KCMO Street Grid Shirts, Round 2

The time has come!

Five (5!) years have passed since the first run of KCMO street grid t-shirts and, after several requests, it’s time to do another run.

This time I’m working with the folks over at Normal Human and handling it a little differently. There are more options to choose from! More details on the form link below, but basically you’ll have a choice of a unisex tri-blend tee, a unisex v-neck tee or a women’s v-neck tee and in a wide range of colors. Two options for ink color this time – blue or light grey – on your choice of tee style and color.

$16/shirt for all styles and colors to cover cost of shirt, setup fees, etc.

The color options are listed in the form, but here’s a mockup of each style of shirt available:


Here’s the link to order:

(orders closed)

I’ll send paypal invoices in waves, so please pay those promptly – I have to put down money at the beginning to get the order going, so anyone who hasn’t paid their invoice won’t be included in the order. (edited to add: venmo or the cash app are also options – just indicate a preference on the order form.)

Let me know if you have questions! And, if this isn’t your part of town, send me an email and I can tell you how I made these so you can make your own!

“I haven’t seen you in so long!”

I just completed my 8th semester of graduate school. I’ve been taking classes every semester possible since Fall 2012, when I started working on my MPA at KU. I’ll be done next spring, which means I’ll have spent a little over 3.5 years working on this degree when all is said and done. The people I’ve met, the concepts and ideas I’ve learned and explored, the networks I’ve built – they’ve all been great. It’s been an amazing experience so far.

It has also been incredibly isolating.

At this point, nearly every time I see friends that I used to see with regularity before I started school, I’m greeted with, “Hey! I haven’t seen you in so long, what have you been up to?” Unless you’re someone I go to the gym with, work with or have class with, I probably haven’t seen you out in a while. If we have seen each other, it’s been by chance. I imagine this is similar to when people have children – except instead of looking into the face of a sweet baby, I’m staring at my glowing laptop screen deciding whether to quote this study or that article.

Let me be clear, I am in no way complaining. But this is a consequence of going to school while working a full-time job that I didn’t really anticipate, or at least think through all that much. When you’re in undergrad, or even full-time graduate school, everyone around you is in the same boat. You all have homework to do, you all know exactly when finals are or when spring break falls. You’re sharing the experience, even if you aren’t in the same courses or research area. In a career-option program, everyone leaves class and heads home to be with their families or get ready for whatever work has lined up for the next day. They’ve all just come from a long day at work, and planning around other responsibilities for things like group projects can get downright impossible. In addition to the time involved, school can put a bit of a strain on finances so even when time allows, budget may not. It can be difficult to explain that without sounding negative, but it’s just a reality of the situation.

Then comes the external impacts. I haven’t even started the latest season of House of Cards, I’ve downgraded from long course to short course triathlons because of reduced time available for training and my dog looks at me with big “I haven’t been to the dog park in an entire week” eyes on a regular basis. Believe me, I know I’ve disappointed my friends over the past few years but there’s nothing worse than looking down and seeing big brown puppy dog eyes wanting to play when you’re on page 10 of 25 of your final paper for the semester. I think she’s probably as ready for me to be done as I am.

This would all hold true with just about any priority or venture someone takes on, whether it is training for a competition, working on a degree, starting a business or just about anything that takes a lot of time and focus. I’ve been pretty lucky to have most of my friends tacitly agree to stick this out with me by continuing to invite me to things when I have to say no most of the time or work around my crazy schedule just to meet up for a beer. Without these opportunities to just relax with friends who don’t have any idea what assignment is due next week, I doubt I would have made it even this far with any level of sanity. The amount I have left is debatable, but can be largely attributed to these efforts.

Ultimately, I guess this is really a thank you and a plea for one more year of patience. I can’t do it without you, and I promise – it’ll be one hell of a graduation party. 😉

The State Line Hoodie

Update 2: Form is reopened here until 6/1: [form closed!]

Update: we’ve reached the minimum order! Closing down the order form Sunday night, 4/13. If you’ve already ordered, expect an invoice early next week.

It’s been a year since the KC Street Grid shirt made its debut and there was always a second project I wanted to do – the state line hoodie. Finally, I’m getting off my butt and doing it!




This is a mockup – it’ll be on a very lightweight American Apparel hoodie and only offered in black. Please note: this is basically a long-sleeved t-shirt weight – this is not a fleece-lined sweatshirt. More of an overshirt, if you will.

The lines are county and highway. Notably, the only line that doesn’t actually exist on the design (until it jogs along the Missouri River) is the state line. That’s on the zipper – symbolic of the line that so well divides us but is physically invisible.

Pricing on this one will be around $25 and I need a minimum order to make it happen, so let me know if you’re interested by filling out this handy dandy form: (form closed)

walking a mile in someone else’s paradigm

People always seem to be going up and down aisles and streets looking for closer parking – except when they’re at sporting events. Somehow, the sea of parking is comforting – you’ll walk in a lot for an undetermined distance and it seems okay because you’re headed toward the stadium. Get to a downtown area or a shopping mall, though, and if you’re more than 10 spots back you’re sure there’s another spot somewhere closer.

