Monday, June 30, 2008

Little creatures

Here is Betsy's new bundle of fun.... HANK!

Zara and Immanuel's baby boy. Johnathan at four monthes old.
I can't wait to meet the kiddo.


On Friday I got a call from Brenna, inviting me to go climbing with her and a few people associated with AAI. I was hesitant, having been moving forward with the house and the weather was super hot, and guides, I must say I was a bit skeptical. John reminded me that the house can wait till the weekdays and I know we can find shade to hang out in and I could learn a ton climbing with experienced guides. Friday night, after a fantastic dinner with the the Family Dorr at La Fiamma (wonderful pizza) we packed to spend the weekend up north.

Saturday morning John and Bryan left early, beating the heat and the people, attempted the Grand Wall but got stuck behind a slow party and bailed. These guys can climb so fast, I am excited to hear how it goes when they finally get a chance to go at it with no rain or slow parties in front of them. From what I gather, the two of them did Rutabaga and in which Bryan on sighted it. Kudos, it is a great climb. After this they retreated to the forest for some bouldering, Viper and American Gigolo was two of their problems. John said that Bryan is climbing really well these days. It is great to witness, he is really excited to climb and it shows. The two of them are going to tear it up this summer.

I met the gang on Saturday morning. I met everyone for the first time, my weekend was exciting just getting to know all these new people. Katie was sweet as can be. She is a ball of happiness and joy. She just rolls around as happy as can be. What great energy to be around. The best thing is, she mountain bikes. Music to my ears. This is actually the first woman I have met that bikes. She said she will be on Galbraith about three times a week this summer. I am so excited about getting to know her better and knowing more woman bikers!! Mary, is a guide with AAI, so she has tons of experience climbing. She is in town for the summer, guiding around the area. She is a tough cookie (literally, I think her biceps are bigger than John's...). I was stoked to climb with her in the Bluffs. It was nice to climb with a female who can climb hard. It was the first lesson of the weekend: women can climb and they can climb hard if they choose. She made me want to push myself as harder in climbing. Great inspiration.

Mary, Katie, Brenna and I loaded down Mary's Westie and met Ben, Vren, and his wife Julie in the Bluffs. We did Mosquito/Phlemish Dance and S&M Delight to warm up. Hit up the Penny Lane climbs (Crime of the Century was a blast!), as always, fantastic routes! Then headed up to the Split Beaver for a little variety. As we pulled into the the Chief campground, surprisingly Steve Murphy greeted us. That was a blast to see him. He was in good spirits. He has been testing himself by mastering the art of solo aide. More power to you Steve.

Sunday, Brenna and I got up and did The Angles Crest. It was the perfect choice was perfect: a northern aspect kept the climb out of the scorching sun, it was 14 pitches with the crux pitches being a good grade for me right now, and the fact that it is hands down one of the best moderate long climbs in Squamish. Well, we weren't the only ones with this brilliant idea, there were a total of six (6!!) parties on the route that day. The climb was in the shade all day, imagine that, we would have baked if we had any sun, it was way too hot just in the shade. I struggled leading a few pitches, instead of dwelling on the fact that I did have troubles in a couple cruxy areas, I made a simple conscious decision to get over it. I told my self that these emotions were totally irrational because I can climb and I can place gear that will keep me safe. I had a conversation the previous night with Brenna, questioning the motive behind why we climb, and I thought about that and reminded myself that I had choose to do this climb, I had sacrificed a lot to go climbing for the weekend, if I am going to get frustrated climbing I should stop doing it. WHAM! I turned things around. All of the sudden I was climbing for myself. I had a blast! I started to move more efficiently, place fewer and better pieces of gear, and overall enjoy myself and being out climbing. I felt free, free from this burden I had placed on myself. I felt strong and confident. What a difference it makes. I have a new desire to climb and it comes from the heart. I am breaking through the platue. Back to the climb... The acrophobe towers were fun, getting some great exposure, the second to last pitch was hard down low in the wide sections and finished up fun when it got to be a great finger crack. The exit pitch, a 5.8 off width was a spectacular way to top out. It ended up being a bit too epic for what the Crest should be, but we made and I am very proud that we did. Oh but wait... We got back to the van and the entire crew were making HAMBURGERS!!! It was incredible. The was one sitting there just for me, with a big side of home fries! These guys were great! They were so nice to us, I am excited to have met such inspired people and hopefully do more climbing with them!

