Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day

I guess it's summer now! I have some bites from various insects, so I guess that (along with Memorial Day weekend) makes it official. I don't have much to say at the moment, but I have a number of different things that I'm thinking about. We'll see if that takes the form of a post sometime or not. I hope it does if it means a little clarity, but I'm not promising anything.

In the meantime, if you missed it on fb, I posted more pictures of me and rocks* as well as some other things that I did this weekend. (That's how it rolls with me and pictures. I'm pretty sure that this post is the only one that involves something other than rock shoes or hiking boots.)  Sorry it's so boring on the old blog; too much to do outside, I guess!

As a side note, no more nasty notes from picasa about how I'm full up.  We'll see how it goes from here. I deleted some pictures earlier (including, apparently, what I was using for a profile shot.  Oops! Just a little carried away) but I wasn't sure that it would be enough for what I've posted since then.  We'll see how it goes.

*Sorry, wish I could post these here, but I just can't do it. Email me if you want an invite.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 163)
1) It's Thursday night. I need to go to bed, but I really wanted to pound out a few Quick Takes first.

2) It was just over a year ago that I started climbing; this last weekend, I got to help the new crop of students start learning to climb.  So much fun for the most part.  There were some interesting moments with a couple of interesting people, but unfortunately, we're going to have to leave it at that.  

3) It still is mind blowing to me, though, to look at where these students are now and realize that was me only a year ago.  I remember being like that, I just can't believe how much better I can climb now!

4) Today I got out to climb with some of the students from this year, as well as a lot of the instructors from the class. One of the guys that was out there was extremely knowledgeable, and he's a very good teacher. He wanted to find a different- harder- climb away from where most of the people were climbing.  He asked if I wanted to go with him (as someone that's still very much a student, but not a beginning student). Part of me wanted to stay and socialize, but he's the kind of person that you want very much to learn from.  So, I gave the only proper answer. "Yes, please." And I learned stuff, so you see I made the right decision.

5) However, this other climb was not exactly a picnic to get to.  We start up one slope, and he starts to tell me that in the morning, this is where rattlesnakes like to hang out. Awesome.  Thank goodness it's evening. Then I hear, "Oh, there's some poison ivy." He wasn't lying.  It was everywhere, but I think I may have avoided it.  I'll soon know for sure! Then, "Look out for the thorns on that bush." Fan-flipping-tastic. Where on earth were we going to end up?  But it was good. He doesn't climb with us too often, so I'm glad I got a chance to pick up a few pointers, despite the fact that it was an adventure just to get to the climb.

6) I got my mom's Mother's Day present in the mail yesterday.  I'll see her this weekend, so I'll be able to give it to her.  Yeah, I'm really on the ball.

7) Still loving Adoration. I almost didn't make it this week, but I'm so glad I did.  

I'm off for a shower and then to bed; have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My New Church

I think I have a new church. I know I've already talked about it, and those of you who know me, know that I've really already made up my mind to go there. But I say "I think" because I feel like a visitor.  I'm hoping after Pentecost when I actually fill out the parish registration and turn it in that I will start to feel like I belong.

I still don't know if this is the kind of church that will allow me to feel a part of the local Catholic community or not, but that is my greatest hope.  The fact that I will be officially registered should help. I think the fact that I have a high standard is causing me problems. There is no church that I have found here that is quite like the church that I went to in the Midwest.

However, I have now been to Adoration twice in the last couple of weeks.  I'm sold on that fact alone. I can't even tell you how great it feels to simply sit in His presence. I wonder how in the heck I've been living for the last 2 years without it. I haven't had as much time to comment or reply to comments recently, but know that I am praying for you, and I am praying for you when I am there with Him.

There are currently 3,100 pink and blue crosses along the highway in front of the church.  Yes, it is for the 3,100 deaths from abortion daily.  It is partly for the visual (and let me tell you, saying the number is much less of an impact than seeing the number), but what the priest told us that he really wants as he leaves the crosses up between Mother's Day and Father's Day is prayers for healing for those who have been affected by abortion. He encouraged us to bring flowers, etc. and to pray for healing.

Beyond that, it's in a beautiful setting, though it's a little dark for you to see much of the actual church.

So, yeah. That's the deal.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Definition of Insanity

I was going to just title it that and insert a picture of myself... Only I don't do pictures right here.  Anyway, I'm beginning to think that I am certifiable, but I don't really think it's my fault; it's the crazies that I hang with. It's their fault that I got up early this morning to hike up 2000 feet in one mile.  And it's their fault that I took a class to improve my climbing technique and then had to find a time to practice it (tonight) after the crazy hike.  I guess I don't need to work out tomorrow! (Got my fastest time on the hike: 49 min 32 sec- kind of a long time for a mile, but I broke 50 min!- and the climbing was FUN. Some of the new stuff is starting to stick a little bit.)

