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45

when i was 39 i came up with an idea for a tattoo to get on my 40th birthday. i had spent some time in north carolina, staying with my friend jamie in durham, and had visited my hero charles kuralt’s grave. that’s what got it started. my thirties had been rough (i almost didn’t make it out of them), and i wanted to set an intention of exploration in my forties. i’ve never had a deep desire to travel internationally – i’d rather go to detroit or kansas city than paris or tokyo. i’ve also always admired those outline maps on the sides of RVs. so i decided i’d get a tattoo of an outline map of the US, and i’d fill in the states I visited in my forties.

i really like regional food and chatting with locals, so my rule is that i count a state if i eat there and not in a restaurant (or on a train).

today i turned 45, and my life has been changed by this tattoo. i’m excited about the next 5 years. here’s a memory from each of the states i’ve filled in:

oregon – nerding out on state capitals with denise, zari & molly

washington – robyn got to choose the color (green) because it was my first post-tattoo state

california – does wine count as food?

maine – banana cream pie ice cream

maryland – debating zari & justin’s first date

massachusetts – sitting on the carter family’s porch

north carolina – is there bacon in beer now?

georgia – henry hates waffle house

south carolina – over the georgia border for a grilled pimento cheese sandwich

florida – key lime pie in the keys

oklahoma – my grandpa and his wife in their pajamas at 4pm

utah – reunited with the hansens

idaho – mini road trip with zari & justin

wyoming – elk antlers in jackson

nevada – oatmeal in a casino

arizona – scattering my grandma’s ashes with my cousin’s family

illinois – the miniature rooms at the art institute of chicago

montana – billy goats in glacier national park

tennessee – the memphis dichotomy of graceland and the lorraine motel

arkansas – little rock central high school

texas – a jam shop with jordan

louisiana – an afternoon on the st. charles streetcar

alabama – the harper lee museum

mississippi – my uncle letting me borrow his little convertible and then following me around in corinth to give me driving directions

new york – jim peterson!

pennsylvania – meeting my friend donna and her family in person for the first time

delaware – a lovely afternoon in dover

new jersey – just stopping to eat

virginia – mosquito attack on chincoteague island

kansas – the toilet in lucas

missouri – ted drewes ice cream

nebraska – camden benches in downtown lincoln

iowa – the university of iowa

alaska – humpback whales

hawaii – getting the perfect christmas card shot of my parents

 

colorado, connecticut, indiana, kentucky, michigan, minnesota, new hampshire, new mexico, north dakota, ohio, rhode island, south dakota, vermont, west virginia, wisconsin – i’m coming for you.

 

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putting the K in 5K

this winter, inspired by my friend marcy, i set a goal of walking in an official 5K. i walked pretty much every day, rain or shine. sometimes with friends, often on my own. there’s now a bit of a “where’s kriste?” game being played where i live. i’m spotted on a regular basis as i explore parts of town that i’ve never walked in before. now to find myself a red and white striped shirt (a new accessory!). when i started to take the walking distances thing seriously, a mile was difficult. after over a month i worked my way up to 3 miles at a time. after about another month i was ready to try a 5k.

there was a 5k in portland, oregon, that was a fundraiser for the american heart association. also raising awareness about strokes. sounded like the perfect first one. so i signed up. my mom and my friends emily and bucko (AKA t.a.) would walk with me. there were lots of people walking, and dealing with the crowd (people, strollers, dogs, kids…) was really the only challenging part. i had prepared myself well with my daily walks. i was glad to have loved ones walking with me. we called ourselves the walkstars.

the original walkstars

i decided that i’d try to walk an official 5K every month. today i walked in one that was put on by girls on the run. it was a lovely day, and a lovely course around the oregon state university campus. my aunt and cousin are both in town visiting from out of state, and they walked with me. my cousin’s skateboarding injury meant that his pace was a great match for mine.

me, cousin mark and aunt claire - the june walkstars

now i’ll take a moment to remind myself of where i was less than 2 years ago.

back when it was a big deal for me to be out of the hospital bed and sitting on a couch with my cousin mark.

emily and i are going back to her hometown in july and do a 5K walk there. her mom and sister are planning to join us.

as i look back at my recovery, i can see that my decision  to start walking was a transitional moment. and i remember when i started to be able to walk and talk with someone (many thanks to the folks who have walked with me). and walk and look around me. and i so clearly remember the moment when i realized that walking had become something pleasurable, and was no longer something that i was scared of.

so the walkstars are taking this show on the road. keep an eye out for me, and let me know when you want to go for a stroll with me.