31 December 2009

Happy 2010!

Fireworks from The Turn of the Century

29 December 2009

Goals

The Lizard attained his goal over the long Christmas weekend, reaching the 3,000-mile mark in 2009. Actually, he went a bit over. He logged 3,000.6 cycling miles this year. And there are still two more days to go! With favorable weather and a possibly short work day between now and 2010, he'd love to push that total even higher.

Celebrate!His improvised goal has been reached. He is one happy Lizard.

Typically, he pedals 4,000 miles (or more) per year. Home-searching, packing, moving, unpacking and a training-related injury kept him off his bike for two months during prime cycling season. As November drew near, he was faced with inevitable goal modification. The Lizard was not happy at first. He gradually adjusted his goal and accepted the new, lower mark as equally as honorable. He did the best he could with the circumstances he faced.

Now it's time for new goals in a new year. A new decade. Wow. How many times do you get to say that in a lifetime!

The Lizard's goals for 2010 will be much the same as his goals each year since we began dating in 2004. Undoubtedly, the only new goal will be no injuries. He likely will shoot for 4,000 (or more) miles as he trains for the Julian Death March, the Buena Vista Century, Elephant Rock, Ride the Rockies (fingers and toes crossed), MS-150, Triple Bypass, Leadville 100 (fingers, toes and eyes crossed) and any other interesting rides falling on weekends not already claimed by "the biggies." He's also talked about doing a century a month. That means pedaling 100 miles in one ride each month, and for him, he'll want to accomplish this in six hours or less. Preferably less.

Which means I likely won't be tagging along right behind...

Hidden StarI can do a metric century. That's about 66 miles. I've done only one century in my entire life, and I did it the day I had to, during my first Ride the Rockies. Regardless of how hard I try, I have not been able to get in 100 miles in a day since. And I can hardly hold The Lizard's pace. He routinely rides ahead to claim his miles and his mph, then rides back and repeats a good portion of his ride finishing up my miles with me at my pace. He's an absolute doll!

I've decided I'm going to try to work up to a full 100-mile century during 2010. I may not be able to ride 100 miles in one sitting, but I can certainly have fun trying.

And you know what this means, right? The Lizard's centuries will all be about 140 miles!!! Lucky guy!

My Favorite CyclistI have a few other goals, as well. I hope to continue designing snowflakes and writing the patterns for at least one year, for a total of 52 free patterns right here on this very site. I hope to compete in the Ravelympics (that's a trademarked term, I believe), which means starting a needlework project during the Olympic opening ceremonies and finishing it before the closing ceremonies. I'd also like to finish a quilt by March to be entered in the Denver National Quilt Festival. I hope to be able to do another weekly planner calendar for 2011, and fingers, toes, eyes and hairs are crossed hoping the economy will allow it. And then somewhere in there, in between all that madness, I hope to climb at least three fourteeners.

Oh, and I'm hoping to raise $2,000 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society this year so I don't have to stand in line for the porta potties at the rest stops during the 2011 MS-150. I'm a "premium pedaler" this year because I raised $1,000 last year. That means my number on my bike this year will be a different color than most of the rest of the other 2,500 riders. I got to register early, and I got a discount on my registration. Pretty cool!

Some people think resolutions are silly because they often don't get kept. But I'm determined, head strong and stubborn. Check back with me in 356 days to see how I'm progressing. Or follow along throughout the year. I promise to have tons of good pictures and hopefully enjoyable trip reports. Happy 2010!

28 December 2009

Snowflake Monday

Marikamum, I finally did it! Here's your flake! Thanks for all you've done in coordinating the SnowMon crochet-along all year. I've had the time of my life with Snowflake Mondays since I found you in September!

