2023 Biking

I biked 1,037 miles this year on three bikes:

  • Road bike: 558 miles
  • Mountain bike: 358 miles
  • Fat bike: 121 miles

I don’t have much other info for a frame of reference, except I know I did 239 miles on the mountain bike in 2022 (and didn’t start until July, when I got the bike).

For the mountain bike, I tracked individual rides:

  • 2023: 358 miles, 45 separate times at 17 different places across 4 states
  • 2022: 239 miles, 37 separate times at 19 different places across 8 states.
Continue reading 2023 Biking

2023 in Music: Spotify Unwrapped

This year I listened to 62,011 minutes of music (more than 97% of users), accounting for 7,645 songs, 3,550 different artists, and 118 different genres. My most played genres of 2023 were alt-z (huh?), pop, indie pop, modern rock, and rock.

Here’s 2021 and 2022 data to compare.

My Top 5 Songs of 2023

Kind of a girl-powered punk/pop vibe in my top songs. More of that in my 100 top songs of 2023 playlist, though it does start to diversify a bit.

  1. “Say It to My Face” by Meet Me @ the Altar (played 44 times)
  2. “I Don’t Even Like U” by Royal & the Serpent
  3. “Sweet Sensation” by Luna Aura
  4. “Feel More Okay” by Caity Baser
  5. “Unavoidable” by Melina KB
Continue reading 2023 in Music: Spotify Unwrapped

Colorful Days

Life has been full lately. In the midst of busy, it’s hard to appreciate the moments. It often feels like near misses when the stars don’t align like the perfect photo.

  • Fall colors came into full bloom and then it snowed.
  • The world bursts into flame and people torch one another for not seeing it the same way.
  • The colors are magnificent, but the day is overcast and gloomy.
  • The “You Are Loved” yard sign in this photo was stolen the night the photo was taken by kids running down the street.

But there is color and art and nature. Even when it’s dreary. Especially when it’s hard.

Circular, rainbow-colored mosaic, fall leaves, and a "You Are Loved" yard sign.

Parktober 2023

Back in late September and early October I tried to hit up some state parks for another Parktober adventure. Hitting five state parks on this trip means I have only 13 of 66 Minnesota State Parks left to visit.

Cuyuna & Banning

I blew off work on a Friday in hopes of getting to Cuyuna Country Recreation Area for some incredible mountain biking. Unfortunately, the rain didn’t cooperate. Still a gorgeous place though.

With the weather, I gave up on biking and drove across the state to Banning State Park. Gorgeous leaves on the way, and Banning never disappoints:

Fergus Falls & State Parks

For my actual Parktober trip, I stayed at an Airbnb in downtown Fergus Falls and hit five state parks. Unfortunately, the fall weather didn’t cooperate with highs hitting 90. The leaves were pretty great, but that heat was gross.

Monson Lake State Park

Not much to see in Monson Lake.

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glacial Lakes had some unexpected topography, with lots of hills making for great views.

Maplewood State Park

Maybe the best park of the trip was Maplewood with just about perfect leaves and lots to do.

Glendalough State Park

Glendalough had some nice views, though it had an odd feel as a former retreat center (dog cemetery?). Seemed like a park that would work best doing some biking to the nearby town and back. I also hit the nearby Nyberg Park with weird metal sculptures by Ken Nyberg.

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Carlos had pretty incredible leaves too. The best was perhaps the picnic ground blanketed with fall leaves for that satisfying crunch crunch crunch as you walk through the fallen leaves.

Fergus Falls

Some great art in the town of Fergus Falls and a burgeoning downtown with lots of funky places to eat. Unfortunately, they were all closed on Sunday, so not the best timing. Another great sight in Fergus Falls is the Broken Down Dam, something I saw back in 2021 and kind of forgot was in Fergus Falls.

Mountain Biking

And of course, I brought the mountain bike. I hit Kensington Runestone Park, which had a pretty good trail, but 90 degrees in the middle of the day is not fun. I did bike around Fergus Falls a bit and gave up any biking plans for day two.

Oberlin Visit: To Ohio!

Back in August, Lexi and I took a trip to Oberlin, Ohio for a college visit. It’s a long drive to Ohio, so we spent an extra day seeing what there was to see.

Touring Oberlin was interesting, though it’s not one of Lexi’s top choices. The sight seeing was more notable. On the way home, we took a detour through Milwaukee for Washington County Pride to see some family (ignored some religious bigot protestors and grabbed some gorgeous artwork by Rae Senarighi—check out their store).

Continue reading Oberlin Visit: To Ohio!

2023 Colorado Vacation

I’m a bit behind in detailing our vacation exploits. Back in June we took a family vacation to Colorado, with a stop in Kansas to see family. With both kids teenagers with jobs, we had to scale things back this year and keep it simple.

We stayed at an Airbnb between Denver and Boulder and spent several days checking out the sights. We did some shopping (The Shop at Matter bookstore was a favorite), saw something like 50 deer at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal wildlife drive, and Lexi made some great restaurant choices.

Continue reading 2023 Colorado Vacation

Quitting a Book is OK

I repeat this mantra often, and it’s especially true when I’ve been in a reading slump. I just saw it summarized nicely by Angela Whited, the community sales coordinator and storyteller at Red Balloon Bookshop:

Whited also revealed another secret about reading more books: If a book is boring, she’ll quit.

I’ve always struggled with that idea. Quitting a book feels like defeat. I started it. Why not finish it?

But those books are a grind and the process feels arduous and less enjoyable.

Whited said that’s OK.

“You can quit in the middle if you don’t like it,” she said. “You only will live so long. You would never read all the books you want to read. And so this is how we read so many books at the bookstore. We don’t finish the ones we’re not loving. You’ve got your to-be-read pile. Are you ever going to get through it? I’m not going to get through mine. It’s OK if you don’t love it. That book is for somebody else.”

-Myron Medcalf, “My quest to read more books led me to ‘reading therapist’ in St. Paul,” Sept. 9, 2023, Star Tribune

Period Products Overflowing on My Porch

My porch is piled with pads, tampons, and other period products. Nearly every day another box comes in the mail or another bag of supplies is left at the door.

Why: It’s all part of the Women of West St. Paul Pad Drive my wife is helping to organize.

  • They’re going big for the fifth anniversary of their pad drive, working to raise $10,000 in products and donations. They’re nearly there.
  • Why Period Products? Because the need is great. Period poverty impacts 14 million people and results in missed school and work, depression, and all sorts of other dumb impacts for something as simple as not having products to deal with a problem that shows up every month for someone’s entire life.
  • More: I wrote about it extensively for West St. Paul Reader.

How to Donate

Here’s how you can help this important effort:

  • Send money: Venmo (@Abby-Hendricks-14) or Paypal (abbyhendricks@gmail.com).
  • Buy product: Amazon List
  • Drop off in person: At the Art Park Pad Drive on Thursday, August 10.

All donations will go to Neighbors, Inc., the local food shelf serving northern Dakota County.

"This is not a fringe issue. It's a natural, human bodily process and should not be cloaked in shame." -Katie Dohman

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.