26 May 2016

Things I Love: A-Z

My coworker Becca works with the 'leaders of tomorrow,' which is a fancy way of saying she spends a lot of time with kids and young adults. She gets to know them pretty well and vice versa. One year, as a joke, the kiddoes made her this book called Things Becca Hates. It includes hand-selected photos and clip-art, each on their own page listed alphabetically. It's terribly inaccurate and wholly hilarious. When I'm having a bad day, I just have to take a quick read through Things Becca Hates and all is right with the world.

Things Becca Hates got me thinking maybe I should make a list of Things Kristina Hates. I started, but kept getting stuck. I don't like olives or hangovers (does anyone?), onions and I share a mutual dislike of each other, and I could continue to write for years about how much I dislike parasites, but who really cares?

One of my favorite bloggers Brendan Leonard once wrote about why he doesn't write negative posts. Using his words as inspiration, I started a list of things I love instead of a list of things I hate. In 15 minutes I was done - proof that you can make it further with honey than vinegar.

Things I Love: A-Z

Accents: One of my party tricks is speaking in accents. Some of them are pretty decent, others not so much. I love hearing new accents and trying to learn them, and the surprise on someone's face when you can make a perfectly timed joke using the right dialect.

Beer: I don't think I need any explanation here.

Chocolate: Specifically dark chocolate. So creamy, so rich, so smooth. Milk chocolate is also acceptable (you know, in a pinch). Do not get me started on "white chocolate". It does not contain any cocoa and is a ridiculous marketing lie.

Wearing down. And drinking beer. With Jordan. #thingsilove

Down: In parka, skirt, and comforter form.

Exaggerating: I've recently discovered that people from Montana are especially prone to exaggeration. I swear, it's a thing - we exaggerate SOOOO much. See also: Italians, Tauruses, people who recreate in the outdoors, the Ciari family, Herman Melville.

Friends & Family: You are the best. Seriously.

Girafficorns and friends. #thingsilove

Girafficorns: A Girafficorn is the logo for SheJumps, a nonprofit founded to get girls into the outdoors to gain confidence, friends, and skills. I've met so many incredible women through this organization, and am excited every time I see a Girafficorn. When I do, I know I've found another member of my tribe.

Hugs: I have a few friends who are really amazing huggers. Most of them are from the midwest. I do not think this is a coincidence. Everyone from the PNW should have to go on a "Hugging Retreat" to a flyover state at some point in their life.

Intelligence: I'm drawn to smart people, specifically people who are smarter than me or smart in a different way. I like to be challenged and I enjoy learning new things. Most of us want to be interesting - learn a bunch of random facts about a Sea Cow and you'll definitely qualify.

Jordan: No, not the place (although maybe someday I will go to there and love it!), the man in my life. I know it's cliche to say you love your partner, but he's pretty great and I feel lucky to spend so much time with him.

Knots: As a (former) rock climber and (present) ski mountaineer, I know a knot can literally save your life. Knots have allowed me to play in all kids of places outside, and for that I will forever love them.

Lycra and Spandex and Moonboots, Oh My! #thingsilove

Lycra: And Spandex. Anything that allows you to move with freedom and stay warm in the backcountry. I was NOT onboard with the "leggings as pants" phenomenon of 3-years ago, but I do love a pair of LOUD leggings! On a ski trip the first week in May I wore ONLY leggings and I'm here to tell you, it'll will change your life.

Mountains: I grew up with the Rocky Mountains in my backyard, and now I live in between the Cascades and Olympics. I cannot imagine my life without my besties Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and the North Cascades.

Nutella: While in Europe in 2006, Allison and I found a Nutella Jar bigger than my torso. We didn't buy it because the exchange rate at the time was terribly anti-American, and it's one of my greatest travel regrets of all time.

This is where opting outside can take you (in pink). #thingsilove

Opting Outside: When REI came out with the #OptOutside campaign last year, I was beyond stoked. It gave everyone a platform to have a conversation about recreation and its importance in our lives. Spending just a few hours in nature can completely rewire your brain (thanks science). Everyone should Opt Outside more often.

Pink: I denied my love for a long time, now I embrace it and am a happier human.

Quitting: I've written before about the importance of quitting something when it no longer brings value to your life. Quitting by choice comes with a sense of empowerment and accomplishment. I encourage you to look critically at the things in your life and quit at least one that's not working for you.

Reading: I love reading. I have ever since I was a little girl. I don't get to read all that much, but this year I made it a priority (and had about a week where I was laid up with a cold, which helped), and I've read 6 books so far. Of those six, I really recommend The Martian, Code Named Verity, and Sixty Meters to Anywhere.

Skiing: You read this blog. You know I love skiing (here are 79 posts to prove it).

Team lycra tutu. #thingsilove

Tutus: I wear a tutu because it's an instant icebreaker - it invites people to have a conversation with you. It also screams "I AM HAVING FUN!" I don't care that it looks ridiculous. Tutus are fun and everyone should wear one.

Up: I like to feel like my life is going somewhere - I want new challenges and new horizons to chase. I think that's why I climb mountains and make life lists. I feel accomplished when I can check things off and see myself as "moving up" in the world.

Victory: I'll admit I'm on the competitive side. I savor the taste of sweet victory - be it at a ski race or in a game of Euchre. Who doesn't like winning?

Writing: Last October I made a pledge to myself to write a blog a week, and I'm proud to have kept that promise. For me, writing is necessary and cathartic. If I don't write, I have too many things swirling around in my brain and it's difficult to concentrate. Writing makes me feel centered and calm. This blog helps me celebrate important milestones, remember funny stories, and explore creativity outside of my job.

I heart you mama. xoxo.

XOXOs: My mom and I have always signed every email with "xoxo" for as long as I can remember. It feels familar and comforting and makes me feel close to home. All the feels.

Yelling: Not in an angry way, but sometimes you just need to shout your face off.

Zzzzzs: If I had one superpower, it would be the ability to sleep anywhere, any time. Seriously. I could fall asleep right now if you gave me a blanket and two minutes. I can sleep in a car, on a sweaty bus, in airplanes, or on a concrete floor. I have my twin sisters to thank. If you grow up with twins running around all the time on the floor above your bedroom, you can learn to sleep through anything.

What would you add to your list?

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