Thursday, March 30, 2006


Hi, my name is Marisa and I am a Sierra Trading Post addict!!!

Since I started buying gear from them last year for my Tanzania trip, I have been completely addicted. Surfing the site every once in a while, finding good deals...and have never been let down. I got a package today with my latest buys, and immediately..I'm wearing capris and a Patagonia tank top that I just got in the mail...for climbing tonight. Oh, so comfortable!

Oh, and not to forget...I got a pair of Doc Martin sandals for about $8. I mean, can't beat that. Sure they look a bit funny with my chicken ankles...but I could care less. They're damn comfy.

I used to be an REI-Outlet addict...well, some things there are too expensive...then I found Campmor and Sierra Trading Post, and I have to say that Sierra Trading Post has some of the best deals on sports/outdoor gear that I've seen out there!!!

well, at least it's an affordable addiction...

Monday, March 27, 2006

craving ink...

well, if you know me, you know I seem to get a hunger for getting a tattoo or piercing every few years...

funny, I put a lot off when I was in my latter years of college because I was going to become a corporate whore. Been there, done that, and out of the corporate whoring world.

My last tattoo was a prajam yam, a thai lotus design, on my upper back. I got it a little over a year ago. But now I'm craving more...For a few years, I wanted stars..stars trickling down my back. But I've decided to keep my back reserved, since it's taken up by other things. Now I'm thinking my right shoulder...stars grouped at the top, then spacing out more and trickling down.

And one that I really want to get, but haven't drawn the design yet...a fairy. I love mythical creatures. Dragons, fairies, gargoyles, you name it.

I've got a Japanese dragon on my lower back, my favorite tattoo, although fading now since I've had it for almost 8 years. I remember getting it...going up to Austin for July 4th weekend, getting it July 4th, 1998. It was really symbolic to me as I had recently gotten out of a really bad abusive relationship. This dragon, to me, symbolized the inner strength and power I had needed to get through tough times as well as the strength I gained from getting out of the relationship. And feeling the physical pain of the needle...the neurons firing impulses from my spine to my legs...oh, it felt so good...

Now back to the I'm thinking..once I get more toned in the midsection (yes, I know I'm thin, but I still have my problem areas!)...a fairy somewhere around my hip/side abs. I haven't decided on her pose yet, which will determine how tall the tattoo will be. So many ideas. I just need to start sketching them out. Well, need to work the damn midsection out first ;)

Also, a few years ago, I stretched my lower ear holes out to 10 gaugers. But I took them out last year and let them shrink back. I thought I was done with that, but I'm having a tendancy to go back to stretching. I had wanted to stretch them to 8 guage, since there are so many more options when it comes to body jewelry at 8 rather than 10...I just never got them to 8 at the time. I had a pair of pincers that I had in my holes as well as sterling silver tubing I cut off and put o-rings on. I lost so many o-rings, that I just gave in. They shrunk down to 14 gauge, which I have circular barbells for..but then kept on losing the balls, and they'd fall out...and you know, none of that stuff is cheap I let them shrink back to small size.

what to do, what to do...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

5.9 baby!!!

Today was a beautiful day for climbing. Sean and I are trying to train for a trip this summer we have planned to the Ozarks and Red River Gorge for climbing, so that means we've got to hit the outdoors as much as we can. I've got personal goals to get better, overcome the confidence issues, and lead more.

We went to Reimers. We haven't been to Reimers in months...since then, it's become part of the Travis County Parks, so we've heard that there are tons more people and more families going there. Mmmm...children...and climbing...hopefully it wouldn't be like children at the climbing gym...

We got to Reimers sometime around 10:30am, a bit chilly in the morn, but a beautiful day nevertheless. It actually wasn't as busy as I thought it would be. We went to Shortcake Wall (aka Oblivion Wall), since Dead Cats is usually swamped. Plus, there are good, short leads on the wall.

There was a pair of climbers climbing on the easy route, so we hopped on one in the middle, without looking up what it was. Sean lead it first -- tricky start. Really tricky start. It took him a few times, but he finished the route.

I, trying to get over the confidence issues and wanting to suck it up and get better, decided to lead the route. I didn't recall leading it before, but said..heck..why not...I gotta do this.

Yeah, so seeing someone else start something tricky is one trying it another. Okay, so I'm only 4'11" tall. Outdoors is great for me, since there are more options. However...this route, the start at least, was definitely not the case. The taller you were, the better it was...

