Gi'me Som'a Dat Suga'

, Wednesday, March 19, 2008 1 comments

The rock formation Sugar Loaf stands as an iconic reminder of the history of Winona. I've always made gentle fun of Winona's love for the formation. It isn't a natural formation at all, but a remnant of a quarry project that was shut down in 1887. Winona is proud enough of it to keep it lit at night, which isn't an easy task when people like to stand at the top and throw rocks through the lights below.

Sugar Loaf is a fun destination, though. There are a variety of geo-cache sites close to it. But the thing that draws me there the most lately is climbing. The routes up the rock are not really very challenging, but it's a fun and close place to practice some skills. We can practice multi-pitch skills even though the rock is only about 50-feet tall. The rock doesn't take a lot of traditional protection, but there are solid bolts up the south face. The bolting pattern is rather funky though, so sometimes I skip some of the bolts and substitute traditional gear where I can get it.

Most people climb unroped up the southeast arete. It's an easy climb, with one exposed move right at the top. It isn't a hard move, but a slip there would send you on a quick ride back to the bottom. This route gets harder in the middle of winter when snow covers all of the holds. Snow cover, a bitter wind and crumbly rock combine to give this climb a mini-alpine feel in the winter. Good training for the Hillary Step, as my friend Tom says.

Of course the view from the top is great and the breeze feels nice. One day I stood on the top and watched a bald eagle sore on the currents below.

Pictures from our week

, Saturday, March 15, 2008 1 comments

Always looking for adventure

Friday, March 14, 2008 0 comments

An Admirable Guy


I had the privilege of attending a lecture by Jim Brandenburg last night. I’ve admired his photographs for years, but was even more impressed by seeing him in person. He showed a lot of his work, including many unpublished photographs. He showed a lot of photos from Blue Mounds State Park, where I've been wanting to go rock climbing. He has given away land for conservation. He’s the kind of guy who lets his passions take him to great places. He’s a genuine good guy, and I’m adding him to my official hero list. You can read more about the lecture here.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008 0 comments

OMG, today was, like way gorgeous! The first nice spring day brings everybody outside, and I could see dozens o' peeps enjoying the day from my LR window. Spring seems to be here, RUUP4IT? Of course you are! I'm one of those peeps who embraces winter, but I was SFETE today; how could you not with the warm sun on your shoulders? The temp hit 5-0, baby! WWJD on a day like today? IMO probably something X-1-10, for sure! KEWL. K, well GTR. CYL8R. DLTBBB.

The other half

, Saturday, March 8, 2008 3 comments

Margaret insisted - begged, even - that I add an illustrated guide to her closet, too. I'm not sure why she insisted, but I have a hunch she was afraid she would misplace her "Yoga Diva" sweatshirt without the guide. She claimed that the post would be "hilarious." But as we annotated the photo, somehow the word "clothes" didn't seem so funny. So I've taken some of my own editorial liberties with the annotations.

Margaret occasionally says to me, "Tell me why you love me." But I always choke under that kind of pressure. I think that helping her keep track of Yoga Diva should be proof enough that I do love her even if I can't always tell her why. I think that she'll stop asking after this post.

Margaret loves her Yoga Diva, even if she's a little embarrassed by wearing the word "Diva" on her body. She loves it so much, she even made up a song about it:

"When you don't know what to wear
And you want to pull out your hair,
Sister don't despair
Reach for YOGA DIVA!"

So here's Margaret's closet; here's how "the other half" lives.

