Oregon Adventures Pt. 3: Hikes, Hikes, and More Hikes!

It’s been six months since my trip to Oregon, and during that time I’ve been consistently inconsistent with writingBut here it is, as promised, the final part of this trilogy:

“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”
Steven Wright

On Wednesday evening we had dinner at a diner in Government Camp that wasn’t anything to write home about, so I won’t. We headed back to the lodge and went to bed, letting our aches and pains and awkwardly placed sunburns ruminate for the night, with the goal of leaving for the seven mile hike of Ramona Falls at 10 the next morning.

We all managed to wake up the next morning despite the aches and pains. Luckily, there were plenty of painkillers and aloe to go around. We headed out to find the trailhead and promptly got lost. This unexpected detour was nice enough to give us a gorgeous view of the mountain (despite some poorly placed power lines – it’s 2014, who needs electricity?).

Sometimes getting lost is worth it.

Sometimes getting lost is worth it.

Continue reading

Oregon Adventures Pt. 2: Jon’s Very First Mountain Climb!

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
 – Ed Viesturs

As we drove up towards Timberline Lodge, things did not look promising. The fog was thick and visibility was terrible. But as my dad had optimistically predicted, we broke through out of the cloud just before we reached the lodge. We could see the lodge and we could see the mountain. Even from the parking lot it still didn’t look that big, like it was off in the distance. We pulled into overnight parking and started to get ready.

It was dark and cold and beautiful out, and we quickly discovered that none of our cameras were very good for nighttime. The sky was almost completely clear above the lower clouds wrapped around the mountain, with just a wisp of cirrus passing by from time to time high above. There were a tremendous amount of stars out, the Big Dipper was up above us just to the west and it was big. We got all of our gear on and walked to the base of the trail.

We started off like Sand People, walking in single file. There was one path of fresh footprints ahead of us, so at least one other person or party was attempting the climb that night. We followed in their footsteps, trudging along at a constant upward angle. The night quickly reminded us that clear skies don’t always mean perfect weather. There were frequent wind gusts of 15-25 mph, adding to their bite with with tiny pieces of ice that had a knack for finding any opening to your skin.

Those sitting pads are like the best thing for your butt ever.

Those sitting pads are like the best thing for your butt ever.

We walked and walked and walked and occasionally took a break and I wanted to give up about 20 times in the first few hours. Far up ahead we could see headlamps bobbing up and down on the mountain; it was nice to know that those that went ahead of us were still there. As we continued walking up we went through one of the ski areas with a bunch of jumps. It felt like walking through some sort of weird archaeological graveyard of a civilization obsessed with triangles and half circles. It was pretty cool. There were also a lot of snowcats out to the west of us plowing around and preparing the ski area for the next day.

As we got higher up the snow was like macaroni and cheese, crunchy on the top and soft underneath. Unfortunately under the foot to foot and a half of powder underneath the frozen surface there was more ice, which is no fun to walk on. Luckily, those terrifying looking metal spikes on our boots in the picture above, called crampons, are fantastic at giving you the needed traction and keeping you on two feet.

What our faces looked like most of the breaks we took.

What our faces looked like most of the breaks we took.

The first large portion of the climb isn’t very technical, it’s just a lot of walking up. My thighs and hamstrings were killing me, and any breaks we took weren’t as restful as they could have been with the unceasing wind gusts always picking the most opportune times to lather your face in tiny ice chips. And so we climbed on and on and the sky started to lighten and my muscles started to numb. And while it sounds boring in words when I make it sound boring, it was absolutely beautiful the entire time.

We'd come a long way and there was still a ways to go.

We’d come a long way and there was still a ways to go.

We climbed on and it got steeper and scarier. We started to smell sulfur from the steam vents and then started to see them and crevasses to our sides. Anytime we were walking higher than them I had to constantly keep myself from thinking about all of the fun ways that I could trip or slip and fall into them.

We started to run into people on their way back down, some who had gone to the summit, but more who had turned back. They told us that the snow conditions continued to worsen up ahead and that the way we had planned on going up, through the Old Chute, was too dangerous because of avalanche conditions. My dad was excited,

A steam vent in the day light.  Now just imagine the smell of rotten eggs as you'll have the whole picture.

