Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I will exercise EVERY day for the next month...

Most people will probably think I'm crazy! But after finding a training regimen for Kilimanjaro online..that said..suggested -- to start 8 weeks before the climb...ACK!!! I'm scheduled to start climbing on Dec 27th. That is less than 1 month away from today.

So Saturday, I resolved to do some form of exercise every day up until the trip. So far, so good...

Saturday: went to the rock gym down south. While I'm not going for 4 hours like I used to at my peak...more like an hour nowadays...I still got a good workout. I'm not in the best climbing form anymore. But I did manage to throw down some routes that I couldn't conquer when I was in better form.

Sunday: hiked approximately 5 miles swiftly on varying terrain while carrying 35 pounds (that's about 37% of my body weight) of gear at Inks Lake; light weight training at home; a few pullups from the hangboard

Monday: combined walking/jogging for 1.25 miles and running up and down repeatedly on the bleachers (they're not that high, though) after work at the track at Williamson County regional park

Tuesday: that would be today...about a 3+ mile swift walk through the neighborhoods in the 44 degree weather. A good day to test out gear and my cold weather wimpyness. Well, maybe I'm not that wimpy after all! After an hour of swift walking, I was hot (granted I was wearing a 600 fill down jacket!).

tomorrow...yoga and climbing!

I'm also trying to train my body to intake more fluids. On the mountain, you're supposed to drink about 4-5 liters a day. Do you know how hard that is??? Well, still working on this one..having to pee every half hour sucks, though. But better now than on the mountain!

Well, whether I summit or not..that will be the question. If I don't summit, I won't be upset. I'm just glad that I'm trying. The fact that I'm even trying it is huge for me. I've always pushed myself to my physical limitations, and have seen that..wow, I'm not that wimpy after all! And this will be one hell of a challenge.

At least I'm more prepared (gearwise, at least) than this guy!!! A great story and what a pretty pink jacket! lol!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Porter project duffel has arrived!

The duffel bag from the IMEC porter project arrived last week. It's a huge duffel bag, one that I could fit in. The duffel, an Eagle Creek Cargo duffel (x-large), is filled to the brim with fleeces from Crested Butte ski and snowboard school and plastic hangars.

Here's Bonnie and Belle inspecting the package.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Making gear -- Mittens

Mittens -- variation on McCalls pattern #4683 - F.

I was too cheap to buy fleece mittens to go over my gloves, so I made them instead. I bought a remnants order from Malden Mills, the makers of Polartec, and received really awesome Polartec materials in varying lengths, colors, and thicknesses. I'm guessing that the fleece I used was probably Polartech 100.

It was pretty easy to make. Rather than the elastic where it is on the pattern, I decided to leave it out. For the lining of the mittens, I used a 99 cent thrift store find -- an Addidas shirt made out of Climacool material.

Sewing instructions, pattern pieces cut out of the sheets

I doubled the fabric over, and cut the pieces out.

Yay, I have a mitten! The pattern didn't call for the wavy line on the right side -- I improvised and sewed it in myself.

Palm side of the mitten

Inside of the mitten. I used a serger-like stitch to finish the raw edges. Not pretty on the inside.

Everyone makes mistakes! I had one mitten done, then started on the next one and sewed the wrong sides together. Used my handy dandy seam ripper to undo the stitches so that I could reuse the pieces.

Lining material - climacool Addidas shirt from the thrift store

Viola! All finished -- mittens with lining sewed to them. I made a casing at the bottom of the mittens, just in case I want to add elastic to them.
Lining material - climacool Addidas shirt from the thrift store

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What on earth am I thinking?!?!!!

From MtKilimanjaro.org...

Elevations and Distances for Machame Route

This is an outline of elevations, distances and hiking times for the Machame route. All of these are estimates and have a small margin of error depending upon where you measure them from, your pace of travel, and the exact trails you choose to take.