I designed this flake incorporating some of my favorite snowflake elements (so far), so it has a little bit of everything. I think it's my second favorite flake to date. (I'm still tweaking and writing the pattern for my favorite flake.) This pattern has been the most-requested pattern by snowflake lovers anxious for me to write a new pattern. So, merry belated Christmas, and may 2010 bring many blessings and enriching experiences your way.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

A Snowflake for Marikamum

Finished Size: 6 1/4 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 4 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

A Snowflake for Marikamum Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, * ch 10, 2 dc into ring; repeat from * 4 more times around, ch 4, 1 trtr in 2nd ch of ch 2 to form 6th ch 10 petal of Round. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow 6 petals to lay flat.

Round 2: 6 sc over post of trtr, * 11 sc in next ch 10 sp; repeat from * around 4 more times; 5 sc in next ch 10 sp, sl st in starting sc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: 1 sc in same st, * ch 12, 1 sc in middle (6th) sc of next petal; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 10, 1 dc in starting sc to form 6th ch 12 sp of Round.

Round 4: * Ch 10, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, ch 5, sl sl in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 6, sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc, working back down branch, sl st in next ch, ch 4, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, sl st in next ch of branch, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, sl st in next ch of branch, ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, sl st in next ch of branch, ch 3, 2 sc in next ch 12 sp, ch 3, 2 sc in same ch 12 sp, ch 3, 2 sc in same ch 12 sp, ch 11, sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 2, sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 2, sc in 2nd ch from hook, dc in next ch of ch 11 and in each of next 2 ch, hdc in each of next 3 ch, sc in each of next 3 ch, 2 sc in same ch 12 sp, ch 3, 2 sc in same ch 12 sp, ch 3, sc in same ch 12 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in 1st ch of ch 10 at start of round; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or foil to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or foil.

Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or foil. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

A Snowflake for Marikamum

25 December 2009

Fingerprint Friday

My thoughts today are with those who can't be with their families.

One of my co-workers helped found a non-profit organization that sends shoebox-sized care packages to the troops each Christmas. Almost everyone in my office contributes every year. This year was harder, and donations were down. But we just received word the total sent this year was more than 2,000 pounds. I find that simply amazing!

An even brighter Christmas miracle is that all 527 packages arrived before Christmas, even though they were sent late this year to accommodate one unit's relocation. We have been receiving emails this week from some of the recipients, people we may never meet but who feel like part of our family now.

One commanding officer wrote: "Your generosity is touching. Like many of the Soldiers under my command, we are here for our 2nd and 3rd tours in Iraq, and so we see how out of touch back home in America many people are. It is people and families like you guys that help remind us there are people in the States who still live by a set of values and morals that we should be passing along to our children, not those of materialism and possession. Thank you for your kindness and goodwill; the snacks and toiletries would be taken for granted by many but not those of us here. Thank you and enjoy your holidays with your families. In the end, family is all that is truly important."

The Lizard and I didn't have much to send this year, just like many others. The wishlist included, among a host of basic necessities, MP3s and magazines. So I sent about 400 songs from my 80s and 90s CD collection, and The Lizard parted with some of his favorite cycling magazines. The best Christmas gift is not the one you receive. It's the one you give.

Merry Christmas!
***

Steven Curtis Chapman sings:

I can see the fingerprints of God
When I look at you
I can see the fingerprints of God
And I know its true
You're a masterpiece
That all creation quietly applauds
And you're covered with
The fingerprints of God


PamperingBeki challenges bloggers each Friday to discover, recognize and see God's fingerprints and share them with the rest of the world. See instructions to join in here. Also check the other blogs linked there to see more great Fingerprints!

Friday Funny

Merry, merry Christmas!

And here is the link, in case, like me, you are unable to view linked videos.

24 December 2009

A Blue Christmas

I'll Have a Blue ChristmasThis week is the anniversary of adopting both my kids. I will never forget the year I brought home a 10-year-old for Christmas. After eight years of unsuccessfully trying to have a child and five years of waiting for this first adoption to go through, being in a judge's chambers on Christmas Eve's Eve to finalize my son's name change is still one of the most glorious memories of my life. My name went in the space on the birth certificate that said "Mother." My son would finally be allowed to call me Mom.

