Trumpelstiltskin

Once upon a time, there was a young girl named America who had a beautiful complexion, long flowing hair, and was always willing to lend a hand to those less fortunate than her. She was known around her friends as someone who would take in strangers who might be in trouble, and even gave money to any of her friends who needed it.

But over time, America became confused. She wasn’t sure who she’d become and had some internal struggles (like many people her age deal with). Sometimes, she would look in the mirror and didn’t even recognize who she’d become.

Eventually, America came to a breaking point, and she was locked up in a giant white house and was that there would be severe consequences unless she make herself great again. She cried and cried because she didn’t know how she could ever make America great again.

Then, one night, a man snuck into the white house and promised America he could make her great again.

“My name is Trumpelstiltskin,” said the man, “and I know exactly how to make America great again.”

America was so emotional that she didn’t think what this might mean, but all she knew was that she wanted to be great and didn’t consider the costs. In return, all she had to do was tell Trumpelstiltskin that what he wanted to do was great. America agreed that if Trumpelstiltskin would make her great again, she would look the other way on anything he said or did.

And so Trumpelstiltskin left, and the next day America saw him on the news. He said all sorts of crazy things, was rude to people America once considered friends. She wanted to call her friends and tell them she really wasn’t like that, but since she made a promise to Trumpelstiltskin, she had to go along with the things she said. America hear rumors that her friends didn’t like her as much, but since she believed that this was the only way she might ever become great again, she didn’t say anything.

While she was in the big white house, America had become sick. She used to be healthy and full of life, but recently, some diseases had taken over and made America very ill. Her doctor told her that she had some preexisting conditions that made some of her cells work against her.

“Your cells are like terrorists,” the doctor said. “You’ve always had them, but because you’ve neglected them for so long, they are not fighting against you. There have also been some foreign diseases that have terrorized your body. I think that both your internal cells, as well as the foreign diseases, are keeping you sick.”

The doctor left and America became very sad. How could her own cells fight against her, and why wasn’t her body figuring out why they were fighting against her and adjust so that she could become healthy again? She thought the best way to get healthy was to fix her internal issues, then she could figure out a way to combat those foreign diseases that might be troubling her. She fell asleep without a solution.

In the middle of the night, Trumpelstiltskin returned. She told him how sick she’d become, and how she hasn’t felt like herself in a long time. She used to be so happy and healthy, but then her body began to turn against her. Once again, Trumpelstiltskin promised he had the answer, and he’d fix her in exchange for not questioning his methods. Reluctantly, America agreed.

“Your problem,” Trumpelstiltskin explained, “isn’t that your cells are working against you. Most of your cells are great. The problem is those foreign diseases have been terrorizing you for years. Your cells and body are totally fine. The charts that doctor showed you were fake charts. And the results were fake results. The real issue is those foreign diseases.”

America shrugged, because if everything all of her doctors were ever showing her were fake charts with fake results, maybe it was the foreign diseases that were accounting for all of her issues. America looked out the window, and the gate around the big white house that used to have open doors and open gates, all of a sudden were closed. And on top of that, Trumpelstiltskin was building a huge wall around the gate so that no one else could come in.

“This will protect you,” Trumpelstiltskin said to America.

America wasn’t sure because she thought, surely someone can figure out a way to get around a wall if they really wanted to hurt her, but then she remembered she couldn’t question his methods and she also had to look the other way on anything he said or did. America was very confused and began questioning Trumpelstiltskin, but since she wasn’t able to think of any better solutions, she let him go about building his wall. After all, she couldn’t prove that the charts and tests weren’t fake charts and tests, so maybe Trumpelstiltskin was telling her the truth?

A few weeks had passed, and America was still sick and still didn’t feel great. She began wondering if she should have listened to Trumpelstiltskin in the first place. She liked the things he said to her a long time ago, but as soon as she agreed to let him make America great again, she couldn’t help but question just about everything he was doing. America began to get angry, both at herself and at Trumpelstiltskin. She knew that she had good inside of her, and that the only way she would fix herself and make herself great again was by her own actions, not the actions of someone who made promises but didn’t show any follow through. As her rage grew, Trumpelstiltskin appeared one last time.