Machame Route Breakdown:

Day 1: Machame Gate (1634 m/5,363 ft) to Machame Hut (2834 m/9,300 ft)
Hike time: 7.5 hrs
Elevation change: +1200 m/+3937 ft
Estimated distance: 10km/6.21 miles
Final elevation: 3100 m/10,170 ft

Day 2: Machame Hut (2834 m/9,300 ft) to Shira Hut (3749 m/12,300 ft)
Hike time: 7 hrs
Elevation change: +800 m/+244 ft
Estimated distance: 6km/3.75 miles
Final elevation: 3800 m/12,467 ft

Day 3: Shira Hut (3749 m/12,300 ft) to Barranco Hut (3901 m/12,800 ft)
Hike time: 5 hrs
Elevation change: +100 m/+328 ft
Estimated distance: ?
Final elevation: 3900 m/12,800 ft

Day 4: Barranco Hut (3900 m/12,800 ft) to Karanga Valley (3963 m/13,000 ft)
Hike time: 3.5 hrs
Elevation change: +100 m/+328 ft
Estimated distance: 4km/2.5 miles
Final elevation: 3963 m/13,000 ft

Day 5: Karanga Valley (3963 m/13,000 ft) to Barafu Hut (4,600 m/15,091 ft)
Hike time: 3.5 hrs
Elevation change: +600 m/+1968 ft
Estimated distance: 4km/2.5 miles
Final elevation: 4,600 m/15,091 ft

Day 6: Barafu Camp (4,600m/15,091 ft) to the Summit (5896 m/19,343 ft) and then to Mweka Camp (3100 m/10,170 ft)
Summit time: 7 hrs
Elevation change: +1300 m/+4265 ft
Estimated distance: 5km/3.2 miles
Final elevation: 5896 m/19343 ft
Descent time: 5 hrs
Elevation change: -2800 m/-9186 ft
Estimated distance: 12km/7.5 miles
Final elevation: 3100 m, 10,170 ft

Day 7: Mweka Hut (3100 m/10,170 ft) to Mweka Gate (1828 m/6,000 ft)
Descent time: 4 hrs
Elevation change: -1250 m/-4101 ft
Estimated distance: 10km/6.21
Final elevation: 1828 m/6000 ft

Friday, November 18, 2005


Last Sunday, I volunteered for the Stitch event. I volunteered for the 4pm to 8pm shift, so that I could check out the vendors and show afterwards. I didn't know what volunteering would entail. Actually, I had no idea how the night would be, but I thought I would give it a go.

I got an awesome parking space at 7th and Red River, just a block from Emo's. I walked over to Emo's to find a long line of people with name tags on. I had no clue what was going on. I asked the guy at the end of the line if that was the volunteer line. It ended up to be the model line, which snaked outside of Emo's almost to Red River. Luckily, I didn't have to wait in the line, instead, just snuck into Emo's and found Brock, the volunteer coordinater in his green Stitch shirt.

My first assignment -- walk around and ask the vendors if they need help with anything. Easy enough. I walked around, met a few of the vendors. I first met with Jason, Tristan, and Annie at Annie's Omnium. They didn't need any help, so I moved on.

...well, I started this entry a while back, and now am too lazy to finish it. So I'll just do a quick rundown...

Volunteering was pretty interesting. Well, sort of. I walked around and asked vendors if they needed help. One vendor, Phaedra?, needed help putting their sign up, so I helped hold a metal pipe while one girl strung it to the tent post, and the other girl was fixing the booth. They were really sweet ladies.

Next was the food booth. I took blue tickets and handed out Chipotle burritos. With this crowd, of course, the vegetarian burritos were the biggest hit...however, the order was messed up and I had to deal with complaining vegetarians. Fun. :p

Around 6:00, they told us to just hand out the burritos to anyone who would take them, so Jesse and I grabbed handfuls of burritos and walked around to the vendors, doling out the food.

After that, I walked around checking up with vendors more, then hung out with Veronica who was guarding the back door. I was later tasked to pick up coffee from Progress Coffee on east 5th street. They were supposed to do a delivery, but something fell through, so Karly had be pick up the coffee. Well, needless to say, I couldn't find the place..so I called Karly on the phone. She interrupted me and said, "and someone else had already picked up the order". Damn straight tootin. She didn't know that someone else had run the errand. So I headed back.

I handed out a few schwag bags at the front door. By that time, I was ready for the show to get on the road. I wanted to walk around and buy stuff!

Finally, my shift was over at 8pm. Not that they would have known anyways, as I felt like I really did nothing the last hour. I went shopping. I bought a few soaps at Feto Soap. But that was about it. I talked to the vendors who I had met earlier -- a lot of cool, laidback people. Even Rickie and Charisse of Phoebe Debee's, who are from Port Arthur and were affected badly by Hurricane Rita, had such a positive attitude on life.