I used RunKeeper to determine how far I walked from the car to the gate at two separate games at Sporting Park in the past week, both times parking in season ticket holder parking. The first game, we were 0.51 miles from the gate. The second, 0.83 miles. I took a (sort of) average of 0.70 miles and said, as the crow flies, how far away could I park from other venues in Kansas City and still have walked the same distance?

Here we have it – 0.70 mile radius circles over Sporting Park (Kansas City, KS), the Sprint Center (Kansas City, MO), the Truman Sports Complex (Kansas City, MO) and Oak Park Mall (Overland Park, KS).

Context is everything.

Loop_tracts1Sporting Park

Loop_tracts2Sprint Center

Loop_tracts3Truman Sports Complex

Loop_tracts4 Oak Park Mall

run that one by me again.

I was recently visiting home and was chatting with a friend about what I’ve been up to. She told me of her friend that had just competed in a local CrossFit competition, and how a few of her other friends went to cheer her on. She also told me about a joke another friend made about the fact that CrossFit competitions are basically just watching people work out.

Ha. Good one.

Having spent time as a meteorologist, I am accustomed to hearing the same one-liners over and over again, with every person thinking they’re telling me that joke for the first time. Yes, forecasting is the best job in the world because you can be wrong half the time and still keep your job. Yes, we can control the weather. And yes, absolutely, preempting your favorite TV show is the reason we all go into the business. (And no, none of those responses are true.)

I’m not a CrossFit apologist. There are some real jerks that participate in it. I make that admission up front. I haven’t been doing CrossFit that long, but it’s fascinating how polarizing it is. It’s different, it’s controversial, it’s lots of things.

…but seriously.

CrossFit is just working out. So is running, and people show up to support others at 5Ks. So are bike races, but people come out in droves to ring cowbells. So are triathlons, but people come out to cheer for those silly enough to want to do three things in a row.

I can’t believe they televise the CrossFit Games. You know what else is televised? Bowling. Golf. Curling. Fly fishing. Besides – it’s not football season, it’s still early in baseball and soccer season, it’s not hockey season, college sports haven’t started yet – is there something in particular you’re missing out on because of it? Do you also whine about every home remodeling show on HGTV? Change the channel. I’m sure a “real” sport is on ESPN 8.

It’s prone to injury. I know more people who have injured themselves running than doing CrossFit. Anecdotal? Sure, but just making the point that when done wrong, almost anything is “prone to injury.” I danced competitively for years growing up, and one of the routines involved chairs. A girl fell off of it during one of the moves and broke her arm. Does that make dancing dangerous?

CrossFitters can’t do anything besides CrossFit. Show me a marathoner that can just pick up and do an IronMan. Show me a cyclist who can win every tennis match. Show me a golfer who can swim a :30 50m. Just because it doesn’t translate directly into some other sport doesn’t mean it’s worthless.

The people who do it just won’t shut up about it. Yeah, and I can’t remember the last time someone posted about how far they ran that day. Or their new max bench press weight. Or how far they rode their bike. You’re right, posting to social media is totally unique to CrossFitters.

I just don’t understand the animosity. Is it a giant retail machine? Not any moreso than any other popular athletic activity. Are people who do it elitist? Depends on the person, just like every other aspect of life. Do people go a little overboard and become obsessive over it? Absolutely – and have you heard people talk about fantasy football lately?

I obviously don’t speak for the CrossFit community at large, or even for my own gym, but joining a CrossFit gym has introduced me to some really amazing people in my city. I’ve dropped in at other CrossFit gyms in Virginia and Michigan and it’s been incredibly welcoming and a nice way to get a workout in while on the road. I don’t see it any differently than joining a running club or a knitting group or a cycling team. I don’t even talk about it that often, but just like when people would find out I was a meteorologist, it turns into open season on jokes and making fun.

How about instead we all direct our energy toward doing what we enjoy and to each their own?

And fair warning – the CrossFit Games are coming up, so you may want to block that channel on your TV for the next couple weeks.

“I can get by with a little help from my friends”

I mentioned back in December that I was training for a triathlon. I didn’t really know what that meant yet. Now that it’s just over a week away, I’m pretty sure I know what the “training” part means – and goodness, I really had no idea what I was in for.

I’ve always been a solo runner. I don’t like running with other people, mainly because I’m slow and I hate slowing anyone else down. I also relish the opportunity to be alone with my thoughts and totally in tune with whatever my body is telling me to do (or not do). I don’t mind riding my bike alone, although that is generally more fun with a partner or two. Team sports are different – it’s really hard to play soccer 1 v 5.

Point is, when I started doing this training, I started like I always start training for stuff – by myself. I signed up by myself, I laid out a path by myself, and then realized I was failing by myself. If you’re reading this, you probably know me. If you know me, you probably know I can be a bit…um…stubborn. I like to think of it as independent, but it can be to a fault. This post isn’t really about training for a triathlon, per se. It’s about what happened along the way.