“I know how you feel,” Trumpelstiltskin told America. “My whole life, people questioned the things I did, said, and tweeted. Then, I figured out that if you just keep saying things, whether they’re real or not, people will believe you. You just have to put down anyone who…”

As Trumpelstiltskin continued talking, America looked over his shoulder at the TV that showed some of her old friends crying because they couldn’t come and see her anymore. She saw the wall from her room in the big white house that was supposed to keep her safe, but she still felt sick and broken. She looked down at Trumpelstiltskin, who seemed much smaller than he did the first time he came to see her.

“…which is why you just need to give it time. You just have to believe me that we are making you great again and fixing all your problems.”

“I’ve always had issues,” America snapped. “I’ve always been a little broken, but the things that make me sick sometimes are also the things that give me the most strength. I might not be the best I’ve ever been, but the one thing I won’t do is change who I am because of it. I am at my best when I am supported by those who appreciate me for what I am and aren’t trying to change me to fit their idea of what I should be. I am America, and I will be great again, but not because you make me great. I will be great again because I have the strength to make it through times that appear to difficult to overcome. I will be great again because, at my core, I am passionate, driven, and willing to endure hardships because of my beliefs. It might not happen today or tomorrow, but I will be great again, and I don’t need you to show me how to do it.”

Trumpelstiltskin stood there and didn’t know how to react. Everything that he’d been telling America that seemed to have been working no longer worked. He screamed and pounded his fists and demanded that America listen to him, but it was too late. America had decided that she would be better off without Trumpelstiltskin after all, and the future seemed much brighter for her.

The end.

 

 

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You can only have three hobbies…

Everybody needs three hobbies – one that makes them money, one that keeps them in shape, and one that keeps them creative.

I read this the other day and it kind of struck a chord in me because I’ve always been the guy who tried a little of everything (you should see my plate at Thanksgiving… literally a little of everything!). The thought of only three hobbies is a hard thing to wrap my head around because I spend more time thinking about the things I’d be giving up than I would those things that I would hold on to and keep in my life.

How do I choose between running and Crossfit? One is good for my soul, while the other is giving me some semblance of abs (only visible in the mornings after I dehydrate myself with alcohol the night before).  Likewise, how do I choose between playing guitar and blogging. One is good for my soul, while….well you get the point.

On the other hand, none of my hobbies make me any money, and I would love to begin pouring some of my energy into something that might help me accumulate wealth one day. Everything I have ever done, from marathon training to learning guitar has either taken time or money (usually both) and I never see a return if I look at it like an investment, which it is if you think about it.

Then again, I don’t want my life to be joyless, where every decision I make has to have a dollar sign attached or take me one step closer to something. I think the one thing I’ve always held on to about myself is that most things I do, I do because they make me happy. I think I am done getting tattoos, but if I did ever get another one, it would either be a wedding ring tattoo (unrelated) or something that said “do what makes you happy.”

I think what works for me is to kind of make some creative, executive decisions. For example, instead of choosing between running and crossfit, I can say that the hobby that keeps me in shape is “racing.” Racing requires endurance and cross training, so I can kind of bundle a few things into one larger umbrella of a hobby.

With that being said, these would be my three hobbies that will make me money, keep me in shape, and keep me creative.

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One that makes me money…

Sweat Local Columbus – my wife and I have this really cool thing, and we both want to figure out a way to take this really cool thing and turn it into something that can make us a little money on the side. Who knows, maybe one day we can make a lot of money on the side. We’re still trying to figure out exactly what we can do with it and we’re still trying to figure out the best way we can make it as accessible and worthwhile to the active community in Columbus as we can.

Currently, Kelly IS Sweat Local Columbus. She is the one who has had to shoulder all the work for it and, to be honest, she is much more involved in the fitness community around Columbus than I am. She teaches spinning, knows just about every Yoga studio and instructor that teaches in Columbus, and she is the one who has been making the connections that have helped get Sweat Local Columbus off the ground.

