Thursday, December 1, 2005

It's snowing!!

Not a regular occurance here during the winter. It started about 10 this morning and it's been snowing ever since, though I don't think it's sticking yet. That's Seattle for you. Happy December!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Multi-tasking sighting

You know when you're riding along on your bike and wish there was something else you could be doing? How about getting some reading done? As I was arriving back at work after class, a bike rider got off her bike to get it up onto the curb. She had this contraption set up between the handlebars. 2 small straps attached the handlbars on one end with the other ends attached to binder clips. Clipped in those binder clips was an article/paper of some sort, with portions highlighted. Maybe they were directions on how to ride said bicylce (don't forget to brake when you want to stop or slow down) or directions to her next location, but my guess it was neither of those. Are we so busy that we can't just ride our bikes?

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Quit your bitching

Waiting in the rain for a bus, a bike rider goes by. A couple poles strapped onto the back caught my eye. Looked similar to trekking poles. I then realized they were arm braces. A closer look and I notice the bicyclist has just 1 leg! One of those wow moments. Shouldn't be a big shock I guess. When working as a research study assistant a few years back, I helped out with a study taking a look at mobility in amputee patients. This person had 1 leg and 1 prosthetic leg. We had him hop up/down, then side/side on his real leg, and then on his prosthetic while recording measurements with special video equipment. Can you imagine hopping around on a prosthetic leg? I wouldn't have if I hadn't been there. Guess it's a reminder not to take things for granted and if you want to do something, just do it!

For Tina:
“We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make, which, over time, adds up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.” --Marian Wright Edelman

Monday, October 24, 2005

Saturday, October 8, 2005


Had a dream I was being stalked by lions. Not a good feeling. When I woke up, thoughts of work were running through my head. Why is it I have dark and scary dreams? Why can't I have dreams of cute dessert foxes? Or at least sexy dreams. :)

Work has been an issue for a while. I've definitely settled. I think to have some security, but I realize it's not worth it (at least if I was working in private industry I'd have more savings to show for the 1.5 years I've been in the bowels of Health Sciences). What popped in my head this morning, was that I would love to work at/from home. I notice most of the blogs I read are from women who work from home. Whether it's taking care of their kids and/or making beautiful art. Hmmm, if only I was artistic. I like to think I'm crafty, but when it comes down to it, I haven't made the time for it and don't feel my right brain has accomplished much during it's almost 30 years in my head. Eek. Is that what this is about? Turning 30? I don't think so. We all get older, why worry about it? It's more about where I am, not being satisfied with my career choices.

Sidenote: I'm drinking mate from a traditional mate gourd (Thanks Kevin!). I added the leaves directly to the gourd and am sipping it through a strainer straw. It's quite tasty, except for the teeny pieces that aren't being strained.

I've been in the process of figuring out my life for a number of years now. My friends are probably sick of me saying I'm going back to school. I feel so unmotivated compared to most. Aha, I know I shouldn't compare myself to others. We are all motivated by different things. And maybe school isn't for me at this point. I need to work on figuring myself out before I'm ready for more learnin'.

Back to those who work from home. Obviously they have the right skills/resources to afford it. At this point I don't. Not that I know of anyhow. Anyway, I'm going to go work on knitting a scarf and think more about life.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Originally uploaded by SeattleYogi.
Okay Tina, here it is. Are you happy now? :)

Tina and I took a week off at the end of August and headed north to Tofino, BC. We turn 30 at the end of the year and wanted to celebrate with an adventurous outing. We couldn't get our boys to come with us, so it was a girls get away--Thelma and Louise sans Brad Pitt character.

