Friday, January 29, 2010

It's that time again...

The U.S. Olympic Team is heading to Vancouver soon. And I don't have a TV with which to follow all of the action.

Some people will be glued to the Superbowl next weekend. (Ok, seriously. Football was invented to give marching bands another place to practice.) I think the Colts are playing the Saints. I think the local NPR station did a commentary on the money people spent in terms of ticket sales on the league - which is considering striking in 2011?! Does anyone really care?! Professional athletes that don't make enough money? That's about as ridiculous as someone trying to convince me that most of our North American glaciers aren't receding.

But give me a sunny winter day, a hillside full of snow and people doing aerial summersaults on snowboards, and I'm there.

Mind you, I can't actually do those summersaults myself (at least not on purpose), but I sure like to watch them.

So the snowboard team has been announced; the U.S. has multiple medals to defend and should show strong.

Go Shaun!!!


I like to watch the skiing too, but Bode Miller usually puts a damper on those downhill events... Even when he does well.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Rocky!

95 years ago today, a magnificent section of the southern Rocky Mountains was successfully set aside, protected in a National Park. Like many of you, I've hiked her trails, watched as the alpine wildflowers bent in the wind, felt the snow falling on my face and basked in the peace and silence that still exists outdoors.

Rocky is still magnificent - altered slightly through time, wind, water and the sometimes careless acts of humans. But you can still see the silhouette of a bighorn ram standing on a tundra slope surveying the world around him. The everyday and minute seems more powerful and amazing in those mountains: alpine plants that grow for decades before flowering for a season, producing the next generation's seeds and fading away. Pikas that harvest grasses all summer, and eat all winter safely hidden away underneath the snowpack.

Here's an article from the National Parks' Traveler, submitted by Rocky Mountain National Park's Superintendent Vaughn Baker: Rocky Mountain National Park Marks 95th Birthday, Superintendent Invites You to The Park

Here's the NPS' official website for Rocky Mountain National Park.

And for those of you who aren't already in the fan club, The Rocky Mountain National Park Forums , hosted by my friend Aaron, will give you your recommended daily fix of all that we call "Rocky".

Monday, January 25, 2010

Must. Get. Back.

My mind is several thousand miles north of Rainier right now. I must get back to AK this summer. Job or no job. ;)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Little Grammar Lesson

We all have pet peeves. One of mine is the use - and misuse - of the apostrophe ('). It REALLY irks me when people put an apostrophe in a plain old PLURAL noun. Didn't we learn this in grade school? An apostrophe is generally used for contractions. (I didn't, can't, and shouldn't misuse apostrophes!) Or to show possession. (Jen's opinion is that more people should take grammar lessons seriously.)

Granted, there are exceptions to nearly every rule in the English language. Hers is not an opinion to mess with! (Caught that one, eh?!)

The first time I remember seeing this mistake was about 15 years ago. A group of us were given little thank-you gifts from three families. These families (or really, the wife in each family) had signed their family's name as "From the Smith's, Jones's and Carter's!" Although the names in that quote were changed to protect the guilty, you understand my point. These are plurals (each family had more than one person involved), but were NOT implying ownership.

Over the years, or maybe because it irks me more and more, I notice this mistake everywhere. Let's practice this a bit, just to make sure we've got it correct.

INCORRECT: Computer's have hard drives. SOP's exist to help me deal with a crap-load of useless work file's to be deleted.

CORRECT: Computers have hard drives. My computer's hard drive is nearly full. My office has a set of SOPs that tell me which files should be kept and passed on to the new person after I leave.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another Great Insight from the Yarn Harlot

Finally! Someone who GETS my hair care regime. ;) Of course, the knitting comments are right on, too.

Read her entry entitled "True Story" from today (1/20/2010).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I got home from a very wet day at work yesterday, opened the mailbox, and what did I find?! My friend Bethany had sent me a little surprise! Thank you so much! *hug*

The best part of the package is the new set of #8 circular needles - this allows me yet another opportunity to have unfinished knitting projects! LOL

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How do you?

Some of you (perhaps especially the RTH ladies) know that we all make 'To Do' lists. I promptly make them and then forget where I put them. Amazingly, I do seem to get most of my work done. Usually, stuff for my job takes precedence over the stuff at home: crafts, laundry, cooking ahead for next week's meals.