A few of my friends were vending as well, Natalie from Ornamental Things, Melissa from One Creative Girl, and Suzie from Q Jewelry.

I met up with Dixie and Sarah before the fashion show. It was really fun -- people watching and making fun of people. Well, it's a given at this type of show!

Here are some pics from Stitch...

Natalie at her booth

Melissa at her booth

Dirty butt girl

Scary tight pants guy who started bobbing to the music

A few fashion show pics...

If you want more, check out my Flickr page.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Schwagadellic, baby! Stitch Schwag

I snagged a schwag bag at the Stitch event for my volunteer efforts. Hey, they said I could put one aside for myself...

The schwag bag and goodies...

Now I'll break it down and give everyone credit...I mean after all, it's free schwag...

Buttons from Kiss My Attitude, Ollie Reid, Unrest Designs, and Belen.

Stickers from Chia, Model Citizen, A Rare Bird; patch from Mi Hija; magnet from lbs designs.

Miscelleneous schwag -- heart shaped fan from Tokyo Valentine, baggie from Ballistic Sweater Girl, CD from The Search for Saturnalia, nail file from Naughty Secretary Club, sex lube from ForPlay Liquid.

Mesh Design Collective put together a little baggie -- a button, cards from Mesh Design Collective, Creative Farm, M Shop NYC, Denise Disharoon Jewelry, treecycle.com

The latest issue of Bust Magazine.

A whole schlew of cards from (in alpha order...)
- 4t5 dogs - dog accessories
- Adaptive ReUse - paint swatch wallets and accesories
- All Knotted Up - hand knit creations by Lisa
- Amet and Sasha - simple clothes for complicated girls
- Angel Court - revamped vintage jewelry and art
- Annie's Omnium - clothing from natural fibers and fabrics and felted products
- Beta Valentine - a local band
- Chia - hats, bags, clothing, accessories
- Fable - knits and jewelry
- Flicker Film Fest
- Identity Crisis Clothing - handmade clothes by Karly
- Made with Sweet Love - naughty latch hook kits
- Naughty Secretary Club - jewelry, purses, home accessories
- Ornamental Things - beautiful handcrafted jewelry by Natalie and One Creative Girl - vintage inspired cards and corsages by Melissa
- Partybots - funky t-shirts
- Progress Coffee
- Revamp Designs - recycled clothing and accessories
- Smashing Mirrors - online boutique
- Stitch
- PDX Super Crafty - crafty girls from Portland, their book, and wares
- Texas Roller Girls
- Trow - handmade yoga wear and clothing

Phew, that's the schwag list! Well, the show blog will have to wait for another day...

Another Stitch in time...

Stitch has come and gone. It was last night. Well, I'll break this into two posts..1)schwag, 2)volunteering/vendors/show.

Next post..Schwag.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Scraped, bruised, and battered...

...all in a good day's climb.

Yesterday, Sean and I decided to hit up Enchanted Rock State Park for some hiking and granite rock climbing. It had been over a year since we've climbed here, and I was a bit nervous about it. Why nervous? Well, last time we were here, I chickened out on so much stuff. But that was before we really got into climbing...so I was curious as to how I would do.

We checked out the routes, and Mystery and Imagination was only a 5.8 -- that one, I chickened out on last year...Some of the routes that we did previously seemed so difficult, yet the ratings were so low...

Well, it was all psychological. I'm so spoiled by climbing on limestone, with the great small huecos (monos) for small fingers, pinches, crimps, and jugs...Climbing on granite posed a different challenge.

Going with a familiar area, we decided to go to the Orange Peel area. There were a few groups of climbers about. As we went to the area to set up the ropes for practice slab, we met two other climbers -- Ben and Andrea. They were pretty cool and offered the use of their webbing which was perfectly set up for use on the practice slab. Sean and I did a quick run up the practice slab as a warm up and practice to get the feel for granite again.

Ben was setting up the anchors for toproping Orient Express, a 5.9 with a scary-ass looking lead. We watched him and Andrea climb the Orient Express with some ease. Ben then offered us the use of their ropes on Orient Express. Me, being a chicken that I am said...um...uh, I'll just belay. I mean 5.9..I've thrown down a 5.10a on limestone..what's up with me? But anyways, Ben and Andrea convinced me to at least give it a try...

