Saturday, December 29, 2007

Blog Post Overload

Yes it's been a little while since I've posted.

However, you can get your dose of blog post overload over at Jessica's blog.

She did a great job of covering everything we've been up to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Best Sandwich, EVER!

The sandwich to which I am referring is the cold turkey sandwich. However, this isn't your typical cold turkey sandwich, it is THE cold turkey sandwich. The sandwich of all sandwiches.

Ordinarily one enjoys this sandwich immediately after Thanksgiving. As many of your know, we spent our Thanksgiving in Southern Utah so we didn't get to enjoy homemade Thanksgiving dinner.

Well we had a gift certificate and come coupons for a turkey and we picked one up after Thanksgiving. Since it was going to be free I got us as much turkey as I could for free and we ended up with a 21.5 lb turkey! We cooked it up right nice on Sunday and had a small Thanksgiving dinner.

The best part happened Monday for lunch, the cold turkey sandwich. I look forward to this sandwich all year long. Everyone has their own way of making the sandwich and I have to say all those ways are wrong.

There is only one way to make the cold turkey sandwich, Miracle Whip (trust me, it's essential), lots of cranberry jelly, and ample amounts of turkey.

So far I've enjoyed three cold turkey sandwiches and there are many more to enjoy. If you don't believe me that it is the best sandwich I'll make you one.

Monday, December 17, 2007

This is 100

Wow, phenomenal isn't it? This is post #100 for me on my blog. I thought there'd be more fanfare. You probably thought there'd be something more exciting. Well...Are you ready for this?

I bet if you squint hard enough fireworks will shoot out of your computer.

Did it work?

UPDATE: Apparently this post is boring and it sucks. Jessica started reading it and didn't finish. She said "I got bored". Hmmmmmm...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Green Christmas Ideas

As wonderful as this time of year is and how great Christmas is, it must be the most wasteful holiday of the year. Everyone is exchanging gifts (more products produced for this time of year) that are no doubt boxed up and wrapped, sometimes shipped, sometimes delivered in person. All of these things equal waste.

This has been on my mind as I have been preparing for the holidays. I have been contemplating what I can do and what I can help others do to reduce our impact during this time of year. I recently found an article in a Wild Oats magazine that I picked up last time I was there, and I wanted to share some of the ideas:

-Conventional wrapping paper (especially extra-glossy & metallic papers) can't be recycled a lot of the time. Use newspaper, paper grocery bags, or even canvas bags as wrapping instead. Many of these alternative wrappings can be colored or decorated to look festive. (This will also save you some cash. How much do spend on the wrapping that is just going to get ripped apart and discarded?)
-The first idea often doesn't feel very "holiday". If you feel you must use festive wrapping paper reuse papers, ribbons, gift bags, boxes, etc whenever you can. When buying new paper avoid metallic and extra-glossy paper, and buy recycled paper whenever possible.
-Instead of shipping packages (especially heavy packages) purchase gift cards or something local for the recipient.
-Avoid products with excess packaging or better yet give a homemade gift or a baked gift in a reusable tin or container.

Implementing some, or all, of these ideas isn't hard and every little bit helps. I am far from perfect as I have purchased gifts this year online and am having them shipped to our house. All it takes is everyone doing at least a little. I am, however, wrapping all of our gifts in newspaper and other papers, bags, and boxes we have saved from previous occasions.

What are other ideas that some of you have for reducing our impact during this time of year?

Friday, December 07, 2007

Here I sit, still at work

The office is completely dead, yet I'm still here, what can you do though? Hopefully leaving soon. Sometimes things take longer than expected and it's unfortunate that it has happened on a Friday.

It has been nuking all day so that should make for an interesting drive home. Tonight Jessica got a babysitter for us so we can go climbing at the gym together. After that we'll be cleaning the house and getting stuff ready for Penelope's birthday party tomorrow.

The new snow will be extremely beneficial for skiing at Alta! This is going to perhaps be the best first birthday ever (who else got to go skiing on their first birthday?)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Christmas Came Early

Well sort of...The stuff I won from the Adventure Contest finally arrived. The crazy/best part is it all arrived on the same day!

I scored a new ski helmet, goggles, and sunglasses from Smith (although the sunglasses weren't in the box). I've had the same ski helmet for about five years now. It is a super old design, have practically no ventilation, and it made me look awfully funny. The goggles are super rad. They are the new I/O. The goggles feature a design that is truly interchangeable. I am very excited to get out and give the new headwear a whirl.

I also got some nice "casual" shoes from Montrail. They are super comfy and it will be nice to have a pair of shoes to wear that aren't either Chacos or trail running shoes. Although I still prefer Chacos to anything.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thanksgiving in Southern Utah

This year we decided to take a trip for the Thanksgiving holiday. We decided to pack up and head to Southern Utah for some places we haven't been to. We went Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks.

We had both been to Bryce when we were younger, but didn't remember much of it, and neither of us had ever been to Capitol Reef. The original plan was to get a hotel for Thanksgiving night and then camp. After checking the weather and seeing that the nightly lows were supposed to be in the mid-teens, we opted for a hotel every night. It actually work out quite nicely.

We were able to find Thanksgiving dinner at the Ruby's Restaurant, inside the Ruby's Best Western. We were also able to find a nice indoor pool and hot tub as well. The place we stayed had closed theirs for the season.

We spent Friday driving the scenic drive, hitting up the lookouts, and then hiking down through the bottom of Bryce Canyon. I was absolutely amazed by the formations. It definitely ranks highly in my favorite national parks list. The hike through the bottom of the canyon was the best. Even though we passed quite a few people at the start and at the end, we were able to find solitude through the middle section. The perspective from being down in the canyon was amazing.

Saturday we drove "scenic" Highway 12 to Capitol Reef. This was the most amazing section of road I have ever been on in my life. As you're heading north you are on top of a plateau (maybe it's a mesa) and then all of a sudden you drop down into the bottom and your amidst slick rock, canyons, and huge walls. As you climb out the other side you quickly find yourself on top of a spine is wide enough to fit a two-lane highway and a couple feet of dirt on each side before the drop into the canyon, on each side. Unfortunately the camera was packed away in the trunk so we didn't get any pictures. I will make a trip just to drive that section of road again.

By the time we got to Capitol Reef we had just enough time to get in one hike down a side canyon that gave some great views of the main section of the park. The huge sandstone walls (and splitters) were awe inspiring. We saw absolutely no one else on the trail and enjoyed complete solitude the whole time. I have a feeling that a trip will be in the works in the springtime to make it down to climb some of the cracks we saw.

We spent Sunday driving home. The nice part of the drive was we spent most of the time driving on Highways and little time on the freeway. We actually drove on a lot of roads that neither of us had been on and we saw lots of places that neither of us had seen. While on the back roads we were able to pass a guy in his jacked-up truck, with his four-wheeler in the bed, and a sticker that said "Shut up hippy". It made me laugh.

Here's an album of our trip (I went back to Bubbleshare because Flickr is lame.

BubbleShare: Share photos - Safe Toys

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Big 1 Triple 0

I'm sure all of you didn't notice, but this blog just rolled over 1,000 visits since I added the counter earlier this year. It isn't a momentous occasion but one I wanted to mention anyway.

Okay, I'll admit, it was easy fodder for a quick blog post.

A full blog post report on our Thanksgiving Southern Utah trip will be coming later this week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Grandeur Peak

This past Saturday we decided to hike Grandeur Peak here in Salt Lake. Grandeur is the first peak between Parleys Canyon and Millcreek Canyon. I had previously run up the Millcreek side earlier this year so we opted to tackle the West Ridge. It has been a little while since we last hiked and thought it would be a good test run before this weekend.

