Thursday, December 30, 2010

Holiday activities

My first time snowshoeing! Rented a pair of snowshoes and went with my family. It was lightly snowing so it was very pretty. The snow wasn't that deep, but I could definitely see how snowshoes help. It's been a long time since I hiked, so I was pretty sore by the end.

Other than that, it was a whole lot of very little, which is how life is supposed to be for the holidays. I have a hard time doing that at home, but it's a heck of lot easier at someone else's home. And did a lot of eating - way too much chocolate. And made turkey pot pies for my family, which they thoroughly enjoyed. I'll put the recipe up here next time around. Also read two great books: Jodi Picoult's Second Glance (great!) and Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriguez (very good). The Kabul story is good, but it's depressing to read about what some of these women must go through, and I also wondered about her two sons, since she never seemed to be home. Here's an article about the controversy related to the book.

I'm feeling a little boring at the moment - woke up this am with a migraine so had to go back to sleep for several hours after taking the drugs. Now just trying to get into the frame of mind of working. It's hard when not many other people are doing it!

Hope everyone is well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Cats

I thought this photo appropriate for the holiday season. Relax. It's all good.

I'll be away until next Wednesday, so everyone enjoy yourselves until then. And be good. Unless you don't want to.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Failure *is* an option

So, got dumped from my consulting gig yesterday. It sucks, and I cried a lot, but to be quite honest, I'm relieved. I was always waiting for the ax to fall. And it did.

I can beat myself up for failing, and I have a little. But I can also start understanding what my limitations are, and still feel good about myself. I'm doing pretty well on the first part, and taking minute baby steps toward the second. There's this me that I would love to be, but it's not me. If that makes sense. I have to accept what's me and move forward that, finding challenges within that realm. Or at least a job within that realm! I have a networking meeting this morning, and have a least learned what I'm not good at and can emphasize what I'm good at, and find something appropriate to my skills. I still thank the heavens that I did not get that Executive Director position. I would have been in over my head. But then again, I tend to swim or at least tread water when I jump into something. Except in this latest instance. And maybe a few other times. Oh well.

That and other things that happened yesterday have left me feeling quite battered. But the new year is coming, and with it new opportunities. I gotta believe, and do to a certain extent.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

Here's item #2 in the silly/tacky vein.

Friday, December 17, 2010

J-tree climbing adventures

I'll just tell a few tales of Joshua Tree climbing as I stare out the window at the rain...

So this is a climb I did on the last day that I really liked. It was challenging enough, ie not so challenging that I could crap in my pants. It had a lot of different styles of climbing in it. And it was really short, so we could do it in a short period of time and get out of there before the sun went down. (That's me at the top in the white.)

I'd prefer to do something like that than the slab climb my friend did:

This is a distance shot of M climbing. A beautiful route - I did not do it, but I will someday. Just a 5.4, but challenging.

At the end of one day my friends had gone to get a rope on Loose Lady. This is rated only 5.9, but boy is it heady. It's all bolted slab:

They happened upon someone just taking their rope down, so he pulled our rope up. We took turns climbing it as the sun went down and the wind picked up. It turned out I was the last to go. Talk about pressure as you know your belayer is stuck in the shade freezing his beehind off. And it's not an easy climb. Especially when the wind is howling. I was 2/3 of the way up and the sun went below the horizon. At the top, I was setting up my rappel with the wind whipping my hair around, freezing my beehind off, but going every so slowly to make sure I did not make a mistake. Apparently it was a nice sight, since I was photographed by strangers. I would have liked to see that photo.

OK, happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm rubber, you're glue

Ah, what you can find in Big Lots' gumball machine area. Rubber stretchy men! 25 cents each. And what fun you can have with them!

blurry stretchy men

men on bottles


Given they are acrobatic, we had to see what they'd do with the ceiling. Well, they stuck! And were still there when we left, many days later.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Spirit

I was talking with M this morning, and I realized I've only had one tree in a very very long time. 10-15 years. M and I do not have one, alas, since we don't have our Christmas stuff here. But we do have a pointsetta and one string of lights. It's something!

To help get into the Christmas spirit, I sat down on a Sunday afternoon (yesterday) and watched Olive the Other Reindeer. I really do like that one. It's only the second time I've seen it, but it's great.

Finally, here's a funny Christmas comic. Ho ho ho.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Making friends

Last night I went to the climbing gym's event at which they encourage people to find new partners (you get raffle tickets for every new climber you climb with). I've been to one other and I believe I described it. M's out of town, so it was well timed. I climbed with a few interesting people and managed to avoid the one guy who wanted to climb with me but I saw that he took his hand off the rope when belaying and thus I did NOT want to climb with him (we use grigri's at the gym which have sort of an auto catching mechanism, but still, you have to stay safe in the event of failure). I came out of it with one contact, which is great. He seems like a nice guy, likes to climb outdoors, easy going, skis, has a girlfriend, etc. So one by one, finding climbing friends.