We both know that if Sweat Local Columbus is going to grow into what we want it to be, it is going to take both of us, which means I need to step up and contribute beyond helping set up and clean up at the events we do. So, my new hobby that will make me money, even if it’s in the future and not RIGHT NOW, will be to pour my effort and energy into matching Kelly’s passion for it and see it grow.

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One that keeps me in shape…

Racing – Anyone who knows me knows that this past year I found the sport of obstacle course racing. My wife and I joke about how I ever found this sport, and the truth is I don’t really know. I had done 5K’s and a few distance races since I graduated college, but nothing that wasn’t just running on flat ground for however long. Then, last February, I did a trail run (little different). Then I did a Spartan Race. Then  Kelly was out of town one Saturday, so I drove up and did a Warrior Dash. Then I talked Kelly into doing another Spartan Race with me. Somewhere along the way I qualified for the Obstacle Course Racing World Championship, so last month we drove eight hours up to Canada and I did that.

The point is, I think this is a hobby that is going to stay with me, and one that keeps me in shape. In order to train for these races, I go to Crossfit twice a week to work on my strength and cross training, and I also run twice a week or so to keep my endurance up. Kelly now wants to get a Spinning bike for the house (might be a ploy by her as a way to get me to clean the basement…jury still out on this one), which would also help with my endurance. The long and short of it is that racing, to me, can encompass all of these things but still be “one” hobby.

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One that keeps me creative…

Writing – This one is tough because I feel like if I say writing, then I should consider giving up playing guitar. But, as an executive decision maker in the Ryan Rauch brand, I will allow myself the ability to play a minimal amount (let’s be honest, that’s all I do now anyway) of guitar. But the best way I know to channel my creativity is through my writing, and I would like to develop a voice not just for myself, but be able to cultivate a voice for other brands as well.

I already blog here, you know that, but I also write blog posts for Sweat Local Columbus. They’re fine, but I was to write in a way that is more engaging with an audience. I want to be able to excite people when I write.

Last night, I was talking to Kelly about one of her favorite bloggers (slash Snap Chat follows), and she was talking about a blog post she had written recently that Kelly could relate to every word. I wish I could tell you what the subject was of the blog, but I think I’d be in trouble so I’ll leave that part out. Anyway, I don’t think anyone can really say that about my writing. I think it’s good, but it doesn’t make people say, “every word he wrote was spot on to how I feel.” As soon as I can develop THAT kind of voice, I think I’ll be at a point with my writing where I can genuinely add value to Sweat Local Columbus, or maybe even some Local Anywhere clients!

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With that said, it seems like I won’t have much room in my life for fantasy football, my dog, any sort of chores, my dream of being on the Senior PGA Tour, or anything else that doesn’t help Sweat Local Columbus, my racing career, or my writing… Then again, who doesn’t love a good dog story, and I’m sure 18 holes would improve my shoulder flexibility in a way that might help me on some obstacles.

 

Fill in the Blank: 2017 – The Year of ___

So my wife and I have been doing something fun each of the past two years, and if you read this blog, you know that 2015 was the year of concerts and 2016 was the year of Travel/Yes. We have kind of joked about 2017 being the year of “yes, continued,” but that kind of feels like cheating.

Here’s how the “Year of” works… Basically, anything you want to do within the general parameters of the word or phrase, you get to do without any (too much) fight from the other person.

Example:

Kelly: “What do you think about going up to Pittsburgh for a night, then doing a race there the next day?

Ryan: “OK. Then do you want to go up to Canada the next week for a different race?”

K: “Seems far, but sure! #YoY right?”

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I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how that conversation went down. 2016 ended up being probably the most fun year of my life. We traveled to Grand Cayman, Destin, Ireland, Pittsburgh, and Canada. Toss in a few trips up to Cleveland to see the family and probably one other weekend trip I’m forgetting about.

So 2017 has to be good. I don’t know if it will be able to top 2016, but so far, every year has been better than the one before. I know Kelly and I want to do some more races, and no less than one of us has some big plans for some house updates and projects, but we are otherwise fairly open.