The trail starts right at the mouth of Parleys and ascends 3100 vertical feet in 1 3/4 miles. STEEP! Needless to say Jessica and I both got worked. It was fairly grueling on the way because the trail is so steep. It had been a long time since either of us had put in any kind of vert.

It was a great day for hiking. The temps were a little low, but once we got moving it felt very nice. There was hardly any wind until we reached the ridge just below the summit, but we only had to endure the chilly wind for a few minutes.

Once we reached the summit we were rewarded with outstanding panoramas of the Salt Lake Valley, the Wasatch Range, Parley's Canyon, and beyond.

It was a beautiful day to out hiking. It is by far one our most favorite things to do together. Unfortunately we didn't get out as much as we should have this summer, but sometimes that happens. We will definitely be taking advantage of this weekend and the remaining days until the winter arrives (which I am praying will be sooner rather than later.).

You can see the rest of the pictures from our hike here. (I can't remember how to post the Flickr slideshow in my blog...I know there is a way, or at least there used to be a way. If anyone knows please tell me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Do you know why I pulled you over?

"Well no sir" (okay...I knew).
"You were going 44 in a 30."

As it turns out I didn't know I was going 44 (didn't look) and didn't know it was 30 (didn't see the sign).

That was the glorious event that transpired driving home from the Buchanan's two Fridays ago. I completely forgot to blog about it, but then as I was paying my fine online just now I remembered I needed to post about it.

The most ironic part of the whole thing is we just renewed our auto insurance in October and for the first time since Jess and I have known each other we both had completely clean driving records and were bumped up to the "highest" level of insurance.

So I just paid 132 bills my speeding mistake. 82 of them go to pay the fine and 50 of it goes to traffic school so the ticket doesn't go on my record. So we're out 132 clams but at least we get to keep the good standing with the insurance.

All that is left is going to traffic school.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Good thing the sewer got fix...

...because I got really sick last night.

Penelope got sick Thursday night, had her first throwing up incident. I think whatever she has she gave to me because last night I had my first throwing up experience in about 10 years. Definitely didn't enjoy it, but it did actually make me feel better. My day has been spent trying to catch up on sleep and getting better.

Did I mention that being sick sucks?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Sorry sir, you can't use your own bathroom

Wednesday late afternoon we get a paper put on our front door. It is from a company saying they have be contracted by Salt Lake City Sanitation to install a new pipe in the public sewer. The paper then continued to say the installation would be happening on Friday at 8:00 am and that we shouldn't use the sewer at all during that time (washer, sink, toilet, shower, etc) because our private service line will be blocked and any water usage will flood our structure.

It is now 10:00 pm Friday night and we still can't use anything. The paper said the process would take 10-18 hours to complete! The good news is I was at work most the day and Jess was watching some kids from the ward for half the day.

The bad news is something the workers did caused a bunch of sewage to come up in our toilet (like the toilet overflowed) and it got all over the floor. The worst part is we haven't been able to clean it up because we can't flush the toilet.

Gross...and lame.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

No Posts

I was called out in the comments of my last post (thanks Honey!) for not posting very often. Here's how my days have gone for the past week or so:

Wake up, go to work, work all day, come home, eat dinner, play with Jess and Penelope for a few, work until bedtime. LAME! Work has been super-extra-wicked busy lately and it is spilling over into my home life. I'm not very stoked on it but hopefully after this weekend it won't happen anymore for awhile.

Halloween was fun. Penelope was a spider, she was cute. Jess and I dressed up as Jim and Pam from "The Office" Check us out on Jessica's blog.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What? Post Regularly?

So apparently I have "blogpostirregularisophrenia-syndrome". Look it up on Wikipedia, I'm sure it's a real thing. I always have the best intentions of posting a couple times a week, but for some reason it never really turns out.

Here's exciting stuff that is going on:

-Got Fritschi Freeride AT Bindings.
-Started using Google Analytics for a project I'm helping with.
-It snowed a bunch last week.
-Ski season is coming
-Cute pictures of Penelope (my goodness she is getting big!)
-And my wife is pretty much the coolest wife...ever!
-Oh yeah, did I mention ski season is coming?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'll Fritschi Freeride Your Face

It's taken me about 3 years, but I finally picked up some Fritschi Freeride bindings. They are the burliest alpine touring bindings on the market. For the past few years I've been rocking alpine trekkers with my alpine bindings. So I sold the trekkers, sold the bindings, and ripped the mounting plate off my skis and I'll be mounting the Freerides straight on. In all I've shaved probably close to 10 pounds off my touring setup. This winter will be a crazy touring winter. I'm very excited.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sushi Sampler Day

You know it's a good day when you get free sushi!

Today at about 3:30 I realized I hadn't been out of the office all day. I needed to get out for a walk. My friend Ben and I walked over to the Woats to see if the new Mountain Gazette was in (it was, hoo-haw). Then we decided that wasn't a long enough walk so we headed over to Smiths. We walked in and headed toward the deli/bakery area. At first I thought my eyes deceived me. I looked, saw, shook my head, and looked again. Yes it was true, it was sushi sampler day. I have heard tale of sushi sampler day but haven't ever been able to partake. The stand was out and was half full. I helped myself to four pieces (tried one of each). It was delicious.

What's better than sushi? Free sushi of course!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Adventure Par-tay

Last night was the annual Backcountry Adventure party. It's the equivalent of most company's Christmas party, but this was better. In my post about last year's adventure party I mentioned how the employees all rack up points for recreating. Those points put you in a raffle for some rad gear prizes. Once again, this year I didn't win any of the "big" prizes, but that is all right. All the employees got these super rad Backcountry branded Skullcandy headphones, an Ogio duffle bag, and a windstopper beanie. Of course everything has the Goat on it.

Each of the guests also received a beanie and headphones (that was rad). All of the employees won door prizes as well. This year I won a Smith package. I'll be getting a new ski helmet, goggles, and sunglasses. I also won a pair of Montrail shoes. Could you say I am super stoked? Yes you could.

In the tradition of last year's post (does one year make up a tradition?) here is a breakdown of my points:

5 camping points (5 nights camping), 9 hiking points, 5 paddling points, 22 climbing points, 25 trail running points, 46,572 vertical feet ascended, 21 road biking points (hooray for biking to the carpool), and 297 pieces of trash picked up.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A great quote

There is a Smith's grocery store about a block from my office. We usually walk over there once a day to get some breakfast or some snacks. One morning, about a month ago, we were walking back to the office and the wind was blowing in our faces and it was sleeting. I made some comment about how the weather and precipitation was cold. My co-worker Walt said: "A true warrior isn't afraid to feel nature on his face."

A few seconds later another co-worker, Mike, said: "What if a bear's humping your face?"

I laughed all day about that quote. As weird as it is, Mike had a point.

It's probably not that funny to anyone else because you weren't there and you don't know Mike, but I think it's hilarious. Just thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I love spam!!

No I'm not talking about the wonderful meat from the blue can (I say wonderful yet I've never had SPAM, perhaps I should go buy some). I got the best email today while I was at work. I wrote it down so I could share it with all of you:

"Hi! I am Valentina and would like to meet you.
Email me to: onlinelove@****.ru (I added the asterisks)
I’ll be waiting. Bye!"

The fact that this beautiful women (only beautiful women send emails like this) sent this email to me is pure luck, no...wait, it must be fate! She wants to meet me and she's waiting! It must be my lucky day. Oh, and grammar isn't a strong point. I particularly like "email me to"... I didn't think a person could fit in an email.

What blows me away is someone out there (probably more than a few people) will think this is legit and reply.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's never too early...

Yesterday the weather did this (it's hard to see, but those are snowflakes):

So I did this:

It may be a little early but I got excited so I started getting my skis ready. I was taking the bindings off and ripping the integrated plate off the skis so I can mount a pair of Fritschi Diamir Freeride Plus Bindings. These are super rad touring bindings that I've been wanting for a few years. I'll sell my current bindings and trekkers. This will lighten my set up by a few pounds and make touring a bit easier.

