Thursday, April 29, 2010

My New Friend Zoe

Alicia went solo from our cooking duo and baked herself up a cute little bun and it's out of the oven! (out of the oven thanks to James who delivered her in their front room!) I prefer to think of her as a tamale since that's what we were supposed to make next. Either way, I have a new friend, and her name is Zoe. She's a new new friend (nu-nu? ha ha..old mission joke) I got to see her just a few days old. (I thought I'd write a blog post on her since we can all use a break from climbing posts right?) She is so cute and soft and sweet to hold. I like how much she looks around and seems to make eye contact with everyone. When she cries she looks like Quinn and when she pouts she looks like Xavier and when she's happy she looks like…Zoe, who else? My favorite part is all her dark silky brown hair, especially in the front where it flips up like a little 80's surfer. The 80's are so in style right now too! How did she know? I already predict good things from this little cookie and I don't think I'm the only one who's already taken in by her...

Monday, April 26, 2010

We Climbed The Day Away

Another nice spring Monday begging to be filled with climbing. Mark and I headed up to The Dihedrals Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the morning with Ben, had some tacos for dinner at Lone Star then headed up Big Cottonwood Canyon in the evening with Jennilyn. As we were driving home he said, "Well Katie we climbed the day away..." It was such a satisfying thing to hear. In the Dihedrals I practiced a few multi pitch techniques I wanted to learn and we all ended up doing 5 pitches of climbing. My favorite of the day was Half-A-Finger. I think I'll make this a project. I really liked it. There you can see the "half a finger" formation at the top of the route.This last little move may not look so graceful, but I thought it was the funnest part. Jam your entire arm in the overhanging crack by the finger and pull yourself up. I can't wait to go back already.Ben is one of my co-workers and he's an awesome boulderer. We talk climbing at work a lot, and we've climbed at the gym a couple times, but he'd never climbed on a rope outside. This was his first trip up the canyon for some real climbing. He did awesome and even made it halfway up the 5.11 Mark climbed. I was impressed. He's already asking me when he can come with us again.Mark belaying us up...he may look casual about it, but I trust him with my life.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Adventures in yard work

Last Saturday was such a nice gorgeous spring day! The dandelions were out in full force so I decided it was about time to mow and fertilize the lawn for the first time this spring. Doing this kind of yard work and not just the "tend the tomatoes and herb garden" stuff sure makes me feel independent and self sufficient. The thrill of that won't last long I'm sure and by mid summer I'll be once again, hopefully, accepting charity mowing from my neighbor that butchered my herb garden last year. The dandelions seemed to be onto me, they were so short the mower just went right over them. As a side note, I've had those shoes since high school, in fact they're my old badminton shoes. I keep some stuff way too long... After my yard work was done I sat in the driveway and enjoyed the company of Edam, my neighbors cat. I don't know his real name, but it's the prettiest friendliest cat ever. I love his eyes! They're really light blue-green and remind me of sea glass you find in Monterey. Why can't my inside cats be as friendly as the outside cats!? Then Charlie rode her scooter past my tulips and pointed out a snake hiding in them. I caught him and named him Slim Willy. He was the biggest snake I'd caught in my own yard and he wasn't too happy to be in my hands so I set him free in the horse pasture and wished him good hunting. You really don't need to go further than your front yard sometimes for an adventure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mark's Birthday Climbing and My First Lead