I'm really tired now (my own fault, obviously), but I don't quite want to go to bed yet, because I'm waiting  for an important update.

Beyond that, for one more completely random thing, I have a slight problem.  Apparently my picasa album is full.  Did you know they do that? I guess I can't post any more pictures on either of my blogs if I don't do something to rectify things.  That would be sad!

And also, I am a little behind on my Bible reading, but I'm just finishing up Ecclesiastes. Surprisingly I really enjoyed parts of it. "Vanity of vanities" is not the most uplifting thing to read, but there was some really good stuff in there. Proverbs, on the other hand, is sort of kicking my butt this time around.  Maybe I'm not actually paying close enough attention to get the good stuff out of it.

All right, enough of this random assortment. I'd better get to bed!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

What a strange day, this Mother's Day.  I'd tell you how I was feeling about it, but that would require me knowing how I feel right now.

For myself, I would rather avoid the subject altogether.  Most of my friends are celebrating this holiday as mothers. Most of them are younger than me. Several of them that are my age have 4 and 5 kids.  Sometimes people seem to think that since I'm single, I only miss having a husband.  But my arms are empty, too.  I love kids, and though I have a doctorate in a career I love, I'd give it up in a heartbeat if I could (though to be completely honest, my true ideal would be to work less than 10 hours a week, but have a little time to keep practicing). Going to Mass alone each week is not my favorite, but this day sitting alone in a pew for the Mother's Day blessing.  Yeah. If Mass were not a requirement.... Oh, well. I can and will avoid facebook!

As for those that I have "met" in the IF world, there's a great mixture of feelings there as well. There are so many that are getting to experience their first Mother's Day as mothers with children in their arms, and others get to celebrate it with new life in their wombs or new hope for adoption.  And there are others that are still slogging on the seemingly never ending IF emotional roller coaster, wondering when- or if- their turn will ever come. I am so glad that they have their husband with them on the journey, but I do not envy the up and down of hoping each month that this will be the month. Some will be in the midst of hope while waiting, some will be right around CD1, etc.

And I am very thankful for a mother who is about all you could want in a mother.  Our personalities clash a bit on how we deal with things, so I do not always appreciate her like I should, but that has more to do with me being an ungrateful daughter rather than her. She is a born caregiver and wants to take care of everyone that she can.  She loves all of us kids, and I don't think that any of us has ever doubted her desire to do anything she can for any of us. She brought us up knowing our faith and why we believe as we do, which is a rare, rare gift. I also know that she prays for all of us constantly.

This is where I am. In the middle of my own frustration, joyful and sorrowful with friends, and so very, very thankful. I guess there is nothing to do but take all the emotions, the good with the bad. For my mother, my prayer today is for you and for your intentions today. For all my friends who are such wonderful mothers, I thank God for you on behalf of your beautiful children. For all still waiting, whether because of singleness, IF or any other reason, I pray that your wait will also bear fruit, that it will end in time and the way that is according to His will (and that it will be soon!). And I leave you with this, because I think I need it today, too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sometimes It's the Little Things (updated)

Okay, I just have a second, but I'm so excited right now! I don't remember if  I mentioned it, but I had to take my camera back to the shop.  The good one. I had just gotten my new point and shoot, but it just doesn't take the same quality of picture. My dSLR was giving me camera errors and about every 5th picture, it wouldn't take the picture until I turned it off and back on again. Annoying but okay if you're taking pictures of mountains or flowers. NOT okay when taking pictures of kids.

Only, when I took it in, they told me that it would be 6-8 weeks before I got it back.  I almost decided to live with the problem, because I wasn't sure that I could be parted from my camera for that long! I was a little too close to separation anxiety when I walked out of the shop without my camera.

Then I got a voice mail today. It's back! In just under 2 weeks! Now I have to go and pick up my camera! Yay!

I love when there's something small that can make it a good day. :)

Because I can't do this with a point and shoot.
There's one more from tonight here.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In Which my Mac Helps Me Answer an Atheist

I love my Mac.  I do.  I am one of those Mac devotees that would not go to a PC if you paid me. (Well, I guess it depends on how much we're talking.  I might have a price. But it'd be more than the PC was worth. Then I'd buy a Mac with the money I got.) But anyway, I am one of those obnoxious Mac owners.

Why? Because I turn it on and it runs.  Usually fairly efficiently, and if not it's because I've clogged it with too many pictures for the limited memory that I got with it when I bought it.  It's well designed and user-friendly.  It just works well.

It turns out that I do not believe that this happened by accident.  I think that the late Steve Jobs had a vision, and with the help of others designed products that worked really well.  It is not an accident that each product performs in a certain way and to a certain standard. I don't understand all of the technology behind it, but I know that it is explainable. I know that there are plans that go into it, and if I understand the blueprint of how it is made and the technology, that doesn't make me think that there was no planning that went into it.  Rather, that makes me appreciate the details that the designer put into it even more.