A steam vent in the day light. Now just imagine the smell of rotten eggs as you’ll have the whole picture.

because the other way to go up was through the Pearly Gates chute, a more technical climb, but the way he had preferred to go when he did the climb when he was younger.

It's not a race, but I'm in second place!

It’s not a race, but I’m in second place!

We approached the more technical parts of the climb, so we stopped to rope up and change our walking sticks for the ice axe. I was on a rope behind my brother and my dad roped up with my two sisters. We got to the base of the Hogsback, a long spine of snow, with slopes down to crevasses and steam vents on both sides, that goes up to the Bergschrund, a small place you can rest before choosing between the Pearly Gates or Old Chute paths, one of the more memorable areas of the climb.

We started to climb up the Hogsback, single file again, and from the top came down three skiers, who I can only assume were insane, as this section of the mountain is way steeper than anything I would ever even consider skiing down. This relatively short section took us quite a while, as it was steep, there wasn’t much room for error on either side, and the snow was starting to be less cooperative at completely supporting our feet without making us slip and slide around.

But we finally made it to the Bergschrund, and there was a nice little area to rest in that was fairly sheltered. It wasn’t until I turned around and looked over the lip of where we were that it really hit me how high we were and how steep the way down would be. My dad was already saying that he didn’t think he was up to the summit, with my oldest sister agreeing. My legs were killing me, I wasn’t in the right place mentally as I started to let my fear of heights get the best of me, and I threw in the towel, too. Dave and Jules decided to continue on to the summit.

Where we made camp as Dave and Jules made the summit.

Where we made camp as Dave and Jules made the summit.

The wind and ice was still going up my nose...

The wind and ice were still going up my nose…

Laura and I camped out while the wind continued to whip through every once in a while. I’d occasionally take a peak of the lip of our resting place, and be reminded why I was sitting there. My dad made some friends with a few other climbers who came up, a couple continuing to the summit, and some others deciding that this was high enough, too. My brother and sister made it to the top and back again, with some scary stories of solid ice walls that they had to climb over, which helped me mentally justify stopping.

Climbing back down the Hogsback.

Climbing back down the Hogsback.

We took our time going down the Hogsback and the steeper area after it. I spent a lot of time trying to look at my feet and just go one step at a time, but did manage to glance up and enjoy the beauty without my head exploding in terror a few times. Going down was different in a lot of ways, it was starting to get warmer, the wind died down, and walking downhill is a lot easier than going up (at least with the non-steep parts).

Where we were coming from.

Where we were coming from.

So we all made it back down, and despite thinking that I had lathered myself in sunscreen, it turns out that the sun reflects really strongly on the snow. I got sunburned in all sorts of fun places like the inside of my nose and ear, and the few other spots on my body that I thought I had put on sunblock, but missed. As we were climbing down my dad made sure to say, “Don’t worry about leaving me behind, go at the pace you need to” a couple of times. He then promptly walked off without us and finished about 20 minutes before the rest of us.

Back at the base of the trail.

Back at the base of the trail.

We did it! Well, some of us did, the rest of us... We made it pretty close!

We did it! Well, some of us did, the rest of us… We made it pretty close!

All in all, I went about 6.5 miles total distance in about 12.5 hours. Those of us who didn’t summit made a total elevation gain of about 4,950 feet, from 5,890 feet above sea level to 10,844 feet. The elevation of the mountain is about 11,250 feet. Over the past month I’ve been going back in my head about how I could have just pushed through my fear and aches and pains and gone the last 400 feet. But I didn’t, I still did a really difficult thing, and I’m pretty proud of myself. Maybe I’ll just have to go do it again and get to the top next time, hopefully in better climbing conditions.

As we got ourselves situated and got in the van and started to head back to the chalet, my dad reminded us that we were going to do a 7 mile hike the next day.

To be continued…

And it will be continued, hopefully with a smaller gap between episodes this time. Tune in next time for Part 3, Hikes, Hikes, and More Hikes!

Oregon Adventures Pt. 1: Misty, Moisty Mornings

I’m apparently terrible at being consistent at anything. I’m not going to make any more promises about updating this consistently, although I will try to. Thanks for sticking around, dear reader.

“One misty, moisty, morning,
when cloudy was the weather…”

“One Misty, Moisty, Morning”

Supposedly there's a mountain up there somewhere...