Friday, June 27, 2008

SUNSHINE and Seventy


Have you seen the weather...currently 73... A perfect Bellingham temperature...

From the comfort of my office it seems incredible. Oh but wait, it is Friday and clocking out time. I am about to go soak it up... all weekend!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New bike bonanza

The weekend is just around the corner. What a wonderful thought that is.

Bryan made it to Alma, CO. to do the South Park Music Festival that Corrie is a part of. That area should blow his mind. It is just spectacular. I sure hope that he gets out and hikes around up there (elevation 10578 feet).

John got his hands on a new commuter last night. He picked up a Surly Crosscheck. What fun... new bikes..... Just another step in reducing short car trips.

Time to wrap up the work day and go boulder at Sehome for a few hours!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home Improvement

Last night was part two in John and my week of "getting the house done so we can play and sit on our butts." It felt good let me tell you. Slowly the monkey is adjusting on our backs, slowly ready to make its move. Not so fast I guess.

Curb appeal 101
We started with the outside. Who knew what a little white paint could do. The entry way and trim on the front side of the house is all spiffed up. Looks sharp I must say. There are still some more touches that need to be done. Worlds of improvement though.

Kitchen remodel 301
We are on the home stretch with the kitchen. Actually, shall I say when we get home tonight we will know if we are close to being done. The water is hooked up to the fridge, sink is not leaking anymore...the counter tops are the lone remaining project. Last night John jumped in, tearing the sink out, he laid the Formica, cutting with laser accuracy and glued it down to the big sheet down over the existing couter top. Oops... well now come to think of it, we thought that it might be best that we scored the previous couter top to give the glue more adhesion. Oh how I hope it worked...

Enough work for the time being.... The beach is in order tonight! Have you seen the weather outside!

Bike lanes and the fury that ensues...

The Bellingham Herald once again did a pathetic job of reporting on a very hot topic. The comment section of this article is worth checking out if one has any interest in the topic, or to see some passionate views of Bellingham citizens. Monday night the Bellingham City Council voted 5 - 2 to remove parking on the west side of Cornwall Avenue from Ohio Street to West Illinois Street. The Avenue is currently under construction and the instillation of a bike lane consisting solely of re stripping, not a major nor costly task. Currently the road is particularly wide, providing parking on each side of the road. The issue here is not the use of public funding for bike lanes it is parking. Parking on a transportation corridor. As seen in the comment section this has hit a chord with a large group of people.

The parking on Cornwall is not primary parking for the downtown. People are not going to park by BHS to walk downtown. The parking that is lost are for residential homes. There are plenty of feeder streets in this neighborhood in which cars can park for the houses and Cornwall can be better utilized as a transportation corridor for which it was intended. The creation of a bike lane on this street is not threatening drivers. It is not taking away rights of drivers, it is simply making a physical space for bikes to utilize.

I completely support the installation of the Bike Lanes. It is a proper use of available public resources for the greatest good.Yes, there are other streets that need Bike capacity, but that is no reason not to install lanes on Cornwall. Biking is a legitimate for of transportation for many people. Biking is not an option for everyone but for those who it is a means of transportation, there needs to be infrastructure to support it. With the infrastructure to support alternative modes of transportation, it makes it more accessible to others and safer to the ones who already participate. Not to get to cliche but "If you build it, they will come."

There are some great bike lanes around Bellingham like on Bakerview between Fred Meyer to just east of the Guide. These are areas that are dense with business in which people often frequent or work and are dangerous for bike transportation. There are some serious areas where pedestrian access needs to be addressed such as Guide Meridian area and the Lakeway are. Need I mention Holly Street! These areas must be addressed in cars and pedestrians plan on sharing the roads.

As for those who complain about cyclists have a great point. If cycling is going be a formal part of our transportation system, then we need to have higher standards for cyclists behavior and increase enforcement of the laws. Education and awareness is the key factor here. Drivers need to start seeing and recognizing bikes. They are there and they are going to be a means of transportation for many people. Bikers need to be respectful of traffic laws and give as mush space to a car that one would want on a bike. The last important factor in this hopper is infrastructure. They needs to be a stronger presence of accommodation of bikes in our transportation system. Bike lanes, street sweeping, signs, sensors in the road that feel bikes, and community education.