The courts were closed on Christmas Eve's Eve three years later, so my daughter's adoption fell on December 22. (We were given a choice of Dec. 21, Dec. 22 or Dec. 27.) My car was graffitied during the night before the adoption, and I didn't want our special day to be spoiled by driving 40 miles to and from the courthouse in a marked car that surely would have garnered unwanted attention. So I spent the chilly morning of my second adoption applying Pepsi to the panels of the car, and it worked! You couldn't tell my white car had been zebraed during the night! A Christmas miracle! A Christmas miracle in addition to being able to adopt an 8-year-old girl after just one year of legal red tape.

The three of us celebrated back-to-back Gotcha Days for the next five years. Gotcha Day, Gotcha Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day. What a week of fun every single year!

Both birds prematurely left the nest the following year, and I spent my first Christmas ever alone. Totally alone. Or so I thought at the time. When I look back at that grim year now, I remember going for a run on a snowy Christmas Eve morning, just to keep my mind too busy to mourn, when one of the women from my church came running out of her home to greet me as I passed. It was snowing and cold. I could see through her living room window she had family gathered from across the country. She was wearing a housecoat and slippers. Yet she came running outside in the bitter cold to catch me and invite me in. She knew I was alone. And sweaty! Yet she wanted me to share in her family's warmth.

A couple of friends at work insisted I have Christmas dinner with them. One at noon, one at 6.

I helped serve meals in a homeless shelter. I left handmade gifts on the doorstep of a shut-in.

One of my favorite songs comes to mind. "You're not alone..." Even though I thought I was, I was never alone, even in my darkest hours.

Some of my best Christmases and my worst Christmas. Memories come flooding back. Some good, some sad, most precious. It's the fabric from which my life is woven.

I miss the life I built with my kids. And yet, I wouldn't trade my Christmases now, with my best friend and soul mate, for the world.

We hang blue lights, we collect things with blue snowflakes. The presents beneath our tree are wrapped in blue and white snowflake paper. We wrap up together in a blue fleece blanket covered with silver snowflakes, and we sip sugar-free hot chocolate from blue and white snowflake mugs. Some years we even get to go cross-country skiing on Christmas!

I was very lonely once. But not any more. This is one Christmas I absolutely will not be blue!

22 December 2009

A Tour of My Own

Training in Italy without leaving home!

I rode up Passo del Giovà in the rain right behind Miguel Indurain last night!

The Lizard's had his retired '94 Cannondale set up on my trainer in the basement for a couple of months now, but I've been so busy with photo retouching and work, I didn't get a chance to be fitted to it until last night. And then I rode. For 45 minutes straight! While listening to such classics as the Training Montage from Rocky, the 2002 Olympic theme and that great instrumental piece from Armageddon. All with no helmet!

I've never been able to ride a trainer while watching a cycling video until now. The Lizard has everything all set up, even a fan to simulate the mountain breeze on a rapid descent!

I competed in my first ever time trial. I navigated a few cobblestones. I steered clear of three wrecks. I drooled as I pedaled past castles, cathedrals, vineyards, waterways and picturesque flower basket-lined bridges. I rode alongside Pascal Richard on his cool mint green bike and alongside Andy Hampsten in his red and blue Motorola jersey. Can I get lime green arm warmers like Hernán Buenahora in the Kelme jersey???

All these experiences were exhilarating, not only because I could ride the trainer without literally waking the neighbors and wear shorts on my bike in the middle of December, but also because I spent some growing up years in El Paso del Norte and my dad spent a good deal of his career with Motorola. This was like old home week, but with a new twist such as I've never experienced before!

I felt as if I should lean when the peloton took a curve. I felt an adrenalin rush when the velocito reached 84 km/hr. And I could raise my hands in the air when I crossed the finish line. In real life, I don't dare take my hands off the handlebars.

Guess where I'll be again tonight after I get off work! No, not Italy. Tonight I'll be competing in the Tour de France! In the middle of December!


a mini mountain peloton

21 December 2009

Snowflake Monday


To me, this flake is somewhat reminiscent of Irish crochet. Notice how the largest chain spaces seem to form hearts.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

Finished Size: 6 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 4 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Irish Hearts Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc into ring; sl st into 1st sc. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough for stitches to lay flat.