Supposedly there’s a mountain up there somewhere…

We flew out from JFK at 9 pm EST on Father’s Day evening and landed in Portland, OR at 11:30 pm PST. It was dark because it was night time, and as we continued through the 1.5 hour drive to Government Camp, OR in our sweet mini-van rental, it became increasingly cloudy and misty.

We got there at around  2 am, which was 5 back in New York, and we all promptly picked beds and passed out (my bed was the couch!). The morning came earlier than I had hoped, because my dad and sisters are early risers and my bedroom was the living room, which was attached to the kitchen. As usually happens with me, though, no matter the hour, after being grumpy and groggy for a few minutes, I got up and felt good. I went to look out the back window of our mountain view chalet, and got a wonderful view of fog and clouds.

We headed south for about a half hour to the nearest real grocery store, all the while wondering if the mountain was really there, and hoping that Bigfoot wouldn’t jump out of the mist in front of the van.

Misty? Check. Moisty? Check. Morning? It's always morning somewhere.

Misty? Check.
Moisty? Check.
Morning? It’s always morning somewhere.

We stocked up on probably more food than we’d be able to eat for the week and headed back to the chalet. The next step was to head up to Timberline Lodge, where the climbing trail begins. Surely, surely, we would see the mountain there. But nope, still fog, still all sorts of clouds. And it was freezing and there was snow on the ground. At least the lodge was there, I thought that that was a good sign.

I might have lost them if there weren't such bright coats!

I might have lost them if there weren’t such bright coats!

My dad picked up the forms we’d need to fill out and leave while climbing and my sister Jules and I headed into the gift shop in the lodge. Just as we started to quietly comment to each other on the large amount of handmade and fancy souvenirs and their even larger price tags, the lady behind the counter says, “There’s a t-shirt shop across the street.” I knew I should have tried to look richer for this trip.

The lodge itself was really nice and had lots of cool history to it. There was a giant fireplace and chimney, and lots of little plaques explaining how historic the lodge was.

The writing on the wall- err, chimney.

The writing on the wall- err, chimney.

After wandering around and exploring a bit more we decided to head back to the chalet. We got back and ate and watched the World Cup, and I started to have some intense Ruzzle(iTunes / Android), a Boggle clone that I’m enjoying more than Scramble With Friends, and Word Chums (iTunes / Android), a Scrabble clone that I’ve similarly been enjoying more than Words With Friends, matches with Dave and Jules.

Tuesday morning started out remarkably similar to Monday morning. Extremely early (in my opinion) and extremely cloudy and foggy. I was still taking it on faith alone that this mountain even existed. My dad claimed that it was going to clear up that night and that we would attempt the climb starting at around 12 am-1 am Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. The majority of the climb is done at night, because when the sun comes out in the morning the snow starts to get melty and mushy and dangerous.

The majority of Tuesday was spent similarly to Monday, with soccer on one screen,  word games on others, books in hand, and some napping mixed in. We also spent some time making sure that all of our packs were, in fact, packed and that all our gear worked and fit. I think I was the last one who went to bed, as I couldn’t put down the Marvel Civil War comics I was reading. I finally went down at around 6:30 pm. I woke up at around 11:45 as everyone else started to stir.

I looked out the back window and all I saw was clouds. I was disheartened and thought that surely the mountain was still enshrouded and that this would not be the night to do the climb. We were still going to drive up to the lodge to see if the clouds were moving out or if there was an break in them on the mountain.

To be continued…

Tumultuous Tuesday: Nothing’s Normal

My toes are delicious!

I’ve been perfectly normal from the very start.

Sorry for the impromptu week off from writing. Last Tuesday I just forgot until it was about 12:20 Wednesday morning and on Sunday I got super lazy, so my apologies.

I was just looking through WordPress’s 365 Days of Writing Prompts for some ideas of what to write tonight. I really liked June 5th, “Tell us about a thing you’ll never write about.” I think that that is the silliest writing prompt I’ve ever heard. When I meet new people I think that I’ll start to ask them to talk to me about something they never want to talk about.