We started off our trip with little sleep and hit the road at 5:30 AM for the drive to Anacortes for an 8:30 ferry. Turns out we really didn't have to be there an hour early like they told us. Grrrr. Tina had never been on a ferry before (next time she's in town we'll go to the San Juan Islands). We tried to avoid the screaming children and I even steered the ship for a while. It was during this voyage I purchased a big ass bottle of vodka and box of wine gums (yay, duty free!) in preparation of the week alone with Tina. We land in Victoria and spend the afternoon being tousits--checked out the Empress (only the outside as they only let paying customers and guests inside), the Capitol Building, the harbor with all it's craft booths, then high tea at this little restaurant which must have been right down the street from a senior center--there were little old ladies in their wheelchairs, walkers, jazzy 5000's zooming by the whole time we were there. Finally, we head out for our our final destination. 5 hours later, we arrive at the Surf Junction campground. We find out we're 'stuck' in an RV spot all week--I think it was all a scam, telling us over the phone we could move into a camp spot after the 1st night--extra bucks in their pocket. Really we were happy to have a place at all--next time book further in advance!

A bit of exploring: we head south to Ucluelet area (it took us a few days to figure out how to pronounce this). We hiked part of the Wild Pacific Trail where we saw Orcas playing in the distance and did a bit of yoga on the rocks. Head north to Tofino where we had a tasty lunch with views of the busy water front.

Kayaking Barkley Sound: Whales, bears, and seals, oh my! We saw grey whales feeding in the distance, harbor seals sunning themselves, eagles, and we surprised a family of river otters who were playing with a big fish. Next time I visit I want to kayak the Broken Group!

Hot Springs: Boat ride to the hot springs (more harbor seals and bears!). Tina was disappointed we didn't take the zodiacs--she wanted to wear the bright orange suit (I think she got this idea from the ferry), a quick hike along a boardwalk through the rainforest, time spent with a homeless pup and scantily clad tourists. The actual hot springs area is much smaller than I was expecting. Luckily we arrived early enough to have the place to ourselves (and the rest of our group). By the time we left, a couple more large groups were crowding the springs. We took a quick float plane ride back and saw wonderful views of the island (and another whale!)

Cox Bay: We only spent a couple hours surfing Cox Beach. Originally I had thought we'd spend a lot more time surfing during this trip, but there was so many other things to do (my baguettes get tired easily plus Tina has horrible blood circulation. She complained about being cold this whole trip, so my next present to her will be a full body insulated suit she can wear underneath her clothes). The waves were a bit mushy while we were out, but as I suck at surfing this is okay with me. So we played for a bit, then continued to play on the beach taking pics of the scenery.

Pampering: Tina and I experienced our 1st facials at a little day spa. I think it's fun getting pampered while Tina thinks it's hilarious having someone slap, massage, steam, oil, and pull at your face. Okay, so she looked hilarious with her hair all greased up after she was done, but other than that, pamper away. We also pampered ourselves by doing a bit o' shopping. Postcards, art, and hemp/organic clothing. What is it with US's restrictive policies against hemp. So silly! One night we had a nice dinner at Wickaninnish Inn. A fancy place with a 360 view of the beach, and we didn't even have to sit in the 'dining' section.

Camping: We roughed it with an air mattress, sun shade (NOT waterproof), showers, fires, and tasty meals. The weather stayed true to my (and every web sites) prediction of rain. It's a rainforest for goodness sakes. Even those days it didn't rain, everything left out gets a nice covering of dew by morning. No wonder we saw so many folks in RV's.

I need to stop now...too much typing. Sorry this post was so long winded. If you want to read more about it, check out Tina's version.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

SCI rocks again!

I've just returned from the most fantastic trip. String Cheese Incident at the beautiful Horning's Hideout venue. It's summer camp for people of all ages. I don't know how to explain it--it's an experience. A 'hidden community'. 5000 folks camped amongst the trees and fields. People from all over the world, all backgrounds, families, oldies, you name it. Folks who love to dance or enjoy the freedom of partying under the stars. Those who want to free themselves from the constraints of what's 'normal'. It's so colorful and lively--my pictures do not do it justice. Man-o-man the positive vibes you feel when SCI is jammin' is unbelievable. The smiles on people's faces when you look around--it makes me wish everyone I knew could be with me at that moment to come experience the fun times of SCI.

This might have been the last year for SCI at Horning's which makes me very verklempt. Please check out the Horning's website for more info and a way to contact the local city council--Bob wants to do all he can to allow future festivals at his venue.

Thanks to SCI, Bob, and all the other Cheeseheads out there for another magical time at summer camp!