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Maybe 2017 will be the year of business? Kelly and I have committed to refocusing our brands (Sweat Local Columbus, Local Anywhere) to figure out what the best way is to make those two things as successful as possible. We have had some high’s and low’s on both of those fronts, but I think we’re starting to figure out what does and doesn’t work and will attack both of those next year with more passion and purpose.

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Or maybe 2017 will be the year of fitness. I think having had a taste of what the OCR world can offer, I love the idea of (broken record word of the day) focusing my training so that I can be a better racer. I think Kelly and I are both learning a few things about better ways to eat and train so that we can be the best and healthiest versions of ourselves.

Side conversation – the other day, we had some siding coming off the side of our house. I fixed a piece of it with a ladder, but another piece was up near the top of the house and was too high for me to reach with the ladder. So I went through the bedroom window to the first level of our roof, and was able to Irish Table my way up on to the second level of our roof. I know this level of fitness doesn’t mean a whole lot, like, being able to get up on top of my roof isn’t a reason to get fit, but it makes me feel good knowing that I can. I feel like there is very little I can’t do, which in itself makes me extremely happy.

Or, maybe 2017 will be the year of something much more significant. Whatever the case, I’m open to suggestions and really hope that whatever we decide to do with this upcoming year, it’s as exciting and brings us as much joy as the year of concerts and the year of travel/yes.

One Month Fitness Challenge: Day Fifteen

So I didn’t update the blog last week because I was in Ireland and I decided that the blog wasn’t the most important thing to do that week (I did write most of a blog for Sweat Local, though, so kudos to me…kidding, my wife worked way more than I did on SL and deserves way more kudos for getting our first Sweat Sesh going last this month…) ANYWAY…

It’s been two weeks and to recap, these were my goals for September:

  1. Run 75 miles in month of September
  2. Do 30 burpees each day (or do 900 in month in case of missed day or two)
  3. Attend no less than 2 Crossfit classes each week (exception Ireland week)
  4. Lose 5-7 pounds (though, I’d be OK if I didn’t reach this goal until race day 10/15)

So, progress check.

Running:

I’ve logged just over 20 miles, so obviously I’m not hitting my goal (should be at 37.5 by now). I made a excel sheet that allows me to track where I am at and what my daily average needs to be in order to complete the 75 miles by 9/30. Basically, I need to run 3.4 miles every day in order to get there. Not saying won’t happen, but I’m worried. I do plan to run a lot this weekend (10-15 miles) so hopefully I can start chipping away at that 75.

I did have a nice 5 mile run in Ireland, which is something I always like to do once when I travel. Great way to explore a city and get a feel for the culture.

Burpees

For the most part, I (and Kelly who is doing 30 a day with me) am doing pretty good with this. I’ll admit, there were a few days in Ireland that we missed, then tried to make up on the back end, but if I’m honest, I’m probably short of my (15 x 30) burpee target arc.

Crossfit

This is something I’ve kept up on. Kelly and I went to Crossfit Perpetua in Dublin twice on our vacation (mixed review btw — people were great, but front desk girl (accent unknown) couldn’t make left or right of us dropping in AND wanting to buy a t-shirt…I mean how many curve balls can you throw at someone at one time?!?). I’ve already gone once this week and plan to go again on Saturday.

I do feel like my strength has greatly improved, which is what I needed after my last OCRs. My worry is that my endurance won’t be as good as it was when I was doing Orange Theory, but it’s kind of a “pick your poison” kind of scenario, right? I do think that, between endurance and strength, I’d rather be strong enough for the obstacles and fight through fatigue than have energy at each obstacle, but not enough upper body and grip strength to complete obstacles.

Lose 5-7 lbs.

Not too concerned with this one. I was up a bit of weight after Ireland, but am back down (as of this morning) to 171.8, which is just a fraction less than what I was when this month began. I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble dropping another 5 pounds or so to get to around 165 by race day.

Current Weight: 171.8 lbs.

Self-Assessed Fitness Level: 7/10

Days run this month: 4

Miles run this month: 20.5

Crossfit classes attended past week: 2

Biggest Challenge Past Week: logging miles!