A more functional transportation marketplace increases choices, reduces costs and increases freedoms. This cannot be argued. I applaud the leadership the City Council showed Monday night.

To be continued....

"Red Square Scare"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Black Cloud Thunder

Thank you John for digging up this gem...

Black Cloud Thunder
by Twark Might

It is eleven PM. Thirty feet of snow has fallen in the last twenty minutes. My fingers are frozen solid. The wind is pounding our ropes and our determination. Our belay consists of one piton hammer stuck three millimeters into a rotting hunk of moss. Harry Hampered is vomiting green and brown spew and bleeds copiously from his rock-fall-broken nose as I get ready for the final pitch of our new route on Les Grands Tombés in Chamonix. Worst of all, I think I'm out of batteries and can't listen to my Discman.

I got the call three weeks ago in Boulder. I was sitting at the Airy Green Fairy café with--let's call her--Amy. "Twark," she pressed, sensing doubt perhaps by the way I held my pinky on my espresso-cup hand, "now is when I need you. I'm starting my organic community garden for underprivileged Latino youth with cerebral palsy and autism, and I need your support. I want you here with me and those kids, being a role model and helping." Away off in the distance, September snows dusted the Rockies. Her voice drifted away into the clear empty air as icy couloirs, sheer granite cracks and ripping winds filled my mind with the usual NWA soundtrack: "You think I give a damn about a bitch? I ain't a sucker!" "I've got stuff to do," I told her, throwing a fiver on the table and standing up. Idly, I wondered if she was good for another round in the sack, and then forgot about it as I saw the Big Bad Bodies Gym sign down the street. Time for pain.

Climbing will go faster, I realize, now that I have cut Leif Trailer free from the rope and he has fallen to the death that suits wussy people who refuse to lead dangerous pitches. His screaming is nearly gone from my mind as I start up the pitch. I find a tenuous placement for my left tool. An enormous chunk of ice slams my right shoulder, breaking my arm. I now have only one arm to climb with. As the pitch begins to overhang by 45 degrees, I have to do one-armed dynos with my left tool to ever smaller holds with no feet. I move up thirty feet on no gear, then grab my tool with my teeth so I can use my arm to put in a screw. "Eat my ass, Will Gadd, Raphael Slawinski and Stevie Haston," I mutter through a mouthful of tool. "THIS is mixed climbing."

Alpine climbing is brute amazing pain, punctuated with moments of elation that only the few and the proud-the hard alpinists-will (and should) ever be able to savor. I begin my training routine with six hundred one-armed pull-ups per arm off of my Stubai straight-shafts. Bent tools are for posers. I follow this with six marathons and two thousand push-ups. In the weeks that follow, the frequency of Amy's phone messages drops to around one per day. I get into the Zone, crank up the Joy Division and the Rancid, and get hard. Nights, I rent Masters of Stone videos and wonder at all the losers working boulder problems, prominently displaying their Patagucci and Horse Race clothing. The only way you could get farther from Real Climbing is to sit on a beach and imagine a mountain. And then float up it.

"Secure," I scream at Harry. Towers of black cloud thunder over us as Harry jugs the pitch. He arrives, and I look deep into his eyes, and want to kiss him when he says "You are one crazy motherfucker." This is why I climb in the alpine-to feel so close to both death and another man that kissing him and watching him die become equivalent sensations and equal possibilities. We are close, Harry and I, as we posthole toward the summit up the final snow slope. Then I hear the rumble of the avalanche.

I want to go light. We pack two screws, one nut, three small cams and one two-millimeter rope. Weight is for gumbies. I am naked under my Gore-Tex suit. The harness feels delicious on my scrotum as I test my gear in the privacy of my apartment. We will bring only water, energy bars and caffeine pills, and we will climb for 80 hours non-stop in order to finish the route. Boulder is full of girls with 'biners holding coffee mugs to their backpacks and morons in SUVs with Petzl stickers as I head to the airport. Maybe the hardest moment of the climb is persevering through the dangerous approach slopes of sport, trad rock, bouldering, aid and gym climbing that threaten to avalanche safe idiocy onto me as I work toward The Real Thing.