It really is never too early to get stoked for ski season.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

My First Post

I have started writing for the Backcountry Blog. I am super excited about it. It is run by a guy I work with whose name is Kendall (powstash). I am definitely appreciative of him letting me join the list of authors and contribute my thoughts and perspectives on the blog. I'll probably be posting monthly. You can check out my first post here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Weekly Catch-up

This has been a fairly busy week with quite a bit of stuff going on. I was planning individual posts each night for each event we attended but that didn't happen so I'll be rolling most all of it into one post.

The first big activity of the week happened Tuesday night. The jazz great, Dave Brubeck, was in playing in Salt Lake for the last time ever. He is 86 years old and most likely won't be touring much any more. When I heard he was coming to town I jumped on the chance to get us tickets. I am a relatively new fan of Dave Brubeck. I first heard his music about four years ago and have been a fan ever since that first time.

At 86 Dave can still play extremely well. Here were a couple of highlights from the show:

-His 65 wedding anniversary is coming up. He told the crowd that his wife asked him "Dave, since our anniversary is next week will you play that song that you wrote for me". He told us he was going to play that song and that it was written so long ago that he said "Iola (his wife), if it's not what you remember, don't blame me!" It was quite funny, he was very cute about it.

-The Quartet played a series of three waltzes that Dave had written. He was commenting that they had recently been back to Vienna and that "I try to write a new waltz every time I go to Vienna, then I realized that is just stupid." He was quite funny.

-One of the biggest highlights of the show was watching these older gentlemen (sax player was probably in his 50s, the drummer and bassist had to be in their 60s, and Dave is 86) completely rock out. The solos were awesome. The sax player was extremely talented (you'd have to be to play with Dave Brubeck). The best part was the drummer. He really only had two solos during the whole show but he rocked hard! Imagine a skinny, tall, white-haired, old guy in suit, completely rocking out! It was awesome. When the time came for his solos he took advantage. I've been to a lot shows in my time (a lot) and this guy rocked the drums harder than anyone I've ever seen. During his solos Dave would stand up and lean on his piano and just watch. He'd start nodding his yeah, rocking out a bit, and saying "yeah, yeah". It was awesome! I wish I would have had a video camera.

I feel completely honored that I was able to go see such a talented man play. He has been touted as "one of the 5 greatest jazz musicians of his time" and "one of the greatest ever". His influence has been immeasurable. It was seriously amazing to see the man play.

Wednesday night we had a BBQ at my cousins house here in SLC. It's been a long time since we've gotten together so it was good to catch up. We ate some good food, hung out, slacklined a little, and had a good time.

Thursday night was the 14th annual Utah Avalanche Center fundraiser at Black Diamond. I got a ticket from work (thanks Adam). A ton of people showed up. We had a good contingent there from work. Rico's catered and it was delicious. I ate way too many tamales, rice, beans, and chips & salsa. It was nice to get out and show my support to something that is extremely valuable. I swear every year they face a budget crisis because of cuts in funding.

Last night was climbing with Matt. We went to the Storm Mountain area in Big Cottonwood canyon (yes there again) to do a little two pitch trad climb I had read about. I had read good things about it. The route completely sucked! I led the first pitch and it was a junk show. The climbing wasn't good, the quality of the route lacked, and there weren't many placements for gear and the ones that were there weren't that great. After Matt seconded the first pitch we looked around and saw that the top of Goodro's Wall was about 45 meters away. We got the half-brained idea to traverse over to the top of Goodro's, rappel, and the top-rope that. We thought it could salvage the crappy climb we just did. Well the traverse was interesting, included a little bushwhacking, Matt blowing a cam at the top of a short choss pile that was on top of the 100 foot cliff, and sliding down it 6 feet or so before stopping (he was on belay). By the time we got the rappel set up it was dark. I couldn't believe it, the route sucked that bad. At least we were climbing. Come to find out the first pitch does suck and the second pitch is supposed to make it worthwhile. Now I feel the need to go back just to do the second pitch, but I don't think I will.

After we got back from the canyon we went and pulled on some plastic over at RockReation. It was good time. I love climbing at the gym because you get so utterly burned that it hurts to open the car door, shift gears, turn the steering wheel, or turn a door knob.

This morning was quick run up Millcreek Canyon and then lunch with some of Jessica's coworkers.

Now that I am done blogging it's time to figure out what we're going to do tonight.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

I Love Free Food

This post is a few days late but I am posting it anyway. During the day Thursday Jessica went to go do some "crafty" things with our friend Lisa. Lisa tells Jessica about some new restaurant by Target that is supposedly giving away free food.

When I got home from work we were trying to decide what to eat for dinner when Jessica tells me about this place. We decided to go and see what we could find. It wasn't too difficult to find, it was the only place in the area that had a line of people around the building. Turns out it is a newly opened franchise of Chipotle (who by the way have the worst website so check out the information here).

Since we had the good fortune of learning about the free food from Adam and Lisa we gave them a call and said "free food is on, get down here." The only caveat was it was 6:40 and the Chipotle staff were cutting the line off at 7:00. Unfortunately they arrived shortly after 7 and were denied access. They then came up in line with us to chat and the chubby, crabby owner approached us and said "if you weren't here by 7 you can't get food". We told him that was fine. The best part was Adam and Lisa hung out with us a bit and the employees kept eagle eying us to make sure they weren't going to get any food.

Jessica and I were able to partake of the food and it was delicious. It was completely free (well we did have to stand in line for an hour but it was worth the $20 in food we got). The burritos were fantastic and we even got a taco "for Penelope".

After we got the food we met Adam and Lisa on the grass by the parking lot. They had gone across the street to get Cafe Rio. We gave them the taco so they could have some free food too.

The free food tactic worked. It got a lot of people to the restaurant (I bet the restaurant gave out a few thousand dollars worth of free food), it got noticed by a lot of people, and they made plenty of people happy with free food. I think that we'll be heading back there again and will, of course, pay.

What I think will be interesting to watch is to see if the the quality of the food decreases or if they reduce portion sizes. The burritos we got were humongous. If portions stay the same it will be well worth the money. Unfortunately I've seen it happen too many times in the past. A new restaurant opens, the food is great, portion sizes are generous, and customers are happy. Once the restaurant gets rolling along, the excitement of the new restaurant wears off, things get a little tight, and the restaurant does one of two things: they either cut portion sizes or get lower quality ingredients. I can't think of a worse thing the restaurant can do. I worked for a restaurant that did exactly those two things (instead of other, better money saving tactics). It ultimately led to their demise. Luckily for me I left the restaurant a few months before they went out of business.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I like them thar cracks

Tonight I was able to get out and do a little trad climbing with my friend Matt. We went up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Storm Mountain picnic area to go and sample of couple of 5.5s we haven't ever climbed. Yeah 5.5 is a really easy grade for us to climb but we didn't care. The routes looked fun and even though it didn't push our limits climbing it was fun and nice to get in practice placing gear.

The crux of the climbs was the approach. You had to traverse on this 3 foot ledge, about 15 feet above the river. It was a little crazy because neither of us had done it before and we weren't quite sure where to go. Then we had to do some easy fourth class climbing for about 30 feet to get to the base of the climbs.

Once at the base we had our choice of two 5.5 climbs. Both ascended crack systems. Matt took the first lead on the climb in the corner. The climb was about 50 long. I was to snap one pic of Matt on lead.

I lead the second route. It was about 50 feet of broken crack climbing. The climb was super fun. There were some nice jams and pro sunk really well.

While we were climbing the alpenglow on the mountains up the canyon was amazing. I was planning on snapping some pics after rappelling the first route but I forgot.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Who listens to what?