What’s New

So, I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like (in fact, the last time I had written just one post in a month was August 2015….until last month), but there has been a lot going on in the life….so what better way to catch the world up on little old me than with a post titled “what’s new?” It’s very clever in that, “I’m going to name my band The Dave Matthews Band” kind of way.

Actually, it might sound more official if I call it, “The Declaration of What’s New.”

Nope. Changing it back…

OK, so as you might (or might not) know, Kelly and I just put on Sweat Local Columbus, and it was a big hit! See below:

While the event is still fresh, we want to begin growing the SLC brand by doing monthly meet-up type of events around the city. We’ll be hosting different studios, trainers, and groups to have unique, one-of-a-kind workouts in unique locations that will also feature some kind of “extra vendor,” either a pop-up shop from one of Columbus’ local workout gear vendor or even local restaurants or breweries (we don’t discriminate… there is room for alcohol in healthy lifestyles!).

So that’s new in the life…

Kelly and I are also doing crossfit. I won’t get too deep into it because I feel like there is a negative stereotype with people who do crossfit only wanting to talk about their workouts. While I could go on, I’ll leave it at this to debunk that stereotype and just leave it at this…

I assume that sooner or later, the sore I feel will turn into strong…

As I’ve mentioned 100x on this blog, 2016 is both “The Year of Yes” and “The Year of Travel.” There’s been a hole lot of “yes” going on up until this point, and the travel half of 2016 is about to get going.

Vegas in two weeks…

Ireland in a month…

Pittsburgh in two months…

Canada in two and a half months…

It’s getting real, and it’s no longer something that we’re looking forward to, rather something that we have to actually start putting some things in motion so we have all our bases covered. With only having a dog and knowing how much work it is to make sure he’s taken care of, I can only imagine what it might be like to try to juggle any sort of traveling with a human puppy.

Not necessarily newsworthy, but aside from my blog game slacking, so too has my social media game. Since SLC, I haven’t really done much in the world of Instagram or Snapchat. I’m hoping with all these adventures coming up, I’ll get back on track and refocus on the things (you know, snaps with my Bitmoji’s) that are really important.

If these next three months go anywhere near what I think they will, there’s going to be a lot of exciting things coming out of the various “Ryn8985” accounts!

I’d also be excited to hear what everyone else has planned for the back-half of 2016!

 

Most of what we learn, we learn indirectly

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The title of this post is a quote from Randy Pausch’s final lecture titled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams at Carnegie Mellon University. In August 2007, he was given 3-6 months to live (pancreatic cancer) and he gave his final lecture in September 2007.

After the lecture, he received such a positive response that he uploaded the 140 page slide and allowed anyone to use it (so long as they don’t stand to profit monetarily from it) however they want. I also think there is a video of the 76 minute lecture online, but I haven’t listened to it (yet).

Randy died in January 2008.

I’m not going to get too deep into what I took away from looking through the slides, but there were a few things that choked me up and a few things I found to be really insightful (yadda yadda yadda, blogworthy).

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The first thing that really spoke to me was the line”most of what we learn, we learn indirectly.” I think today, people try to absorb as much information as they can by watching videos, reading blogs, and pouring over discussion boards on a certain topic.

Last year, I wrote a weekly column for a fantasy football site. The way I got my information wasn’t organic; I mostly tried to force information into my column (square peg, round hole style). I know it wasn’t as good as a lot of the other writers who would watch the games, discuss football with their peers, and have a solid understanding of what might be in store for a particular player the next week.

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The “head fake” is Pausch’s analogy to learning indirectly. In football, the head fake is a way to beat your opponent, but the only way to truly master this move isn’t by studying it, but rather by having played so much football that the move becomes natural.

So when chasing your dreams, the best way to go about it isn’t by reading a thousand books on how to become an entrepreneur, but by putting yourself out in the world and doing it (ie- trial and error ie- thrown into the fire).

If you want to do something, go do it. Fail at it. Get laughed at. Make a mistake, it’s OK. The point is, you have to take a chance. No one that’s ever chased their dream ever regretted fumbling over something along the way. They might regret a choice they made somewhere between there and here, but I bet you 100% of those people are glad they gave themselves the opportunity to make that choice instead of playing it safe and letting someone else take whatever it is they want.