I tried the start what seemed to be more than 10 times until I finally got some moves right, to finally get to something I could hold on to. And then it was a few calculated moves to the first clip..quickdraw is in..clipping. *Rest* I was so pumped from trying the start over and over and over. And this was the *first* climb of the day...I usually try to start with a short 5.7 lead for a starter. *chalk up* *shake it out*

I surveyed the moves to the second bolt. Hum...a bit thin for a shortie like me, but I was going for it. Got the key moves and *bam* quickdraw is in, clipping. *rest* *take a breather*

The route continued like that until the end, which was significantly much, much easier than the first half of the climb. But hey, I worked it! What a way to kick my ass back into outdoor climbing!

When I was at the top, I had to clean the route and rappel down. My god, did I get everything ass-backwards!!! It had been months since I'd cleaned a route and rapped took me forever to get one of my slings out of the chains. It somehow got tangled up there..and I mean the caribiner, not the sling itself. It was stuck in the chains in some weird formation...I had done something weird up there. But not to panic. With a little bit of jiggling around, I eventually freed the caribiner from the chains and rapped down.

I was pretty spent, so I went to get some water and look at the topos...

Holy crap, I'd just lead Gut Punch the Buddha, a 5.9!!! Not only that, as the first climb of the day??? Last year, I almost finished a 5.9 on Dead Cats Wall if it weren't for the last 2 feet of traversing over a bulge with thin feet to the finish...since then, I hadn't even tried to lead a 5.9. Well, sometimes ignorance *is* bliss. Because I did it..with rests, but hey, I did it nevertheless :) I was pretty stoked.

We decided to take a backwards step and lead the 5.7 on Shortcake. We're just starting to get back into need to kill ourselves...

Sean lead it, no problem. A cinch compared to Gut Punch the Buddha, that's for sure. But of course, that means that I have to make a retarded mistake, trying to make things harder for myself...

Again, being short..well...means that I've got to make some pretty dynamic moves. I'm okay with that, actually, kind of used to that. I started the 5.7. Left hand is good. Right hand I had in a low pocket. I eyed a jug I had to go for dynamically, for my right hand...I went up quickly, with right hand still in pocket...a 3 finger pocket..*pop* I fall off the wall...I completely twisted my 3 fingers that were in the pocket, probably almost popped them out of their sockets, if I didn't do that. *youch!* *shake it off* Okay, so I skipped the pocket, found something else and launched to the jug. From there, it was a cakewalk. Cleaning up was better, but still rusty.

Next up was the 5.8. Sean lead first, no problem. My right 3 fingers were hurting. But they were not too bad, so I kept climbing. I lead the 5.8, no rests, no problem. woohoo! getting back into it.

Sean led the 5.9 on the very right of the wall -- a fun route, but I remember it being tricky -- I had top roped last year and was sketched out by it. Sean made it look so easy. But we knew all the tricks. I decided to toprope it, a bit too chicken to lead it today. Just because I can do one 5.9 doesn't mean I can do them all ;)

Well, because I knew all the tricks, it was a pretty easy top roped route (Sean left the draws in and I unclipped them to simulate if I were leading..the locking off and whatnot). Heck, I totally could have lead that thing. The top was a bit balancy...part confidence issues if I was leading it. But it really wasn't that bad. I so could have lead it. Well, another day. My fingers were still hurting.

Time for Fat Chicks Trying to be Sexy - the 5.10a on Shortcake. hell with it, I was definitely *not* going to lead! Long story short, Sean got to the second bolt. The run between the second and third bolt is the crux. He took a pretty big fall which whipped me into the rock, and he almost kicked me in the head..literally. I don't mind the whipping into the rock taking a lead climber's fall -- it's happened enough times with Sean that I'm pretty good at sticking my foot out to not really hit the wall/tree/object. We've got a good 50+ pound weight difference between us, so it's bound to happen. But I think the fall was scarier for me than him, because I envisioned him falling *on* me. Luckily, he didn't. It was pretty crazy, though.

We decided to call it a day after that. Sean was pretty pumped from trying for the 3rd bolt over and over, and my damn fingers...I cannot believe I screwed them up on a freakin' 5.7!!!