Friday, July 1, 2005

44 miles

Olympics Hike Itinerary:

Start at the north fork of the Quinault (river)
Day 1: 9 miles to Trapper shelter (originally planned on 6.5 miles to French Creek camp)
Day 2: 4.2 miles to 16 Mile camp (originally planned on 6.7 miles)
Day 3: 5.9 miles to Chicago camp
Day 4: 8.3 miles to Hayes River camp
Day 5: 8.2 miles to Mary's Falls camp
Day 6: 8.4 miles to Whiskey Bend camp on the north side of the Olympic National Park

I've been back for over a week, but haven't made the time to write up this trip. Looking back, the hardest part was coming back to my 'real' life. To, work and traffic and people.

I haven't been on real backpacking trip for a number of years. I think it's something I need to do once a year, like my dad's been doing for so long--one of these summers I'll join him and Tom--Emily and cousin's Heather and Matt have joined him during his treks. I am very thankful to my parents for exposing me to the great outdoors. Though I live in the city, I am 45 minutes away from the mountains (hoping for decent snowfall this winter), 3 hours away from the coast, even 3 hours away from dry and hot dessert climate. Ah, Washington is a beautiful place.

Anyhow, things I learned on this hike: bug nets, rain gear, extra/dry socks, and good hiking boots are very important! Plan our meals better--Darren and I each carried maybe 5 pounds of extra food, too much for a 6 day hike!

The Quinault and Elwha River areas are beautiful! Eventually I'll scan some of my pics so I can post a few (I took my 35 mm camera, didn't want to risk the digi on this trip).

Day 1. Started off on the wrong foot. It was raining. :( We drove through some *very* heavy rains on the way (thanks Erna Rae for the ride!). Both D and I got very little sleep the night before taking care of last minute necessities. I think all of us had thoughts of 'what did we get ourselves into' at the beginning. It was beautiful, green, but wet. One of my feet got wet at our 1st bigger stream crossing. No biggie. Came to our 1st 'river' crossing. Moving fairly fast, but it wasn't very wide. There was a log which Paul crossed easily. I was going to cross 2nd, but it was higher than I felt comfortable with (I have a mild fear of heights) and looked too slick for me, so I decided to ford the river. While I took off my boots and changed into sandals, Darren crossed the log. I was worried, but Paul hadn't had any issues and Darren made made it across without any issues. I find out after the fact, both of them thought it was stupid of them to do it--it was very slippery, wet boots and a wet log, not a good combo. Darren got about halfway across before he realized it wasn't a good idea, but what can you do at that point, but continue. Anyhow, I forded the river, water came up to about my knees, made it across no problem. Hurried to change back into my boots as it was drizzling and a couple had just shown up at the other side of the river--Paul and Darren were worried they'd try to cross the log and fall and didn't want to deal with the consequences (they opted to wade across as well--don't worry, we aren't that mean). We figured Francis camp should be popping up soon. We were wet and tired. We came across a sign which said Francis camp, a small cleared area next to large upturned roots. We weren't impressed with the depressing 'camp' and kept going. After a couple more miles came to the Trapper shelter. It wasn't pretty, but we were happy to have a roof over our heads. Rain pretty much stopped, but we couldn't relax for too long as the bugs were on you if you were sitting still. Thank goodness for those head nets we brought! We drank our Oly's (Paul insisted we bring along some cheap beer though Darren grumbled), we didn't want to carry them any further, plus after the day we had, we deserved it! We laid out our wet clothing as best we could, dined and chatted about the trip so far. One of Paul's boots was having issues--the heel was coming apart. He had put some shoe goo on the sides, but that ended up coming right off, along with more of his boot! If the weather kept up, we thought we might have to turn around after another day--that lodge at the Quinalt entrance was sounding mighty fine! At least we had a short hike tomorrow--we wouldn't worry about cutting our trip short until then.