Getting to the belay station for Orient Express is tricky in itself. You have to go down this super slopy rock with enough momentum not to fall down to certain injury to the side of the rock, some 7? feet below. Well, I tried, uh..sliding down the rock, Ben caught me by putting is foot out and grabbing me so I didn't fall. All the while, I scraped my left thigh above the knee with a few bruises, too. Tricky getting down there, especially if you're short.

Sean climbed Orient Express first. He encountered some tricky areas, but made it up with a few rests. Then it was my turn. Well well well...long story short, I made it all the way up, with many rests, piecing it together. I didn't even think I'd make it 2 moves of the ground, but the fact that I finished it gave me a confidence boost. I was pretty excited. Granite shall not defeat me...or shall it?

We walked over to the Motorboat area. Ben's Dilemma, a 5.9-, looked really interesting. It has a crack all the way up, but it ain't no oridinary crack. If you're short like me, the start poses an interesting problem...and if you have small hands like me, the crux near the top, where the crack goes somewhat horizontal, poses a problem as well. Sean finished Ben's Dilemma with only one rest.

Me..well..that's another story. I had to start it a few times as the crack threw me off the wall. Layback? Well, was difficult. I finally got to a spot where I could put my hand on a flat spot, pinched the flake on the outer side of the crack, tapped my feet up the wall, then finally, finally, was able to place my foot where my hand was and stand up. That was a resting spot...the next section was not too bad -- I could kind of straddle the crack (yeah, I know that sounds dirty...) and stem my way up. And then the crux, the horizontal part. Well, the crack up there was much larger than what I thought. Once you're in position, you have to lay on your stomach almost horizontally, with both hands jammed into the crack. Easier said than done. And for me, well, I had my whole forearm jammed into the thin part of the crack, and tried to palm something, any kind of texture, with my other hand...slip..slip..slip..shit! That was frustrating, when you can feel yourself slipping and can't do anything about it. If that wasn't hard in itself, getting back to that position was almost impossible. The anchors are offset, so that there's a little swing if you slip, you're completely off course. And it was a bitch to get back into position. I used up so much energy just trying to get back there, by the time I did, I was completely defeated and worn out. The bruise on my forearm from the arm jam is proof positive that it's a route that will kick your ass...

We thought we had one more climb in us, and checked out Motorboat. I stayed on the ground, and Sean scrambled to the top of the rock to see if he could anchor it. Well, for this one, we would need extra long slings -- there are no nicely accessible anchors. There was a tree nearby, but far enough back that it would make the rope run on rock too much. We decided to call it a day and hike back, then head home.

Me hiking back on Echo Canyon Trail at the end of the day Posted by Picasa

Me and Sean Posted by Picasa

View from Enchanted Rock Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Will there ever be a rainbow?

Will there ever be a Rainbow postcard Posted by Picasa

Last Saturday, Sarah and I went to an art show called Will there ever be a rainbow? featuring unicorn art from various artists. It was held at Bolm Studios in east Austin, a studio that I had visited before during the East Austin Studio Tours. It seemed to be the typical art scene from Austin (the Blue Genie guys and such), so I figured it may be an interesting thing to check out.

When we arrived, it was a pretty happening, packed place. Great for people watching, that's for sure. We walked through the gallery to look at the works of art, and found some that were just downright interesting...

Entitled "Unicorn STD's". I could not stop laughing when I saw this one. Posted by Picasa

What stands out about this piece? Posted by Picasa

I loved these -- a series of unicorn cartoony drawings painted on graph paper Posted by Picasa

This artist tied in unicorns with our favorite 80's icons Posted by Picasa

And of course, the unicorn party couldn't be complete without a unicorn pinata filled with...condoms? That's what rumor had it as...

This little girl whacked the shit out of the pinata Posted by Picasa

Decapitated unicorn pinata Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005

Summit of Americas Protests -- Mar del Plata, Argentina

Like I said in one of my previous posts, I was curious as what kind of protests would turn up in protest of the Summit of Americas, especially with George Bush in attendance.

It's hard to believe that I was in this city, Mar del Plata, about 3 months ago...

Mar del Plata protests

I hopped on an empty bus with my boyfriend Sean from Buenos Aires to Mar del Plata. Empty because it was off-season. We stopped at the Mar del Plata bus station, found the El Rapido heading in the direction of Balcarce, to go climbing at a remote, serene place called Sierra la Vigilancia. In Mar del Plata, we went to a bakery about a block and a half away from the bus terminal and bought medialunas and sweets. The lady there, curious about our background, asked us where we were from. She was extremely excited to have us, Americans, in her shop. She was extremely sweet and caring. She told us to be careful of the pick pocketers...