Round 2: * Ch 8, skip 1 sc, sl st into next sc; repeat from * around 5 times ending with sl st into first sc.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: * Into next ch 8 space work sc, 2 hdc, 3 dc, 2 hdc, sc; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st into sl st.

Round 4: Ch 13 (counts as 1st dtr [yo 3 times] and ch 8), * dtr (yo 3 times) between next 2 sc, ch 8; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in 5th ch of ch 13.

Round 5: Ch 4 (counts as 1st tr), into same dtr work 1 dc and 1 hdc, * into next ch 8 space work 4 sc, ch 3, 4 sc, into next dtr work 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr, ch 3, 1 tr, 1 dc, 1 hdc; repeat from * around 4 times; into next ch 8 work 4 sc, ch 3, 4 sc, into 1st dtr work 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1tr; dc into 4th ch of ch 4.

Round 6: Ch 3, around dc formed below, work 2 dc, * ch 10, into next ch 3 sp work 3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 10, around final dc of previous row work 3 dc, ch 2, sl st into 3rd ch of ch 3.

Round 7: 1 sc in ch 2 space directly below (yes, you are working over the sl st you just made), * ch 6, into next ch 10 space work 6 sc, ch 3, 6 sc, ch 6, into next ch 2 sp work 1 sc, ch 3, 2 dc into 3rd ch from hook, ch 5, sc into 5th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 3, 2 dc into 3rd ch from hook, sc; repeat from * around; sl st into 1st sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or foil to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or foil.

Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or foil. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

18 December 2009

Fingerprint Friday

"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." -Genesis 1:3

Cave Light
Christmas came early at our place!

We bought a fixer-upper earlier this year. Lots of fixin' up to be done. Some items on The List are more pressing than others. And work deadlines trump everything.

Cosmetic home improvements are not high on The List. Winter began to set in, longer work hours ensued, and less and less daylight was available to accomplish things that require light.

One recent evening I struggled in frustration trying to thread a needle in the spare-bedroom-turned-office, fondly referred to at the time as The Cavern because the light was so dim. I nearly broke into tears. I had deadlines to meet! This situation was completely unworkable! I ended up moving my project into the restroom because that was the only room in the entire home with adequate light for the precision operation of threading a needle.
Lesser Light
Two of the bedrooms have tiny dome lights that emit a romantic candle-like luminescence. SO cozy for chilly winter nights. Unless you’re trying to finish up Christmas presents.

The third and master bedroom has NO light. Nada. Zilch. Zero. We plugged in a little lamp with even less intensity than the dome lights. It’s sort of like standing a flashlight up on a dresser, pointing the light at the ceiling, and hoping the falloff is sufficient for matching socks, minor mending with pre-threaded needle and nighttime reading. Very short bursts of nighttime reading!

The living room also has no light. Nothing. Nothing on the walls. Nothing on the ceiling. I presume smooth, uninterrupted and featureless ceilings were the chic thing when this house was built.
Let Your Light So Shine!
So when The Lizard asked what I want for Christmas, he was shocked to learn the number one item on my very short list was efficient yet bright office-like light in at least one room of the house. Not a new bicycle. Not a quilting machine. Not a fireplace or anything extravagant. Just a ceiling light??? Are you sure?!?

Yes. Absolutely. I couldn’t put eyeballs on my handmade critters. I couldn’t crochet with thread. I couldn’t match colors. I NEEDED light.

I got home from work very, very late one night this week, and I could almost see the light emanating from our new office ceiling fixture before I pulled into our driveway! What an amazing difference!
Three Degrees of LightSo, my Fingerprint for today is our home. Having a place to call our own. Having a job so we can make payments on the house. Having enough light to be able to work on intricate projects without straining my eyes. Having the time, patience, skill and resources to make things to my heart’s content. Being able to celebrate and honor the birth of our Savior. Being married to the most wonderful man on earth. And for Christmas presents that don’t get wrapped! Why I Need Light

Friday Funny

What an absolute hoot!!!

