December 5, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I have an odd relationship with literature. When I was little, with my dad in gradschool trying to raise two little kids, we didn’t have a lot. I know kids are big on asking for everything under the sun, and in our family, the rule was basically “no” unless it was a book. My parents ALWAYS said yes to books. Even if it meant tuna-noodle-bake for dinner again.

As I grew up, I loved going through my Dad’s old books. My mom set up bookshelves in the basement for all of his old stuff, and I would go downstairs to read his highschool textbooks on “New Math” and “Economics for the Second Half of the 20th Century.” My dad never threw away or got rid of his books.

Which is all a long way of saying that I don’t either. I hoard books. I buy them all of the time. I never give them up. I saw Mark throwing out old paperbacks once in our first year of marriage and freaked out. I’m pretty sure it was one of those “Oh my God, I’ve married a crazy woman!” moments for Mark.

So, when Matt tagged me with this cute little question, I realized it was actually going to be a bit hard to answer.

Go to your nearest bookshelf. On the top shelf (or highest shelf with books) what book is fifth from the right and why did you love it? Now go to the bottom shelf (or lowest shelf with books). Tell us about the fifth book from the left. Then tag five of your blog buddies – link please! – to do the same. Be sure to link to the person who tagged you too.

The library

So, if I were going to go to the nearest book-holding-place, it might be the pile next to the couch, or on the stairs. The nearest bookshelves comprise my little “library” up in the loft. Here are my problems. Does bottom shelf mean of all three bookcases? Do I pick the nearest case to the stairs? How do you count from left or right if the books are stacked bottom to top? Or packed in double deep?

Other gems you will find on my bookshelves (see if you can find them in the picture) a cribbage board made out of an antler, my rock collection (I call them geologic samples), pressed flowers from our wedding, an old wireless weather station, DVD backups of my photos, and a map of Mt Everest.

So to answer the question: Fifth from the right on the top shelf (I’m going with right-most case and counting bottom to top) is I’m Just Here For MORE FOOD by Alton Brown. Why do I love this book? Because Alton Brown is both Mark’s and my food hero. His scientific breakdown of cooking processes have lead to many good eats. This book is actually Mark’s. I believe he got it for Christmas a few years back.

Fifth from the left of the bottom shelf? (I’m going with left-most case here) This one is cute. UFO: The Continuing Enigma which is part of the Reader’s Digest Quest for the Unknown series. This is another of Mark’s books. It was actually part of the pile that I climbed into the dumpster to save. Yes, I am completely insane. Because the book is BAD. I’ve never read it, but flipping through it gives me the giggles. I don’t know why or how Mark ended up with every title in this 10-part series, but we use them around the house as nice hard surfaces to write on, or to cover up lights blinking on the humidifier. Maybe someday our daughter will be bored and will get a kick out of flipping through these.

So, on to tagging! Who should do this next? Well, if your still reading, I suggest Doug and/or Liz, Dylan if he wants to, Sean, Lizzy and/or Luke, and Sara. Tag! You’re it!

What the heck is Twitter??

November 26, 2008 at 9:35 am

A few weeks ago, I found myself relaxing on vacation in Oregon. It was a rainy day, and aside from suduko and naps, we were running out of stuff to do. So, Bruce and I decided to sign up for Twitter, and give the service a try.

Twitter is a “micro-blogging” service. You get 140 characters in each “post” and you can update as often as you want. Each post should, generally, just be the answer to the question “What are you doing?”

So, I’ve been tweeting and having a ball for the last month or so, why post about this now? Well Rockclimbergirl wrote a great post yesterday called Twitter 101 for us outdoorsy types. She goes over the basic premise, why she likes the service, and all of the fun tools and toys to help tweet. I can add that I have an iGoogle twitter widget on my homepage, and I use Twitteriffic from my iPhone for updates.

So check out Sara’s blog post, and consider adding a tiny bit of twitter to your daily routine. It’ll be fun, I promise!

Fun Early Voting Friday

October 31, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Happy Halloween everybody! Mark and I both completed voting early today, and hopefully this means the political calls will stop, finally. I got to vote in the middle of a huge Halloween bash in Old Town today. Today I learned that the reason nobody trick-or-treats here in Northern Colorado is because the kids all go to Old Town during the day, and get tons of great swag from the restaurants and shops in the square. And then they go vote with their parents! I wonder if Obama picks up more of the witch or pumpkin demographic? I wished I had my camera with me, to get a shot of the costumes people were wearing in the voting booths.

This is a nice little trick from TIME (ala PhotoShop Disasters). I spend a fair amount of time doing photo post-processing, and I am shocked and astounded that TIME would let a mistake like this end up on their cover. It should say a lot about the care with which they prepare each magazine.

Evidently, the #1 thing that could go wrong is that your voting machine might up and float away!

