case of this outbreak was back in February.
   Currently the CDC says there is a very low chance of it being brought to the United States.
   Major airlines are still flying people from West Africa to the US.  Only people showing possible symptoms are stopped.
   There are five known "species" in the genus ebolavirus.  The most well-known, and most common Zaire ebolavirus is thought to be the one causing the current outbreak.
   Scientists believe that Ebola can be caught from infected primates, and fruit bats.  Unfortunately for people in Africa, fruit bats are a delicacy there.  Fortunately for people in the USA, fruit bats are not usual consumed here.

   In my opinion we should all be following this outbreak ready to act.  If only people who are showing symptoms are being stopped in airports then who's to say something like what happened in Nigeria won't happen in the US?  If someone comes in contact with the virus unknowingly, boards a plane to the US the next day, and then isn't showing symptoms until 20 days after that?  We could be in trouble. 
   I have been doing research on that probability, and more about the virus in general.  I've been called a hypochondriac, and a germaphobe, but guess who's going to be laughing when the rest of you get Ebola?  Kidding, but we should all be cautious.  With school starting up in a month or so bigger groups of children mean more possibility for the spread of disease.

  So here's the short answer again - We shouldn't be worried yet, but we should keep our eyes open.

   Here's a song I found written about the disease to help warn people about it.  *WARNING, IMAGES IN VIDEO ARE DISTURBING* The pictures in this video are of people with the disease.  Not for the faint of heart, or weak stomached. 

   Over the next few days I'll continue watching the news.  I will likely post short updates on my Facebook page, though I won't put up anymore long posts like this one!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Climbing goals

The Seven Summits

For those of you who don't know, the Seven Summits refers to the highest mountain on each continent.  They are:
Mount Everest - 29,029' (8,848m) - Asia
Aconcagua - 22,838' (6,961m) - South America
Mount McKinley AKA Denali - 20,322' (6,194m) - North America
Kilimanjaro - 19,341' (5,895m) - Africa
Mount Elbrus - 18,510' (5,642m) - Europe
Mount Vinson - 16,050' (4,892m) - Antarctica
Pancak Jaya AKA Carstensz Pyramid - 16,024' (4,884m) - Australian continent
Mount Kosciuszko - 7,310' (2,228m) - Australia

The two in Australia are from different lists, some climbers try for both lists, others choose one.  I'm going to try for both, so I'll be doing both of the Australian mountains.  The Bass list is the highest mountain on the Australian mainland, while the Messner list is the highest on the Australian continent.

On mountain Everest I'll be sticking with the traditional methods of acclimatization, climb high, sleep low.  I've been considering climbing Everest solo, except hiring a Sherpa guide.  Because I'll be climbing with just one Sherpa guide I will carry the majority of my supplies, I won't have my guide climb up and down more times than I do.  It'll help me get acclimatized better, plus it'll get me climbing more (sitting still isn't my strong suit, I know that'll be the hardest part for me already).  

I'm thinking about doing them in height order, shortest to tallest.  Though I'll probably do them in season order, January-December.

The Second Seven Summits

The Second highest mountain on each continent:
K2 - 28,251' (8611m) - Asia
Ojos del Salado -22,615' (6,893m) - South America
Mount Logan - 19,551' (5,959m) - North America
Dykh-Tau - 17,077' (5,205m) - Europe
Mount Kenya - 17,057' (5,199m) - Africa 
Mount Tyree - 15,919' (4,852m) - Antarctica
Puncak Mandala - 15,617' (4,760m) - Australian continent
Mount Townsend - 7,247' (2,209m) - Australia

Only one person has ever completed the Second Seven Summits.  It took him 11 years from his first summit of the SSS, to his last.  My goals are to become the first woman to summit the SSS, and to be the fastest so far (I plan to try for a year)!

I think I might need to find a few climbing buddies to do some of them with me, the ones in Antarctica especially!