And here is the link in case you can't view linked videos, like me...

17 December 2009

It's Here!

Denver City and County Building on a Snowy Night
The first installment of my free weekly planner has been released!

This planner is chockfull of photos from all over Colorado. I hope you enjoy my little corner of the world.

Also, because I'm doing this myself this year with no corporate backing, I get a little bit of freedom. (Can you hear me sing?!?) I decided to include a daily holiday, just for fun. Let me tell you, that took some digging and research!

This calendar is being released in sections on a monthly basis (to spread out bandwidth usage throughout the year as opposed to one big server crunch).

The next installment will be available in January.

Of course, strings are attached... you know, all that legal mumbo jumbo. This calendar is copyrighted and provided by Snowcatcher Photos. You may print the calendar and share the calendar via link back to this site. You may not under any circumstances sell the calendar or any of the images therein. Modification or republication of the calendar or any of the images therein without prior written consent of Snowcatcher is strictly prohibited.

15 December 2009

Redcloud Peak

Redcloud from near Sunshine
4 July 2004

We hit the Redcloud trailhead by 7 a.m. beneath partly cloudy skies and less smoke, perhaps due to the otherwise unpleasant and chilly wind. Today’s treat was watching the gibbous moon set on the previous day’s bagged summit three times. As we climbed, the moon kept popping back into position over stately Handies.

We made slow progress ascending Redcloud, but the standard approach features several long, forgiving portions. Wildflowers didn’t seem as abundant as the day before on the opposite-facing slopes until we reached the tundra, and the variety didn’t seem quite as wide. Wild onions were plentiful, however, and I had not seen them in full bloom on Handies.

Redcloud has another stunning summit view, but we didn’t stop for even the customary summit shot, fearing the weather wouldn’t hold for Sunshine. We pressed on in the exuberance of my first-ever back-to-back summits a day apart and the sheer exhilaration of anticipating my first-ever dual official 14er summit day. (Conundrum does not count as a 14er in some circles because the elevation gain from the Conundrum/Castle saddle is not quite 300 feet. Big deal! Conundrum stands 14,060 feet tall. It's a 14er as far as I'm concerned!) Woohoo!

The ridge walk initially was a kick, and I celebrated by singing out loud every patriotic song I could think of until clouds building to the east and west zapped my enthusiasm. At the base of the final summit push on Sunshine, my energy was depleted and the cloud directly above us had a black tinge. I stared up, up, up at the summit and knew there was no way I could make it up fast enough to escape this potential storm, should it materialize, and then still maneuver back down and then back up and over Redcloud again. I just don’t have the speed, even when I’m 100%.

The Lizard worried I would be upset if we turned back when the destination was oh, so close, and I was worried he would be upset upon being cheated out of a new peak on his list, particularly since he had already climbed Handies and graciously offered to climb it again to get me up there. But turn back we did, without a second thought.

My attitude was lower than the valleys below us as I visualized trying to get back up Redcloud, and trying to do it fast, before lightning could move in. I knew I was dangerously close to bonk, but we felt we couldn’t afford any delay whatsoever. Redcloud seemed miles and miles away to me, and it appeared to be running further away from me with every step. To keep from crying on the climb back up from the saddle, I tried to cheerfully ask The Lizard if this would count as a second summit.

Once we were off the ridge proper, we stopped to eat. It was cold and windy, but the stingy storm had not shed a single drop of moisture, and the sun was now fighting for equal time.

The storm never became a storm; we could have kept going instead of turning back. I was back to my normal self within a few moments of devouring half a package of sweet and spicy tuna and a handful of yogurt-covered berries. Nevertheless, I did learn an important lesson. I found I skip a night of sleep here and there (driving cross-state to pick up my climbing partner and then another four hours to trailheads) and then attempt to climb high peaks with insufficient carb intake. My dream of five peaks in four days was utterly spent.
Red Redcloud

14 December 2009

Snowflake Monday


This flake has kind of a fun story behind it. I was standing on the train one evening late in November. Standing because the train was packed. We were like sardines, extremely tightly crammed. I couldn't reach into my bag and pull out something to crochet.