Back on Plastic

October 16, 2008 at 8:17 am

Climbing at Miramont North We’ve had two icky weekends in a row, and busy, busy weeks between them. Last weekend, D-Liz mentioned they were heading to the rock gym, and Mark and I considered climbing indoors for the first time in years. We ended up going along and getting a week of free membership at Miramont North to see if we could work indoor climbing into our schedules.

The gym is an interesting one, with a whole fitness center (ie cardio, weight-lifting, yoga classes, basketball courts, etc) and a giant, very nice rock wall on one side.

I think the week was successful. We didn’t horribly embarrass ourselves while climbing the overhanging jug-fests that cover the walls. Mark did fall off of a 5.7 towards the end of our second day, which was hilarious. Yesterday, I tried bouldering by myself in the afternoon, and I remembered the problems I have had with bouldering in the past.

I’ve always said I’m not good at bouldering, which is true. I’m not super strong, and that is immediately apparent when I boulder. Plus I’m afraid of falling, which isn’t the best when you don’t have a rope. Finally, though, I don’t know the “rules” for bouldering. There are certain conventions and etiquette that boulderers all seem to know, and I’m left feeling a little confused and out-of-sorts. For instance:

1. I understand that between problems you’re supposed to sit on the floor and stare intently at the wall. How long, exactly should you sit on the floor? How far away from your problem should you sit? I mean, should I camp out directly below it or can I sit back in the corner? Can I do something other than stare at the wall? Like read or do homework?

2. It seems to be ok to watch other boulderers when you’re in a group, but creepy if you’re the only one there. Why is that?

3. How do you keep iPod earbuds in your ears after jumping down from the top of the boulder?

4. How long should you keep trying a problem until you decide to give up and move on? I’m a big fan of the “Well, didn’t get it on my third try, let’s try something else…” school, but it seems like more serious boulderers will work much harder on finishing one specific sequence.

5. How long is a normal bouldering “session”? I was there for an hour yesterday and felt like I got a great workout. But there were people sitting around staring at the wall that were there when I got there and still there when I left. Maybe they’re meditating? Would I do better if I spent more time there? Am I getting any benefit from only an hour of bouldering or do I need to spend several hours in order to climb the awesome routes?

So, that’s my adventure for the week. I asked a girl at the gym some of these questions and she seemed upset at first that I had disrupted her staring at the wall (I guess that’s not polite) and then laughed at my suggestion that I could do homework between problems. Mark, also, has no clue about these things. I suppose I’ll just have to learn in time. Unless there are awesome boulderers out there who would like to let a n00b in on the secret?

It’s a major award!

October 10, 2008 at 8:20 am

So, just wanted to drop a quick note about life around here the last few days. The first exciting thing that’s happened for us is the arrival of our freezer beef! This fall, we went in with three other families and bought a whole cow from a local ranch. The cow was entirely grass fed and finished, and grew up within 100 miles of our house. The processor is even very local. Yesterday afternoon, Liz brought home #4977, and last night we thanked her for her sacrifice and divided the 300 pounds of beef among the families.

Liz has a lovely blessing and gratitude post up on her blog, along with a few pictures. She echo’s the feeling we all have about receiving the gift of food from this innocent animal. I wish I could be so eloquent.

(This is obvious stealing of one of Doug and Liz’s pictures, because I didn’t bring my camera last night)

Also, a few weeks ago, my short story was chosen as a semi-finalist in the Timex Return to the Outdoors contest. While I didn’t win an exciting vacation to anywhere, I did win a Timex Expedition watch, and it came in the mail yesterday. I think this is a darn cool award. The watch is huge, way too big for my little wrists, but I intend to wear it around happily on our next adventures. It has the usual date and time functions, with some obscenely huge number of lap splits and several congruent countdown timers. It also has a BAROMETER AND A THERMOMETER. Which is just freakin’ sweet.

A Major Award!

Fun Friday Videos!

October 3, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Dance Edition!!

It probably isn’t a secrete to anybody that Mark and I have started taking, yes, this is true, Ballroom Dance Classes. We’ve had four classes so far, and have learned timeless steps like triple jive and “modern rock.” We’ve also learned some basics of the European style like quarter turns and pivot turns. Andre, our soviet-era Russian professional ballroom dance instructor, is very keen on making everything look good and flow, and we’ve been working hard to keep him happy. The most fun we’ve had, though, is with the Merengue. You should see us rock out to this one. We totally look like these people.

And, while we’re dancing ourselves silly, here’s a video my little brother made to blow off steam during finals last week. Yeah, he’s awesome. Here’s a link to the original groovy dancing girl if you’re curious.


September 26, 2008 at 11:36 am

Tomorrow is our 5th wedding anniversary, and it feels like a bit of a milestone. This morning, the blog of Niffgurd got “tagged” and his recounting of past events inspired me. Here’s what’s happened to me so far.