Some other climbing goals are:
Climb an active Volcano
and kind of Thru-hike the Appalachian Trail
I plan to Thru-hike the AT as part of my 7 Summits training, then I will complete the second 7 after that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Vegas, Air-sickness, and My Shame

Long time no write, I'll explain later.

First of all, Vegas was amazing! I love how busy it was.  Sometimes calm, and peaceful is nice, but I prefer the busy, always changing cities for the most part.
The stripper cards, and signs everywhere weren't my favorite, but they were easy enough to ignore. The casinos were a little more difficult to ignore, but all the activity was exciting, even though my eyes became red and itchy if we stayed too long. (Walking through, I am too young to gamble, legally)

Saturday, the 5th.

On the first day we were there we ended up going to the Miracle Mile Mall with my dance team, instead of starting our list right away.  The mall was huge.  The ceiling was painted to look like the sky outside.  There was a rainstorm inside, we got to see it once, and the end of it another time.  There were lots of different kinds of stores, and kiosks.  It was pretty amazing to a girl from New England!

After returning to our hotel for a short while we hit the strip again, this time with lunch in mind, and headed down to the Hard Rock Cafe.  It was quite a bit farther than I expected it to be, and while I didn't really enjoy what I ordered (the fries were good!) the restaurant was really cool.  I play electric, acoustic, and bass guitar, so the guitars hanging on the wall that belonged to famous musicians were my main point of focus.  I even got some neat picks from the souvenir shop.

Once we finished our meal we went to the MGM grand hotel, walked for what seemed like miles through the maze of a hotel (so many casinos, my eyes felt like they were going to explode they were so itchy and watery), until we found the pilot screening area.  What they did was have us signup, then they put us in a room with a bunch of other people each in front of a screen.  They told us the rules, and then had us go through a brief survey before showing us the pilot.  Afterwards we went through another survey about what we thought of the show.  I can't give you any details about the show, but it was an interesting experience, I recommend it! This is something I forgot to post on our list.

After that we hung out at the hotel for the night, we had to get up early.

Sunday, the 6th.

Grand Canyon/Hoover Dam day.  *Warning, they gave us quite a few facts about the dam and canyon, so if you don't want to read them all skip this day!*

Las Vegas is a valley, in fact "Las Vegas" means "The Meadows" in Spanish, according to Wikipedia.  The highest of the surrounding mountains is Mount Charleston (11,913'), which has a ski resort on it! Mount Charleston is more than 20 degrees (F) colder than Las Vegas at all times.

There were officially 93 deaths of workers while building the Hoover Dam.

The workers dipped their hats in tar to make them hard, in order to protect their heads, these are considered the first construction hard-hats.

The Dam construction was almost stopped because the employees went on strike due to poor living and working conditions!

The water in 100' below where it should be.

You can be fined in water if you are caught doing things like watering your grass at the wrong time!

The bypass bridge opened in October of 2010.

The Dam cost $49,000,000 and was completed 2 years ahead of schedule, the bridge was completed 2 years behind schedule because a cane crashed during a thunderstorm.

A security checkpoint was put in for people visiting the Dam after 9/11.

Vegas gets 80% or more, of their water from the Hoover Dam.

The Grand Canyon had only 44,000 people visit it the first year it was a National Park in 1919.  Now it gets 5-6 million visitors per year! (The West Rim isn't technically part of the National Park, because it is owned by the Hualapai (Wall uh pie) reservation.

10-12 thousand year old artifacts have been found in the Canyon.

During the summer Nevada, and Arizona are the same time, but during the winter Nevada is an hour behind because Arizona does not observe daylight savings.  However, the Navaho in Arizona do observe daylight savings!

There were a lot more I just didn't write them down.

The Canyon was amazing, it didn't look real, it looked like a painting! The colors, the sights, the wildlife! (Meaning a lizard, and a bunch of ravens...) I still can barely believe that I got to go to such an amazing place, like why did I deserve to be there?  I'm not sure I've done much to deserve to have seen that, but I'm going to work on that now.

Monday, the 7th.

