Friday, January 31, 2014

Back in the Saddle

It's the last day of January, and I have to say that 2014 has started out great so far. At the beginning of the month I was between jobs and had a couple weeks of downtime, so I decided to take a little trip to the southern US and get some warm weather.

My first stop was visiting my dad in Florida. Once a year never feels like enough time with my sweet, fun, attentive, eccentric father, but it's better than nothing and I cherish our days together. On this visit, we went to Crystal River, which sits on a spring-fed bay where the water is a constant 72 degrees. Because of this, about 400 manatees leave the cooler Gulf waters in the winter to live there. It was pretty spectacular to be able to watch them swim.

Oh, but that part about going south to get some warm weather? I picked the exact wrong week to do it. It was during the polar vortex, when pretty much the whole country was blasted with freakishly, devastatingly cold temperatures. Of course, Florida wasn't -40F, but it was mild in the 40-60 degree range. The weather did, however, make for some amazing photographs nationwide, like these ones of Lighthouses in Michigan.

My second stop was to see Lindsey who lives in Austin. It was also cool and rainy, but that did not dampen my spirits. I got to catch up with my dear friend, hang out with her ridiculously cute dog (who is especially ridiculous in conjunction with the roommate's dog), go running, drink Texan beer, have lunch with a cousin, ride bikes, eat southern BBQ, and see really good live music.
When I got home I felt refreshed and ready to get to it. It was time to start my new job! I now work as a writer in downtown Seattle. It's a big and VERY welcome change. So far, I'm loving it. I feel like I'm coming back to myself in a strange way, like I am getting reacquainted with the parts of myself that were put on hold while doing work I didn't like as much.

I'm back in the saddle literally too, as I've committed to bike commuting to the office 3-4 days a week. A couple weeks ago, I spent a Sunday fixing up my bike- cleaned it, lubed the chain, put air in the tires, replaced the rear brakes, got a new tail light, and put new batteries in the headlight. The first day I rode to work was totally nerve-wracking, winding my way through the construction at south Lake Union and zig-zagging to Pioneer Square while trying not to get hit by cars every block of the ridiculous left-hand bike lane on 2nd Avenue. I got to work feeling equally elated and furious, wondering if the health benefits of cycling really outweighed the stress.

But since then it's gotten a little better, and I'm trying to accept that riding downtown is a whole other beast, and takes a whole other mindset. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the lifestyle change and the pedaling.


Ally said...

I love how reflective you are. Great post and keep us updated on the new job and cycling commute! So interesting (and brave).

AmberAnda said...

Thanks Ally! :)