One of the other prompts was to talk about being normal and whether it’s a good or bad thing, or neither. I think that this is an important thing to talk about. Most people like being their own unique snowflake, but they also want to fit in with others. We want to be special without being considered weird. I’ve always wanted to do things bigger and better (although I’ve always struggled with the motivation to get those things done), I’ve wanted to be above average. One of the more important things I’ve realized in my life is that sometimes it’s okay to be average, or normal.

But I also really like saying that there’s no such thing as normal, and there’s really no such thing as weird. With seven billion other humans on the Earth, it shouldn’t be too hard to find people who are completely similar to you and others who are completely different. I think the only things that we can confidently say are normal are breathing, eating, and other life functions.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught into that cycle of just wanting to please other people and be like them, despite the fact that doing what that takes can make you unhappy and exhaust you. On the other extreme we can feel the need to assert our independence and uniqueness, sometimes to the extent of hurting the people we love and care about. What’s really important is to do what makes you happy. Find people who love the things that you love and spend time with them, avoid people who criticize you and try to make you into someone you’re not. As long as the things you love don’t hurt other people, pursue them because you want to.

Don’t do things in life to be normal, or not normal. Do things to be happy. I’ve always liked this quote:
            “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and              those who matter don’t mind.”
              ― Bernard M. Baruch

To step back down from the lofty hills of optimism and fantasy, it’s important to remember that sometimes there are people in our lives who we are stuck with. Family members will have different views than us, and will often state those views, sometimes out of concern for our well being, and other times because they feel the need to be superior or right. If whatever the matter is isn’t a harm to your life or well being, feel free to tell them to mind their own business (perhaps more politely than that). And if they persist upon their path of prodding, feel free to avoid them. Life is too short and too beautiful to let yourself be surrounded by negativity.

Has there ever been a time where you’ve felt yourself on the tightrope of making yourself happy vs. pleasing others? How did you deal with it? Do you think it’s more important to be normal or to be unique? Is there such thing as normal? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you for reading, I’ll try to be more consistent with my putting words on the internet!

Sunday Space-Out: Reach for the Stars!

Go to xkcd

Credit to xkcd, click the picture!

I used to climb trees all of the time when I was little. We didn’t watch TV or play video games, so most of the time between spring and fall I was outdoors, and most of that time I was probably climbing trees. When I wasn’t climbing trees I was usually reading. There was this one tree in the field behind our house that had a perfect nook to sit on a strong branch with my back to the trunk and just read and enjoy the sunshine.

I don’t often climb trees anymore, but I really should. Climbing things is a lot of fun and a great workout. While we were still living in Tucson I went to a rock climbing gym with some friends a couple of times. It’s a really good workout that gets your whole body and it’s tons of fun. I should probably climb things more.

I never had a tree house, but I always wanted one. Especially after seeing the incredible Ewok village in Return of the Jedi. When I was 9 or 10 I tried collecting scrap wood I found around with the ultimate goal of building some sort of fort or tree house. I inevitably ended up with just a pile of scrap wood. It would be cool to build one someday, once I have a house and a yard and all that other American dream stuff, but I doubt that it would live up to my expectations:

It would have so much room for activities.

It would have so much room for activities.

Do you like climbing things? What’s your favorite thing to climb?

Tumultuous Tuesday: No Tag Backs!

Joyce did this on her blog, so I figured that I’d probably be a bad husband if I didn’t give it a shot too!

Twenty-One Questions:

Are you named after anyone?

Yes, I’m named after Jonathan from the Bible. My brother is named David. Luckily he didn’t have to kill my dad to be king or anything! That would’ve been super terrible!

I think that we're hugging a copper penguin or something.

My brother from the same mother and me.

When was the last time you cried?

I’m not really sure, my eyes water during movies sometimes, but I’m not sure of the last time I just cried. Ugh, look at me fulfilling stereotypes, it makes me want to cry…

Do you have any kids?

No!

If you were another person, would you be a friend to yourself?

Yes, I am awesome.

But honestly, probably not. Statistically speaking, there’s something like 7.2 billion people in the world, so I probably wouldn’t even know myself, let alone be friends with me. Take that buzzkill, question!

Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Not a lot, I don’t think.

Would you ever bungee jump?

I’m not sure, I feel like I’d be more into skydiving. But if the rope looked strong enough I might give it a try, I do love adrenaline rushes.