In the same way, I will never, ever understand when someone tells me that they don't believe in God because they understand the science behind rain or sun or the moon or the stars or conception and birth or any of the other things.  I read a fairly well-written post by an atheist explaining why they were an atheist.  I think they had some good points, but that one was thrown in there, and I hate that explanation. It makes no sense to me.  I graduated with a degree in biology.  I love science, and the intricate design of how science works is fascinating to me.  It does not make me feel that there is no God, but rather that God is a master planner.  I also hate when people want to tell me that I don't follow rational thought because I believe in God.  How is it not rational to see a design and recognize a Designer?

Anyway, this concludes my random rant of the week.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Climbing, Then and Now

Then I walked into the gym and was overwhelmed by people everywhere.  I didn't know where to stand to stay out of the way, because hello! People dropping down from above!

Now the chaos makes sense. You still have to watch for people coming down, but it's much easier to tell when and where they're coming from.

Then I struggled to make sense of my rented harness and I wore my rented shoes with socks.  I had no idea that real climbers generally went barefoot in their shoes (but the socks are still a good idea in rented shoes if you ask me!)

Now I get out my harness and I know when it feels right and which loops I want which gear on (though I have limited gear, but I know where I want it). I do climb without socks, and I have to decide which of my 2 pairs of rock shoes is most appropriate for what I'm climbing.

Climbing shoes- awful for walking, great for climbing

Then, I was a little apprehensive about heights.

Now, I'm a little apprehensive about heights. (Okay, so not everything changes.)

Then I didn't care in the slightest about technique or climbing a route "cleanly" (no rests, no falls, no cheating by getting help from the rope or from an extra hold from a nearby route). I was just happy if I made it to the top.

Now I am just starting to learn about technique from a class I'm finishing up, and I can't wait to see how much it helps me in getting on more difficult routes.

Then I climbed a 5.2 and a 5.6*, and I was too worn out (more mentally than physically) to do any more.

Now I climb 5.9's and I've even done a couple of 5.10's.  I haven't climbed a 5.10 cleanly yet, but give me a chance with this new stuff I'm learning and we'll see.

Then I had to depend on someone else to set climbs out on the rock, so I couldn't climb outside except when certain people invited me.

Now I can lead climb**, so I can get out there with anyone else (though I don't think I'd want to do too any lead climbs over 5.6, and I haven't tried a 5.6 yet).

Then I didn't know exactly why I was going to try it, and I didn't really get why it was that exciting.  I don't like adrenaline, but I wanted to challenge myself and push myself out of my comfort zone.

Now I know that I love it, because it's a physical and mental challenge.  It takes me completely away from any work stresses, any frustrations about other aspects of life.  You can't think about those, because you have to think about what you're doing. Done correctly, there's little adrenaline involved in the type of climbing I do.

The thing that I love the most about climbing is that I have learned what an awesome thing that it is to fall trying.  Every time that I try a route that I think might be too difficult, but I try anyway, I always feel successful if I fall trying.  It doesn't matter if I make it to the top.  It matters if I gave it my all while I tried.  Some routes, I give up.  I look at the next hold and don't see any way that I can make it, so I let go and get lowered.  That leaves a bitter taste. But if I see that hold, and go for it, even if I can't hold on and fall, it is such an exhilarating feeling to have given it my all. And sometimes I surprise myself and make it. There is nothing like the feeling of topping out on a route that you've been trying to get for a long time and finally succeed, or making it when you didn't think you would. Whether I make it or not, I come back stronger and tend to climb farther the next time.

I love climbing, and I can't believe that it was only a year ago today that I tied onto my very first rope to start the journey. And, cheesy as it may be to admit, climbing has brought something into the rest of my life that I can't quite define, but maybe mostly just that it has pushed out the limits of what I think is possible.

A friend top roping a route I led.
(The proportions are off; she wasn't that far away.)
*The 5 refers to the fact that it is a technical route that requires a harness and rope. The number after the decimal refers to the level of difficulty of the climb. Moderate to good climbers are in the 5.10 range (which can be further broken down into letters, e.g. 5.10a, 5.10b, etc.) Really good climbers get into 5.11, 5.12. If you make it to 5.14 (which I believe is currently the highest), you are dealing with folks that do it for money and have their pictures on magazines.

**I do sport climbing, which means that I climb on routes that already have bolts set into the rock. Someone has to go up first to get the rope to the top and set the anchor.  Then people climb on top rope. I still like to climb with better climbers than myself because then they lead harder stuff and I can top rope 5.8's and 9's and some 10's.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hello, Sunrise

Nothing like support from friends, a butt-kickin' hike before work, and a beautiful sunrise to start off a much better day.