The day I was supposed to preform my Jazz solo.  I didn't.  I sat in competition most of the day, except for walking to Walgreens with some fellow teammates.

Tuesday, the 8th.

The day I preformed my Jazz solo Contagious  to the song This City is Contagious by The Cab.  The Cab is a rock band that was formed in Vegas, the song (if the internet is to be believed) is actually about Vegas.  I have vowed never to preform the dance again.  The song came from Vegas, I danced it several times in New England, and then I brought it back to Vegas.

Also the day we visited the Flamingo habitat at the Flamingo hotel! I'd never seen a Flamingo, or Pelican in real life until then.  There were some pretty gigantic koi there, too.

Wednesday, the 9th.

The day I preform my musical theater (AKA theater dance) trio to Dream Girls, my jazz group to Fox Mambo, and my tap groups to Five Guys Named Moe. 

Thursday, the 8th.

The one day of workshops I got to do.  Workshops are fun, though tiring.  I wish I could have done the rest of them, but I suppose it's better that I didn't, my knee injury from April was starting to hurt again.

Also the day we went to the mall again (only cup of decent coffee I had while in Vegas, I hate Starbucks...), and then spent several hours in the pool.  Not my favorite ending, but it could have been worse!

Then we sat at the airport for a while before boarding the place, and beginning the most miserable trip of my life.


I'm not one to get motion sick.  It doesn't happen often.  Unfortunately after hours in the pool I'd apparently swallowed quite a bit of chlorine-filled water, at least that's what my stomach felt like.  I dozed fitfully all the way from Vegas to Philly.  Then I broke down crying in the airport before we had to board for our final flight.  My ears hurt, my head hurt, and I felt like I was going to puke up pool water any second.  I slept a little better on the way back to NE.


Now this is the reason I didn't post until now.  I've been too ashamed.

You know the project I posted about?  The whole trying to find people from all 50 states in the airports thing?  I couldn't do  it.  I couldn't go up to people and ask them where they were from because I was just too shy.

So I've finally posted and admitted that I was too shy, and I'm starting a new tag.  "GAAP" - Growing As A Person.  This time I was too shy, but maybe next time I won't be.  We won't know.  Every time I plan something like this, if I'm too shy or something, or if I overcome a huge fear of mine I'll add the tag GAAP.  In a few years I hope I'll be able to look back at all of it and see how far I've come.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The first flight

I left for Vegas today at about 6:15 PM, give of take a couple of minutes.
I manged to get the window seat, though I only had to fight my little sister for it.

It's raining really hard on the east coast because of a hurricane.  So our original flight got delayed, but it worked out when we got an earlier flight to New York.

Taking off
Taking off seems like such an unreal experience.  All of a sudden there's a burst of speed, enough to knock you back against your seat you're not careful. Then you are tilted, just barely enough to notice, and you can feel the sudden pressure from the change in elavation in your ears.  It's almost, but not quite, painful.  We immediately rose into at thick medium grey mist that surrounded the plane completely.  Slowly, as we emerged above the fog, the view changed, and it was amazing.  It felt like we couldn't have gone far in that short of a time, but in reality we were extreme far off the ground!
Eventually we flew into another cloud, this one was almost white with just a touch of grey.  It seemed like there was no longer anything in the world except the plane and the people on it.

The first flight 
After the awe-inspiring take off we flew in the white nothingness for a while, so I decided to see what was on the TV (I ended up settling on the Dark Knight, Batman is cool).
The next time I looked out of the window, we were in between cloud layers.  It was amazing, like sailing on an ocean of clouds with the sky of clouds above us.
Funnily enough after writing that I looked out the window and we were actually flying over the ocean! Still between cloud layers with the ocean just visible between the thin clouds we flew for a bit longer. I saw a large boat on the ocean just sitting there alone in the middle of the ocean below us.