Saturday M and I are going to not one but two parties! A friend who we have not seen in a long time and have not seen since we moved here is moving to Washington in January, so we will see him just in time for him to move. But, we'll at least meet some other people and though it's not likely to go anywhere, it's still nice to feel like you know people.

Then we have another party. I don't think I told this story.

On Thanksgiving day our group went to a small area in Joshua Tree that has short climbs, many of which are in the sun. It was a semi-cold day and we needed it! Plus we didn't get out the door until 11:30, so we doubly needed it. We had a nice time at this one set of climbs - there were enough so that all of us could either lead, follow, or top rope something. Towards the end of sunlight, I noticed a guy talking to another group that had come in to do a 5.7 in amongst 'our' climbs. I thought he looked familiar but had no idea from where I might know him. (That's a problem when you've lived and been too many places!) Then I heard his first name and took a guess. So I went up to him and said, um, did you by any chance happen to go to xxx high school? He looked at me, squinted and smiled and said 'Pamela xxx'?

!!! It was a guy who was friends with my sister's friends and who also went to my college. I knew him but wasn't really friends with him. Turns out he's lived in the SF area for 20 years and has climbed for about as long. So, the SF climbing group is having a party at his house, and so we go! This has more potential for making longer term friends, and I'm excited.

Tis the season to party. I'm glad we have one or two to go to. Someday, we'll hold our own....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For your viewing pleasure Wednesday

Station manager of Jersey City-based WFMU will fly in balloon-lifted lawn chair if donors contribute $180 K. "I weigh 180 pounds and we found out that it would take 180 balloons to lift me off the ground . So this just seemed like the obvious thing to do."

They have a $180k shortfall until the end of the year, so this is the stunt. One balloon for every $1,000 raised. It will be broadcast via webcam - 9:00 AM to 12:00 AM Eastern time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another book

I just finished reading a honkin' book. I read a long time ago Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. And saw another of his in Goodwill so picked it up. Turns out I am following a theme of alcoholics, though in this book it's just one element. I almost gave up on this huge book several times, but I'm glad I worked my way through it. "The Hour I First Believed". It sort of traces the impact of violence in a family over time, most specifically in one that's related to Columbine. It was not as subtle a book as Blame, nor as good I thought, but still definitely worth reading if you can just go with the negative flow that is his life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stuffing and turkey

A very popular turkey stuffing recipe, and a few notes for cooking a turkey.

Turkey Stuffing

Mild sausage (in roll, 1 lb., breakfast sausage - Jimmy Dean is good)
8 oz. Pepperidge FarmTm Stuffing Mix [not the cubed one]
1 egg
1 c. diced celery
1 c. diced onions
1 c. water

Mix the Pepperidge Farm with the egg. Cook the sausage and add to this mixture, leaving the grease in the pan. Cook the celery and onions in the grease from the sausage. When done, take out with slotted spoon and add to the mixture. Pour out the grease. Add one cup of water to the pan used for the celery, etc. and heat it up to get the “good s**t” out (won't be needed if you used a nonstick pan). Pour that into the mixture and let sit. (More might be needed depending on how moist you like it.) Pack the turkey loosely.

Wash turkey and neck with cold water ‑ rinse inside cavities. Sprinkle bottom with salt and pepper to taste. Put into roasting pan breast side up with turkey neck. Stuff turkey: both cavities. Use leftover grease from completed stuffing, adding some margarine, and melt together in microwave. Pour over turkey, then salt and pepper top of bird, sprinkle minced onion over surface to taste.

Place into 450 deg. oven on time allotted for size of turkey. Approximately 30 minutes before due to be done open foil. Baste and brown in oven. Allow turkey to rest a little before serving.

[M believes in roasting breast side down. Seemed to work, though awkward to flip to brown the breast side.]

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blame - a novel

I finished reading this book on vacation. It's written by Michelle Huneven. I had picked it up in Goodwill - my current source of reading material. It is the story of an alcoholic and her recovery. Simple one sentence summary, but it's very thoughtfully written and weaves perspectives in and out. My favorite chapter is the second to last one, and I can't say why until everyone's read it. It's an allegory/metaphor for her life in a day to day experience. (I should look up the difference between those two words - anyone want to save me the trouble?)

Anyway, this one is an adult novel that you would enjoy.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Story Tale

So, imagine if you will...

We had a very heavy comforter and so I took off my pajama bottoms to sleep. Me being me I threw them on the floor. One morning I got up and put on my bottoms, and felt something inside my left pant leg. It was kind of fuzzy, so my mind told my mind that it was a piece of fuzz. It couldn't be anything else, right? So I stuck my arm down my leg and grabbed it. When I grabbed it, I knew it wasn't fuzz.

I threw it out onto the floor, simultaneously jumping and screaming REALLY loudly. A fuzzy caterpillar. Ah, so harmless, so I laughed hysterically and kept flapping my pant legs with my arms. M came in to be sure I wasn't dead, picked up the caterpillar, and brought him outside, likely to fry in the desert.

And you know what, I care only just a little if it fried. Because this is what it did to my leg in its self defense:

You can see how long the caterpillar was. I still have the marks on my leg even now.

Sweet dreams!