What’s your favorite cereal?

I honestly don’t eat that much cereal. Growing up we were only allowed to have Cheerios or Rice Krispies, I liked to mix them together with slices of bananas, but refused to eat either of them separately. I was a weird kid. But favorite? I don’t know. I’m also terrible at choosing favorites, so there’s that.

What’s the first thing you notice about another person?

I’m the least visual person I know (as far as I know), I can’t remember anything in pictures. So I can’t think back to looking at a person and seeing what they look like in my mind. So maybe it’s their voice? Maybe I’m so busy being socially awkward and staring at my feet and sweating that I don’t notice anything. I’m not really sure! I’m really bad at this game.

What color are your eyes?

Brown.

Scary movies or happy endings?

Happy endings for sure! I get way too freaked out during scary movies. Gore and stuff doesn’t really gross me out too much, but if anything happens suddenly in a movie I get so jumpy. I can probably get like six inches of air just jumping from sitting down. Plus, I like happy things.

Favorite smells?

Another favorites question. Why does everyone like favorites so much? I just like things that don’t smell goods. Some of my least favorites are garbage and mushrooms cooking. I love fruity smells, I love to get tropical candles from Bath & Body Works and lighting them up.

Summer or Winter?

I used to love all the seasons equally. Then I moved back to New York and this past summer happened, it was pretty much the worst thing ever, except for all those other bad things that were definitely worse.

Do you want to build a snowman?

The kind of thing we used to do when I still liked the winter!

Computer or television?

Computer all day everyday. I also like to watch TV shows while I play games. Or think I’m watching them and miss everything, or get too engrossed in them and then die in my game.

Farthest you’ve ever been from home?

London, England. I went there when I was in fourth grade, my uncle and his family were living out there while my uncle worked there. It was awesome, I definitely want to go back to Europe sometime and enjoy it as an adult. I got to touch the Rosetta Stone at a museum, that really excited me a lot back then. I was such a nerd.

Do you have special talents?

I don’t know, I don’t really think so. I try to be funny, I like to make people laugh. It doesn’t always work.

When were you born?

11 February 1988, 0215

What are your hobbies?

StarCraft, World of Warcraft, sometimes other miscellaneous video games, reading, writing, Warhammer, Television, and the internet.

Do you have any pets?

We have an awesome cat named Misha. She’s super awesome

She's so awesome that sometimes I have to take her to school with me.

She’s so awesome that sometimes I have to take her to school with me.

Seriously, she’s really awesome!

What’s your favorite movie?

Enough with the favorites whoever made this ridiculous list of questions! Maybe Equilibriumor at least I know that I told people that for a while. I really enjoy most of the Star Wars films. I like the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit as well. Pretty much anything science fiction or fantasy I’ll watch, and there’s a good chance that I’ll enjoy it, too!

Do you have an siblings?

I have two sisters and one brother, all older than me.

Me, Laura, Julia, and Dave at my sister Laur's wedding!

Me, Laura, Julia, and Dave at my sister Laur’s awesome beach wedding!

I’ve got sibling-in-laws too, which is pretty sweet!

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I still waver on this a bit, but I’m pretty sure that I want to build robots and send them to space! Because we don’t have enough robots in space. And both robots and space are very cool.

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That seems to be all of the questions. If you have any additional questions or answers, feel free to comment them below!

Sunday Space-Out: Sunny Sundays

It's a bunny

Nature in suburbia.

It’s quickly turning into another one of those evenings where I don’t know what to write and I’m not exactly sure why I’m forcing myself too. But I think that it’s good to stick with good habits, maybe it makes me be better at doing other good habits? I don’t know, it’s all just words and such.

Speaking of good habits, Joyce and I have been taking walks more consistently. It’s been really nice, I’ve been feeling better, getting to know my neighborhood better, plus it’s been gorgeous out lately. Although I did accidentally walk through a sprinkler the other night, but I guess that’s part of the hazard of the season.

On Wednesday we went to Sleepy Hollow, NY with Joyce’s sister and her fiance to take their “Save The Date” photos. That was the first time I had ever been there. It was a lot of fun, it was a nice small town, very Americana. We had lunch at a small Greek restaurant. I had a cheeseburger, so you know, really authentic Greek food.