I have flown comercially before, but not since I was about 5 or so.
I have flown in smaller planes more recently, but still not for probably 5 years. 
So my first take off in years was pretty amazing, though the shakiness made me nervous.
I got to see New York City from the air, which was awesome.  I've been to the City before, and I adore it.
By then the sun was peaking through the clouds.
Landing was no where near as much fun as taking off.  My ears hurt, a lot.  It wasn't as smooth as the take off either.  The rest of the ride was worth it though.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

50 States "Survey"

I had a fun idea for something to do in the airports, on the plane, and in Vegas:
Talk to people and find out where they're from, and where they're headed (which states).  I want to see if I can meet someone from each state in 3 different categories:
Where are you from? (Airport/plane I'm leaving from/on tomorrow)
Where are you going? (Same as above)
Where are you from? (In Vegas!)

The other goal is to see which state has the most travelers to my home state, and to Vegas, and to see which state is most traveled to from my home state! I'll post the results for the first two categories on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Las Vegas Destinations

Two days and one hour until I arrive in Las Vegas for the first time.

Considering I'm going for a dance competition I won't have much free time to wander around.  I'm also traveling with 3 other people (just my family, not my dance team members), which means I won't be able to do just what I want anyway.  However the things we're planning on doing are going to be a lot of fun!

Hardrock Cafe - My Mom wants to go for lunch, and to get a button.
Flamingo Habitat - Sounds really cool, plus I've never seen a flamingo in real life!
New York New York Roller Coaster - Goes over 60MPH.  Terrifying, but I know if I ride it once I'll be fine with it forever afterwards.
Hot Topic (Curse my teenage-girlness, Hot Topic is my favorite store)
Bus tour to the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and a few other smaller attractions along the way. - Visiting all the National Parks in on my list of 100 things, so this will be one more off my list! (I've gotten 3 so far, all within the last year)
Volcano at the Mirage - Erupts every night, and is really close to where I'm staying.  Hopefully this is as neat as it sounds.
The Pool in our Hotel! - One of the things I've heard over and over about Las Vegas is that it's hot.  So the pool will be our #1 priority whenever possible!

You can expect pictures from all these places (well maybe not the pool at our hotel) after I get back from
Vegas on here.  Or follow my Instagram BlackRosePhotography5678 for pictures each day!

Fun facts about Las Vegas

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

As promised, some fun facts about Las Vegas, Nevada:
- Gambling was illegal from 1910 until 1941!
- The strip isn't all within the city limits.
- Prostitution is actually illegal.
- Above ground atomic bomb testing was happening throughout the 1950's.  It was even advertised as a tourist attraction!
- Over 39 million people visit each year.
- The average rainfall is only around 4.1" a year.
- Las Vegas is the 31st most populated city in the United States.
- They are currently having a severe drought and have been for years, in fact Vegas night not be able to keep up with it's population, and tourists for much longer!
- Nearly 2 million people live there.

This are just a few facts I found online.  Las Vegas is a fairly old city, it's got a lot of history for those who are interested!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Las Vegas packing list

For me it's time to start packing for Vegas, I leave the 4th!

Depending on the place you go there'll be essential items that you just need.  Consider Nevada is hot some essential clothing items are:
Lightweight/Sun dresses - I have three dresses, two of which happen to be black which kind of is opposite of the point I'm trying to make, but oh well.  They're all light, short, and sleeveless, so they'll be cooler than even shorts and a t-shirt!
Camisole tank tops - Again, light and sleeveless, making any color other than black (which is again the color I have most of) cooler than a shirt with sleeves! A downside is they're tight fitting.
Flip-flops - the most open shoe available as far as I know.  Also considered the most annoying, the grossest, and least formal shoes.  I'd think they'd è great for wearing as a tourist in the south west USA though!

