Wednesday, April 9, 2014


I think the bathroom is pretty much done, having been quite transformed from what it looked like when I bought the house just over a year ago.

Besides the new shower tiles we put in a few months ago, we've now completely changed the vanity area. Its amazing what new lights, mirror, towel holder, and back splash can do to a tiny space.

I got the sink from Ikea, the mirror, tile, and lights from Home Depot, and the 
towel rack from Walmart.

The tile on the back splash is the same as in the "new" shower. 

The mirror was one of the best changes. It's now big enough that I don't have to duck down in order to see my whole face in it. 

So here's what the area looks like now.

This is what it looked like when I bought it.

Huge difference, hmm?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vegas and Cali

Spring Break meant it was time to get outta here and head for HEAT. We took three days and headed to Vegas, then another three in northern California. Here are just a few photos from the trip.

There seemed to be water all over the place. Water in a really warm place. Water you couldn't get anywhere near. Well, there was the hotel pools, but we never made it to them...

There was also some amazing shopping. Not that I went into either of the pictured stores. But I spent a fair amount anyway. 

Shows were good, and I'm looking forward to seeing more. This time we saw Blue Man Group and Cirque de Soleil's Mystere.

But mostly just walked around enjoying the warm weather and sights.

My man made me go on this roller coaster. It went upside down. Twice. I broke up with him for a few seconds after that. But actually I'm glad I did it because otherwise I'd never have learned that he talks incessantly when he's nervous. And coasters make him nervous. He didn't stop talking the entire ride, and that's my favorite memory of the event!

The first night there we stayed at the hotel on the AFB just outside of Vegas. Our second night we spent at the Luxor. Let me just tell you, Luxor is not short for Luxury. We won't do that again. Our room had a view of the sphinx's backside...

Some interior views:

The hotel we stayed in the last night we found on a whim. It was in the old section of Vegas, so off the Strip, and cheaper than the $300 dollars many hotels were wanting for that night. We both fell so in love with it that we've decided we're staying there next time we go back. Loved the art deco feel to the building and suites. Unfortunately, we didn't start hotel hunting until late that night, and due to our early flight out the next morning, only spent about 3 hours sleeping in this room.

Then we flew to Northern California to hook up with some friends of Ariel's that he hadn't seen in over 20 years - they'd met when they'd both been living in England. Unfortunately, it rained the ENTIRE time we were there. I was hoping for a warm day or two to see Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area, but Tahoe actually got a foot of snow while we were there. So I guess I'm going to be thankful all we got was rain. One day we ventured out to an area Jane and Troy hadn't ever been to either. It was a nice drive, we found a great dive for lunch, and were able to photograph some neat structures.

Ariel and Troy.

And now that we're back in CO, it's starting to warm up here, too. Although the forecast for the next couple days is cold, it was a good way to start celebrating the heat that will soon be back here permanently, too. Well, at least for the next 5 or 6 months.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fur and a Tail

My man and I have hiked the last couple days around town. The first evening we headed into William's Canyon. It's not open to the public, but there were only two of us. We're not really "the public" are we? It's amazing what that canyon looks like now, after all the flooding down there this summer. I shouldn't really say we hiked it. Rather, we walked to it from my house and then we boulder hopped to the point where the trail breaks from the old Cave of the Winds exit road.

Yesterday evening after work, I thought I'd show my man the old Ute trail, a relatively obscure one that seems very remote and untraveled. We only hiked up about 40 minutes, then turned around. On our way back down, we decided to explore a different exit option. It's always a risk to do so, but we were so close to town we figured we could get back to the car no matter where we came out.

The trail, at first, started out wide, and looked like a vehicle had even driven that part of it before. It wasn't long, though, before it really was a trail, following the ridge of a hill. Not something to be done in snowy conditions, because it would be hard to recover from a slip off either side. Not something to be done in summer, because it was extremely rocky - perfect for snakes.

We kept the original trail to our right, and when the one we were on veered to the left, we decided to head downhill to the right to see if we could get down the hill and back onto the "real" trail. The hillside was a bit steep, and sometimes we had to hold onto the abundant spiky small trees to help us down. We were not far from some really steep cliffs to our left, so we headed right to find a gully that emptied onto a not-so-steep part of the hill down to the trail. We found one. It was full of more of those spiky trees, but we picked our way through them, held onto rocks on either side of us, and lowered ourselves down over the steeper areas. Really, this wasn't dangerous or anything, just a little more effort than some descents. "An adventure," my man called it.