Typically I'm not one to post random pictures that are found on the internet. Nor am I really one to pass them around. I had to make an exception for this one though. My friend Mike from work sent me the link to this one and I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. I showed it to Jessi, but she didn't think it was funny. Walt, another friend from work, thought it was great. I still think it's great.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

This Week in Words

The past week was an interesting one. It started with our Labor Day weekend stay up at Louis Lake. We had gone up their with our friends whom we do our yearly "Crab 'n Climb" with. It was an okay time. We didn't get out climbing like we wanted but we definitely had a good time hanging out in the mountains. On Monday we were treated with a high altitude thunder/hail storm. It was great to just be up in the mountains away from cell reception, the internet, technology, and the busy-ness of life.

Tuesday started the work week. I woke in the morning feeling a little off but chalked it up to being hungry and a little tired. I went to work but after a couple of hours I was feeling worse. I was able to talk Ben from the carpool into bringing me home. My stomach hurt, my joints were starting to ache and my skin was all tingly. When I got in my car to drive home it was about 100 degrees inside the car. While driving home I had a couple of shivers and thought to myself "that isn't good". I got home about 2:00 and almost immediately crashed for two and a half hours. When I woke up I felt worse than I did before. I full on had the shivers, stomach cramps, tingly skin, my kidneys hurt, my joints ached, and other stuff. I'm not sure it if it was food related or if it was a bug.

Wednesday I was still sick and worked from home. I incrementally felt better as the day went on but still felt fairly awful. It was nice because I was able to watch Penelope a little before the nanny came to pick her up. Since I was sick we had the nanny take Penelope to her house to watch her.

I woke up Thursday feeling somewhat better, the only thing really ailing me was stomach cramps. I went to work and was able to stay all day, which was good.

Friday was a little better than Thursday, only mild discomfort. I hadn't exercised all week and was feeling good enough to go for a short session at the climbing gym. It felt good to get moving again. Jessi and I were able to hang out after that, which is always good!

Saturday was supposed to the Mid Mountain Marathon but after being sick all week I decided it was probably better to not run 26 miles. Instead I went climbing with Matt. We went and climbed Pentapitch up Little Cottonwood Canyon. It was a great morning for climbing and I got in my first full 5.8 trad lead! It was awesome! On our rappel down we decided to drop in and climb Sasquatch, this great .9+ finger crack.

While I was out climbing Jessi got together with Lisa for a little sewing project action (I'm going to let Jessi talk about it :) ). That night Jessi's sister and brother-in-law, Lisa (different than the previous Lisa) and Chris, were in town from New York. We went to eat at Tepanyaki, this great Japanese steakhouse where the cook in front of you, flip shrimp in your mouth, and cook incredible food. We had a great time catching up and spending time with them. They crashed out our place and then had to catch a 6:30, which Jessi was amazing about and took them to the airport. :)

Today we took my brother and sister-in-law, Zach and Alisa, some food since they had their baby a week and a half ago. It was fun to go and see little Aidan. It blows my mind to think that Penelope was ever that small. It was fun to hold such a little baby again and it did make me miss Penelope being that small. We had a good time "talking parent" with them. For once in my life I was able to impart some wisdom to my older brother!

After we came home we had a good evening together as a family before the week begins. We did the dished, played with Penelope, and gave her a bath. To end the post here are a couple of great videos of Penelope in the bath laughing her head off! The first is of her cracking up to me playing peek-a-boo with her rubber ducky and making it dance. The second is of her almost falling over whenever I would put one of her little piggy toys on the edge of the tub and flick it into the tub with my finger (you also get the bonus of hearing one of her growls). It was the best bath-time I've had with her so far!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I finally attended orientation

I've been married for almost five years, have lived in this particular apartment for almost a year and a half, and I finally just went through "organization orientation". I am sure everyone is familiar with the common piling up of stuff. At one point the apartment (or house for that matter) starts off clean but as life goes on things will get put in random places as opposed to where they are supposed to go. One area will get cleaned off, stuff put off to the side with the best intentions of putting it away later. As time moves forward more and more stuff starts piling up and more and more good intentions are made.

Today Jessi did a big organization and put away of all these little piles of stuff. All of the "I'll put that away in a little while" stuff was put away. I will admit I was guilty of much of the stuff. When I got home from work the place looked great. I told Jessi she was amazing and how grateful I was for her organizing (I also felt a little guilty for not having helped or done it myself). To this she replied "thanks and now it's time for orientation".

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"See the bookshelf by the bed? Church books go on the top shelf. 'Current reading list' books on the second shelf, not on the floor. The bottom shelf is up for grabs, but it is not a place to stack magazines, nor is the floor next to the shelf a place to stack magazines." To this I replied "well what goes on top of the dresser then?" Jessi's reply "nothing!" I suppose this might be a good time to state that I am notorious for stacking magazines I am reading/read and my many book reading projects on top of the dresser next to the bed or on the floor next to the bed.

"When you are done with something put it back in its right place, just don't set it somewhere random." I think this is something that is taught to small children, but for some reason I will have bouts of amnesia and completely forget this concept.

There were a couple more great quotes but I didn't write them down. Perhaps my sweet wife will provide a couple more in the comments?

I'm really not a slob, I am typically a very tidy person. It just seems that on occasion things tend to get a little out of hand. Jessi and I certainly had a very good laugh after going through "orientation". I think it is awesome that we can give each other a hard time without offending and we know that the other person is just joking around. I love my wife!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

What kind of ice cream is that?

My Saturday started off running a little late. My friend Matt and I had planned on running to Desolation Lake this morning. We were supposed to meet at 7:00, jump into one car, and then drive to the trailhead. The alarm was set for 6:25 to give me ample time to hit the snooze a couple of times and still have plenty of time to dress, eat breakfast, and drive to meet Matt. Well the couple of snoozes turned into a couple of couple snoozes and it was 6:49. I was only about 10 minutes late meeting Matt.

We headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to the Mill D trailhead. Right before we arrived at the trailhead I saw that the car thermometer was reading 45 degrees! I haven't felt air that cold in many, many months. It was quite refreshing to say the least. As we got out of the car to stretch we both wished we would have brought long-sleeves to run in. We both quickly abandoned that wish a couple of minutes into the run.

The trail starts steep right from the beginning. We didn't warm up at all and we paid the price. It took all of about five minutes of running to completely cook the back of our legs. We felt it for the rest of the run.

I don't know if it was the lack of warm up, but something today just felt off. My legs felt heavy today, striding wasn't smooth, every movement felt labored. All of those things combined, it was probably the hardest seven miles I've ran in quite some time. Although it was rough going it definitely went better than the last time I tried running to Desolation Lake.

This evening Jessi, Penelope, and I attended a "fall social" that Jessi's boss has every year at the start of fall semester. It was fun to get out and be social with a bunch of people I had only met once or twice. It was a potluck and there were many interesting and good foods to eat. When the time came for dessert I got some for both Jessi and I. Jess told me "get me a scoop of the green ice cream. I was told I had to try it and they wouldn't tell me what kind it is." I got her a scoop of the green ice cream. Come to find out it was fresh basil ice cream. I'm all about the fresh herbs and spices. They are delicious and all but I don't really think basil belongs in ice cream. It was in the wrong context. When I think of fresh basil I think of bruschetta or margarita pizza, not ice cream. When I took a bite, it felt cool and refreshing, but once the taste hit the refreshment was canceled out. Needless to say, I am glad I tried it. The runaway new dessert was "Strawberry Something". It was sliced strawberries that you dipped in balsamic vinegar, powdered sugar, black pepper, or any combination of the three. Oddly enough strawberries and black pepper go together quite well. My favorite was dipping in all three.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

When did back to school get so complicated?