My excuses aren't Facebook, endless video games, hours in front of the TV - I have none of those in my apartment here at the park. But I do get distracted easily. And I do have lots of personal-type projects going on at the moment.

It's a good thing, but I have added another item to my 'To Do' list recently - I've been hitting the fitness center at park HQ several nights a week for 30-35 minutes. I'm down about 5 pounds overall, which is a great start! But of course, it's only a small drop in the bucket of the overall goal - which I say is to lose 25 pounds (but really should be closer to 30-35). Baby steps. It helps that I have several friends/co-workers who are also trying to be healthier - weight loss, back problems and severe allergies are some of the issues we are trying to help each other through.

(Did I mention I get side-tracked?)

Anyway, if any of you are organizational gurus or have figured out a great system for getting as much done in a day as is humanly possible, send me a note or post a comment about what you do. What kind of system do you set for yourself to get all of your daily tasks done? Especially if you work 40-50 hours a week outside of your home and still come home and successfully take care of all the 'home' stuff...

Monday, January 11, 2010


  • 1 internal organ
  • 6 pounds

It's just a little thing, but I'm hoping the change is here for good. I haven't changed my diet a whole lot, except that I've nearly cut out all red meats - including pork products - from my diet. I did splurge a couple of weeks back and make some chili. But I made it with equal parts hamburger and red kidney beans. Beans I can have.

My dad has told people for years that I'm a vegetarian. He somehow links that to my love of the great outdoors. Well, dad would be disappointed in me terribly when he finally has to come to grips with the fact that his stongly-held stereotype doesn't hold water.

I had chicken with my rice last night for dinner. Gasp.

Admittedly, I've always been one to choose a salad over a steak. But with the way my stomach feels after eating a steak, why would I NOT choose the salad instead?!

Now I just have a 'legitimate' excuse (in his eyes, of course) to eat as I have been eating, with a few slight modifications. A new food discovery for me: I have decided that the rice mixes from Trader Joe's are some of my favorite dishes. And I do a lot more beans these days.

Sadly, I have yet to be able to give up chocolate and coffee. But exercising is getting easier and more frequent. I get to the fitness center at park HQ 3-4 times a week for 25 minutes at a time. Small steps.

As a side note, after reading MountainMama's Green Smoothie notes this morning, I think I'll stick to salads and avoid the smoothies. ;)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year? When did that happen?

If it weren't for the fact that I've incorrectly written "2009" on a lot of things the past week, I wouldn't rememeber that it's now 2010.

The year started off with:

1) Black out - the Highway 706 corridor from Tahoma Woods, through Ashford, Longmire, all the way to Paradise woke up to a power outage the morning of January 1. Power was restored at maybe 2:30 p.m. I believe Paradise operated on its generator the entire business day.

2) White out - snow was blowing and swirling all day at Paradise. I gave my afternoon ranger-led snowshoe hike with very little visibility. I think everyone still had a good time, thanks in part to VIP "St. James, the Magnificent". I just love some of the retirees who volunteer out here in the park! James has a terrific sense of humor and was the 'caboose' to my snowshoe train of 26 people, making sure we brought everyone back to the visitor center cold, tired, and (of course) safe.

3) Job applications. No, my internship isn't done for another month - and the park has found the $$ to extend my stipend and housing until around April 7, so I can help get a few of the new park interp/ed folks trained. But I'm looking forward to this summer. My goal is still Alaska. Those vast, colorful, open areas call me. Like nothing in the Lower 48. (Yes, I still love Rocky - it's my home.) If your back yard looked like this, wouldn't you be called too?

So, as of this afternoon, my NPS seasonal application tally is sitting at like 28 applications, 13 of which are for positions in Alaska. I have four more for Wrangell that I'm hoping to get out tomorrow. Thankfully, these are all on-line and don't take THAT much time.

After that, I will just wait to hear. In the meantime, our first school group of the spring semester is tomorrow, and I'm taking these 3rd and 4th graders snowshoeing at Paradise. I'm hoping the weather holds, although it's getting cloudy out there right now, and the forecast calls for snow...