Thursday, December 23, 2010

If I'd sent out a Christmas Letter...

I spent one Christmas on my mission and I don't remember very much about it, it was fairly uneventful. But a few weeks before Christmas, we got a Christian Calligraphy Art catalog in the mail and from it I cut out a tiny picture of a framed quote they had for sale. I still have it. I don't know how this tiny little scrap of paper has survived so many years but it's still with me and I like to put it up on my fridge at Christmas time. It's simple, but it's one of my favorite decorations. I don't know who said it, or what the company is that sent the catalog, but I still like the quote as much now as I when I first read it 10 years ago.
"If as Herod we fill our lives with things and again with things, if we consider ourselves so unimportant that we must fill every moment of our lives with action, when will we have time to make the long slow journey across the desert as did the magi? Or sit and watch the stars as did the shepherds? Or brood over the coming of the child as did Mary? For each one of us there is a desert to travel, a star to discover, and a being within ourselves to bring to life. "
I'd like to think that this year I've spent more time traveling the desert, watching the stars, enjoying time with the children around me, figuring out who I am inside, and less time acquiring more things...and I think it's made a difference. Merry Christmas, Katie

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My New Phone

With my Christmas Bonus this year I...paid a big chunk of my mortgage. How boring and responsible, but I still had enough left over to finally upgrade my phone. A more responsible thing there would have been to fix the heater in my car but that's what coats and gloves are for. I was still using Bryan's old Razor phone. It was pathetic and starting to turn itself off when it got cold. Along with my new phone I also got the internet at home! It's been years and it's been oh so nice! It has already come in extremely handy although it's only on my phone so it's just inconvenient enough that it prevents me from wasting too much time on it. So far my favorite thing about the phone is the camera! It has so many cool settings and last night I found even more picture features. I was up way too late playing with them.
It has a "depth of field" feature that's cool. (just because I get a new phone doesn't mean the subject mater of my pictures improves any. Still the cats)
I spend a lot of time after I go to bed trying to figure stuff out on the phone which results in pictures of me in bed. I don't know why there's an option to take blue pictures. I was showing the phone to Alicia and James and he thought the pointless feature was the distortion option...but I beg to differ. It kept me entertained for hours. Then after you take the pictures you can edit them with fancy effects. So far my favorites are vintage looking "glimmer" and "bleak"
I can download old photos too and do stuff to them. Check out what I did to these old hiking and climbing pictures of me. Already cool pictures, but now even cooler. They remind me of the old pictures I find stuck into the Rockwood Log up at the cabin, except no one is hiking with curlers in their hair and no one has bottlecaps attached to their shirt.

These pictures make me miss good weather and climbing. This was the only fun winter picture I edited.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The dangers of your own home and graffiti, two things to ponder when snowshoeing

On Saturday I went snowshoeing up the Butler Fork Trail. I went alone and thoroughly enjoyed myself. But as I climbed the steep hill that follows the creek I couldn't help thinking about the dangers I was putting myself in by being there alone. I never felt scared and I didn't go into any immediately dangerous areas, I didn't go so far I might get lost, and I didn't go anywhere I wouldn't be found by others pretty soon. I was meeting up with some friends that evening so I knew someone would be aware I was missing should something have happened. I almost made it up to Circle All Peak but the sun was going down and I wanted to be safe so I turned back just below the top. Nothing happened, I just had a great time and enjoyed the fresh air and solitude of the mountains in winter.
(I'd never been up this trail in the winter but I went in the fall once with Andy and Kris. Here's the same spot in the above picture without the snow)
(The trail was packed into this nice bowl shape and it made me wish I'd packed a sled up with me so I could ride back down to my car.) Back from my first solo snowshoe outing in the canyon this season, I was feeling pretty good about everything. Then...Sunday night...I fell down the stairs in my own house! It hurts a lot more as an adult than I remember from when I was a kid. Luckily I fell backwards and just bumped my way down instead of tumbling Scarlett O'Hara style and escaped with just rug burns and bruises. (It still hurt A LOT) I laid sprawled out at the bottom for awhile and wondered how long it would have been before someone found me if I was hurt and wondering where my phone was. The next day was my day off from work and I had no plans with anyone. It'd probably be at least Tuesday afternoon before someone would think to look for me, but more likely Wednesday.
So to sum things up:
  • If I'd have injured myself in the mountains alone in the snow, the skiers I saw on my way down would have seen me within the hour and if not them, at least a dozen people the next day, plus friends would wonder where I was that evening.
  • If I'd seriously injured myself on the stairs at my house I'd have laid there for 2-3days with only the helpless hungry cats as company.
The whole experience made me agree with John Muir more than ever when he wrote this:

“To the timid traveler, fresh from the sedimentary levels of the lowlands, these highways, however picturesque and grand, seem terribly forbidding—cold, dead, gloomy gashes in the bones of the mountains, and of all Nature's ways the ones to be most cautiously avoided. Yet they are full of the finest and most telling examples of Nature's love; and though hard to travel, none are safer. For they lead through regions that lie far above the ordinary haunts of the devil, and of the pestilence that walks in darkness. True, there are innumerable places where the careless step will be the last step; and a rock falling from the cliffs may crush without warning like lightning from the sky; but what then? Accidents in the mountains are less common than in the lowlands, and these mountain mansions are decent, delightful, even divine, places to die in, compared with the doleful chambers of civilization. Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain-passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. Even the sick should try these so-called dangerous passes, because for every unfortunate they kill, they cure a thousand.”

I agree with Muir, I'd rather have died in the canyon with my snowshoes on looking at the stars and the trees than at the bottom of my stairs in my dorky mismatching old pajamas and a pint of melting ice cream in my hand.
Now let's talk about Graffiti. I kinda like Graffiti, but I think it should be limited to train cars, bathroom stalls, and that old abandoned building you pass as you drive to Idaho. Not on trees. If you actually own the tree then I think it's sweet to carve initials inside hearts, but not in wilderness areas. People can not help themselves though, so I guess we should look on the bright side of things.
I do appreciate when people put some thought into it and go beyond just carving their initials... and deep down, I kind of like the way old carvings look on aspens. (A couple of these are from a trail I took along the Alpine Loop a couple springs ago)
But I like the aspens most without any words.
"We had left no mark on the country itself, but the land had left it's mark on us."
Sigurd Olsen

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fisheye Camera

I got a roll of film developed...yes developed
I found my fisheye camera the other day and noticed there was film in it, so I finished it off and had it processed. The first pictures were over a year old and some had really suffered but funny enough, when I got the pictures back both the old pictures and the new pictures were mostly of the Tolls. I wish the second pictures were also taken eating at Lone Star....mmmmm....Lone Star Taqueria. Kjirsten and I played around the the double exposure abilities of real film and I think they were some of the cooler pictures.
Sidenote: When I was 16 I had my first job ever working with my friend Sarah at a 1hour photo mat, how obsolete that is now. Also from my teenager days, I finally gave in and let Kjirsten have my last pair of Chucks which I bought back when I was 18.