17 September 2019

News Twits


I was looking for my La Plata Peak trip report for one of June's snowflake patterns when I came across the following journal entry, written a month and a decade ago, to the day. I wrote this back in in 2009 after we rescheduled our trip up La Plata Peak due to weather. I removed the name of the race winner because as far as I'm concerned, the disgraced pro didn't really win; he doped. The crown has always belonged to Dave Wiens.

This journal entry brought several smiles to my face and soul, and it also is such an interesting commentary on journalism - way back before "fake" news. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Tabeguache Peak from Mount Shavano

17 August 2009

We had been planning for months to climb Tabeguache on August 15. Three days before the climb, we decided La Plata might be a more realistic goal, as everyone in our group had suffered assorted training setbacks this year, and we collectively weren't sure we could climb Shavano twice in an effort to snag the elusive Tab. Everyone in our group had already climbed Shavano at least once. Only The Lizard had managed to tag the second summit after the long slog up Shavano. The rest of us all still need to check Tab off our fourteener lists.

La Plata was my sixth fourteener and fourth solo climb, but I am the only one in the group who has already climbed it. It's about an hour closer to Leadville than Tab. All of us had secret yearnings to be in Leadville on the 15th, even though all of us were wary of the crowds we expected to be in the home of the Race Across the Sky that same day.

As the forecast grew less and less accommodating, we postponed La Plata or any 14er, and all of us stayed far away from the mountain town that seemed to capture the world's attention for a few minutes.

Physically far away, that is. I think deep down inside, we all wished we had been there in person.

The Lizard and I did a sunrise ride, and then we headed north in search of sunflowers. (Mission accomplished!) Because The Lizard is a big mountain biker, he knew it was about time for The Race to be winding up just about the time we arrived back home.

So off he surfed in an attempt to get the latest Leadville 100 results. Six-time champ Dave Wiens and a pretend seven-time Tour champ were duking it out for ore cart trophy honors.


Dave Wiens, 2013 Triple Bypass

Leadville is just about as small a town you can get and still be incorporated, and the biggest news sources don't have outposts there. The Lizard couldn't find any race updates anywhere.

I took control of the ship (slow boat to China – we're still old-fashioned dial-up internet) and within seconds had three or four Twitterers posting regular updates. Only one was an official news provider.

This was our first experience relying on Twitter to get news we wanted when we wanted it. I personally find the technology amazing, but it's not something I've had an interest in pursing for any reason. Until the day I wanted news I could obtain only from the sidelines.

I remember back in the days when dinosaur tracks were still fresh in the mud, back when we filed Associated Press stories by dictating via telephones with rotary dials and shipping black and white photos on the next Greyhound bus. I remember basking in the adrenaline surge of "scooping" the competition.

My tiny hometown newspaper was printed and delivered each weekday afternoon, while the two big dailies in the closest metros went to press in the middle of the night and were on subscribers' doorsteps first thing in the morning.

If something newsworthy happened in the morning, I'd have the story in the afternoon edition, well before my cohorts with fancier cameras, company cars and four times the news staff. That was a "scoop," and the resulting thrill was better than any bowl of ice cream, no matter how hot the desert heat.

The way news is gathered, reported and read has changed dramatically. But I think that urge to be first with news is far from dead. Everyday people are posting eyewitness accounts (or reposting the eyewitness accounts of others) almost instantly, and news organizations are getting scooped on everything.

It was a full four minutes after a cycling fanatic at the finish line posted the pro's record-breaking time before Velo News, with reporters in "the corral," tweeted results of its own. Twenty minutes later, the finish still hadn't been posted on any of the major news sites but was being "tweeted" and "retweeted" hundreds of times over across the world. News really did travel fast. Just not through established sources.


2010 Race Across the Sky

As a retired journalist, I cringed as I read retweets that changed details just a bit. The pro's "soft" back tire was "shredded" in a manner of minutes, cloudy skies became "pouring rain" without dropping their loads, and the maximum-length 12-hour race stretched into 14 hours. (That last one still baffles me. How can you tweet the six-hour and 45-minute record was shattered in the same breath and still expect anyone to believe anything you type?)

It reminded me of a game we used to play in elementary school. We'd stand in a circle, and the teacher would whisper a sentence into the first child's ear. Each of us would pass on the secret by listening as it was whispered into our ear before turning to whisper it into the ear on the other side of us. The final sentence often bore no resemblance whatsoever to the original.

I could easily become addicted to being able to receive my news instantly, as it happens, no matter where in the world I am or where the actual event is taking place. There is a certain sense of joy in getting caught up in the Twitter trend that has taken the world by storm.