Hanging with one heel spur, the avalanche roars over me. I vaguely hear Harry screaming as I take his full weight and he dangles in space. Something jogs my Discman, and suddenly the music returns. "Don't call, don't call me white," sings Pennywise, something I can identify with. Who wants to be a member of the lame loser class that dominates? I get energy, and use my arm to haul Harry up. We continue to the top, blink twice, and stumble down toward bed. The next morning, we discuss the route name and grade over coffee. We agree on "Fuck the Entire Universe, Who Are Losers but Don't Know It," and grade the route at Grade VIII, WI7 A5+ 5.15c M22X. Harry, after this experience, will never climb with me again. And so, at the end of the climb, I am only really beginning up the lonely mountain of total alpinist commitment.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Training To Ruin A Marathon
By Paul Consella June 18, 2008 The Onion - Issue 44•25

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When I set my mind to something, there's no turning back, no slowing down, and no excuses. So when I heard about the upcoming 17th Annual Richland County Marathon, I started training immediately. For the last four months, I have been pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion to prepare my mind and body for the ultimate physical challenge: ruining a marathon.
I'm going to ruin the whole thing.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Sure, everyone would like to ruin a marathon, but who among us has the discipline and energy to get up at the crack of dawn morning after morning, through rain, sleet, and snow, and practice handing out cups of vinegar to the frontrunners? Me, that's who. Yes, there are some mornings when it's darn near impossible to keep going—when you feel like you just can't chip one more pothole in the course with a pickax. But endurance ruining is all about pushing through the pain. And when the big day comes, and you make it over that final hurdle, dodge the cops, and shove an old guy into the bushes, you'll know all that training was worth it.
Granted, I've never taken on anything of this magnitude before. Oh, I used to ruin cross-country meets back in high school. And there was that father-son fun ruin I did back in '06, of course, but that was just for charity. If I'm going to needlessly sabotage a full 26.2 miles of road, I have to make sure I'm at the top of my game. No ifs, ands, or buts.
That's why I like to start off my training day bright and early with a full breakfast of espresso, some diet pills, and a small bag of rock candy. It keeps me edgy and volatile when I'm in the thick of disrupting a tight race. Also—and I can't stress this enough—it's very important to stretch properly before and after yelling derogatory remarks at Kenyans. You don't want your legs cramping up on the way to the escape route.
Training rituals like this may seem tiresome and pointless now, but trust me: When you're two hours into terrorizing a highly anticipated marathon, they make all the difference in the world.
After you've been ruining a marathon for a couple hours, your body will just take over and you won't even realize that you're spoiling the day for everyone. I call that getting in the "ruiner's zone." It's like my arms and legs could just keep dumping buckets of cooking oil off a highway overpass forever. When you get there, more than ever, it's important to keep focused and not let your mind wander. You've got a lot of race to wreck, and you've got to keep your mind sharp for what's coming up ahead.
It's good to make a checklist in my mind, so I don't get distracted on race day. Are there any cables or streamers around that I can use as trip wires? Is this a good time to call the fire department to report a massive four-alarm blaze at the 12-mile mark? Do I hip-check the guy in front of me or stop abruptly and trip up the three people behind?
If I make all the right decisions, and really push myself, I could ruin this marathon in record time.
The biggest thing I've learned about training to thwart a marathon is that you have to set small, manageable goals for yourself, and then gradually work up to bigger, more challenging goals. Try starting off with something simple, like printing out "Marathon Continues to the Right" signs and pasting them up by the on-ramp to the interstate. Once you're comfortable with that, you can work your way up to a larger goal, like breaking beer bottles into a sack and dumping them out in front of the wheelchair racers, or loading up on carbs and dairy so you can vomit all over the finish line.
As the day of the marathon approaches, it's easy to psych yourself out by thinking of all the tiny things that could go wrong. The hornets could all die en route to the starting line, or I might forget to slash the tires of the first-aid trucks that follow the runners. But when you're ruining a marathon, you have to push all those little what-ifs out of your head and just go out there and try your hardest.
Sure, you might not end up ruining every inch of the marathon, but just imagine the looks on their faces when 300-plus people fail to cross that finish line.
Race day's tomorrow. No more excuses. No more letting my own fears, or my wife's sobbing pleas, or the combined efforts of city and state law enforcement agencies get in the way of me accomplishing my goal. No, sir. Not this time.
I've trained too hard for that.

Love from the Stiles house

The best dog in the entire universe...

Poppy from the garden

Oh the sweet peas....


The weekend was quite the experience... I made it here to work on this fine Monday morning so I guess it wasn't that bad.