After climbing, we headed to town for late lunch/dinner and to REI. I wanted to try on some rock shoes because I have a big fat $102.76 REI dividend + 20% off coupon to use. And I love my Montrail Zealots, which I got from REI on super super clearance for $25 over a year ago. But they're shredded down to the 3rd layer of rubber..I think it's time for new shoes, especially with the outdoor trips we've got planned later this year...

I *heart* REI. I didn't have my dividend or ID on me, but did get to try on the shoes. I'm going to get a pair of La Sportiva Miura's - the women's, which they just got in. I normally wouldn't go for such expensive rock shoes ($125) know..with the dividend...and the 20% off...I just can't *not* do it. The men's Miuras get good reviews, and La Sportivas carry some of the best rock shoes...

Here are the specs for the Miuras (from the La Sportiva site):

Women's La Sportiva Miuras

For climbers that demand the highest level of small foothold performance from their climbing footwear. Excels at hard rock climbing, power edging, pockets, Yosemite granite...everything. The new Women's model is chock full of new features.

Full eight-panel Dentex lined upper and speed lacing system for an absolute precision fit

VibramĀ® rubber with Powerhinge and dynamic slingshot heel band that focuses power to the toe box

Offset asymmetrical toe box places power and energy under the big toe creating an inside edge sweet-spot

Women's model has a padded heel collar for supreme comfort and a breathable tongue to round out the design

COLOR: Ice UPPER: Leather CONSTRUCTION: Slip Lasted LAST: WPD75 LINING: Dentex SOLE: 4mm VibramĀ® MIDSOLE: 1.1mm Laspoflex (forefoot only) WEIGHT: 19oz

Well, guess I'll be hitting up REI tomorrow after work! :D

Friday, March 24, 2006

neverending snot factory

I've been sick for over a week now. It's like a sinus infection/sinusitis/bronchitis that started early last week. Late last week, I thought I was starting to get over it, only to have the infection linger on. Well, it's Friday today, and well, the infection is still here. One side of my sinuses are infected -- I can tell because out of one nostril comes out clear snot..out of the other is a putrid almost Mountain Dew-y color. And the coughs! Well, the coughs are lessening, which is good. But still here, every once in a while.

So I decided to go to the doctor today (finally). I'm not one for going to doctors. But I needed to get prescriptions for some sort of antibiotics.

The doc was cool. She told me everything I already knew. But wrote me up a prescription for Amoxicillin.

Uh, I hope they didn't screw up my prescription...anyways, I get the pills, take a look at them..they're the hugest pills I have ever seen in my entire life. They're 875 mg of amoxicillin, that I'm supposed to take 2x a day. Now I don't even weigh 100 pounds. As a matter of fact, I'm barely above what's classified as the 'children's weight' for dosage, which is 40 kgs (88 lbs) -- I'm about 43 kgs (95 lbs). It's a pretty damn high dosage and will probably kill everything in my system. hopefully it'll do the trick...

damn horse pills!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

birthday fun, con't

Last night, Sean brought me sunflowers, cake, and cooked for me. 

It was a low key bday, but I loved it.  What can I say, I'm pretty low maintenance.

For dinner, he grilled asparagus, grilled stuffed salmon, and made white and wild rice.

We ate it while watching Napolean Dynomite.  We'd already seen it before, but it was something on the shelf we had, and well...why not? :)

For desert, he got me a cake from Cold Stone Creamery (I love ice cream cakes!) - Peanut Butter Playground -- Devil's Food Cake, chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups and fudge ganache...can you say..yummmmmy!?!

The dogs passed out, which was good.  Except for Bonnie, who quite enjoyed watching Napolean Dynomite...

I started falling asleep during the movie.  So after it was done, I called it a night and crashed hard.

Happy birthday to me! *<:)

from yesterday 3/21/06

Yup, turned the big 2-9 today!  so far, it's been good (other than having to work).  My boss bought us all lunch today in celebration for my birthday, and bought turtle cheesecake - all from Central Market.  Of course, typical of my boss...he later sees the menu and the prices on the menu and is like..."I agreed to this?!?"  "I'm crazy".  Sheesh.  For someone who lives in a half million dollar house..what's a couple bucks for lunch? :p

Since I'm still a bit sick, Sean and I have agreed that he doesn't have to take me out tonight.  We'll save the nice dinner for the weekend...hmm...maybe Eddie V's?  So Sean's going to cook for me, and we'll just probably take it easy, watch tv or a movie or something.

