Day by day

November 29, 2007 at 7:52 am

I’m writing all of the time now. All day at school and then in the evenings and on the weekends. I dream about things like cloud parameterizations, tropical convective re-stabilization, equatorial wave trains and profiles of column moisture. The weather outside is cold, and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and mindlessly play video games. But there’s still lots left to do. There will be a time for relaxing later, I hope.

I walked Liv this morning with a camera, and was rewarded with the delicate light at the first touches of dawn. It was nice to stop for a few minutes and just breathe, and watch the sun rise. Nice. Cold, but nice.

Early Sunrise

Thanksgiving 2007

November 22, 2007 at 11:08 am

Our family has a variety of Thanksgiving traditions that make it lots of fun to come home for the holiday. We started the morning with TJ, Mark and I running a 5k race that we’ve been running every year for the last 8 years or so. Those of you who know me know that I don’t run much, just these three miles once a year.

After the race is the famous Thayer family Thanksgiving buffet. This event sprung out of the fact that every other year the Kirkwood-Webster Turkey Day game (a 120 year old rivalry between high schools) is held at Kirkwood High-school a few minutes walk from our house. All of my parent’s friends would come over for a big buffet, park their cars and then walk to the game. This year was no exception, and we had a big houseful of happy people (more than 50 people) before the game. And this year, Kirkwood won!

Thanksgiving dinner is usually a smaller affair. This year the turkey was free range and local. Mom brined the bird over night and then Dad smoked it all day, basting it with a Kaluha mixture that was extremely tasty. While it looked a little odd on the table, being completely black and all, but it was extremely moist and good underneath.

In the evening we went through the ads for Black Friday and relaxed. A good day was had by all.

Mountain Cloud Breakers

November 19, 2007 at 7:33 am

These clouds appeared for just a few minutes at the end of the day on Sunday. Wave clouds often form over mountains, but I’ve never seen them break like this one before. These are waves breaking in the air the same way waves break on a beach. After a few minutes they mixed out and disappeared. It was quite lovely.

Mountain Cloud Breakers

Sneaking out to the Palace: November 18, 2007

November 18, 2007 at 10:20 pm

In which, Kate tries to put as many pictures in one blog post as she possibly can.

I decided I needed a short break from working on my thesis, so Sunday found Mark, Dylan and I at the Palace in the Poudre Canyon. Most of the photos from the day are up in the gallery.

The river was low, and Liv’s foot was looking healed, so we decided to bring the doggie along. She did just great the entire day, rock hopped across the river with the rest of us, hiked all the way up the hill, and then promptly fell asleep in the bushes. I was proud for being able to make it all the way rock-hopping across the river that morning without getting my socks wet at all. Yes, the river is getting very low.

Cheerleaders Gone Hippie (5.9+) – Dylan lead up this one as the warm-up and it was interesting and nice to see and feel all of the differences from last year. Dylan red-pointed the climb with little worry, though did end up backwards in the crux, trying to clip behind his head. Mark climbed for the pink easily, and then I TR’d it without any problems. I think this route would be a lot of fun for me to lead some day.

So I wandered off to look for some pictures as the sky clouded over, and Mark and Dylan discussed the next climb. By the time I got back, Mark was getting on the 5.11b direct start to the climb just to our left.

Check Your Six (5.11b) – The route looked hard, and Mark was warning that falls were imminent from the minute he left the ground. Sure enough, you think about falling and it’s bound to happen. Slightly above the second bolt he took a short lead fall with the main consequence being an increase in anxiety and the waste of energy required to get back to where he was. By the time he was trying to find a stance to clip the fourth bolt, his strength and endurance were tapped, and he took a nice big whipper.

Despite the blood and bruises, Mark was fine, but done for the day. It’s really hard to climb when one of your strongest fingers is oozing blood all over the rock. Dylan pulled the rope, and decided to climb the slightly easier non-direct start to the route in order to get his gear back.