How convenient that Mark's birthday fell on a Monday, the day that and Jennilyn and I always go climbing with him, and how great that it was a beautiful warm sunny day perfect for climbing outside. Mark turned 20, and even though he's no longer the talented young climbing teenager we first knew him as, Jennilyn and I still like to feed him like one. So, after cinnamon rolls and peanut butter chocolate birthday cake we waddled up to Big Cottonwood Canyon. (Jennilyn was waddling not just from all the food but because she also ran in the Salt Lake City Marathon on Saturday) First we climbed Goodro's Wall. This has been on my to do list since before I ever thought of having a to do list. I remember looking down on this climb with Andy on my birthday and thinking I'd never be good enough to get up something that hard, but here I was less than a year later climbing it. I almost made it clean on my second try too, but slipped off just below the chains. I'll be back to try this one again. I really wanted it to be my first 5.10 climb I got up outside clean, but that'll have to wait. Jennilyn and Mark worked on a 5.12 climb around the corner, Big in Japan, before we headed back down the canyon to the route Mark had picked out especially for his birthday. Little Creatures. We crossed the icy cold snow swollen river up to our knees with kids in our arms to get there, but it was worth it. It was a neat climb that went up a long overhang and out a hole at the top. It was way harder than anything I'd ever done and I didn't really want to try it. Instead I decided it was time that I take the next step in climbing and lead something. There was a nice long 5.6 climb on the facing wall that was just the style of climbing I'm most confident on. Jennilyn and Mark were really excited when I told them my idea and argued over who would get to belay me up my first lead. They loaded me up with gear, including an ancient forged friend which I ended up placing, and sent me up the rock. It was a breeze, even the tricky run out traverse I did at the end to the chains on the other route was fun.(um...this picture is kind of tilted. It was a little steeper than it appears here. This look like I'm climbing a gentle hillside) As a bonus I got to be lowered down through the hole at the top of Mark's route. I'm so glad that my first lead outside was a trad route and that I got to do it in Big Cottonwood. On top of everything else going so well, Jennilyn's boys were good the entire time! It was a birthday miracle! We climbed till dark and quickly loaded up our packs, Indy pooped his pants, and then we somehow made it safely back across the rising river without any headlamps, kids and all. This had to be one of my favorite climbing days at home in Utah and it wasn’t even my birthday.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The current state of my fridge

Looking at my fridge right now just makes me happy!

Shelf 1: Enough Joshua Tree chili for 3 meals, the makings of a lemon cream cheese pie as well as some fresh asparagus.

Shelf 2: Avocados and Tillamook yogurt (mostly huckleberry flavor), Rico beans and asian noodles

Shelf 3: Mark's birthday cake for tomorrow (chocolate cake filled with peanut butter ganache and covered in dark chocolate ganache)

Shelf 4: 15-20 various kinds of cheese

It may be a lot of food for one person but it's such good food! I can't wait for meal time everyday!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Record Store Day: A finale of music and ice cream

April 17th was Record Store Day and all the local shops had free shows all day put on by local bands. I attempted 3 and made it to all of them if you count a couple notes as a show, otherwise I saw just two. But Saturday was just the finale to 4 days of live music for me. Starting with a Citizen Cope show at The Depot on Wednesday which was excellent. Friday Gina and I headed down to Provo to see what Velour could offer us. Archers Apple was releasing a CD that night. They were pretty good and fun to watch. They played some fun instruments and it all seemed to flow seamlessly into their songs, even the saw, the typewriter, and the bucket of metal seemed to work for them. However, their opening band was Devil Whale and I can't remember the last time I was so instantly taken in by a local band. I left that night with their CD and plans to see them the next day on Record Store Day. (That night didn't end with the music either. We stopped by Sammy's for something to eat and ended up meeting another local singer/songwriter guy who, it turns out, I saw perform last summer when I went to the Josh Ritter concert.) Saturday was Record Store Day: Heathyr and I headed up to Salt Lake to see Fictionist perform out front. It was such a perfect day, everyone enjoyed sitting on the grass soaking up the sun and the show. Candi met us there with her family and everyone really liked watching Katelyn dance…till some kid showed up with ice cream, then the dancing was over and the begging for ice cream began. After their show Gina and I saw Devil Whale that evening at Slowtrain Records where we got free CDs of two new songs. We tried our very best to rush to Orem for the last Fictionist show but got turned around in the disastrous mess that is Provo/Orem and ended up walking into the store as they were holding the last note of the last song. Pretty much all we got was "thanks for coming everyone!" so we just talked to Brandon while he packed up his guitars and left. I love live music so much, it was great to see so many shows this week and all of them were amazing. The second best part of all this was that after each show, we went out for frozen desserts. After Citizen Cope we got Wendy's frosties, Friday we got pie shakes and ice cream at Sammy's, Saturday afternoon we had ice cream and root beer floats at B&D, then Saturday night we got fancy gelatos somewhere in Daybreak. What could be better? Live music and ice cream!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cross Country Skiing in Big Cottonwood Canyon

