Friday, November 14, 2014

Lucky Guy.

Sometimes I tell Phil how handsome he is. Sometimes he responds back, "You're handsome." So when you read the title of this post, you might of thought I was talking about Phil... turns out, I'm the lucky guy here. Yes me.


If you have read my blog or seem something on my Facebook, or get this - actually talked to me in the last month, you would probably know by one means or another that Phil and I are engaged. We are going to get married! It isn't every day you come across a man such a Phil, a real keeper.

When you meet him, you know he is good. You know he cares. You know he has integrity and he has depth. You can hear it in his voice as well as the space between his words. You know he is listening.

Phil respects me. Encourages me and comforts me in weakness. I am so grateful that I will soon be calling him husband. I truly am one lucky guy.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Best Decision We Have Ever Made

I have been the proud fiancee of this amazing guy for a whopping 2 days. Let me tell you, I have never been so popular on Facebook. I finally found out the secret to getting 100+ likes - get engaged.

Getting over 100 likes is no everyday occurrence for Phil or myself. Getting nearly 100 COMMENTS is like, fuhgeddaboudit, never gunna happen. But now, blowing up the internet isn't just for my little sister, where reaching over 100 likes is an everyday occurrence. It's for your average Joe and Jane too... or, your average Phil and Julie.

Thank you all so much for your congratulations, kind words and well wishes. We are so so so very happy and excited about being engaged. I keep joking around about how, "Everything is so different when you're engaged..." but part of me really and truly feels like it is.

Some of you have heard the story but for those of you who haven't and are interested... Phil and I had to drive to Fresno for the CalTeach program that he is currently in. On our way there, which happens that the quickest way is through Yosemite National Park, Phil pulled the car over to "take a peep" - which is our endearingly adorable Aseltine-ism way of saying "take a pee." He said there was probably going to be a good view and that I should get out and take some pictures.

Let me remind you, it was barely 6am and I could see from the car window that at this particular pull-out there wasn't a view. I opted to stay in the warm car and began to dig into one of the breakfast burritos that I made.

With a mouth full of egg, tortilla and cheese, I look to my right to see Phil standing outside the passenger door with a little box in his hands. Phil opened the door and got down on one knee. He said he wanted to wait for a better view but he just couldn't wait any longer, he then asked me to marry him.

Of course I said yes.

I have known since I met Phil in 2005 that he was a special guy. Phil came out to Colorado 2 times to visit and climb, we were friends. Friendsssss... right. I was completely naieve and in the dark of Phil's ulterior motives to our friendship. It wasn't until a little over 3 years ago that I saw Phil in the light that I now see him in on a daily basis. Phil is still my friend. He is my best friend actually. But he is more then that, much much more. He is my lover, my confidante, my teammate and the one I plan on spending the rest of my life with. He is the one that I look forward to waking up to and the one I miss when we are apart. He is the one I can be completely myself around. He pushes and encourages me to do things that I am passionate about and supports me in whatever hair brain idea I come up with next. He doesn't care if I want shave my head again and when I tell him that I feel fat he tells me I'm beautiful. I am so lucky to have found Phil. He really is the one for me. 

So today I got off work early and we went bouldering at the Buttermilks. After work we stopped in Manor Market to get some tortilla chips. When looking at all the options, I see some fancy ones that say "HOT" across the front. Knowing Phil likes pretty much anything spicy, I suggest that we get those chips. He looks at me as if saying "Really?" You know it's true love when you aren't a fan of spicy and you suggest the spicy chips. 

We walk out the door, and with our hot tortilla chips in hand, Phil opens the bag and shoves a few in his mouth. He smiles in utter and complete satisfaction. He looks over at me and goes "This is the best decision we have ever made." Yes, it is nice to have a guy who can find gratification in life's simple pleasures. I try a few chips myself and actually am not too trilled, too many spices, not even as good as a Dorito even though these are organic blue corn and blah blah blah. I look over at him and say "No it's not."

It's like he didn't have to think, Phil immediately gestured to my ring and said, "Yeah, you're right, that's the best decision we have ever made." 


Monday, August 25, 2014

The New Abode

Our friends Hannah and Dustin recently moved into a really cute new place. Last night they had us over for nachos and to play Small World. Everyone is going to have to get use to me being behind a camera lens... because I just can't put it down.

The nachos were great, Small World was great (although I didn't win - which rarely happens - so whatever) and the company was, as always, outstanding.

Can't wait to do it again sometime. Stay tuned because Hannah and Dustin said they would let me take couples/engagement photos of them... even though they are already married. Maybe we will call them anniversary pictures!

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A Good Place to Start is Somewhere

My neighbors Tiffany, Nathan and Jaylenn welcomed their new baby girl into the family today, Paislee (such a cute name!) and I was fortunate enough that they let me snap a few pictures of them YESTERDAY. I didn't want Tiffany to walk too far so we just stayed in our backyard, which ended up turning into a picture perfect backdrop.

They let me fumble around with my camera, which I still don't feel qualified to be holding, but lo and behold, we got some nice shots after about 20 minutes of messing around.

Thanks again Tiffany and Nathan! I can't wait to take some more pictures of the family with the new baby girl.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Helping a Brother Out

Acey and Stacey have been doing some really neat things recently. Check out their website and see for yourself. I am always happy help a brother out when I can. Usually it's just contributing a doodle here or there. And... Acey is so flattering, just about anything I draw he is happy with. 