After the first couple of stops, a few people deboarded, and I finally had some elbowroom. Now there wasn't enough time left to make anything. I noticed a Parade of Lights poster on the glass across from me (the view having been entirely blocked while the train was still full). The colorful advertisement was covered with computer-generated snowflakes, some of which had only five sides! Three of the flakes looked like fun crochet challenges, so I pulled a piece of paper out of my bag and tried to draw, still standing on a moving train, the most interesting flakes. Needless to say, my sketches are a bit shaky.

One flake had a big hole in the middle, and I didn't particularly like that feature, but I liked the edging. So I decided to fill in the hole with a hexagon of solid crochet instead of a big empty circle. I designed four flakes before I finally fine-tuned this pattern to just the way I like it.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!


Finished Size: 7 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 4 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Parade of Lights Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1:Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc into ring, * ch 2, 2 dc into ring; repeat from * around 4 times for a total of six spikes; ch 1, hdc into 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 2 sp. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc into space directly below, *ch 1, 2 dc into next ch 2 sp, ch 2, 2 dc into same ch 2 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 1, 2 dc into first ch 1/sc space for a total of 12 spikes in a hexagon shape; ch 2, sl st into 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in next dc, *1 dc in next ch 1 space, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 dc in next ch 2 space, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 2 space, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc in next ch 1 space, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 2 sp, sl st into 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in next dc, *ch 1, skip 1 dc, 1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 1 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 2 sp, 1 dc in each of next 3 dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc of final repeat, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: 1 sc in same ch as sl st, *ch 3, 1 tr in next ch 1 space, ch 3, sl st in top of tr, ch 4, skip 1 dc, 1 sc in each of next 3 dc, 1 sc in next ch 2 sp, 1 dc in same ch 2 space, ch 10, sc in 2nd ch from hook and each of next 5 ch, ch 8, dc in 7th ch from hook, ch 4, dc in same ch, ch 6, sl st in same ch, sl st in next ch, sl st in last sc of branch, ch 6, sc in 2nd ch from hook and each of next 4 ch, sl st in ch of last sc of branch, sc in next ch, dc in next ch, ch 1, 1dc in same ch 2 sp in main body of flake, 1 sc in same ch 2 sp, sc in each of next 3 dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat, sl st in next sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

11 December 2009

Friday Funny

Some of the finest CG animation on the 'net. Fun, imaginative storyline, too. Keep an eye on these guys. I have a feeling we'll be seeing lots more.


And here is the link, in case you can't see the clip here. This short film is SO worth watching, even if you have a slow dial-up connection like me.

10 December 2009

Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak

Castle Valley Sunrise
Friday the 13th, August 2004

We left the car at 5 a.m., and The Lizard returned to the car at 8:30 p.m. I wish I could say we bagged Castle, Conundrum, Castleabra and Cathedral, and that's why it took so long. But two 14ers in a day will have to suffice.

Castle Peak

Two in one day!!! Woohoo!!! I finally did it!!! And it wasn't on one of the “easy” double baggers!

What would have been an epic day and magnificent sense of accomplishment was slightly tarnished, however, when upon the descent of Conundrum we happened to be in the right place at the right time, nearly completely helpless. A party of two had stymied themselves below the melted-out saddle of Conundrum and Castle to avoid reclimbing Castle.

Without snow, the slopes below the saddle are ugly ball bearing scree. Two climbers had tossed their packs down thinking that would aid them in their miserable descent. By the time we reached the saddle, they had realized they were in trouble, they had no warm gear or water, they couldn't go up or down, one was obviously panicked, the other still bent on not having to reclimb and descend Castle.

The Lizard had a small piece of rope, but it was not long enough to help pull these two back up. He tied the rope to my ax hoping to give the closer party at least some aid in descending or reclimbing the slope, but the rope was about ten feet too short, and the stranded climber was too paralyzed with fear and lack of confidence to try to reach the now stranded ax.