It's warming up quick and I hadn't yet taken the cross country skis up in Big Cottonwood Canyon yet. So I headed up there Saturday and spent the whole day on the trails. I ended up skiing every single trail and loop there is between Brighton and Solitude. I went alone again but this time I saw lots of other skiers. The trails were slushy in the sun making the tracks more of a danger than anything else so I practiced skiing outside of the tracks. I never quite master the uphill skate ski but I was able to do some fantastic turns going downhill.
It's crazy how many cabins are on the opposite hill that you don't even know about since in the summer they're all covered in aspens.
I took the Cabin Fever Loop trail twice to see our own cabin. There's no sign of the snowshoe tracks I made out front with my parents a few weeks ago.
I like how the snow melts and curls around the edge of the patio roof. No jumping off the roof this time.
Some aspens patiently waiting for the spring to reach them...the sky was gorgeous in the late afternoon as I made my way back to Silver Lake and one final lap around the loop before heading back home. It was almost enough to wish for a few more weeks of winter...but I already took my snow tires off thanks.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Tale of two Bundt Cakes

This week was my turn to bring treats to work. I wasn't about to spend money on this roomful of nerds I work with no matter how badly I wanted a dozen Banbury Cross Donuts. (Plus I wouldn’t want to share those) So I decided to make a bundt cake. I think the problem started when I ran out of Pam cooking spray for baking and had to start a new can of it. That stuff comes out fast when it's new and the pan for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake got doused like a kid at the beach with an obsessive parent armed with sunscreen. When it came time to flip that cake out, I sweat it leapt out of the pan before I even began to turn it over. It wasn't a fast graceful exit either, not like those Olympic divers who can do 3 back flips, a three quarter twist, paint their toenails and then slip in the water without a splash. It was more like watching the a Nature Channel show when they're attaching tracking devises to lions and they open the cage door and the lion rushes out all angry and mad but then realizes it's still half doped up on tranquilizers and falls over drooling and growling all the same time. That was my cake, the drugged lion trying to attack me while falling over drooling all over the counter and the kitchen floor. I should have known better since this has happened to me before the first time I ever tried Pam for Baking. I stood there looking at it for a minute or two, took a picture of it, then put a big bowl over it so it wouldn’t go stale and went to bed. In the morning after the animal tranquilizers had worn off and the cake had calmed down, I managed to get about half of it looking good. (What's with the messy kitchen in the background, I swear I just cleaned it the other day!) I sliced it up and took it to work for Friday Treats and it was eaten up without a second thought to it once being an angry drooling lion. It probably didn't hurt that I'd made a second cake that had perfectly dripping glaze and sparkled with cinnamon and sugar. Oh man that cake was as good as it looks too. It was called a Cinnamon Crown Cake but I think I'd like to rename it the Cinnamon Halo Cake…but then whenever I think of halos I think of the time in college we played "Would You Rather" with Rufus and he asked, "Would you rather have a permanent sausage halo or leave a trail of cayenne pepper everywhere you went." The image of a sausage halo has ruined all halos for me since. I'll stick with Cinnamon Crown Cake. On a side note, I was listening to Jack Johnson on my way to work today. Doesn't he just make you want to sit on the beach while your boyfriend plays you songs on his guitar..and then go and join a peace rally?