Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Story of Me. Kind of.

I confess, it has been too long since I last blogged. I wish I could say that I’ve gotten lots of new lifers or had amazing adventures, but to tell the truth, barely anything interesting has happened. I got two lifers. One: a European Starling. Yes, they are everywhere and I don’t know how I’ve be continually missing them, but I finally got one. (Or a dozen) 
Two: An American Kestrel. I chased this one down the trail while running. 
I’ve started running again, too, which is a blessing. I love being able to explore the trails again. I’m very behind everyone else on the team, but I’m trying not to let that get to me. I’m at just shy of 3 miles now, which isn’t terrible considering when I started running 2 weeks ago I could only do a mile and a half. I’m supposed to be adding 3 minutes every 2 days, and so far that has been working great. Anyways, let me get back on the topic of my post: My story. 

I’m starting out with these statements because I think they are important to note, so please read them. 

The things I do, the choices I make, they aren’t about other people. I don’t care if people judge me. I don’t care if people think that I’m doing something to be just like them. I’m not. 

I’ve always been interested in the environment. When I was in elementary school, my mom picked up different science books for me to do. One, in particular, was all about birds. I loved it and poured my heart into learning all about them, just like I did when I took botany and astronomy. I remember thinking to myself as I read about orioles and vireos that I really wanted to see one of their nests in person because they looked pretty awesome. I still remembered them before I got interested in birds (again).
When I was around 7 or 8 years old, we drove to our grandparents house in Ohio. They had a forest in their backyard (I was small; it looked like a forest) that I was desperate to explore. I clearly remember talking to one of my cousins about how I really wanted someone to go with me into the forest, and how I wished I would have brought my backpack with me. She jokingly told me that if I walked home to get it, I could be back in two days. I seriously considered it and weighed my options. Needless to say, I didn’t walk back to Omaha to retrieve my backpack. While I didn’t get to explore the forest, I happy to say that it didn’t discourage me. 
As a family, we traveled out to Estes Park nearly every summer. I enjoyed hiking and the mountains more than the shopping (but at that age, I couldn’t tell anyone why, I just knew I’d rather be hiking) but trooped along anyways. I do have a few memories hiking some trails past Bear Lake and being exhausted, but that is only to be expected if you’re at high altitude and new to climbing up big steps (hey, I was young; everything looked big). One day on the trip (tradition!) we’d get up early to get donuts at Donut Haus and travel up to Bear Lake to eat them for breakfast, followed by a little jaunt around the lake. 
I’ve always enjoyed photography, too. In April 2012, my grandpa gave me and my sister (Becca) his old Canon Rebel XT. I didn’t know anything about photography (DSLR photography, that is. I’d entered numerous times into the county fair with my point and shoot, with varying success) except that I wanted to get the shots with the blurry background. That was my first DSLR (I still have it, of course) and the first time I got super excited about taking photos. In March 2013, I bought my own camera, a Canon 60D and lens (Canon f/1.8 50mm EF). That summer I got a job and seriously considered buying a larger telephoto lens so I could get the far-away shots that I so craved. I didn’t cave in until February of this year, when I purchased my first ‘L’ series lens, a Canon 70-200mm f/4.0L USM. I’m now addicted to big lenses and am plotting purchasing a 100-400mm lens for bird photography. 
Speaking of birds, I’m excited to say that they are a new interest to me. Like I mentioned before, I was mildly interested in my childhood, but never pursued it. We would get robins that would nest below our deck, and I (squeamishly, now) remember opening the patio door and seeing all of the robin chicks stick their bills up into the air, thinking that their momma was close by about to give them a snack. I’d pull out my (cheap) point & shoot Canon camera and snap a few shots of them. A few weeks later, I was out on our porch when I saw a juvenile robin fly up and land on the railing. I ran and grabbed my camera and luckily robin was quite cooperative. It stayed there and looked at me. It wasn’t scared, because it stayed there quite a long time, gently hopping from side to side, looking around. One of those years that we got the robins’ nests, one juvenile accidentally flew into our house, got scared, and hid behind a bookcase. I wasn’t there to witness it (I’m still a little angry about that), but I heard a detailed report which included taking out all of the books (the bookcase was around 4’ x 5’ x 1’) and herding the bird back out to the yard, all while keeping our dog from getting involved. 

If you know me, you’ll know that I have a long list of interests. Probably because I get bored (or master it, i.e., knitting) fairly easily. I knit, crochet, spin yarn, draw, do photography, run, climb, some cooking (that’s what happens when you have so many eating restrictions), embroidery, sewing, violin (At least, I used to. I still pick it up occasionally), and maintain this blog. Oh, not to mention birding, as well. Plus camping and hiking. 
I love learning new things, but I really just love a challenge. Learn to ID by sight and sound for hundreds of birds? Count me in! 
It keeps me busy and always thinking, too, which helps as I am often bored at class. 

Basically, that is the story of me. 

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