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Another slide that spoke to me had a few bullets, but the first two really stood out. “Be good at something: it makes you valuable” and “Work hard… ‘what’s your secret?'”

“Valuable” is a term that is rarely applied to a person, unless in the sense of one’s place in a company (which I guess applies, but I digress). I really like the idea of being valuable, not to a business, but to your friends, to society, and to your place in terms of reaching your goals. There is an expression that says (paraphrasing), “figure out what you want to do and go do it.” That might be an Avett Brothers lyric….not sure. I would take this a step further and say, “Figure out what you want to do and go do it…and be good at it.” (I’ll streamline that before I make T-shirts, I promise).

The second bullet, “Work hard… ‘what’s your secret?’,” to me speaks to perseverance. (Grammar people, was that secret?’,” the right way to do that. I can’t imagine it is, but to me, it logically makes sense…)

Get back on topic.

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So finding your secret is kind of that magic thing that keeps you going. I think it means working hard…at the right thing.

For example: I have been writing for Sports Monte (other blog) for about a year and a half with the intention of becoming a big time fantasy sports writer and influences. I worked hard writing and researching every week, but I spent very little time learning what things make the great writers in that industry stand out. I was headstrong and believed that as long as I work hard, good things would follow.

While this works in some cases, it doesn’t work in most cases. You need direction when you work hard and a support system of people who aren’t afraid to critique what it is you’re doing. Working hard without direction is like digging a hole without having the foresight to know you need a rope in the hole with you to climb out.

Pausch died and left an unbelievable legacy. I would encourage anyone who is feeling in a rut to at least look up his slides (easy enough to find online). Maybe I’ll follow up with this once I listen to the lecture, and hopefully I’m not too far off base with how I interpreted his presentation. The long and short of it all, boys and girls, is that if you are going to catch a dream, whether you’re six or sixty, start making the right moves that will get you on the right path to achieving that dream.

 

 

How to overcome lacking creativity

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Yesterday, I was supposed to write a little doo-dad about Sweat Local Columbus, my wife and I’s (<– grammatically correct BTW) fitness journey, and a little more about ourselves for the blog, Columbus Families. The day before, my wife asked me to write it because, well, writing is kind of my thing. This was supposed to be a short piece (not exactly my forte, but not something I should struggled with) and something that would hit home with some of the readers.

So I wrote the piece.

I wrote the piece and it read like a high school essay.

“My name is Ryan Rauch and today I would like to tell you about why I think health is important. Health is important because it gives me the energy I need to accomplish my goals. I also like nutrition. Nutrition, according to wikopedia.com, is the….”

That wasn’t really what I wrote, but it may as well have been. I talked to Kelly on the way home and she told me it was boring and that she’d have to edit it and rewrite it.

It felt like she was spotting me at the gym.

“Here, babe, let me help you pick up that big heavy weight. You just got get a towel and a big drink of water…”

I couldn’t argue with her; I knew it was bad and I know I could do better.

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So I started working through my head as to why I couldn’t come up with anything better than some generic B-copy version of something that, of all things, I really do like and care about. I think it all starts with lacking creativity.

I think most writers probably deal with this on a regular basis. I think that overcoming a lack of creativity has to start with self critiquing oneself (call it soul searching if you want, but don’t allow yourself to excuse anything). It’s basically problem solving, right? The big difference is that I’m not really looking for a solution. Creativity isn’t like math, it’s like science: the solution can always be improved upon and can always be made better.

If I’m honest with myself as a writer, my strength isn’t writing straight forward content. I think the things I like most and I believe that people enjoy about my writing is my ability to write like I think, and to allow my personality to come through in my work. When I try to do something that doesn’t sound like me, it won’t read well to anyone that sees it.

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So here’s my plan.

Step one: write this blog. (Check)

Step two: rewrite the piece for Columbus Families, even if it’s already published (who cares if it doesn’t get published, I am going to write it the way I should have written it the first time)

Step three: celebrate because it’s Friday and I am pouring beer for my favorite brewery at Powell Fest tonight. (because if all else fails, I’ll find a little creativity at the bottom of a double IPA or two)