Check Your Head (5.10b/c) – Dylan seemed nervous and a little shaky after Mark’s dramatic falls. I tried to make him feel better by building a little trad anchor for me to belay off of (in case he were to fall), but it ended up being unnecessary as he slowly and methodically put up a brilliant redpoint on this very long route.

Afterwards, it was my job to clean it, and I was a little nervous. Again, the last time I climbed this route, I didn’t make it to the top. Didn’t put it in the blog post either, did I? The diagonal nature of the route had really scared me the last time I climbed it. This time I sucked it up and worked my butt off to climb the whole thing. I can’t say I didn’t over grip. And at one point I was about to fall and I instinctually grabbed a quickdraw. I may have cheated and hang-dogged a bit, but I made it all the way up, cleaned the route, and came down feeling proud of my accomplishment.

Before leaving, Dylan hopped on Check Your Six while the rope was still through the anchor. He climbed it cleanly, showing us all how 11b is done. By the time he came down, it was late, and time to head home. Mark was no longer limping, but instead was calling for Boulder Chips. We packed up and headed home in the gathering darkness.

November Sunsets

November 15, 2007 at 7:16 pm

Sunrise, sunset. The quiet in-between times. Soft, brilliant, colors, lights, clouds. A breezy evening. A time to pause.

November Sunset

Check out the Large size on Black or the original.

Eye candy is tasty

November 14, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Today I got my laptop upgraded to Leopard, the new Mac operating system (OS 10.5 if you’re keeping track). It was pretty much love at first sight. I love the 3D reflective dock, the slight transparency of menu bars makes them feel slick and crisply rendered, the mail program includes notes and to-do lists, and everything just feels prettier. It’s like when the new model car comes out, and you feel like “Wow, how did that old Toyota Corolla ever look cool compared to this new one!”

So far, I’m a happy camper. I think it runs just a fraction of a second slower, in general, and the VPN client for school doesn’t work right now, which is a bummer. But I like new toys. Shiny, reflective, paradigm breaking, upgraded toys.

MJO Workshop: November 5-7, 2007

November 7, 2007 at 10:32 pm

I took some photos of the MJO workshop I was traveling to just for the fun of it. They are in the gallery and some are soon to be on the CMMAP website. The workshop was really enjoyable, I learned a lot, and I got a lot of great feedback on my own work. I even signed myself up for more work to do. As if I’m not busy enough already!

So, it was a great couple of days on the UC Irvine campus, which is lovely. The Beckman Center was fabulous, with lots of light, beautiful grounds, and great food. I enjoyed my time there, and I think everybody else did too.

Backpacking Joshua Tree, Part II

November 4, 2007 at 6:52 am

Photos from the weekend are in the gallery!

On Sunday morning, Jim set his cell phone alarm to get us up in time to take pictures of the sunrise in the desert. There was some discussion as to whether or not his phone had updated for the end of DST yet, but we decided since the phone had been off all afternoon it was unlikely. Thus we set the clock for what we thought was 6a the night before, and found when it went off the next morning that the sky was still pitch black. An hour later the alarm went of for a third time, and I saw the light in the east that we were looking for.

The sunrise from our camp was beautiful that morning, with just enough cloud cover to really bring out the colors. We ran around shooting for about 45 minutes, then ate breakfast, packed up, and hiked out. Without stopping for photos on the way out, we probably made it back to the car in about an hour. When we got to the car, we discovered that the phone had set itself back for the time change, and it was only 9:30a. This gave us plenty of time to mosey our way south out of the park, stopping to enjoy the various views around the park.

Despite the icky traffic, we made it back to Orange County around 3p that afternoon. Grabbed In-N-Out Burger in the afternoon (gotta love the animal-style fries!), dropped off the rental car at the airport and caught the shuttle to our hotel for the conference. It was kind of fun getting to the swank Newport Beach Hyatt covered in dirt and sweat, and watching the sand pour out of my shoes and pants cuffs as I stripped for my shower that night. Heh heh, it’s always good to have some fun in the desert!!