A guy kicking in the window of a bank(?)

Boy, I'm glad I'm not in Argentina right now at this very moment. Anti-US and anti-Bush sentiment was high when I was down there. Whenever I told people I was from the US, it was one thing, when I told people I was from Texas, oh man...did I have some explaining to do!

I spoke with many locals, and despite the large anti-US and anti-Bush sentiment, we were able to find common ground. I believe that I was able to convey that not all Americans are evil, money hungry, power whores. How? Well, when I was down there, I was so curious about their country, I left mine behind. I wanted to know more about their history, their political issues, their thoughts...

Right before I got my camera stolen in Plaza de Congreso in Buenos Aires, I was talking with an Argentinian couple in their early 20's. We talked a lot about politics..politics of the US and politics of Argentina. Damien and Maria told me that the presidents and the government rob the people of so much. They complained, pleaded to me. But they said that right now, it wasn't as bad as it has been...that Kirchner is corrupt and takes from the people, but not as badly as past leaders have.

Two different worlds. Two different political systems. Both littered with problems.

It was hard to communicate what I really wanted to learn. I go to other countries with an open mind, to hear what the people have to say, what they think. But I'm limited by my lack of bi-lingual abilities. I am very curious as to what others think of Americans in general because of our latest political issues on the world front in the past few years...ie. basically the Bush years. It's good to get the word out that not all Americans support the ideals of Bush either. Hey, I sure as hell didn't vote for him! I went to the polls for the first time in my life, so that I could vote against him...

When I went to the Madres de Plaza de Mayo march, a peaceful protest once a week in Buenos Aires, I encountered anti-Bush sentiment as the Madres gathered by the statue post-march. One of the Madres has a speakerphone, gives a speech defending the revolutionary ideals that their children fought for during the Dirty Wars...their children had "disappeared" during that era. The Madres speak for the support of communism, and speak out strongly against Bush.

In many places in Argentina, I was confronted with anti-Bush sentiment. Anti-American sentiment on a lesser level. It's always an open discussion.

I've only skimmed a few articles, with Western views, about the Summit protests. I just hope that it doesn't portray Argentina as this land of lawlessness, a land of revolutionaries, a land of chaos..as show the pictures coming in from the media. Despite the bad things that happened to me in Argentina, I still view Argentinians as wonderful people, Argentina as a beautiful country so varied in landscape. I met the most amazing people in various parts of Argentina -- truely selfish, caring, and kind. Many who greeted me with warmth when they learned that I wanted to explore their country.

Why I don't go hiking alone...

There are too many crazy people out there.

This from today's Austin American-Statesman...

An Austin police officer shot a man who then apparently turned a shotgun on himself after a two-hour standoff with police Friday on the Barton Creek greenbelt near Spyglass Drive in Southwest Austin.

Spyglass is a very popular entrance to the greenbelt. I've gone there many a time...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Weekend in Houston

I spent last weekend in Houston. It was a pretty entertaining weekend. Ale has grown so much, now she's taller than Alyssa. Mia and Kai are as cute as can be.

Friday evening, Ana put on Kai and Mia's halloween outfits -- they're dragons, Kai a green one and Mia a pink one. The kids ran around chasing each other -- so cute!

Saturday, weall went to Astroworld since it was it's last weekend of operations...ever. Long story short, the boys don't like roller coasters. The hilight of the day was going to the guesser and having him guess my age. When he said, "Sixteen", I started laughing my ass off as did Ale, Alyssa, and Bryan. Anyways, it's late and I'm pretty sure that Alyssa will blog a story as well, so I'll point my blog to hers. She has more time on her hands than I do :p

Sunday, Alyssa, Bryan, and I went for brunch with Alyssa's high school friend, Patricia. After brunch, we hit up Target to buy Kai a birthday present -- something loud and annoying, of course. Alyssa and Bryan bought Kai a Catepillar truck (as tempting as the truck that played "We Will Rock You" was..), and I bought Kai a monster truck that chomps. Both toys, loud and annoying.

So who knew getting a Catepillar toy truck out of the box could be so difficult?

Charlie breaks out the screwdriver...

Still not ready as there are more screws to be unscrewed...Kai waits impatiently as any 4 year old would.

Kai and Mia playing with the new toys as Uncle Bryan watches