I had help in the beginning from a good friend well-versed in triathlons to set up a training plan that would actually get me to race day in one piece. That was great, but said friend lives more than 1500 miles away and wasn’t going to be there to give me pep talks when I hated all the things. Not that I didn’t call her on a semi-regular basis and tell her far more than she ever wanted to know about whatever trial or triumph I’d had that day. Sorry about that. 🙂

Training went fine, for the most part. I had good days and bad, just like any other training for a race. But in early April, with about six weeks to go, mental breakdown mode started to set in. I wasn’t where I wanted to be – but where did I want to be? I’d never really set a goal other than to finish, so presumably I was right where I wanted to be, it just didn’t feel right. I got cranky. I cried. I made lots of phone calls and sent lots of text messages to the friends I knew might be sympathetic to my plight, but I’d already made the biggest mistake – I didn’t let anyone in before that point.

I don’t generally let people in easily. Just like running, I tend to do a lot of stuff on my own. It’s great to have company, but I’m still going to do the things I need or want to do whether someone is going to go with me or not. Having not been in a relationship in a while, I’ve gotten so used to just doing things on my own that it never occurred to me that I might need someone around for when things like this set in. I don’t need anyone’s help, so why would I ask for it? I got this. I’m good.

By the time everything seemed to be heading south, I hadn’t really told anyone the direction I was headed, so it took most of them by surprise. But there I was, with work being busy, my graduate class wrapping up (and therefore having lots of end-of-semester work to get done), a band concert nearing – everything was coming to a head at the same time, and I didn’t feel like I was doing any of it as well as I could. I didn’t have time to train the way I wanted to, and it became a source of frustration. I started feeling like nothing I did was going to matter and I wasn’t going to be ready, even though I actually still had a lot of time. One night I actually woke up from a nightmare that I took so long to finish I was the only one left on the course, but when I got to the finish line, there were my friends, cheering for me like they hadn’t waited seven hours for me to finish. (Yeah – that’s right. Seven. It really was a nightmare.)

So, I sucked it up and let a few people in on how I was feeling. Mainly it was the same people that had helped me at the very beginning with training in some way so I didn’t have to start from scratch, but man did it feel like I was piling on them. This was my decision to do this race, why on earth would I burden someone else with my stress about it? It’s not like a million people haven’t already trained for triathlons and lived to tell the story. But I had to or I was going to keep feeling awful. I finally understood why people join training groups – it’s not all about the physical training, it’s about a support system of people who know what you’re talking about when you say you had a bad day. You learn from them, they learn from you. 

After I finally admitted to myself (and others) that I needed some pep talks if I was going to make it through race day, things have felt better. I feel strong, and my fantastic friends have been crucial in certain pieces of the puzzle coming together (who knew finding somewhere for an open water swim was going to be so difficult before Memorial Day?). I can’t thank them enough for the mental and physical strength they’ve helped me find over the past few weeks. I knew training for a triathlon wasn’t going to be easy physically – I never anticipated the emotions that would come along with it.

I have some truly great people in my life, some I’ve known for years and others I’ve met in the past six months. It’s been been an incredible journey of self-discovery, discipline, and the art of just letting things go. Pretty dramatic for someone who is just training for a silly triathlon, eh? I know. But I’ve come out of this (the next eight days notwithstanding) with a deeper appreciation for friendship, companionship, and the importance of actually letting people in. I don’t need to do everything by myself. It’s okay to need help sometimes – and who doesn’t like to feel needed by the people they love and respect every so often?

So, I want to say thank you. To everyone who provided an encouraging word, sent a text, or even just liked a photo or status somewhere. To everyone who swam or ran or biked with me, who encouraged me to keep going without fully understanding how important it was at the time, who asked for updates on how things were going along the way. No one gets there completely by them self, no matter how hard they want to – present company begrudgingly included.

KC Street Grid Shirts

3/29 update: Miss out on the original order? Get yours here! http://lacucarachapress.bigcartel.com/product/kansas-city-street-grid-t-shirt

3/9 update: Form is closed for orders – pay your invoices!

3/8 update: Today is the last day to order! The form will stop taking replies around midnight tonight. Please pay the PayPal invoice when you receive it – this order is huge and requires a deposit, don’t leave me hanging! 🙂

I’ve tried to post info a few places on this, but I needed to be able to put it all in one place, so here it is!

I wanted to buy a tshirt with the Kansas City street grid on it. I searched for one and couldn’t find one, so I decided I was going to make one myself. I told a few people and they seemed interested in one as well, so I decided why not make a whole bunch and let people order them too? And here we are.

Two options: blue with white ink or grey with black ink – like so:



These will be on high-quality 100% ringspun cotton tees (Alternative Apparel), and the price will be $15/tee. I will leave the pre-order form open until Friday, March 8th, so if you know someone you think might be interested, send it to them quickly! If you’ve already ordered before both color options were available, never fear – I’ll be in touch soon regarding which option you’d prefer.

Here’s a link to the form: [order period closed]

Order away!

Edited to add: The lovely gents over at La Cucaracha Press are making these for me, and have so far been fantastic to work with!