Friday was a blast. We rolled down to Sam's house for a little celebratory BBQ. Sam sold his house, finished school and is on to the next chapter in his life. I am really excited for him. He has some pretty exciting things lined up for himself and I know he will make the best of what comes his way. Andy and Az are getting ever so close to beginning their little journey and climbing trip. Joe celebrated his birthday. The entire crew was there. Better yet, Jess even came and put up with our flagrant spraying of climbing for the evening. I ended up getting pretty fired up and had a lot of fun. I got Brenna all ready to go do a climb in the alpine. I think that we are going to go do Sepentine in mid July. Oh, my mouth got me in trouble. We will have fun and we will get it done, probably get scared as well. Then, there was a direct correlation between the amount of cocktails I consumed and the fun factor. It got pretty out of control to say the least. Thank goodness that John drug my booty home.
Saturday, oh Saturday....
As anyone who saw Friday knew, I was a hurting unit on Saturday. I didn't get out of bed. Bad news. I don't need to do this again for a really long time.

Sunday! Grand Expectations...
Bryan, Joe, John and myself got up early and went to Squamish. We knew we were rolling the dice with weather, but we live in the Northwest, it is what we do best -- guess at the weather. We got to Squamish early, it had rained that morning and things were still damp and it was still drizzling. Our intent was to do the Grand Wall. We were all pretty stoked to fire the thing off. We were shut down by the weather and settled for bouldering in the woods until the sun came out and dried up the Bluffs. I had a great time bouldering, feeling like I could move along on some problems. Sometimes I just need to adjust my paradigm and find a way that I can work a problem. Once the sun started to poke through the trees, we made a move to the Smoke Bluffs, high tailing it to the Penny Lane area. John, being bold as he is, led Partners in Crime, Climb and Punishment, Power Windows and rounded out the afternoon with Up Up and Away. They were all a blast. The sun was shining and we were really casual but got some harder climbing in. I felt increadable climbing. I didn't relize it until I was all tangled up in the climbs that it has been a long time since I climbed some cracks. It is just a total differnt ball game than sport climbing and slab climbing. Wow, I love climbing cracks. There is really just nothing like it. All in all - it was a great day even though we didn't get on the Grand. We just have something to look forward to in the next couple of weeks.

This morning I awoke with renewed energy. The sun comes up so early this time of year. I walked outside and was totally inspired. My front porch was bursting with color from all the flowers. I love them! I ended up scooting out of the house a bit early and biking the long way to work. It was a great way to start the day and week for that matter.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Green tea pound cake

One of the true pleasures in life is food. It is a necessity in the simplest of forms. I love to bake, cakes, cookies, bars, breads... I love it. I am not necessarily that good at it but like everything it takes practice.

Here is a recipe the Annie shared with me...

Green Tea Pound Cake

2 large eggs

1 cup flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 tbsp. maccha

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs. Sitf in dry ingredients.

Bake at350 for 30-40 minutes

Weekend Warrios for the time being

Friday, finally.
Last night John and I went to Skylark's for a little taste of happy hour and some dinner.

My ball and chain.
I feel so blessed to have a job. I have a pretty decent job. It has been an adjustment for me though. I also have to wait 6 months until I can take any leave. Bad timing, it is now summer. I know it could be worse. So I have been dreaming about the vacations that I want to take when the time allows. Last night over dinner John and I thought about an extended stay in Squamish. This topic has came up many times over the years. Now with the situation as it is now, we will probably follow through. It would be nearly perfect in so many ways. Three weeks in Squamish, rest days could be at home, and Squamish, the place is endless. It is going to happen. It is either Squamish or the Valley. Going anywhere but Squamish or the occasional trip to Index, we would loose so much time to travel and money to the same factor. So, when I have some time off, that is what is going down.

In the time being this weekend is up in the air. I really want to get out for the weekend but the weather is questionable. I think that I am going to get my mt. bike running and get my toosh on some trails. Sunday might be a quick trip to Squamish or Index....Weather permitting.

