Thursday, August 26, 2021

Happy Summer

There is nothing so sweet as a river in the mountains on a hot hot day. Some rock climbing with good friends in the High Sierras. And a little Nug who enjoys getting dirty and washing it all away in a refreshing stream. All of the simple pleasures of being come alive again through his eyes. Spotting every bird, the immense pleasure of splashing rocks, the way Aspens wave, and leaves traveling away on the current.

Friday, January 31, 2020

The little things

My mom made this sweet little sweater for the little fella on the way. She has a way of sending thoughtful goodies she's made that often bring me to tears. Last Christmas, my first away from home in a while, she sent a whole box of homemade decorations, all painstakingly knitted, crocheted, or felted and carefully wrapped in tissue paper. To think of how much time and thought she put into each and every one. I couldn't imagine a better surprise at that moment. It felt very meaningful for me to have so many reminders of her.

I've been considering what makes a good mother as I am about to embark on this journey myself, something that is at once very natural, but also fairly jarring. I reflect on what a wonderful mother my own has been. I know I won the jackpot: to grow up with someone so loving, self-sacrificing, humble and giving. Someone with endless amount of compassion and kindness. I hope I can carry even a modicum of her actions into my own journey. I will happily wrap up our little nugget in this tiny sweater and think of her.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Book Making

I put together some books of our trips this summer. Back when I was in school, I used to love looking at the book layouts in thumbnail form - so here we are still geeking out. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

“True action, good and radiant action, my friends, does not spring from activity, from busy bustling, it does not spring from industrious hammering. It grows in the solitude of the mountains, it grows on the summits where silence and danger dwell.” 

Hermann Hesse

Monday, November 4, 2019

San Francisco Gets a Shiny New Mural

Spent the last week painting up in San Francisco. Since there was a tight turn around, I had some helpers. The rest of the space is getting an upgrade, so I'll try to get some pictures when it's all recarpeted and painted, etc.
Cow Hollow is a pretty posh neighborhood, where every dog is a doodle and Patagonia is uniform. Our coffee snobbery was acceptable there. Overall it was a really fun week.

Just getting off the ground. Throwing back to geometry 101 to make a perfect hexagon template.

I've got a pretty steady hand and cant stomach throwing a ball of tape the size of a cow into the landfills, so I cut all of the lines freehanded. Additionally taping an uneven wall, causes a lot of bleeding, so it would probably have to be redone by hand anyway.

Corners with a small brush. Rocking the new respirator.

Artistic and scientific, my husband is the BEST.

Since the mural was in Cow Hollow, we got to experience some of the area's super five star food. I'm not a foodie by any means, but these were some of the best meals I've ever had including this past summer in France and Switzerland. Burmese at Karaweik, Vietnamese crispy fish sandwiches at Pacific Catch, and all the pastries at B Patisserie if you are interested.

Pete brought his running gear to do an early morning run at the Precidio, turned out there was a half marathon the same day so he just turned that into his morning run, and got a shiny new shirt for his efforts. It's still mindboggling that the half marathon is a step down from his training runs.  

That's where she's at now. I'm curious how the update will look on the rest of this 70s building.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Tour du Mont Blanc

It's been a dream of my father-in-law's to run the Mont Blanc Tour. His friends (who are awesome) operate a running guide company out of Minnesota, so when they put the UTMB on their roaster, we were in.

Adventure Running Co organized the trail itinerary, lodging and food, we just RAN. Or power walked A LOT because it was about 33,000ft of climbing and then about the same in descent. My husband and father-in-law are ultrarunners, so the 100-mile distance over a couple of days, wasn't too worrisome for them. I, however, was quaking in my trainers.

Each day was a half marathon or so. I have notoriously bad knees, so I locked those things into ace braces for the whole ride.

The trail moves up and down passes through France, Italy, Switzerland, and back to France. We were sick when we learned that the record for this whole mother-loving thing is around 19 hours.(Held by a Frenchman, dieu merci)

The trail actually circumnavigates the section of the Alps that contains Mont Blanc. So you see the range from all directions. This is the back side; across the range is the Chamonix valley where we started. Mmmm.. climbable rock.

We were blessed with good weather until half way through the penultimate day when the heavens opened up the flood gates.