I recently read a research report on the top preteen wish list items for this years back to school. Topping the list are gaming systems, iPods, cell phones (the iPhone specifically listed), and new computers. When did the shift happen from shoes, backpacks, and clothes to wicked expensive electronics?

Who needs a gaming system for back to school? It isn't a Christmas list, it is a list of things you need for the new school year. I have yet to ever find a time that I need a cell phone, gaming system, or iPod to attend school or do school work. Is it just me or does this seem absolutely ridiculous to anyone else? I can somewhat understand the computer on the list, but preteens don't need their own computer, let alone new computer, for school. Last time I checked the family computer will suffice for 7th grade school projects.

I remember the days of "I need to get a protractor for math this year". Apparently those days are gone and apparently I am just waxing nostalgic.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Jupiter Steeplechase

This past Saturday was the Jupiter Steeplechase at Park City Mountain Resort. The Steeplechase is essentially and out and back course (with a small, short loop at the mid point). It is 16 miles round trip and features 3000 vertical feet of gain & loss (Read: 8 miles in with 3000 feet gain, 8 miles out with 3000 feet loss).

I decided to run the Steeplechase after the Wasatch Back Relay. Even though I've known for almost a month that I was going to be running the race I didn't train as much as I probably should have. I continued to run once or twice a week, but never really put in vert training. I did one training run that focused on vert, but that was all. Needless to say, I was a little nervous on race day because I thought I was going to get thoroughly worked during the race.

The race began at 8:00 am on Saturday. There was a small contingent a runners from Backcountry (there was 4 of us). As the race started I was determined to not make the same mistake as I made during the Mid-Mountain Marathon last year. I started out at a good pace for myself and did my best to ignore the people around me and just focus on how I was feeling. I didn't care if anyone passed me. There were a couple times that I thought to myself "let them pass, you'll catch them later when they are dead from pushing it too early".

The CEO at Backcountry had run the Steeplechase last year and his one piece of advice to me when I asked him about it was "don't be afraid to stop running and just powerhike". It was sage advice. I used a nice combination of running and powerhiking when things got really steep. It was quite useful because I would actually be moving faster hiking and using less energy then trying to propel myself running up the steep sections.

The pinnacle (no pun intended), and crux, of the race is when you have to ascend Jupiter Peak. It is so steep that you literally have to scramble to the top. I didn't hear of anyone during the race that was able to run up it. Reading the description of the race it says "...Once reaching the peak tag the flag pole and begin your decent on to Jupiter Peak Road merging on to Pioneer Ridge Road." The description makes it sound like you hit the top, tag the pole, and then it's all downhill from there. Alas, it is not so. You start running down the backside of Jupiter Peak, only to realize there is another peak to ascend. After reaching the top of the second peak you see a third. A small string of obscenities did run through my mind after reaching the top each time only to see that you have to go down and back up.

Fortunately, after the third peak it literally was downhill the rest of the way back to the finish. After reaching the halfway point, the adrenaline started pumping again at the thought of being halfway done and not feeling completely depleted of energy. I did restrain myself to a slower pace than the adrenaline was telling me to go. As the race continued I was very glad that kept my slower pace. Eight miles of downhill is still very tiring to run. There were a couple of small rolling uphill sections that were extremely difficult to get through after having ran over half the race and ascending over 3000 feet. The most difficult section came at the very end. I was running down the lower switchbacks of the Spiro Trail, keeping pace with a lady in front of me, when I realized I almost done. I picked up the pace through the lower switchbacks. Right before you come out of the switchbacks and into the final open run to the finish line, there were a couple more rolling uphills. These uphill sections almost stopped me. They hurt...a lot! I knew I was so close to the finish that I made myself push on.

Judging from my lack of training and how I performed at the Mid-Mountain last year, I thought it was take me between 3 and 3.5 hours to finish. Jess didn't want to come to the finish line and have to wait forever (I don't blame her) so I told her to get there a few minutes before 11. As it turns out I ran the race in 2:41:55! I was completely surprised by my time! I did surprisingly better than I thought I would. Unfortunately Jess showed up about 10 minutes after I finished. I wish I would have told her I would finish sooner. I love it when she is there to cheer my on! Since I finished the race before she got there, there aren't any pictures. :(

Overall the race was killer and wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I faired better than I could have imagined. Since the race went so well I decided to sign up for the Mid-Mountain again this year!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I love weekends!

This past weekend we had a family campout with my sister, her family, and my brother and his wife. We went up Blacksmith Fork Canyon to a place where my sister's family usually goes.

It was a good time. It was super warm so we played in the river a lot. We even busted out the inner tubes that we bought last year in Tahoe and went floating down the river.

Woah look at that farmer tan!

We tried to go climbing up Left Hand Fork. We drove to the crag, put Penelope in the backpack, got our packs on, and then we heard about a 10 second long clap of thunder. We look towards the mountains to the east and see some dark clouds coming. We thought perhaps it'd miss us so we started up the trail anyway. It was fruitless and we had to turn around after about 5 minutes. So much for climbing for the week.

It was all right though, we got back to camp just in time to eat some killer dutch oven food. We spent the rest of the evening hanging out by the fire.

Me, of course with my eyes closed, and Penelope hanging out by the fire.

The next day we got up, ate food, played in the river some more and then came home.

It was a great weekend. We got to spend plenty of time in the outside in the mountains and playing in water.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Busy Saturday, Lots of Miles

Today was one of the busiest Saturdays I have had in quite some time. The day started at 7:00 am with Penelope waking up (it was good since I had snoozed the alarm a couple of times). It was perfect timing since I needed to get out of bed anyway. I started the day with a run up Grandeur Peak in Millcreek Canyon. I've wanted to run Grandeur every since we moved to Salt Lake but for some reason I just never have. I've been needing to get in some vert training so this run fit the bill perfectly. From trailhead to summit the trail is 3.4 miles long and ascends 2299 feet. It is by far the most vert I've done in a single run. It took me 53 minutes to make it to the summit. I had to use a combination of running and power hiking to make it up. I was rewarded with great views of the Salt Lake Valley and the surrounding Wasatch mountains.

The run down took me 30 quad burning minutes. I was surprised it took me that long to get down, however, the trail is quite rocky in some spots (read slower going) and in other spots the plant life would hang over the trail so you couldn't see if there were any obstacles. My quads have never been so tired! Once I made it back to the trailhead I walked to the car. As soon as I stopped running and started walking my legs seriously felt like noodles. A couple times I thought I was going to fall right over! Overall I was quite please with the run.

After coming home, showering, and eating breakfast, Jess, Penelope, and I went up Big Cottonwood Canyon to hike to Lake Blanche. I had read good things about this lake, it came recommended, and we had previously hiked past the Lake Blanche trail. With all those things we decided to give it a whirl.

The Lake Blanche trail is 7.4 miles round trip and ascends 2560 vertical feet. It heads up a side canyon in BCC. It starts by following a small stream for the first mile or so. Then it splits away from the river and the trails cuts through fairly dense growth for almost the whole way. We had started off at 11:20 am and were quite surprised by the number of people we passed who were on their way down. We thought it seemed a little early for so many people to be coming down.

Penelope did great on the way up. It had been awhile since we had hiked with her in our Kelty kid carrier because: 1-she didn't like it before and 2-our kid carrier isn't the greatest. The suspension system isn't comfy and it doesn't fit either of us very well.

Penelope babbled, yelled quite loudly, and slept the way up to the lake. I was relieved that she didn't scream bloody murder like she did in Southern Utah.

When we got to Lake Blanche there were only 7 other people around. Most of whom were close to the trail so we walked to the other side of the lake to find some solitude. We lunched on one of our favorite hiking lunches: tuna fish, cheese and crackers, and Tang to drink. We had great views of the lake and the surrounding peaks.