Other things I need:
Lightweight scarves - Vegas, and scarves??  Let me explain.  I read a lot of articles about traveling, and something I read recently said that lightweight scarves are good to bring on a plane to be used as a pillow and/or blanket.  They can be worn onto the plane, used as a blanket, then worn off!
Sneakers - As in any city, walking is going to be a big part of the trip.  While my sneakers aren't the best for walking long distances (Canvas sneakers) they're what I'm used to wearing, and changing it up right before the trip sound like it would be uncomfortable.
Filtering water bottle - I discovered this at my local grocery store recently and thought it was interesting.  I figured when traveling you never know what your water situation is going to be like.  Besides, maybe the water won't taste so different from my house water with this bottle!

The complete list:
3 dresses
5 tank tops (I like options, and they're small and easy to pack!)
4 pairs of shorts
1 pair of pants
1 sweater 
5 pairs of pjs
7 sets of underclothes 
5 pairs ankle-socks
2 scarves
Bathing suit 
Dance stuff
iPhone & charger
X2 flip flops 
Hats x2 (different styles of course)

Now the catch, I have to fit all of that (except my dance stuff) into one normal sized backpack, and a small "purse".

For me it should be easy, flip flops in the backpack, clothes in the backpack.
Sneakers and one scarf worn on each plane.
Sunglasses, iPhone, iPhone charger, earbuds, wallet, etc in my backpack purse. 

Then vóila! I am packed for Las Vegas.

I should be posting everyday other details like:
Fun facts about Vegas.
Travel tips.
Where I'm going and what I'm doing in Vegas.
From the plane.

Then when I get there hopefully I'll have time to post, but we'll see!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

First trip

Just to be clear this isn't my first trip, it's just my first trip while writing this blog.

On July 4th I will be leaving for Las Vegas, Nevada.  I'll be posting more details about the trip in later posts.

For now:
1. I'm going there for a national dance competition - the kid friendly kind.

2. Taking a plane there, taking a bus back.

3. There will be no gambling of any kind (too young).
4. I will be doing as many free and cheap activities as possible, and I'll post them all here.

More details to come.  I'll have specific posts like packing lists, activities, fun facts about Vegas, and more in the next 16 days! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Why you should start walking before you travel

Everyone knows that walking is an easy way to get some exercise.  Here are the reasons why I think everyone should start taking long walks daily before traveling.

1. You'll want to go sight seeing.  Whether taking a bus, car, or cab, or walking you'll still be doing some walking.

2. Depending on the place walking might be the best option.  If you go to NYC you don't want to have to drive yourself anywhere.  Subway, and cabs are great but you have to get there first - by walking.  Plus in some cases walking is going to be the fastest way to get there!

3. You'll be more in shape.  Everybody wants to be in shape for their vacation, right?  Start walking before to help get you to your goal!

4. You'll be able to go more places in less time.  If you get tired fast because you're not used walking then you won't be able to go many places, let's say again you and your family visit the big apple.  You might want to go to five different places: m&m world, ripley's believe it or not museum, toys R us, Macy's and the Empire State Building.  But you didn't start walking before vacation, so you go to the first two places on your list and then get too tired to go anywhere else!

5. It's a good habit to get into for after your trip! Get in the habit of walking before your trip and it'll be easier to continue when you get home.

Those are my 5 reasons, if you have anymore feel free to comment :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Introduction to me


I am "The Black Rose".  Black roses are not natural, they don't exist in nature, and yet people find ways to create them, or turn other roses black.  Ask almost anybody, my goals are not normal, they aren't common, and yet some people have the same or similar goals to me.  We are adventurers, we have the guts to actually do things that most people wouldn't.  Some might call us "black sheep" because we're different, but black sheep are becoming more and more common, so I am a black rose.

I am currently a teenager, I'm not going to give you things like my real name, exact age, or where I live.  I'll post details and pictures of my adventures.  That's all you need to know about me right now.

My list of adventures for my lifetime consists of 100 key items, some are silly little things that anyone can do for a laugh, some are fan girly things that any dedicated fan girl would dream of, and some are crazy things that get me blank looks and "why's" when I tell people about them.  I don't call it my "bucket list", I call it "the 100 things".

I hope you'll enjoy this blog and my adventures as much as I do, and I hope I encourage other people to go out and make their dreams come true.