This weekend has been full of BBQs, with more tomorrow, that’s been nice. I love barbecuey foods.

I hope that everyone has a good Memorial Day. Take a moment to remember all the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for this country.

Tumultuous Tuesday: Tired.

Today was my first caffeine free day in which I had stuff to do in a while. It was pretty tough. About halfway through my work day I was starting to suffer from a headache and regret. It was also about that time that I realized that I’ve become way too dependent on that wonderful drug.

So now it’s 9:30pm and I’m pretty tired. I don’t have to be up early at all, but I’ll probably still be in bed pretty soon. I might read a bit before bed, which will probably put me to bed faster. I’ve started to get into the Jack Reacher novels again now that I have some more time. I finished One Shot last night, which is the one that the film was based on. I almost skipped it since I had seen the movie, and while the major plot points were the same, a lot of it was very different. I’m glad that I read it.

I’m trying to think of more things to type, but my eyes keep closing and my fingers keep typoing (making typos?). So, thanks for reading, and leave a comment about something!

Sunday Space-Out:

The view from way up high in Hudson Highlands State Park

The view from way up high in Hudson Highlands State Park

I went for a hike with my brother yesterday at Hudson Highlands State Park. We did 6.1 miles and there was about 1,000 ft climb and back down again, with some ups and downs in between. Different parts of my body have been hurting throughout the day, but I’m really glad I went. It was beautiful despite the freshly hatched bugs flying around our faces and the rain from Friday choosing the paths as a good place to stagnate. I also managed to not get sunburned, because against my laziness I managed to reapply sunscreen halfway through the trip. Usually I don’t and spend the next few days just laying there waiting to molt.

Joyce and I watched the movie Stuck in Love this evening. We both enjoyed it a lot, although I think Netflix wasn’t quite on the money with its decision to label it as a comedy. There were some funny parts, but overall it was mostly a drama. It’s about a writer, his kids who are also writers, and relationships and stuff. I really like movies about writers (see: Finding Forrester), it makes me want to write more, even though I’m not that great about it. For a long time I thought that I’d be a writer when I grew up, but I’ve never been able to be consistent with it. I’m also absolutely terrible at writing stories. Anyways, the movie was really good, there was some good acting, writing, drama, and I really enjoyed the soundtrack.

I’ve gotten back grades from three classes this semester, and although I keep furiously F5-ing, my other two professors don’t seem to get the hint. On a completely different note, I got back into Diamond League in StarCraft, so I’m pretty happy about that. The tournament I did last week actually went pretty well. I won my first two games, which were best of ones, and then won a best of three to get into the semi-finals, which I lost. But I didn’t even expect to win a single game, so top 4 felt pretty awesome to me!

Thanks for reading this evening’s disjointed though process! Feel free to leave any questions, comments, concerns, or bad jokes!

Tumultuous Tuesdays: Tater Tot Tundra

I had my last final today. I’m pretty sure that I did well on everything, but we’ll see as the grades start coming in. So far I haven’t gotten any back, so there’s been a lot of going back and refreshing the page on my school’s website.

I’m excited to have more spare time and be able to relax, but as always, I’m worried that I won’t use my time wisely, or I’ll use it in a way that I’ll regret. But I’m pretty sure that I’ve written about that in just about every post so far, so I’ll try to go somewhere different today.

Joyce and I went to Mac n Melts, today, a macaroni and cheese focused restaurant, which, if you know me, sounds like a dream come true. It was pretty tasty, but wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I was hoping for a nice(ish) sit-down place where I could order a delicious tropical beverage and really chow down on some mac and cheese. Instead, it was the type of place where you order at the counter and go sit down at a half-booth, half just a chair table. The food itself was delicious, but the ambiance left a bit to be desired. It is good to know that I can go get take-out mac and cheese if I ever need to though.

I’ve been watching a bit more StarCraft lately, with WCS Season 2 starting to get back into full swing. I’ve been enjoying it a lot, and am hoping to start playing/streaming more consistently over the summer. I signed up for my first low-level tournament in a while, at SCV Rush, which I’ll be doing tomorrow night, so that should be fun. Maybe I’ll even win a game and not be eliminated the first round. But we’ll see!

Thanks for reading! Leave me a comment with your favorite flavor of ice cream!