I did get a great picture of Jess and Penelope with one of the more stunning peaks in the area.

Penelope had fun sitting on the big flat rocks playing with little rocks and banging them together.

The hike down was good. We came across very few people on our way out. One of my favorite things about taking Penelope in the backpack is she loves to stick her head out the side to look around. What I love even more than her sticking her head out is she will fall asleep that way.

When I say fall asleep I mean fall asleep.

The hike was great. It took us 2 hours to get in to the lake and about an hour and half to get out. We were very hungry, tired, sweaty, and ready for some cold drinks.

All in all it was a great day. I got to go running, hike with my two favorite people in the world (and the best hiking partners ever), go to some places I haven't ever been before, see some beautiful scenery, spend the entire day outside (in nature), log 14.2 miles for the day, and ascend 4,859 vertical feet (probably my largest vert day ever).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What's a Squidoo?

I've ventured into the land of Squidoo. I finished my first lens tonight. It is a lens on Louis Lake Lodge and you can find it here.

I also blogged about the lens on the Louis Lake Lodge blog. The funny thing is you can see the most recent blog post on the lens. So when you are on the lens you can see the post about the lens. I find it to be somewhat amusing. It will only be that way until another post is written. If you go to the lens please rank it and help us move it up the rankings! Also if you think Louis Lake Lodge looks like a rad place to go and stay, please pass it along to your family and friends.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Backpacking to Tomahawk Lake

This past weekend we went backpacking for the first time with Penelope. Friday after work we headed up to Louis Lake for a small family reunion. We knew the family reunion was coming up and decided to take Monday off work and planned this overnight trip.

We planned on going up to Tomahawk Lake up in the Wind Rivers. It was 3.5 miles in to the lake. It was the perfect distance for a first over night trip with Penelope. We left Sunday morning around 10:45. Jess was going to carry Penelope so that meant I was going to carry everything else. Jess' parents, little sister, and older sister and her family were all going along the trip as well.

My plan was to take off and get to the lake cutoff as quick as I could and then come back to help carry other packs. I made the 3.5 miles in an hour. A short 15 minute run got me a couple miles down the trail to the rest of the group. I then took Penelope so Jess could take her mom's pack. Another hour or so and we were all at Tomahawk. In total it took everyone three hours to get in.

We had the place all to ourselves. The lake was small and was surround by trees on all sides. We had great views of not-so-distant peaks.

Jess and Penelope at Tomahawk

That night we dined on dried soup with ramen and chicken and homemade s'mores bars. The beginning of the night went well. About 2 AM Penelope started fussing a bit which woke us up. It took a few minutes to calm her down and back to sleep. Jess eventually put Penelope in her sleeping bag to cuddle with her. After that Penelope slept great. It took us a long while to get back to sleep.

Morning time came a little too fast but we didn't mind. We had breakfast and were packed and ready to go by 10:30. We knew Penelope would be tired so we picked up the pace to get back to the Lodge as fast as we could. We made it out in an hour and a half. After getting back to the Lodge I took a quick paddle out into the middle of Louis to go for swim. It felt good to be in the cold water after a warm hike out.

Penelope & Jess snoozin' on the way out.

All in all the first backpacking trip with Penelope went awesome! We won't be ready for the next one until probably next year. We are thinking about sticking with day hikes and car camping until then.

The best part about the trip was finding out that Penelope now likes the kid carrier backpack. When we went hiking in Natural Bridges she was good in the pack for about 20 minutes before the wailing would ensue.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Penelope Crawls

About two weeks ago Penelope started crawling! It started out as a couple of steps but about a week ago she actually crawled where she linked together many steps. We got a short video of her going!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

More WBR Pics

As promised here are some more pictures from the Wasatch Back Relay. I mostly just pulled ones of me and some of team and our van. There were way too many pictures to post all of them. You can find the slideshow here. (I couldn't figure out how to post the slideshow in my blog. If anyone knows how, let me know. I'm blaming it on being tired.)


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Wasatch Back Relay

Last weekend was the Wasatch Back Relay. The WBR is a 178 mile relay race that begins in Logan, UT and ends in Park City, UT. It runs mostly on backroads through the Wasatch Range. Every year work sponsors a team of employees, this year they sponsored three. Each team is comprised of 12 runners (2 vans of 6) and each runner runs 3 different legs. The race started at 7:30 AM on Friday and it goes through the night and finishes Saturday morning/early afternoon. I was wicked stoked to be able to run this year. Last year the race was the same weekend that we were going to Lake Tahoe.

As I said, each team was split between two vans. As part of the fun, everyone decorates their van, usually with some sort of theme. Ours, of course, was a winter/gear theme. We had a dummy dressed up as a skier on top of the van (his name was Bill), snowflakes taped to the outside, and plenty of Goat stickers (as a side note, our van won the "Best Decorated Van" award). We pretty much lived in van for the next day and half. One of my favorite parts was driving the van. We would drive a little bit ahead of the runner and provide support (giving water or Gatorade when needed). Then take off down the road a mile or so and wait for the runner. The best part was that we had a megaphone. I love megaphones! The megaphone had a siren that we would sound when we were getting close to the runner so they'd know we were coming. It actually provided energy boosts as you knew your team is coming to cheer you on.

To change things up a bit this year, Jim, our CEO, decided that we would stick to our company motto, "We use the gear the we sell." Each person on the first team would have the opportunity to wear and run with gear. I will admit that at first I thought it was going to be lame but it turned out to be a really good time. We had a ton of gear for everyone to use. Being the first runner I had lucky opportunity to run with a kayak! I also took a paddle and wore a PFD. My first leg curved through central Logan to the south for about 5 miles. My van got lost so they missed the exchange, I kept running with the kayak and went for another mile, for 6 miles total pulling the kayak. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. On the flats and downhills the momentum of the kayak kept it up with me. It was on the uphills where the going got tough. Fortunately the first leg only had a couple hundred feet of elevation gain.

Pulling the kayak through the streets of LoganPulling the kayak through the streets of Logan

My second leg was at about 4:30 pm Friday afternoon. It was BLAZING hot! I'm not sure, but the temps were definitely in the upper 90s! My leg started at the lower lot of Snowbasin and basically ran down, to the south, towards I-84. The leg was 7.8 miles long, had total loss of 2000 vertical feet with vertical gain of about 400 ft. The leg was completely on asphalt (read ridiculously hot because it baked in the hot sun all day). There wasn't a single inch a shade, the sun was beating down, and it was hot! My team was wicked supportive. After the first two miles they started stopping about every half mile to one mile to give me refills. It was a good thing since my bottle was empty every single time. I would use the whole thing between drinking and squirting on myself! This was by far my toughest leg. You can see the map of the course here. Be sure to look at the elevation chart at the bottom of the page. For this leg I wore a climbing harness complete with quickdraws, belay device, and a rope. I also wore my climbing helmet.

Getting gear ready for the next leg.

My third leg started at about 1:30 AM Saturday morning. This leg provided a bit of relief as the temps were cool (about 60 or so) and it was relatively flat. For this leg I ran with a backpack. This leg was super rad. It started just outside Rockport Recreation Area (outside Kamas) and ran for 5.6 miles to Marion (almost to Kamas). It was just Kendall and I since everyone else was at Kendall's houose sleeping. There was no one else on the road except for Kendall (in the van), me, and a couple of cars. This was my first time running at night. It took some getting used to as all I could see was this five foot orb of light around me.

Our team finished around 11:00 AM Saturday morning. Keeping consistent with what we'd done all race, we all crossed the finish line with gear.

Crossing the finish line with gear.

It was one of the funnest races I've ran. I will definitely be signing up again next year. In total I ran about 19.4 miles! I was ridiculously sore for the next couple days but it was totally worth it! We still have a ton of pictures being compiled. Once I have all of them I will post again with a mini slide show of pictures of me, the team, the van, etc.