Fireweek Along Castle Creek

The Lizard tried to coax both parties into moving back to the proper route up the saddle because both had crawled into steeper and looser portions of the col in their attempt to find a better way down. One had all but cliffed out. With daylight waning, The Lizard decided the best thing to do would be to get the panicked climber stabilized and still, then the two of us reclimb Castle and either find a camper on the descent to call for help or get back to my own car and cell phone to call for help.

After helping me down the scariest portions of Castle, The Lizard went ahead to find a cell phone or get to mine, whichever came first. Fortunately, the campers in the Montezuma Basin had already notified Search and Rescue, so The Lizard made his way back up to me, shifted some of his load to me and then headed back up to the bowl to let the stranded parties know help was on the way and to try to get some warmer clothing to them, if possible.

Picas seem to know when you're too tired to whip out the camera.  That's when they pose.

On my way down the long, seemingly unending four-wheel-drive road, two ATVs came racing up. The drivers asked if I had information. I told them what I knew, and they proceeded up, instructing me to notify the rest of the SAR crew because they had no signal and no way to communicate with the rest of the team.

Before I reached my car, the campers from the Montezuma Basin passed and informed me both stranded climbers had managed to make it back up to the ridge and that SAR was going to go ahead and go up to make sure the stranded hikers were able to make it down Castle, being as they had no water and no lights. So I waited for The Lizard when I reached my car, and he joined me about half an hour later. When he reached the bowl on his reclimb, he could see both climbers had indeed made the ridge and were working their way back up Castle. They signaled The Lizard that they were okay, and he turned back. He then crossed paths with the two SAR ATVs and informed them of the current situation before turning down a jeep ride back down the road and hiking all the way down. !!!

IceMan

The Lizard had wanted to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics; I had wanted to snap a daylight photo of a beautiful cluster of fireweed with a picturesque waterfall in the background. What should have been about a ten- to twelve-hour day turned into nearly 23 hours without sleep for both of us. Just a week earlier I'd realized how shortsighted I have been to allow my first aid training to expire following a choking incident at my work. In combination with my Conundrum, my ambition to become First Responder certified has been renewed.

Climbing My First Chimney

Now that I've got that off my chest, I suppose I should say what an incredible day my Friday the 13th was. I immensely enjoyed the wildflowers once the sky began to lighten, and I loved seeing the sunrise paint the surrounding pinks flaming orange. Hummingbirds darting among the fireweed and columbine made for pleasant rest stops along the way, and the abundance of waterfalls filled the air with the soothing lull of distant roaring water.

These were our second and third peaks together, and I think we make an awesome team, even though I am much slower than him. I am anxious for our next adventure!

Pt. 13780

08 December 2009

Mount Princeton, Part II

12 June 2004

Princeton was the "Mountain of My Fear." I had an ax to grind, literally. I have ice an ax now, one I feel very comfortable using. I'd needed it – desperately – on my last trip up this peak. Second time around, the peak was much tamer a beast.

Going up the 4-wheel-drive Princeton road in the dark definitely isn't the blood-curdling experience of the road to Crystal or the road to the Capital Trailhead, yet there was a sense of justice in parking the car after The Lizard's perceived sense of danger. There are some steep drop-offs, and there are a couple of hairy sections. Surviving that, I'd taken the first step in conquering My Mountain.

We packed, snapped a couple of photos of the spectacular sunrise, then began the foot assault of the increasingly four-wheel-drive road. Surprisingly, many people were camped up higher… in tents, with their vehicles. The road would have been passable all the way to the first snowbank, but I am thankful I did not take my car any further.

We'd deliberately scheduled this hike so we could be atop the mountain in time to see the Balloona Vista hot air balloon festival in the valley below. The rough road had taken longer than we anticipated, so we were a couple of hours behind schedule. We kept looking for balloons, but nothing. Not even one balloon. After about two hours, I finally decided it must be windier down below than it was on the east face, because there were no balloons, and that was the only thing I could think of that might keep them from launching.