20 Years Ago:
1. I was in the 5th grade at Tilman Elementary School in Kirkwood, MO. I had already been to four different elementary schools and lived in 6 different towns.
2. My two best friends at the time, Katie Unland and Beth Brown, have both since passed away.
3. I danced ballet, tap and jazz three times a week, and I knew I was going to grow up to be a famous ballerina in New York.
4. I’m pretty sure it was almost exactly 20 years ago this week that my Mom came into my bedroom one night before bed and told me I was likely to have another little brother next summer. My first thought at the time was “Oh my God! My parents had sex!”

10 Years Ago:
1. I was starting my sophomore year at Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech. in Terre Haute, Indiana.
2. I was learning to program in Java and C++.
3. I knew I was going to grow up to be a famous dot-com entrepreneur and CEO.
4. I went rockclimbing for the first time ever as part of a Pike rush event at a gym in Indianapolis that fall.

5 Years Ago:
1. I was on the Outer Banks with my closest friends and family as I prepared to marry Mark Calder.
2. A week before the wedding, our beach had been hit by Hurricane Isabel.
3. On the morning of our wedding we went boogie boarding in 6 foot waves, and I got a little beaten up.
4. It started raining about an hour before the ceremony, but we had it outside anyway. Everybody had umbrellas except Mark and I, who stood out in the rain and pledged to spend the rest of our lives together. As soon as the Rev. said “I now pronounce you Man and Wife,” it stopped raining.

There’s quite a few fun pictures of our two-week long wedding odyssey on my old Pbase site.


3 Years Ago:
1. Mark and I were living in Fort Collins, Colorado, as I started my second year of grad school.
2. Mark’s contracting job with our old company in Indianapolis was drying up and he was beginning life among the unemployed.
3. I knew I was going to grow up to be a famous climatologist and save the planet. I was hoping to have a weather phenomenon named after me.
4. After three solid years of rockclimbing, I was starting to have anxiety issues and was not climbing as much. Mark and Tom were climbing together constantly, and it was about this time of year, three years ago, that Mark and Tom climbed the 5.10 variation of Yellow Spur, with Mark leading the technical cruxes.

1 Year Ago:
1. I had recently started on medication for my anxiety, and was sleeping through the night for the first time in 9 months.
2. I was working hard on my Master’s Thesis.
3. Liv was in a cast after slicing clean through two tendons on her back left leg.
4. We had just spent a great day climbing Baobob Tree in Vedauwoo with Dylan, Ann, Sean, Doug and Liz.

So Far This Year:
1. I’ve received a Master’s Degree in Atmospheric Science and I’ve been accepted into the Phd program at CSU.
2. I taught a college-level class on Global Climate Change at Colorado College.
3. I managed to keep a consistent yoga practice throughout the year.
4. Mark and I took our trad climbing to new heights by pulling off clean ascents of 5.9 crack climbs at Lumpy Ridge and Vedauwoo.

1. I finished my half of a presentation of my work for several famous climate and atmospheric scientists (to be presented on Monday).
2. I received notice that I am accepted into the Workshop on Reducing the Uncertainty in the Prediction of Global Warming in Jerusalem next January!
3. I scheduled an interview for a part time job doing photography for a local rafting company.
4. Mark and I made a tasty pasta sauce from the tomatoes that are just ripening in our garden.

1. I put a whole bunch of cool songs on the green iPod Shuffle that Mark got for me as an anniversary gift.
2. Jim sent me his half of the presentation and I’ve put them together and delivered them to the meeting organizer.
3. I went to my interview and told them I couldn’t work for them until next March. They kicked me out and said “Then contact us next March!”
4. I went through all of the old photos of our wedding for this post.

In the next year …
1. I’ll submit my first paper to a scientific journal.
2. I’ll have presentations and conferences in San Francisco, New York, and Jerusalem all before the end of January.
3. I’ll take the prelims – a whole week of rigorous testing – and be started on my Phd work officially.
4. Mark and I will start trying to make a baby.

Fun Friday Videos

September 5, 2008 at 8:50 am

Is it a tradition? Not yet. I just stumbled upon some fun stuff this week and thought I’d share.

This first video may make all of my friends think less of me, or they might totally understand. I can’t decide if I think it’s totally awesome or a sign of the end of the world. The Large Hadron Collider has received some bad press. Evidently, some people are worried that this huge super-collider could produce micro black holes or stranglets. Crazy stuff that particle physics. I think this video might be some kind of PR stunt to make the biggest science experiment of modern history a little more approachable?

And, on a possibly less cheesy note (though, I do think the music here is a bit cheesy), I found the Ashtanga yoga demonstration video that I love so much. This is in honor of Liz coming to yoga with me last night! This video demonstrates most of the 108 poses in the standard Ashtanga sequence. Someday, Liz. Someday we’ll be able to do this stuff! :)