The whole team after the finish!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Power of Superglue

I have recently learned, first-hand, the power of superglue. In the past I've heard a lot of stories about people using super glue for first aid. Whether it's for cuts, scraps, etc. The most recently was from a co-worker. He uses superglue on the cracks that he gets on the backs of his heels.

I consistently get cracks in my heels all summer long. They are persistent and they can get to be very large and painful. Most of this could be prevented, I'm sure, by wearing shoes and socks every once in awhile. But hey, it's summer time, who needs shoes and socks?

Last week I got a pretty big crack in the back of my left heel (it happened to be right next to another crack that had just healed). I was sick of the stinging and the pain that I decided to give the superglue a whirl. To my surprise it worked wonders! It sealed up the crack so it didn't split more. Since it was sealed it didn't hurt and it healed super fast!

I was so impressed that I decided to try it out on another wound. Same foot, different end. After a run I noticed that the tip of the toe next to my pinky toe was hurting. I check it out and part of the nail had broken off (apparently I needed to cut my toenails) and the skin had pulled back a little from underneath my toenail. As we all know this hurts wicked bad. I thought it'd heal, but after about two weeks it still hurt and the "cut" was getting bigger and a little infected. I soaked my foot in the tub and scrubbed it with soap and a stiff bristled brush to clean it out (very painful yet very good for getting the infection out). After it had dried I dropped a bunch of superglue into and around the cut. It has now been about 5 days and it seems to be healing quite nicely! It doesn't hurt anymore, it isn't infected, and it seems to be getting better!

Needless to say, I am extremely happy and excited about my personal discovery of superglue for first aid. I will definitely be keeping a couple of small tubes around and handy. I fully recommend it!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Am I a Hippy? - Part Three

Zach (my intern at work) seems to think so. We've had numerous discussions at work about what we do at night, music, dress, etc. I've given Zach a hard time on numerous occasions because he doesn't ever climb because he's "trying out the social scene" (to use his words). Apparently he's been trying out the social scene for awhile because another co-worker gives him a hard time for not skiing much last winter because "he was being social". He gives me a hard time about being a hippy because how I dress. It really isn't "hippy-ish" at all, just compared to how he dresses it is. He's more into the hip snow/skate scene.

The other day Zach said "I'm going to listen to a little 50 Cent". To which I replied "Yano, I don't think I've ever heard 50 Cent". His mouth opened a little and he stared at me for a second. I continue to say, "You see, you have mainstream music right here" while circling with my left hand off to the left, "and you have me" while circling with my right hand off to right. "I don't really listen to most of it because I think it sucks" (as most of you know I'm very opinionated about music). Zach's reply was "let me draw you something". He then proceeded to draw a diagram on his whiteboard. Here's a rendition of exactly what he drew:

After he drew the picture he then proceeded to explain it to me. "You see here on the left you 'society' or 'being social', you also have 'good dress', and 'good music'. Oh, what's that in the middle of all of those? That's right, it's 'Zach'. If you look way over here to the right you have 'Eric'. What's he surrounded by? Oh that's right, 'Hippie'". I laughed a lot.

I then took the whiteboard from him and made a slight alteration. I commented to Zach "If you look over here by 'Eric' you'll also see 'climbing'. Please notice the large disconnect between 'Zach' and 'climbing'". Zach laughed a little then grabbed the whiteboard back. He then drew the fourth circle and labeled it "Athletic". He proceeded to comment "would you look at that last circle? Look at those four circles and who's in the middle? Oh yeah, that's Zach". We had a good laugh.

Zach proceeded to show the drawing to whomever walked by for the rest of the day. Everyone had a good laugh. I, of course, had to make my case every time. A few people did give him a hard time for being "social" and not recreating anymore.

Am I a hippy?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


I went trad climbing yesterday for the second time this season. I went with Walt from work. We went up Big Cottonwood Canyon to climb the moderate classic Steort's Ridge. I have climbed this route once before. It is a really fun climb. The difference between yesterday and the previous time was the wind. Storms were blowing in and it was wicked windy. Wind advisories had been issued (we didn't really know this). We decided to climb anyway. The wind was blowing constantly with very few breaks. At the beginning the gusts were somewhat strong. Walt led the first pitch without incident. As I arrived to the first belay ledge the wind started picking up a little more. It might not have actually picked up, it may have been my perception of being exposed on the cliff as opposed to being sheltered in the trees.

As I began to lead the second pitch I could really feel the wind. As wind hits a cliff face it is forced upwards. About a third of the way up the pitch, in one of the more difficult sections, I was hit with a very strong gust that lifted a sling up off my shoulder, over my head, and up my right arm as I was reaching for a hold. I happened to catch the sling just before it went over my right hand and blew away. I tried a couple times to put the sling back over my head and arm, but to no avail. I had climb about 4 moves with the sling in my hand before the wind died and I was able to put the sling back on.

While climbing the gusts became stronger. When they would first hit it felt like I was going to be lifted up and off the cliff. I knew it would take a lot stronger gust to actually do that, but it was a little unnerving the first few times it happened.

After reaching the belay ledge at the top of the second pitch I belayed Walt up. The third pitch is by far the best pitch of the climb. You can move up and onto the arete to get some fun, exposed climbing. That wasn't going to happen today. The wind was blowing so hard up and over the arete it sounded like someone was ripping very thick canvas. About fifteen feet above the belay ledge is the one bolt on the entire climb. Walt was leading the third pitch and had the joys of clipping the bolt. The bolt sits about one foot in from the arete. Everytime Walt tried to clip the rope into the draw, the wind would catch the rope and yank it around. It took him about five tries to get the rope in. The fun didn't end there. After Walt started moving away from the bolt the wind would catch the rope between me and bolt and violently whip it back and forth and eventually it would move into a circular pattern. Everytime I'd pay out slack when Walt would move, the wind would just whip it around and Walt would have to pull extra hard on the rope to get the slack up while he was moving. This was the theme of the third pitch for him.

As Walt put me on belay to bring me up the third pitch, and as I called out "climbing", the wind picked up considerably! It literally felt like I was going to be blown off the wall. I unclipped the bolt and thankfully moved away from the arete. About two moves past the bolt, the wind caught the sling on the next piece of gear that was about fifteen feet above me, and lifted it out of the rock. I looked up just in time to see the biner, sling, and stopper sliding down the rope. It was pretty crazy. I gratefully pulled over the top of the cliff to Walt saying "Woah, that was crazy".

The fun wasn't over yet. We definitely weren't going to rappel down the climb. The route is already notorious for having loose blocks that fall when throwing the rappel rope. Also the wind would swing the ropes around and it would be an extremely difficult rappel. We decided to do the walk off. The interesting thing about this walk off is it puts you semi-close to the cliff edge and you have to half-downclimb (it isn't really down climbing, it's fourth class down scrambling). We thought the wind would make it fairly difficult but it wasn't too bad. The combination of the two definitely made the walk-off the sketchiest part of the whole adventure.

We were extremely grateful to be back on the ground and in the shelter of the trees. Overall it was a good time. We weren't ever in any kind of serious danger. The wind definitely upped the danger factor but it didn't put us in any dire situations.

All in all we had a good time and it was quite an adventure!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Seth Godin

On Thursday I had the opportunity to hear Seth Godin speak. Seth Godin is a marketing guru. He writes on marketing, spreading ideas, and various other topics. He has been travelling around promoting his new book The Dip.

I really like Seth. I have been an avid reader of his blog for about a year now. I've a few of his books with plans to read the rest. Seth's book tour wasn't like your typical book tour where the author goes to predetermined stores and sits waiting for people to approach him. Seth only went to places where there was demand. Fans in various cities would host pledge drives. Once x number of people pledged to buy The Dip, Seth would come and give a presentation. When you pledged to buy the book, you pledged to buy five copies of the book. One for yourself and four to give away. It really is a brilliant way to promote your book and gain readership.

