Ding Ding Ding, the starting bell has rung for… PhD Entry Exams!
Let the PhD Commence!
Kate has submitted a proposal. Written Exams commence… NOW… and oral exams commence next week. Katy is going to be extremely busy.
Good luck Katy, you are totally going to kick ass.
This means for the next two-ish weeks, I am your blogger-extraordinaire. I suspect that when Katy does take a break it will be to do a quick tweet (click to check up on her).
To our faithful readers, you can expect picture-deficient blog entries about off-topic rubbish. Me? Blog? My magic 8-ball says “outlook poor”. Let’s give it a try anyway…
Cooking! (book review)
I have been a little burned out on cooking lately. I kept making the same meals over and over. When asked to make a menu, I’d get just a little bit depressed as I thought about what protein I was going to pair with what carb plus a veggie… Blah. So, at Katy’s suggestion, I bought a couple new cookbooks. One for the new pressure cooker as well as one from a PBS show I always liked called “America’s Test Kitchen”. Each recipe is made many times in there test kitchen: tweaking the ingredient list, amounts, and procedures until they have a tasty recipe which is quite repeatable.
In this book you will notice that there are few recipes, but those recipes are bulletproof and fully explained.
For example: Last night I made their Pad Thai and the directions to make perfect rice noodles were spot on. My rice noodles were not a sticky clump!
Hooray! I’m excited about cooking again!
Sports! (but not basketball)
In February, Katy picked up a couple soccer jerseys for me on her way back from Jerusalem and I thought that if I was going to wear them out in public, I had better watch a few games. And to my surprise, after watching a single UEFA Champions League match, I really liked it. And, I figured out why I never liked it before. You have to REALLY pay attention. When I watched with unblinking focus, I was getting nervous/excited as the ball got within striking range of either goal. If I allowed myself to be a little distracted and read some stats on my laptop, it didn’t even phase me when I’d see the goalie carrying the ball away from another saved shot. What was the final score of the match where I discovered that I liked to watch soccer? 1-1.
Yesterday was a heart breaker when Porto scored in the final minutes to tie the score 2-2. As that was a home game for Manchester United, it puts them in a must-win situation for the second leg of the quarterfinals (4/15/2009 Man U vs Porto)
Games? sort of…
I’m also taking a shot at playing Dungeons and Dragons after a 20-year hiatus (you can blame my brother for that). This may be the last mention of it on the blog.
I saw this video on The Adventure Blog this afternoon and just fell in love. Ok, so the premise is corny, but I think the result is lovely.
Mark and I have been very lucky to travel as much as we have, and we have plans for much more in the coming years. How to balance careers, family, climbing, travel and eco-conscious desires is a topic of constant debate in our household.
It looks like Matt here did it right. And he definitely got to experience the best part of travel, which is meeting new and amazing people all over the country and all over the world. I love how happy everybody is in this video. I hope people really feel this way.
All week long Mark and I had been planning a backpacking trip into the Comanche Peak Wilderness, to get some altitude and flush out the bivy system to be used on our up coming climb of the Grand Teton. However, on Friday all of that changed.
I don’t need to explain the nitty gritties here, but suffice to say it’s the second week of June and there’s still more than 12ft of snow at our reserved campsite below the Grand, gas prices are ultra high and we’d rather be driving our Prius than the suv on vacation this summer, and we haven’t been to the midwest during a warm month in almost 4 years. We decided to ditch the plans to climb the Grand and take our vacation with my family in St Louie over the 4th of July.
Thus, we awoke Saturday morning with no need to train for a mountain climb, and no real desire to go through the trouble and pain of hauling all of our climbing gear out to climb at Lumpy. Mark got up around 6:30a with the dog and then called me 15 minutes later to tell me there were three baby foxes out playing in the grass near our house.
So now, rather than getting ready to climb, I was sneaking through the grass with a 300mm lens for an hour.
When I got home, the neighborhood garage sale was just starting. Mark and I had prepared a garage full of stuff to sell, and our neighbor, Jenifer, had agreed to sell it in our absence this weekend. As I opened the garage, though, a crowd descended on our pile and people started throwing cash at me. All plans for climbing on Saturday were immediately canceled in favor of participation in that all-American of summer Saturday activities: the garage sale.
Even though we didn’t get out on any fantastic new rocks, we had a great time on Saturday. I love the photos I managed to grab, and I will likely be posting more shots of the little guys in the next few weeks as they get out of their den more.
The garage sale was a huge success: we unloaded everything we wanted to and walked away with almost $200! I could write a whole post about how surprised I was to find myself enjoying the yard sale ritual even though I had intended to sell everything on Craig’s List. Fort Collins is an interesting and fun town, and the people who stopped by our little garage were a diverse and happy lot. It turned out to be a really nice day all around.
The weather has cooled off enough for me to grudgingly pull my big down coat out of the closet for my pre-dawn dog walks this week. On the first morning, I tried to forestall the depression of the loss of another beautiful summer by exploring the pockets of the coat as if they were a favorite climbing destination that I hadn’t visited in years. “Hey! I remember that!” It’s fun to find stuff that you haven’t seen in months.
This year my pockets contained: gloves (of course), nail clippers (necessary for all of those winter trips to the rock gym), a sticker from the Fort Collins Windpower Program (I suppose that was supposed to go on the car), and the coup-de-grace: a camping permit from the Colorado National Monument.
I feel like the summer is getting late, but I don’t know where the season went. I’m counting down the last few weekends of August and realizing that we won’t be climbing Long’s this year either. I don’t think we’re going to climb in Black Canyon either, which was my goal for this year. Classes are going to be starting soon, and I haven’t bagged a single 14er! I haven’t been mountain biking once! It’s already too late to rent the duckies and float the Poudre as we had been hoping.
I guess this year the priorities just got shifted. I do feel that I’ve made some very important progress in my most recently chosen career. I’m much nearer to finishing my masters thanks to all of the hard work I put in this summer. And for fun stuff, well, my crack climbing is better now than it was last summer, that’s for sure. I’ve explored places in ‘Voo that I’ve been wanting to check out for years now. And of course, the traveling this year has been fantastic.
I may not have been able to check off all of my goals for this summer, but I do feel stronger, somehow. Both mentally and physically. I feel more confidant in my place in Colorado, and more sure of the things and people I love. I suppose all I could ask for is to learn and grow a bit each season, and I think I’m doing great there.
Here’s a shot from one of my dog walks this week. Looks like we’re getting closer to sunrise-shooting-season.