A. Hamper; Yoga Diva goes in here on Sunday nights. I take down the laudry at 5:30 Monday morning (can you feel the love?), so YD doesn't have to spend much time here.
B. Stinky washcloth drying over the side of the hamper; her stinky stuff actually makes it to the hamper
C. 2 “whales”; out of season clothing; I'm not sure why we call these bins "whales" except that we have a name for everything. YD is never out of season.
D. Purses and bags
E. Lots of leather boots
F. More leather boots
G. Shoes; here's why we're a perfect match - if I put a carabiner from my closet into each of the shoes in her closet, they would match up perfectly. She has 50 shoes (I counted) and I have 50 carabiners (I counted).
H. Blouses, skirts, pants and dresses
I. Sweaters; Diva's domain
J. Ratty gardening clothes
K. Fireproof lock box
L. Extra pair of Saucony aerobics shoes
M. Over to the left, out of the picture, is a bunch of exercise clothes; the Diva isn't actually an excercise outfit, it's just a feel-good comfy sweatshirt

Tom's Closet - An Illustrated, Annotated Guide


Elizabeth asked me if she could borrow a tripod to videotape herself and Kara making brownies. We went to my closet and she laughed, saying, "Your closet has a bunch of stuff and a few clothes. Mine has a bunch of clothes and a little stuff."

I like keeping my toys in my closet because it make me feel like I do fun things more often than I actually do. If you ever need to borrow anything, here's where you'll find it.

A. Pants
B. Shirts
C. A pair of Lowe Alpine shell pants. I sliced them up with my crampons the first time I went ice climbing, and I loaned them to Tony for his first time which gave them more slices. They’re too full of rips to be worth repairing, so now they’re my official beginner ice climbing pants.
D. A stack of running clothes. This is like hamper purgatory because they’re stinky but they haven't made it into the hamper yet. If I need to use them again before doing laundry, I will.
E. Neon green accessory cord. It’s out because I used some to make a zipper-pull on my Patagonia DAS parka
F. Climbing rope
G. Climbing gear; cams, carabiners, helmet, harnesses, shoes, chalk, cordelettes, webbing, etc.
H. Camping gear; tent, stove, cookware, etc.
I. Shoes; an empty slot for my slippers, dress shoes, loafers, Five Ten Guide Tennies, sandals
J. Photography stuff; Norman strobes, 4x5 view camera, etc.
K. A small shoulder/hip bag, a.k.a. my “man purse”
L. Tripod
M. Sleeping pad
N. Hangers on a bar; the bar doubles as a makeshift climbing anchor so I can practice things like building mechanical advantage hauling systems, counterbalance rappels, passing knots and clipping quickdraws. Ice tools are hooked over the far left end of the bar.
O. Water bottles
P. Crampons
Q. Sweaters
R. Hiking boots
S. Two pair of Saucony Triumph 5 running shoes; these are a new brand for me and I’m getting shin splints sometimes. I hope it improves.
T. Duffel bag sitting on top of some new socks and the lid to our hamper

Mitchum Man

Thursday, March 6, 2008 1 comments

I think I'd better switch deodorants. My Mitchum unscented clear gel is working just fine. In fact, it works so well I could skip a day, just like the ads say. Its quick drying formula leaves no trace of messy white residue on me or my clothes. It's alcohol free so it doesn't sting or irritate my skin. But my ratio of lighter fluid to charcoal is not 2:1. I guess I'm not a Mitchum Man after all. Darn. I bet the good ol' marketing boys were giving each other big slaps on the back when they thought up that one. I wish I was in their club.

Maybe I should switch to Axe. I do spray my running clothes with it after I get to work in the heat of the summer so they aren't too stinky when I have to put them on again to run home. But why stop there? I can spray myself with it, too. I could spray my chest, neck, underarms or anything else I want to smell great. I could simplify my life too, by getting rid of another product because this one pulls double duty. It's not just effective deodorant protection - it's combined with a seductive, longer lasting fragrance. Too bad it stinks.

Enough, already!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008 0 comments

There was a thin layer of new snow covering everything on my run to work this morning and I couldn't see the ice that's been forming over the last week. I alomost "bit it" several times, and punched through hollow ice a couple more. I felt like a toddler learning to walk. My time wasn't that far off my normal time, though. Maybe I always run like a toddler.

I'm ready for spring.

Another Random Video

Monday, March 3, 2008 1 comments

Pictures from our week

, , Sunday, March 2, 2008 0 comments

A couple of random, unrelated videos

Saturday, March 1, 2008 0 comments