Now, Annie make some divine green tea pound cake and I have a meeting on public speaking to endure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday Nights

We have been bouldering here in town a couple nights a week for a while now. It has been very educational, great training, and an even better excuse to be outside for a couple of hours every night. Our time has been split between the beach at Larabee and Sehome Hill. I have struggled to enjoy Sehome, I think because it has been so cold and the place is north facing as well as being nestled in the woods. I struggle with motivation in those conditions. I was also battled getting used to climbing in the beginning of the season, that feeling of lack of power and gumption. Well, last night it clicked. The fact that I have been climbing a lot more helps and the weather has gotten better also adds to the situation. John, Rafe and Brandon were there to spot for the traverse up high as well as add very helpful moves. These guys are awesome. It is so nice to climb with a group of gents that are so attentive and encouraging. Brenna, Az, and I have made plans to boulder every Tuesday. We have met a couple times now and it has been so productive. They are really supportive and encouraging. It doesn't hurt that we are also all a bit competitive. Last night was a great session. I got further than I have on two problems on the hill. I am just a couple moves away from sending them. I don't know if will happen today because my finger tips are a bit tender just banging on my key board.

1,000 miles later

It happened!

My odometer hit 1,000 miles on this mornings commute. It has been less than a year since I have bought the bike, what a trooper. This has been one of the best investments I have made. It has been a great bike, I haven't had any major problems to date, well not anything that takes a minor adjustment here or there. I never would have imagined how much satisfaction I get from this bike, I really love to ride it. I primarily use it to commute so here is what I have estimated on saving on gas = $200, pretty cool. (I don't know that I save any money though. I eat twice as much when I ride so there goes that money...It is okay with me...).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Squamish for the weekend

There is nothing that makes Monday easier than a weekend of some good healthy play time. I came to the office with a smile on my face and a bounce in my step on Monday morning. Unlike most people, I didn't take the weekend to rest and recover from a week at the office rather I took the weekend to get rid of all the energy I had built up over the week. Mondays are usually for recovery.

Friday night I packed up the truck with Bryan and had a bite at Taco Lobo downtown. It was a chance to say hi to Jess and Miss Abby. Andy and Az met up with us and we all crammed into the Subby and hit the road to the home away from home. We pulled into the parking lot at the Chief and it was empty. This was a surprise to me. Usually the place is littered with people sprawled out on crash pads, sorting gear and staring you down when anyone pulls in. Welcome to Squamish. We were greeted by John and Jimi chillin' in the van playing chess and reveling in the two prior days of climbing. I was so excited to see John, there is nothing like a little separation to make the heart grow fonder.

We all got up bright and early on Saturday morning. John and Jimi went and fired off the Angle's Crest. They did it in record time. John being the amazing person that he is led every pitch, from what he tells me, running, which I believe. It is so great to be around someone so confident in his climbing abilities (mentally and physically). He truly is a natural if I were to ever have to describe him. There is nothing that he turns away from. They are all just possibilities to him. It is a great energy to be around.

Bryan and Andy hit up the Smoke Bluffs for a day of craiging. Kudos to them for the cold beer at the end of the day.

Az and I were ambitious and tangled with Stairway to Heaven. It is an 18 pitch slab/sport climb. It went smoothly. I would not expect anything less climbing with Az. Az is another one of those naturals. She is a joy to climb with. She did a great job on the entire climb. This was my first day back to Squamish in a long time. It took me awhile to get my feet back under me. This is no excuse though, I just need to pony up and get over my nerves. The climb starts in the Bullet Heads, making its way to Bellygood Ledge. From Bellygood it takes the the first two pitches of Millennium Falcon. Az and I were unstoppable to this point. The first pitch off of Bellygood is spooky. Until now the climb is a slab climb, now it ramps up to vertical, exposed, and the bolts are super awkward. Az being all of five feet had to work for the clips. The next pitch was mine and I had a run for my money. The first clip is a tough bouldery move and then continues up to some tenuous traversing moves. I got scarred to say the least. I just didn't want to go for the move, basically chickening out. Az wouldn't take that for an answer and pushed me to go for it. The next thing I know I am out there making the move. My heart racing adrenaline pumping through out my entire body. I was making the next clip. I had done it. What a great feeling. That is why I climb. I was alive in every sense of the word. I am so glad that I hadn't backed off and settled, having someone else bail me out. That is what it is all about. We finished up with the Traverse of the Gods which Az got a kick out of and eventually hiked off and were greeted back at the van by the guys.