We planned this running gear rainbow after frantically dashing through a thunderstorm on top of a col.
We made it to the summit of Brevant (our starting point) and the official end of the 110+ mile run. After a full day of wet running, soaked to the bone, it took a while to warm up. But we were stoked and ready to eat a crap load of cheese and baguettes.

Summer Climbing in Alps

I finished Barry Blanchard's book just in time to set foot (ice axe, crampon, and death-gripping hands) on the Alps. Here's a slice of life from our incredible intro into the dramatic peaks around Chamonix.

We met some friends from the UK who drove down through all of France with camping gear, ropes and most of the climbing gear that we needed, which was awesome! Saved us from toting at least an entire extra bag of gear. We were able to catch the World Cup climbing competition in downtown Chamonix where we saw legendary climber Adam Ondra take another win. The place was packed.  I've never seen so many climbers/mountaineers in one place. Walking down the sidewalk, there were multiple people with packs and ice axes just strolling through town at all times.  To say nothing of the climbing gear stores. One on every block. Welcome to Valhalla.

Glaciers reaching down into the valley between every formation. Fresh glacial water just running out of spigots at every corner. 

Our best day was climbing the Aiguille du Peigne. Across the canyon the Aiguille du Midi was shedding cornices, sending chunks of ice and rock thundering down the couloirs. It was a sort of ominous echo in the background all day.

P leading a traverse with the beautiful valley below.

Grand Perron ridgeline between Switzerland and France. With a daunting view of the Alps we would be running around next week.

Lunch on top of the world. When in France... you climb like the French. We lugged baguettes, Camembert, and pâté up there. Pourquoi pas.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Mount Dana

Felt that I should mention what a great ski season it was in the Sierra. We hit all sorts of nice spots, some new and some now our yearly staples.

This is a spring shot of the Middle Palisadas. Not a human track in sight.

The highlight might've been our last run of the season on the last weekend of June. If you had told this Virginian that you can ski in June, I might've looked sideways and wished you luck on that patch of ice in the shade. However, the Sierras make all things possible. With a great group of friends, we traveled 9 or 10 miles over scree and talus in ski boots to find snow half way up Mount Dana. At 13,000 Mount Dana is the second highest peak in the Yosemite high country. We reached the summit and skied off of a cornice on the backside, which was sort of thrilling for me - the first time I've jumped off of a cornice - no matter that it was pretty small. We skied the Dana Coulior, which is one of the nicest shoots I've come across. Blisters and dehydration aside, it was a hard trek to beat. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The History of the OC: All that I never thought I would need to learn

One of my maps was converted to a wallpaper vinyl.

I like a little research with my art.

So, thanks to this latest installment, I got my fill of Orange County culture and history. Let's see what I have learned.
    Some details:
    • The last Californian grizzly bear was hunted down and killed in the Santa Ana Mountains in 1908. The rancher/beekeeper responsible was nicknamed Holy Jim because he had a way with curse words. Now there's a hiking trail named after him.  

    • With my in-house surfing aficionado, I have all of the surf spots along the south coast.

    • Mission San Juan Capistrano has some pretty beautiful ruins. There's an annual migration of swallows that come from Argentina to nest at and near the mission. Supposedly because the friar invited them after a local store owner was swatted the birds away.
    • I have no stats, but I really wonder how many car accidents the nightly fireworks at Disney cause on the 5 freeway.
    • The Santa Ana Zoo has have at least 50 monkeys or they lose their funding. 
    • There's a huge wooden blimp hangar from WW2, one of the largest wooden structures in the world in Tustin. No one can access it, and it's not in use because the US Marine Corp has it tied up in a bureaucratic dead end.
    •  Similarly, the OC has one of the largest helium balloons in the world, also tied up in bureaucratic controversy. The former Marine base was slated to be a huge community development including multiple stadiums, 5k of housing, museums, even a man-made canyon and wildlife corridor, but claims of embezzling, cronyism, and mismanagement of public dollars has left the whole project at a dead end.

    Wednesday, June 19, 2019

    New Map Up - With a Print!

    Some new map work. This UK map got me in the mood to travel through England, Scotland, and Ireland to draw castles. This print is in my shop if you like.

    It was a nautical theme, so I started with these seemingly disgruntled .. or smug whales.

    John O'Donohue is one of my favorite poets. This passage is for crossing new thresholds in life.

    You can buy a print of this map in the STORE.