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A Weekend of Working Out!

Another weekend came and went, and this one was one active weekend. While I wasn't exploring downtown Cedar Rapids, I did get a chance to put my legs to work!

Saturday was a beautiful day. The sun was out and the humidity was low. My friend Mariah and I went on a bike ride. Our destination was Ely, which, round trip ended up being about 20 miles. The trail was relatively flat and I had never been on that part of the trail before, so that was exciting. When we arrived in Ely, we went for a cup of coffee at The Retreat, a fairly new coffeeshop.

It's my favorite type of coffeeshop, aka built inside an old Victorian house. We ordered our drinks and then sat outside in their gazebo, chatting. When we were ready to hit the road, we made sure to take a picture first to remember the afternoon. 

On Sunday, I biked to the other side of campus to the football field. I wanted to get a little run in and ended up going for three miles! For me, this was a big feat (I'm not a huge runner). Since it was Sunday, all was peaceful and calm. I stood on the football field before I biked home and realized how much I would miss this atmosphere in a couple of weeks. 

My Sunday ended with another bike ride to the library and some roof reading. The library had some live music out on the patio, so it was nice to hear the music rising up to the roof while I read Rebecca Solnit's The Faraway Nearby. After a few hours of reading, I got back on my bike and made my way back to Coe. 

I went to bed on Sunday, tired yet relaxed from such a great weekend. My legs sure got a workout, but I was feeling great!  


Third Time's a Charm!

Woah, it's hard to believe another week has flown by. It seems like just the other day, it was Sunday and I was recovering from an awesome adventure filled weekend. Now it's Friday and I'm even more worn out!

Lots was a happening in Admissions this week. Iowa Private College Week is right around the corner (less than 20 days) and with July being a busy tour month, it seems as soon as I walk in the doors at 8 AM I'm moving! I've had the opportunity to tour some outstanding students this week and also I've been helping tour train some fellow Kohawks. I really enjoy walking around with my peers and chatting about their experience at Coe. It's nice to be able to "bestow" my tour guide wisdom and I feel sort of like a proud Mama Duck, watching her chicks grow.

For our incoming first-years, this was also a pretty big week. They not only found out their First-Year Seminar class, but also their rooming assignments. The Class of 2018 Facebook group blew up the other day as all the students starting posting where they were living and what FYS class they were in. It was fun to watch and I couldn't help but think fondly on my summer before I started Coe (circa 2010 everyone) and how excited I was.

On Thursday, I made my way back to Newbo Market for my third Meet Me at the Market. By coming a third time, I qualified myself for a FREE (yes, free) Meet Me at the Market t-shirt. It's beautiful and I was quite proud. This time around I was invited to do yoga with two Kohawk friends of mine, Mariah and Addy. I had also just acquired a new yoga mat so it was great to start breaking it in. Definitely different than biking but still a lot of fun!

Friday was another busy day in the office and I couldn't believe when 3 PM rolled around. I headed to Clark Racquet Center for my usual workout and then post dinner, attended the final Out Loud! Author Series.

From her website

The author of this final summer series was Elizabeth Berg. She is a well known and well published author. Up on stage, she was graceful and honest about all sorts of things. What I loved about her reading was how she bookended it. After reading a short section from her most recent novel, she talked about what it means to be a writer and the story behind many of her book titles. Finally, she ended with an essay about reading and writing. It was a great reading and while I definitely felt very young in the crowd, it was a nice way to end the series and Berg's books are being put on my summer reading list!


Reading Guide

Every incoming Coe student has a summer reading assignment. In my opinion, it's a great way to do a little homework over the summer to gear up for college, and also the book becomes this common talking point for the 400 some incoming students. I still fondly remember reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, and I know I've made or heard Outlier jokes up until graduation (it doesn't go away!).

My various Coe connections allowed me to sit on the First Year Experience (FYE) Book Committee and I'm proud to say I've helped picked the first-year common reading for four incoming classes. Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis followed Gladwell's book the following year and then I became more involved with the first-year experience.

The following year, as the first-years read the infamous "baboon book" aka A Primate's Memoir by Robert Sapolsky, I was able to create a reading guide for them. I completed the same project the following year for Peter Godwin's When the Crocodile Eats the Sun

And this year is no different.

The book for this year's incoming class is Sarah Vowell's A Partly Cloudy Patriot. Now, I've seen Vowell this summer, and seeing her was just the motivation I needed to help finish off the reading guide for summer 2014.

However, this year, I stepped up my reading guide game. While I do have the reading guide, complete with enough questions to keep you discussing the books for hours, I also created a Storify story with some additional media.

Storify is a neat website I've been plugging since my experience at the Paley Center for Media. I think it's a great way to pull media and information across so many different platforms. In a Storify story, I can pull tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, Instagram photos, and articles from the entire web. It creates a story that moves you around the web and also contains all the information in one handy spot. I've embedded the story below, it might be something cool to see, just to have a taste for what A Partly Cloudy Patriot is all about!

Sunday: Sun and Rain Always Go Together

I woke up on Sunday, well rested from a day of adventures on Saturday. Despite the fact having walked everywhere in downtown Cedar Rapids, I still felt a workout was needed before the sun got too high in the sky. I biked over to the track and field, which is open for Coe students. I ran a couple of miles, all before lunch!