Sunday, we wandered through the Grand Wall boulders, bouldering at the super classic spots. It was great to watch John climb. He looks like he just floats through some of the problems. I have a feeling that he will send some V8's by the end of summer. I am excited to see this. He is motivated. John, Jimi, Bryan and I called it a short day, drove back to Bellingham and spent the evening with my dad for Father's Day. We had a great dinner of ribs (his favorite), salad from the garden, followed by pie and ice cream. My dad is the greatest, followed by closely by Bill.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bellingham Business Tidbits

Oh what a pitty...
We missed the Deming Log Show yet another year. I am going to make a point of taking John for a day sometime. I have so many memories of running around the grounds as a girl. It really is just a fun and unusual thing to do. It also is a bit of history. This area was established in part by the logging industry, it is crucial to understand this in order to understand our history/identity/culture of the Pacific Northwest.

I have gleaned a couple of interesting tidbits from the Bellingham Harald over the weekend. The first is of no surprise to me. Through my early years of college I think my friends and I kept House of Orient in business. This was when they were in their former location, a bit further down Holly Street. For some reason, Jimmy, opening a spa is of no surprise. He is a beautiful man, tight jeans, even tighter shirts (is that possible?), sparkling rings, and designer shoes...Perfect....

"Jimmy’s Personal Care is expected to be open in the first week of July at 1327 11Th St. in Fairhaven. Owner Jimmy Nguyen said the spa will offer a variety of services, including pedicures, manicures and facials. Nguyen ran House of Orient for 12 years before selling it last year. “I wanted to do something different that still involved serving people, and this is it,” Nguyen said. “I can’t thank all the people who’ve supported me for 12 years at the restaurant, so I hope they can come here to relax.” … "

This doesn't even need an explanation. I am so so so excited to have yet another restaurant in Bellingham. The selection these days is pretty slim. Boundary Bay needs some competition. They need their bubble bursted. BB clean your kitchen, loose the lame waitstaff, take some time with your food in preparation....The list goes on. BB get over yourself because you might have a decent brewery in town. I can't wait to check out what they have to offer.

Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen is now aiming to be open soon after the Fourth of July, but Mari and Will Kemper are enjoying this stage of the process: Brewing and testing the beer.
The Kempers had hoped to be open at 601 W. Holly St. in May, but have been slowed by various obstacles that typically pop up when remodeling a building.
They are now at the point where they are brewing the beer to make sure the equipment is in working order.
“It’s going pretty well right now, although we know people are anxious for us to get open,” said Mari Kemper, one of the founders of Thomas Kemper Beers and Sodas. “We have a lot of people peeking through the windows, watching what we’re doing.”
Kemper said they plan to start opening just portions of the brewery and restaurant at first, until they have the work flow correct, so they can prevent people from waiting too long for food or beer.
“We want to make sure we have the proper staffing and setup, because first impressions will be important,” Kemper said. "

Friday, June 13, 2008


Here I go!

It seems to be that I am starting to get in the swing of things. I am headed up to Squamish, BC with Bryan Dorr, Az and Andy to meet John and Jimi for the weekend. I am so excited to get the crew all up there and have a couple days of climbing. Tomorrow I hope to get on something longer, either Angel's Crest or Stairway to Heaven. Sunday will be a day of the Bluffs I imagine. Good weather, good friends, great climbing, what more could I ask for? More of it?

This is last year in Squamish. Here is to another great time in the Squish!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Special treatment

After pulling a long day at the office yesterday, I came home to two very busy guys. My wonderful hubby and Jimi had cleaned the entire house, including vacuuming and sweeping the floors. The lawn was mowed to boot. What is a girl to say? Thanks guys, it was a wonderful treat to come home to. Have a wonderful time in Squamish!

Getting the point across

Here is a mouthful I found in the editorial section of this week's Cascadia Weekly...
I just found it really provocative.

I don’t have any sympathy for
all you fast food eatin’, SUV drivin’,
Costco shoppin’, sprawl lovin’
folks complaining about “high” gas
prices. You haven’t seen anything
yet, you AM radio lovin’, Starbucks
drinkin’, debt-and-waistband heavy
Americans. The very lifestyle you
hold so red white and blue is based
fundamentally on black. Crude? Yes,
I am; but I’m talking about oil. Your
food, clothes, trips to grandma in
the Midwest, silky panties, vitamin
supplements: All consumer products
are linked some way to black gold.
Good luck! Maybe it’s time to burn
off that high fructose, partially hydrogenated
belly and get your ass
on a bike.
We are entering a crucial time
in which our personal hypocrisies
must be fundamentally and intently
broken down.
—Greg Craigers, via email

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Subdued Excitement

I feel that Bellingham is really quiet these days. The grey skies must be keeping people hunkered down. This last batch of weather has been a dozy. The Northwest can't seem to kick the gloomy weather. When the sun finally returns and we can come out of hibernation will be a glorious time. People will come piling out of their homes, ready to soak up the few months of sun that we receive. I am itching to get out and ride my bike in the sun and get up to Squamish to play in all of its magnificence.