I like the way Seth thinks and I like reading his thoughts on his blog. The presentation was awesome. Seth is very good at what he does. Normally it costs a lot more to hear Seth speak (and for good reason). This was especially nice since the VP of Marketing at work is a big Seth fan as well and got the company to pay for all of us to go!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Finally a First!

Well I finally was able to witness a first. So far Penelope has had lots of firsts but I've never seen any of them. Well today I finally saw one! Today Penelope rolled from her stomach to her back! She has been rolling from her back to her stomach for months but she finally rolled the other way. She's been close for quite some time but this afternoon she made it all the way over.

I'm most excited that I actually saw her do something for the first time.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Can I Have a Spoon?

The spoon is an amazing eating instrument. You can eat everything, EVERYTHING with a spoon. You don't need anything else. You don't need a knife and you especially don't need a fork. People say to me all the time "you can't eat that with a spoon" but they are wrong. You can eat everything with a spoon. You can't eat everything with a fork. There are things you can eat with a spoon that you can't eat with a fork, but there aren't things you can eat with a fork that you can't eat with a spoon. I issue a challenge: I defy you to find something you can eat with a fork that you can't eat with a spoon. If you think you know something, post a comment.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Climbing Outing

Yesterday was a good day. Yesterday was a great day. Jessi's parents were in town so we took advantage of having other people to help watch Penelope. We headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon to do a little climbing and have a picnic. We chose a crag that was right outside a picnic area. There was a junk show of people at the crag so we didn't get in too many climbs but we still managed to have a good time. We were only able to toprope a couple of routes since there was a line for the few accessible bolted routes.

Jessi looking good.

Penelope decided to give climbing a whirl.

Penelope's first outing in the kid carrier

After climbing for a couple hours we had a nice picnic in the shade. It felt good to hang out up the canyon, outside, in nature. It has been an extremely warm weekend (record high temperatures for this time of year) so it was good to get up the canyon and out of the hot valley.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


There has been so much going on as of late but there really hasn't been much worthy of blogging about. Work is busy as usual, Penelope is cute as usual, Jess is amazing as usual.

One thing the I recently ran across again is iFitiStObeiTisUptOmE. This blog is written by a guy named hIrSch. Last year he rode his bike from Canada to the southern tip of South America. He is now in Morrocco. From what I've read he is an interesting guy and has an a different (different as in different than what I've come across as of late) take on life. I enjoy reading about his adventure. I recommend checking it out. Oh yeah, that is a Goat sticker on the bottom of the stop sign.

Monday, April 16, 2007

One Last Ski Day

Two Saturdays ago Jess, Penelope, and I went for a short hike up Big Cottonwood Canyon. After the hike we decided to drive the rest of the way up BCC. It was a beautiful, bluebird, spring day. We decided that we needed on last ski day. I got a couple Gold Passes from work for the following Saturday, we scheduled the nanny, and got excited for a day of spring skiing.

We got up to Solitude about 10:00. It was once again a beautiful bluebird day. The snow was a little hard on the first run, but it wasn't long until the snow soften to great corn. We skied a bunch of runs all over the mountain. We left at about 1:00, right when the snow started to turn to slush. It was a perfect last day for the season. It was a great spring day, I got to ride with Jess, the snow was good, and we had a good time.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pottery Class

Ever since we've lived in Holladay we'll get a course catalog for adult education classes everytime a new term is about to begin. This past time we received the catalog I decided to peruse it to see what they offered. They have some really cool classes available. I decided to sign up for a pottery class. I took pottery in high school and continued to throw occasionally for a year after high school but haven't sat at a wheel since then.

The class is 8 sessions and was only $45. The fee includes all the glazing, firing, and a half bag of clay. My first class is tomorrow night. I am wicked excited to throw again. I've already started a list of pots I'd like to make. I just hope I can pick it up fairly quickly so I can make what I want.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Feed Update

So I put the wrong feed address in my previous post. This is the correct one. If you happened to get it (I think only one person did) please use the new address.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Springtime is HERE!

I know I have posted about it previously, but spring is here. I played ultimate frisbee for the first time this year today. Every week at work a group of people spend their lunch time playing basketball, frisbee, or something else. Today happened to be the first outside ultimate game. It was a beautiful day, pleasant temperatures, and sunny!

Another group of people at work are running for lunch two days a week to train for the Wasatch Back Relay. The WBR is a 2 day relay race that starts in Logan and ends in Park City. (work) sponsors a couple of teams made up of employees every year. Last year I didn't get to participate because of Jess and I's trip to Lake Tahoe. I am wicked excited about it, it will be a good time.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Feeds for Thought

I set up an RSS feed for my blog. I am curious to see if it actually gets adopted by anyone. It is super simple right now. You can either click the link in the side bar or just click here. Copy the URL and paste it into your favorite reader or use the drop-down.

I like feeds.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Climbing Day

Today was the first big outing of the year. I went up Little Cottonwood Canyon with a co-worker to get in some long trad-mileage. We met at the mouth of LCC just before 8 am. We went up to the Gate Buttress and started in on the fun. We put in 4 routes and a total of 6 pitches. That was a very long trad day for me. It was awesome because it was a great way to work on crack technique. In all of those climbs I did get my first trad lead in of the year. Other firsts from the day were: first time seeing a cam used as a stopper and first time climbing a flaring crack. It was awesome. I got home about 2:00 and had lunch with Jess and Penelope. While we were eating Jess said "I want to get outside". So what did we do? We went bouldering. Back up LCC to boulder. We met up with Matt and Bri shortly after we got there. We got in some good climbs.

Jess, Penelope, and I enjoying the afternoon in the mountains.

Warming up

Jess is excited, can you tell?

Jess working the start of Mud

Overhanging mantle problem that defeated me this time.

It was a very good day. Penelope LOVES being outside. We had her in the front carrier most of the time. She was constantly looking around to see what was around. She would just look up and marvel at the tall lodgepole pines.

On our way home I was talking to Jess and I realzed that between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm I spent a total of an hour and a half inside today. It was awesome.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First Hike of the Year

Yesterday was an extremely active day for us. The weather has been absolutely beautiful as of late. It was in the low 70s yesterday so we decided to go for a hike.

We cruised up to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail just behind the UofU for a short hike. Penelope went in the front carrier with a big sun hat and away we went. We were only out for about an hour, but it was perfect for the first outing of the season.

It didn't take long for Penelope to fall asleep.

The usual Miller self-portrait.

I am eagerly awaiting the baby backpack so we can head out on longer hikes.

We came home for lunch and quickly tired of being inside. We packed up the car and went up to Ogden to do some bouldering at the 27th Street boulders. We completely forgot to take pictures. It was a good time. Penelople hung out in her carseat, she slept for little bit, but when she woke up she had a good time watching us climb. She would actually laugh at us a little bit when we were on the rock. Jess did really well for her first time bouldering outside since being pregnant last year.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Site Counter

I finally got a site counter. I have been curious for awhile now how many people come to my blog. I don't think it is very many but I am curious anyway. This should prove to be very interesting.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Why can't we be like this?

This is one of the best stories I've seen/read in a long time. It's about the island of Samso off the coast of Denmark, it is virtually energy self-sufficient. Not only do they produce all of their own fuel and power, they do it without carbon emissions and they do it sustainably. The residents of this island are extremely resourceful. Why are we as a nation so far behind? Why is there no push or support from the government to pursue such activities?(avoiding small political rant...). The Danish goverment and the citizens of Samso are excellent examples of people and government working together to find alternative methods for energy and fuel. They definitely deserve kudos for the strides they've made and will continue to make.

I recommend watching the video.