I just have to keep in mind the fact-checking procedures that were a way of life in another life have not been incorporated into this newfangled technology. Nevertheless, it was pretty darned cool to read about a big race in a town without television coverage and see finish line phone pictures seconds after they were snapped even though I was 111 miles away.


Susan DeMattei, David Wiens and Timothy Fleming, 2013 Triple Bypass

16 September 2019

Snowflake Monday


Can you stand one more anniversary this year??? A whole decade ago this week, I published my first snowflake pattern and first crochet pattern ever. Who knew it would last this long?!?

The best thing about my snowflakes is the fabulous friends I've made via this blog during the last ten years. Not all crochet. Not all quilt. Not all are photographers. Only a few rhyme. I've seen many blogs come and go during this decade of adventure. Last year, I wasn't sure I could keep going.

I don't know how much longer I will be able to keep going. But I do still have a few snowflake patterns up my sleeve. Actually, 48, to be precise. And I probably have about two zillion inspirations I've not adequately churned.

So we'll see what the future will bring. I hope we see it together. Thanks for hanging in there with me through my growth as a designer and pattern-writer.

Today's pattern is the prettiest one from my unpublished stash. I've been saving it for something special. This week's anniversary qualifies nicely.

This pattern was written on the first day of spring in 2012, just days before I wrecked my bike and my crocheting arm, along with my camera and my self-confidence. I went on to finish Ride the Rockies that June, but crocheting after the cast was removed hurt a whole lot until about August.

I forgot all about this snowflake until I started looking through my unpublished stash last month to see if anything stood out. I'm so happy I saved a special snowflake pattern for today, even though I didn't know I had!

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 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Jubilee Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, * ch 8, 1 dc in 8th ch from hook, 2 dc in ring; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Don't pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: * 1 sc in next dc, 2 sc in next ch 7 loop, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, ch 8, 1 dc in 8th ch from hook, 2 dc in same ch 7 loop, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 sc in same sp, sk next dc in ring (and dc forming ch 7 loop); repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * sk next 2 sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 dc, 6 dc in next ch 7 loop, ch 8, 1 dc in 8th ch from hook, 6 dc in same ch 7 loop, 1 hdc in each of next 2 dc (skipping dc forming ch 7 loop), 1 sc in each of next 2 hdc, sk next 2 sc, 1 dc in next sc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of staring ch 2.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * sk next 2 sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 dc, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, ch 8, 1 dc in 8th ch from hook, 1 dc in each of 2 dc, 6 dc in next ch 7 loop, ch 8, 1 dc in 8th ch from hook, 6 dc in same loop, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc (skipping dc forming ch 7 loop), ch 8, 1 dc in 8th ch from hook, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 dc, 1 sc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * sk next 2 sc, 1 sc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 dc, 3 sc in next ch 8 loop, [ch 3, 3 sc in same loop] 2 times, sk next 2 dc (and dc forming ch 7 loop), 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 hdc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (sc picot made), ch 1, 1 hdc in next dc, 1 sc in each of next 2 dc, 3 sc in next ch 7 loop, 3 hdc in same loop, 2 dc in same loop, ch 2, sl st in top of dc just worked, 1 dc in same loop, 3 hdc in same loop, 3 sc in same loop, 1 sc in each of next 2 dc (skipping dc forming ch 7 loop), 1 hdc in next dc, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 hdc in next dc, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, sk next 2 dc, 3 sc in next ch 7 loop, [ch 3, 3 sc in same loop] 2 times, 1 hdc in each of next 2 dc (skipping dc forming ch 7 loop), 1 sc in each of next 2 hdc, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from* around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; 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 September 2019

Never Forget

Today 343 firefighters from all over Colorado and surrounding states will climb the stairs twice in the building where I work in memory of the 110 flights of the World Trade Center. There are other Memorial Climbs all over the United States. They do this in memory of the firefighters who gave their lives that fateful September 11. But they also do it to symbolically and powerfully come together. Remember the days that followed in 2001??? We came together as a country, a world, a people. We showed love and compassion for one another. We grieved together. We were brothers and sisters. We still are.

We need to be that way again.

10 September 2019

Tight Squeeze


How much can you cram into one four-day weekend???






An early morning sunrise hike...






The airport...


The mall...


Homecoming dress shopping...


Indoor skydiving...




Torchy's...


State park drive-by...


Temple drive-by (because it is closed for renovations for one more month)...


A baptism...


Pasta...


Hot air balloons...






Church...


Hotel wildlife...


Air Force Academy...




Garden of the Gods for half of us...




And back to DIA for the other half...


A balloon glow gone bad...


Family...


More balloons...






More family...


Selfies...






A peaceful sunset...


And now I have to go back to the daily grind?!?





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