Summer.... Bring it on!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Westfalia Woes

Home. Home safe and sound... Sometimes there is just no place like home.

This weekend was an adventure!

Friday night was great, we were going to leave town right after work but hung out in the 'Ham bone' for one more night to celebrate Andy's birthday. It was well worth it I must add. Az created a feast as always with the friends and regular gang there with bells and whistles.

We left Saturday morning for the East side trying to dodge the wet Bellingham weekend that was ahead of us. Jimi is in town from Austin, Texas for 10 days. So, with his presence we got motivated to leave town, looking for some dry rock to climb. We took Bryan's Westie over the pass to the drier climate of Leavenworth. Saturday was casual as seems to be the norm these days. We went up to Carino Crags and did the Regular Route and then decided that burgers, beer and bouldering was what we wanted to do for the rest of the day. Gustov's in Leavenworth served up a mean burger and off to the boulders after a few pints we went. We camped in a poached site right above Barney's Rubble. Needless to say the motivation was hard to summon after a hamburger and brew. Who would of thought... (I will go back in the future to boulder, I think that I will skip the cragging. I have enjoyed bouldering more than the routes in Leavenworth.) The next morning We got up and huffed it up to the Snow Creek Wall and ventured up Outer Space. What a classic route. The last two pitches are great, worth all the effort to get to the route. It was a true pleasure to climb with Bryan as always.

Burger number two followed the route at Heidle Burger, leaving Leavenworth around 8:45pm Sunday night. We all were aware it was going to be a late night. None of us knew just how long it was going to be. We weren't even out of Tumwater Canyon when things started to turn on us. First the battery started to smoke inside the van. We rushed to the side of the road, John ready to attack the situation with a fire extinguisher in hand. Bandaging that situation, we continued on home. It was the end of the line in the coming miles. Coming on slowly and intensifying as we continued, the right rear wheel sounded like it was going to fall off. Not knowing the severity or the fact the none of us had cell phone service/batteries, we spent the night just shy of Steven's Pass. Monday morning, after John and I called our jobs trying to explain that we were stuck on the side of the road on the pass in a broken down van (I hope I still have a job to go back to on Tuesday...), we embraced the situation and waited for the tow truck and Jess to come pick us up. Around noon Jess showed up and drove us to get our third burger in two days (and the best one I might add) at Zeke's. Finally 24 hours late and three hamburgers later we rolled into Bellingham and here I sit. So happy to be in my own house. Not to say that I didn't enjoy in some strange way my time smooshed up against three guys on yet another adventure.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

almost there..

My wonderful trusty, fast and beautifully Orange bike just hit 900 miles on the odometer. Under a year old and never a problem, not even a flat tire. When it hits 1000, probably next week, I am going to give it really special treatment. This bike has been the best decision I have made in a while.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Getting out the door

As the old saying goes," sometimes the hardest part is getting out the door." This has been my mantra these days. When I am lacking the motavation to get out and play, excersice or commute I rember that I know that I will be happy for pushing myself, finding inspiration and following through.
This morning I stood in the bedroom at 6am. I just stood there. It was drizzeling like it has been doing for the last couple of days and like it is going to do for the next 10 days. To bike or not... John reminded me that I would enjoy the ride. I thought to myself that the hardest part is getting out the door. I eventually rode to work and as soon as I did I was so glad that I did not give into the light spring drizzle. I am at work and so glad I choose to ride my bike, just like (almost) every time.
Finding inspriration is a powerful tool in getting the most out of life. It seems that the more I open myself to possibilities the more I come across positive and encouraging mementos. In the past couple of days I have found an imence wealth of energy from my girlfriends. They have proven to me that I can't be a full person without girlfriends in my life. These women have shown me so much support in life, relationships and in adventures. Bouldering with Brenna and Az renewed my love for climbing, I was reminded that it is imprtant to push myself and encourage others to do so as well. There is nothing like some friendly competition to try hard.