Day 2. Woke up with large blisters on my face! Spider bites. Not having a mirror handy, I just assumed they were large mosquito bites (had already gotten a number of those the night before). At one point Paul asked if they felt okay--they didn't hurt or itch or bother me. Darren kept telling me not to touch them. When I realized they were actually blisters I was fairly grossed out, but there really wasn't much I could do at this point. It sprinkled off and on today. It seemed we really might have to turn around tomorrow, but the scenery was beautiful and we were further out

Day 3. Short day mileage wise, but not short on effort! Basically 3 miles up a steep grade then 3 miles downhill. We took a number of water breaks and the 3 miles up wasn't as bad as I was expecting. Paul had been going on yesterday how Day 3 would be the worst. It was a nice feeling at the top to realize the worst was over with. The top of the pass was more meadow, less trees. I kept my eyes out for bears. We passed a manned ranger station, ranger said 3 or 4 bears had passed by just 30 minutes earlier. I bet we sent them scurrying when we stopped and had our lunch--such loud and stinky humans! Passed a couple small lakes, Paul and Darren fished, but no luck, I was just happy to rest my legs a bit. Then, onto the steep downhill. Paul wasn't kidding when he said it just drops, you turn a corner, and the trail just goes down and down... Big ol' waterfall in the distance. By the time the trail flattened out again, I was definitely ready for camp.

Day 4. Last couple miles were hard on the feet.

Day 5. Again, the last couple of miles, I couldn't wait to be done.

Day 6. Home stretch! Paul's shoe was flapping for the last 5 miles. Both Darren and I think we heard some sort of large animal moving along with us down this hill side at one point. That kept us going at a brisk pace. We passed a number of people out for day hikes which means the trail head was close and eventually we're done. Take off the boots, change into comfortable and semi-clean clothes, spy on the deer in the parking lot (a doe and 2 spotted fawns), and rest until Tina arrives. She brought doughnuts! I was worried we wouldn't even make it down the mountain with Tina driving so fast around those dirt/gravel tight corners. As Darren, Paul and I had been going on about fried chicken all week, we stopped at a KFC on the way home--not a big surprise, but it didn't really hit the spot and it was hard on the belly.

Check back for an update for Days 3-6.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Mt. Dickerman

Last Saturday, I hiked Mt. Dickerman. It *kicked* my ass. Near Granite Falls, the trail is 8.5 miles roundtrip and we did it in 4 hours 16 minutes (not too shabby as the reviews said it would be 5 1/2 hours roundtrip). 3800 foot elevation gain with a lot(!) of switchbacks. Supposed to have a fantastic 360 degree view from the top, but unfortunately we went on a mostly cloudy day. I did catch some gorgeous views of the 4 Sisters peak on the way up, super bright with lots of snow--to me that made it worth it. That and actually making it to the summit. I brought up the rear on the way up, I actually wanted to quit not even a quarter of the way up, but being the only lady I had to represent. Thankfully there weren't too many protests as I made frequent stops for water and to catch my breath (Sean, the gazelle that he is, left us in the dust, making it to the top 20-30 minutes before the rest of us--I guess that's what happens when you're in training for a marathon, running 6 miles/day). I had my 'regular' camera with me and only took a couple of pictures (bonehead me saw the 23 and thought that meant I had 23 pics left--getting too used to my digital camera I guess) and I still need to get the roll developed. I'll post when I can. Note to self, get in better shape before doing another hike with huge elevation gains and do not bring up the rear when the 4 boys you're with are tooting themselves down the mountain.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Helen doin' it all

She graduated on Friday, got married on Saturday, and now (just a little over a week later) is in the process of moving to North Carolina (driving across the country as I type). Congrats on becoming Dr. M! Congrats to you and Aaron on getting hitched! Best wishes in your residency. I'm looking forward to visiting you in the fall. I hope you have an extra bed/futon by then.

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was the longest day of the year. Wouldn't have known it from the weather though. Patches of blue sky, but mostly it was overcast with the skies' wet babies fallin' at times. Days leading to the summer solstice were beautiful (hot even) so I can't complain too hard. D and I took a walk last night--makes me wish we had a house of our own. The Maple Leaf neighborhood is really nice (people walking their dogs/kids with coffee from the local coffee shop in hand), but it's pretty much a given it'll be out of our price range once we're ready to purchase. Ah well, no harm dreaming right?