Post lunch, I packed my bag and biked down to the public library. It was a beautiful day outside, a little hot, but better than all the rain we have been getting. My destination at the library: the green roof. The roof is all eco-friendly and has a nice view of Cedar Rapids.

Stunning, am I right? 

I was out there for about two hours (with sunscreen on of course). As I got close to the end of my book, I headed inside for some shade. Inside, as I was settling in, two things happened. One, my friend Rachel texted me about hanging out with her family at Newbo (who were visiting for the day) and the storm clouds began to roll in. 

There wasn't suppose to be rain! 

I thought, I'll just back back to Coe before the rain. As I walked outside, I began to feel sprinkles. Throwing my backpack cover on, I quickly unlocked my bike. The rain started to fall faster and I pedaled faster. Usually, I take the trail from the library to Coe, which isn't quite the most direct route. Sunday, I ignored rules. 

Up First Avenue I went, the rain coming down. I was soaked and never pedaled so quickly up a hill before. 

So it was an adventure. Back at Coe, I dried off and as I walked out, the rain was done. It was sunny again and as Rachel, her family, and I walked to Parlor City for appetizers (right across from Newbo Market) there wasn't a sign it had been raining. 

Midwest weather, what can we do about it? 

Appetizers were lovely and it was a lot of fun to get to know some of Rachel's family. My day ended with some summer reading and once again, I feel asleep in an instant, clearly exhausted. 

Definitely one of my favorite weekends this summer! 


Cedar Rapids Extravaganza Part II

The adventures continued on Saturday. While I had gone to the Wally Lamb event solo, Saturday was a friend-filled day. Earlier in the week, I had made up a fun invitation and sent it along to many of my friends in Cedar Rapids for the summer. A long list of places to go and things to see was on the invitation with the disclaimer that my friends could come to what they wanted (many had work or other commitments throughout the day). I would be happy for whatever they could come to and no matter where we went, fun would be had!

My day began with my friend Alexis. The two of us walked from Coe to the downtown area. Our first stop was the Blue Strawberry, a local coffeeshop. We grabbed some much needed coffee and a muffin to start our day. With beverages and food in hand, we chose a spot at the window so we could people watch. From there, we walked a few blocks over to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Now, I've blogged (briefly) about this museum before. I went with Heidi to it back when I was a freshman. I returned to the museum at a later date, with different exhibits. It is a neat place and I always wished I could have spent more time there. One of the perks of being a Coe student is free admission, all day, every day to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. What is even cooler, is that from now until August 31st, anyone can see all the neat art for free!

And if you're in the area, you should definitely take advantage of it. Currently there is a lot of Grant Wood displayed (and he is such a great artist with the ability to paint in so many different styles) along with an exhibit on American life, photography of stars, beautiful ceramic pots, and a printmaker. Of course, the permanent collection of Roman life is also there for you to enjoy. Alexis and I had a great time walking around exploring and seeing all the neat work.

Some Grant Wood
Post museum, Alexis and I stopped by the library briefly so I could drop off a few books and pick up a couple. Then, my friend Kat joined us and we stopped by the Lost Cuban to grab lunch. This was one of the top Cedar Rapids restaurants I hadn't been to yet. It was delicious and I would definitely put it on the list of great places for food in CR!
The three of us, food in hand, then walked to Newbo Market. The market was busy and it was Kat's first time there. I took her through the various booths and we ended up buying some cupcakes (aka the best cupcakes I've ever had, shoutout to That One Cupcake Place). At Newbo, we met up with Peter, Connor, Rachel, and Tim while Alexis left us to go work at Hyvee. While we sat outside, soaking up the sun, we chatted with a young boy whose parents owned the Caribbean Kitchen (the same place I had so throughly enjoyed on Thursday). He was on his scooter and was having a blast zipping along on the sidewalk. Somehow I was challenged to a race and had a blast trying to ride his scooter (see photo of me in a skirt). \

Nourished and ready to go, the group walked across the bridge to the Czech Village. The National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library was celebrating their 40th anniversary on Saturday. Their celebration consisted of family activities, live music at night, and free admission into the museum. This museum has been on my bucket list since 2010 when I visited Coe. Needless to say, this was a long overdue trip. 

This museum is legit. So much great information and displayed in such engaging and interactive ways. My mom's side of my family has some Czech heritage so there were many times where I could relate to the artifacts in front of me. I got really sentimental over the various lamb cake molds I saw. It was something my mom always made for Easter and I even got to make with my aunt when I was on New York Term and spent Easter with my family in New Jersey.
Lamb cake with my Aunt Julie

Again, definitely a place I would recommend checking out if you're in Cedar Rapids. They currently have an exhibit called Faces of Freedom that talk about Czechs and Slovaks coming to the United States along with a great and informative history about Czechoslovakia.

The rain looked probable, so the group elected to grab a drink at a restaurant in the Czech Village called the Red Barron. Then we ate dinner at another restaurant in the village called Smuggler's Wharf. Both places were great and it was nice to enjoy the outside and catch up with my friends. Olivia also joined us by the time we ate dinner.

As the storm clouds moved in, we headed back to Newbo to pick up cars and then it was back to Coe. I was so happy how the day turned out and so glad I got to spend so much time exploring Cedar Rapids. I fell asleep just like that, clearly exhausted from all the walking and FUN!