So here we were, surrounded by craggy rocks, almost to the hill that we could take to the trail at the bottom. I went first. I grabbed some rocks and jumped to the ground, right in front of small cave. At the same time, I thought I heard a man's voice. I looked down toward the trail, but no one was there. I didn't think anything else of it at the time. Maybe, for some reason, I scraped something or what have you, and it made a sound like something someone would say. I started walking down the hill, and turned back after a few steps to wait for my man.

As he started coming down over the hole, he said, "Babe, you keep going. I'm going to find a different way down." "What?" I said. "Why?" "Just keep walking, ok?" When I questioned him again, he said, "There's something in that hole. I'm going to find a different way down. You just get to the trail." He headed back up the rocks, and I headed down, my heart beating a bit faster than normal.

That was some of the scariest moments I can remember, in that regard. I didn't know what he'd seen, I was out in the open, and he was getting farther away from me as we moved in opposite directions. I didn't know if something was going to start hunting me. Perfect timing, as it was dusk by this time.

Well, obviously all's well. He found another way down and we met up on the trail - with whatever it was staying in its hole. When he reached me I asked what he'd seen. "I don't know what it was," he said. "All I saw was fur and a tail." And the male sound I thought I'd heard? Probably the animal growling at me when I jumped down right in front of it. We're figuring it was a coyote, but there's no way we're going back to find out.

So, lessons learned this time out? No more rocky crags on a hillside that no human has come down in probably years. And the adventure my man mentioned earlier on our descent? "Maybe a little less adventure," he commented once we were back at the car. Yes. Perhaps.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ouray 2014

 On Friday my man and I took off for Ouray, Colorado, home of one of the ice climbing meccas of the U.S. Seriously. People are jealous of what is practically in our backyard. Even if it's a backyard that takes 5 hours to get to.

We met up with a crazy bunch of people there, many of whom I'd climbed with last year. We had two condos rented for the fourteen of us. Above is the view from the condos.

It was Ariel's first time on ice. First time climbing outdoors at all. He followed in my footsteps in that regard, as my first time climbing outdoors was also on ice in Ouray, three years ago.

Did I mention Ouray also has some amazing vistas?

He had, however, rappelled before, when he worked for the fire department years ago. So at least I was ok with him rapping into our first climbs, which were in the New Funtier area of the ice park. 

We had amazing weather. If I'd had a t-shirt on, I'd've worn it. Most of the time I just climbed in my long underwear top. It was so warm, there was a lot of dripping water. I've been there when it was freezing cold, and it's not fun. So while the heat is nice, when you go to climb ice, you kind of want it to stay there. 

Some of our group: Nathan, Tommy, Chad, Me, Norm, Ariel, and Erik. 
 Not pictured: John, Jonathan, Sarah, Dan, Jason, Valerie, Stephanie.

It was Stephanie's first time, too. 

 Jonathan broke his neck a few months ago, and was up climbing.

Sarah was given a 15% chance of living two months ago, and was also up climbing.

 And while it's nowhere near that serious, I did something to my back the morning we started out, and could barely walk all weekend. But I didn't go all that way to not climb. So I loosened my back as much as possible with the short walk in and then ignored the pain all day.

As I type, I've got some pain meds working their magic, and I'm sure I'll be fine in a few days.

Ice tools. 

Erik rapping in. 

Ariel giving someone a ride. 

 Nathan's got some interesting belay positions going on...

 Ariel was a natural. He climbed like he'd done it many times before. On our drive there he'd said, "I don't know why people drive all this way to climb on ice. I didn't even know you could drive this long and still be in Colorado!" I think he gets it now (although whether he comes to love climbing like I do remains to be seen).

My first year climbing, three years ago, I got hit on the shoulder with a chunk of ice that the guy I was climbing with knocked loose. This is how big I imagine it to be. I never did actually see it, but it rendered my arm useless for quite a while.

Below, some of our group are climbing up out of an area called South Park. 

 Time to chill.

Lesson Learned: Drive "all that way" to climb. We're some lucky people!