Well, my honey just came home with sunflowers in his hand!  gotta go..yay!  will blog later.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Missing backpackers in South America

Last week, I received a random, desperate email from Rebecca Dean, a friend of Jenny Pope who is missing in Ecuador:

Hi Marissa

Sorry to trouble you, noticed that you had recommended the hotel
Maria on your weblog. I am a friend of the above who has disappeared
she was last heard from when she was staying at the Princesa Maria on
9th Jan this year. I know that this is a long shot but when you were
did you happen to notice a guy called Pancho who works at the hostel.
Apparently he had an interaction with Jenny and has not been seen
Any information no matter how small could help us. Please see for more info or contact me at
or if you think you could advise us in any way.

Thanks for your time

While disappearances are rare, it still has an impact on the travelling community. The email made me think quite a bit. Unfortunately, I couldn't help because I had stayed at the Princessa Maria in 2004 and had not encountered a guy named Pancho. However, I just wanted to get the word out on two instances of missing backpackers. Because..well, you never know if someone may have met them or know something...

1. Jenny Pope - missing since about Jan 9, 2006 - last seen in Banos, Ecuador.
For more information, visit Jenny Pope Appeal

2. Katharina Koller and Peter Kirsten Rabitsch - missing since about Jan 24, 2006 - last seen in Copacabana, Bolivia. Kidnapped by a gang of organized criminals who pretended to be policemen.
For more information, visit Katharin and

If you read Katharina and, it's pretty scary shit. I feel more than fortunate that I have never been in a situation like that. I have been in some bad situations, but they could have turned out much worse.

I remember taking the bus from Copacabana to La Paz. It drops you off in the middle of nowhere, and cabs are waiting there. I had a bad encounter with a taxi driver there. And as well, another lady got in the car, which I didn't really agree with..but thought, whatever. She later got out some point down the road. But long story short, the cabbie tried to assault me. I would have ditched everything I owned and jumped out of a moving cab had he been taking me to the wrong place. It was scary. Hell, it was awful. But it could have been worse. Well, maybe the lady could have been a fake tourist. Maybe I could have fallen victim to that same scam had I not looked so native and spoken Spanish. Who knows.

My heart goes out to the Jenny, Katharin, Peter, and their families. I hope for their safe returns.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm a Pandora fan

Listening to music on my PC...get sick of the commercials on Yahoo and am too cheap to pay...hence, I've found Pandora.

You can input music you like, and it'll throw in suggestions to other music you may like based on your input. It lets you explore. I don't listen to the radio much. As a matter of fact, I can't stand it. Pandora's great because I get to listen to music that they don't play on the radio, but music that I like.

Simply put..Pandora rocks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Recipe for great bachelorette gifts...

Recipes for great bachelorette gifts...

1 crafty girl
1 REI brown bag
photo paper
International Male website


1 blank card + envelope
photo paper
International Male website
weird underwear website


1 free thong from Le Rouge Boutique
1 roll of tape you found at work
tee-shirt transfer paper


a few grams of silver + my talented casting skills ;)
silver chain
silver sheperd's hooks earrings
4 carnelian beads; 2 peridot beads

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Back to the old stomping grounds...

I had a to go to Houston this weekend for my friend's bridal shower.  Yup, it's *that* time in my life, where it seems that a lot of the parties I'm going to are bridal showers, bachelorette parties, and weddings...

The bridal shower was in Sugarland, my old stomping grounds from when I was 17-19 years old.  I didn't live out there, but I worked out there and spent a lot of time out there.  I even dated two boys from Sugarland back in the day.

I had to take West Airport Blvd until it turned into Dulles Ave.  Funny thing's been about 10 years since I've been in that area...I couldn't even remember where Dulles Ave was.  But I used to tromp by there all the time.

I passed by Dulles High School, where my first two boyfriends went.  The party was in the neighborhood just down the road from Dulles High, Sugar Creek.  The neighborhood sounds so familiar, but I'm really picking my brain for this one. 

Anyways, the party was good, lots of lingerie passed around.  I got her a red satin piece of lingerie and a box of condoms (hey, *someone* had to, and I was that someone!). 

Leaving the party, I was tempted to go back to explore the rest of the old stomping grounds, around Williams Trace, Highway 6, Schlumberger Road, etc.  But I decided not to.  I decided not to because there are painful memories that lurk in the back of my head from those years.  And going back would torture myself into visiting the past.  Something that I wished not to do.  So I went back to my mom's place instead...