We summited about noon amidst a crowd. The summit was much smaller than I would have expected after viewing Princeton from below. There were three wind shelters and two places to pose for photos. And pose we did!

We had carried a cardboard cutout of a famous celebrity (with his permission of course) in our mountain climbing group's attempt to get the image up every Colorado fourteener in one summer. (The goal was not achieved.)

The crowd atop the mountain was very excited about the prospect of being on the peak at the same time as Rodney Dangerfield's likeness and couldn't wait to hear the story behind such a hilarious undertaking. Everyone wanted photos. People scampering down tipped off people still coming up. "Rodney Dangerfield's on the summit! Hurry!"

After a ton of pictures, we put Cardboard Rodney back in his stuff sack, and then The Lizard and I had someone take a photo of just the two of us together. We took a few photos of each other, too.

Then the moment I'd been waiting for happened. We kissed on the summit. This was the most incredible sensation. Words cannot explain. I wasn't even dizzy. I'd always thought that if he kissed me on a summit, I might faint. But I felt like skipping the rest of the day. I felt supercharged, as if his kiss came equipped with magic potion.

The Lizard was so wonderful the entire trip. He is much faster than me, and he's fearless on sloped terrain. Four-wheeling and clouds bother him, but steep drop-offs and snowfields don't. He waited for me. He kept checking to make sure I was all right. He carried my camera for me when I would have banged it around too much. He let me balance on his shoulder when I needed to stretch. And he sat down with me when I was dizzy.

Oh, I almost forgot about the mountain bikers. Three fully decked Team CU members grunted all the way up to the mine, where the road ends, then came whizzing past us before we reached my car. We saw them one more time at the high point at the radio towers; they apparently had to get in one final ascent. The Lizard kept remarking what a fun ride Princeton's four-wheel-drive road would be. Maybe we'll come back and do this one again one day. On two wheels.

07 December 2009

Snowflake Monday


When I first designed this snowflake, I couldn't think of a name. Someone who linked to the pattern came up with the name for me. It was a fun enough name, and I decided to keep it.

When I first designed this snowflake, I thought it's just a flake. One of many hanging on my tree! Little did I know my snowflake patterns would grow so much in popularity I'd eventually have to create a directory listing all the patterns! Or that they'd all need names!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Funky Snowflake

Finished Size: 5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 11 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Funky Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 12 and sl st into ring, * ch 12, sl st into ring; repeat from * three more times for a total of five petals; ch 5, 1 trtr (yo 4 times) into ring to form 6th petal of Round. Pull magic ring tight.

Round 2: Sc into same petal, * ch 8, sc into next petal, ch 12, sc into same petal, repeat from * around, ending with sl into starting sc for a total of 6 long, skinny petals.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: * 4 sc into ch 8 space, ch 6, sc into 5th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 1, 4 sc into ch 8 space, into ch 12 space work 2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc, 2 tr, ch 3, 2 dc into 3rd ch from hook, ch 10, sc into 5th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 8, 2 dc into 3rd ch from hook, into ch 12 sp work 2 tr, 2dc, 2 hdc, 2 sc; repeat from * around for a total of 6 large points; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

I LOVE finding Easter eggs; don't you? I love finding plush Mickey Mouse animals hiding in Disney movies, and I love finding Star Wars' R2D2 hiding in science fiction movies, such as Star Trek "Into Darkness." It's thrilling! Like finding treasure on a mountain hike!

I hope you enjoy the Easter egg snowflake patterns I've being trying to hide around my website! Here's one of my favorites!!!

Not So Funky Snowflake

Not-So-Funky Snowflake Instructions

Work Rounds 1-2 the same as above.

Round 3: * 4 sc into next ch 8 space, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 4 sc into same ch 8 space, 2 sc in next ch 12 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, 2 tr in same sp, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 7, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc, ch 7, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 2 tr in same ch 12 sp, 2 dc in same sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.
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