The month of June was amazing, but it also kicked my butt. I started and ended the month in Washington, D.C. (once getting there by bike, and once getting there by bus - can you guess which was more enjoyable?) and spent one weekend in Boston at a wedding. It's been a while since I've hopped around so much in a short period of time, and I'm looking forward to both feet being firmly placed in Pittsburgh for a while (until Labor Day, at least).
Having been so busy in June, my plan for July is to take it a little easier and spend some time catching up with things. Like how I've neglected to enlightened you all about what I've been reading or how I've been doing with my resolutions. I haven't abandoned any of those projects! Which is great. I've just been too lazy (and too hot - OMG, it's hot!) to get around to it. Now, with a homemade iced coffee in hand (still trying not to spend so much money this month) and new mixes from friends as my soundtrack, here is a recap on things and stuff.
Resolution #1: Read more!
First, here's a list of what I've already read in 2012.
1. 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente
2. Building a Better Robot
3. About Three Bricks Shy
4. Brothers and Keepers
Now, here's what I've been reading.
PGH Book #5: Me, and Earl, and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews
My friend Corey lent me this right after he read it. He thought it would be right up my alley, and because Jesse Andrews is from Pittsburgh and the story takes place in Pittsburgh, that it would fit the requirements of a PGH Book for 2012. He was right. On all accounts. This was one of the funniest, most touching, and possibly sharpest books I've ever read. One of those rare books that you do not want to finish because you want to story to keep going forever. It's a quick read and would be wonderful to enjoy by the pool this summer.
PGH Book #6: The Paris of Appalachia - Brian O'Neill
Brian O'Neill came to speak in one of my writing courses at Pitt. I don't remember much from his talk, except for how I thought he didn't look anything like the little photo that accompanies his columns in the Post Gazette. But after reading this, I will always remember him for his unique and very wise perspective on Pittsburgh. The essays in this book are spot-on Pittsburgh. Even the ones that detail some of the city's downfalls (I'll be the first to admit that Pittsburgh is not perfect, but for me it's pretty damn close) capture the city's resilient spirit.
I've slowed my pace on the reading, which I expected would happen. (That's why I front-loaded my list with quick reads...) But I'm about to finish my seventh book over the weekend (a book that has done nothing to quell the overwhelming wanderlust that's itching at the back of my head) and am halfway through an eighth (which is a behemoth of a book, so much so that the library refused to let me renew it for a fourth time, so I had to take a break).
As for the other resolutions: Some progress is being made, some progress is not being made. Now that we're halfway through the year, it's time to kick into a higher gear, especially with volunteering. I can't even remember how much I've actually volunteered so far this year, but let's put that figure around two hours. Out of fifty. But! I've just registered with Corey and Carrie to volunteer with GrowPGH on July 21 at their urban farm in Braddock.
I'm sure I've been better at trying new things. Of course, I haven't kept a list or anything, but I'm getting better at being less afraid to try a new thing - be it a food, an activity, or habit. One major one that sticks out in my mind is whitewater rafting, which I was able to do for an amazing reasonable price ($4) because my friend Brian's brother Ben is a rafting guide at Ohiopyle. Coincidentally, whitewater rafting was on the 30 Before 30 list, so I've officially crossed an item of the (still unfinished) list.
And finally, my baby, Pedal for Pennies. As of today I have biked 2,012 miles. 2012! So far in 2012! I really can't believe I'm already under the 1,000-mile mark for miles left to log. It feels like I was just celebrating hitting 1,000 miles yesterday. I'm not only on target to hit 3,000 miles, but I should crush that and wind up around 3,500 (crossing fingers for another mild winter...). To date from pledges and donations, Pedal for Pennies has raised $1,400 for Gilda's Club of Western Pennsylvania. Wanna get in the game and make a pledge? Click this link: http://pedalforpennies.blogspot.com/
Thanks for reading! Stay cool, and enjoy the Pittsburgh summer.