Since I am currently a little frustrated with photography, picking up a pencil is quite relaxing and enjoyable. I have been thinking about combining the two... just haven't got there quite yet. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Still Feeling a Million Miles Away

I have had my new camera for 3 days and becoming a photographer feels further away then ever. Still randomly guessing at what my aperture/shutter speed/ISO should be. Continually reading stuff online... I'll get it. 

 I seriously need some humans to let me take their pictures.

I took around 150 pictures when I got off work, these last two were the only ones worth saving. I like the can in the grass but I couldn't get the mountains how I wanted them. It's really tricky shooting into the sun... I think next time I try to photograph Mount Tom it will be in the early morning light instead of the evening...


      Discouraged, but not Defeated

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Let Me Photograph You - It's For Free!

Have you ever thought you knew something... and then quickly realized that you knew absolutely nothing? This actually happens on a daily basis for me. So why was today any different? Well it wasn't. That's exactly how today went down. I bought a really nice camera. The body came in the mail today. I thought I knew something about photography, then quickly realized I knew close to nothing.

I guess that was the small, very small difference, I knew "close" to nothing. Gotta give a girl at least a little bit of credit.

When I turned on my Canon EOS 60D I couldn't get it to focus. My first thought was honestly, "I need to go to the optometrist." Then I became a little panicked, being in denial about my eyes spontaneously going bad, it had to be the camera was broken. I did buy it used, so maybe that's why the first person returned it.

So what did I do? The same thing that any 20-something would do. Googled it. I can't even really say "my generation," because it seems 7 year olds as well as 70 year olds would do exactly the same thing... Humankind would be lost with out Google. It's sad really. We are all idiots - not just me. I digress. 

Thank God for Google or it would have taken me a lot longer to learn about the "Viewfinder Adjustment Knob." One problem down. And hey! Maybe I don't need to get my eyes checked after all!

So at least things are in focus now. But then comes the whole exposure thing. What's aperture again? ISO? How does shutter speed work? Instead of Google this time I go straight for the jugular - YouTube.

It's amazing what you can learn online. My dad changed my breaks from YouTube and I haven't gone on a down-hill break-less rampage yet! Maybe my photography future is promising after all?

There must be a point where the YouTube stops sinking in. After watching 20+ videos you would think I would have figured something out, but I'm still totally guessing at what the ISO should be and what the aperture should be. And I didn't even get distracted by cute baby animals!

Can you tell what hen is my favorite? Sweetie. She's the friendliest. Ok... getting distracted by cute baby animals.

This afternoon was a little humbling but I am determined to become a photographer. Regardless of deleting 99% of the pictures I took today, I think the 1% came out pretty dang good.

I know art is subjective and despite the self-deprecating tone of this post, I'll be honest, I'll say it, I'm pretty happy with my first batch of photos. And my lens new lens is still on it's way!

I'm happy with them mostly because I KNOW I have a lot to learn - but - the photos aren't half bad! So I'm going to really, super, totally, rock with some more practice.

Speaking of, what I want to get into is portraits, lifestyle, family photos, baby photos, engagement photos, senior pics and eventually... weddings! Calling all people! Let me photograph you! And as my dad has always said "It's for free!"

This is the good life.

Sweetie on my knee.

Tea and hamburgers?

From the back yard.

Hiding hens.

...and the swamp cooler STILL leaks?!  

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Are you the kind of person who listens to a song or an album over and OVER again? To the point where everyone around you wants to either take a hammer to whatever instrument is exclaiming the, in their words, God awful noise? Or worse, take a hammer to you? - for causing such ear bleeding agony?

I am. That's me. I gladly confess. And you know what, I think I have always been this way. I love listening to songs on repeat.

I remember when I was a kid, Acey and I had bunk beds and he kept a ghetto blaster boom box right next to his pillow. I remember climbing the ladder to his top bunk when he wasn't home and putting my No Doubt CD in, sitting cross legged and listening to it over and OVER while reading along the lyrics and memorizing them. I did this also about a year later to Spice Girl's groundbreaking hit album "Spice." I'm sure I logged hundreds of hours pressing repeat on "Spice Up Your Life" and "Wannabe."

So I don't think I can account for every song I have ever been obsessed with, but I can name a few. Especially as of recently.

About a month or so ago a friend of ours introduced me to Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox. OMG I am so obsessed. I freaking love them.

It started out gradually at first. I began showing anyone how would step foot into our house Postmodern Jukeboxes rendition of Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop." Then came their rendition of Lorde's "Royals," then Selena Gomez' "Come and Get It..." and from there it spiraled. I bought their album on iTunes and it has basically been playing non-stop.

It's actually playing in the background now. The video posted directly above is what I am currently going cray cray for. Watch it for yourself and try not to tell me the lead singer, Von Smith, doesn't just down-right melt your heart! Go on, try!

Talk about heart melting, below is Puddles Pity Party belting out "Royals." This band is seriously amazing. Please Postmodern Jukebox! Put Bishop, California on your next tour! (Ha... I'm lucky enough to get my friends to read this blog - it would be a serious pipe dream that anyone from the band would even stumble upon it on accident. Regardless, I will continue my rant.)

Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop"

Selena Gomez' "Come and Get It"

Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" (Seriously - Love those pipes! Mitchell Jarvis - if you are reading this - Thank you - you are a god.)

Really people, the list goes on and on with this band. The main front lead singer, Robyn Anderson, hits a home run in just about every single song. I could post every video of theirs because I love them all so much, but what you should really do is go to YouTube and watch them yourself. Or better yet, buy their amazing album for only $9.99 on iTunes. I know, I know, I should be getting paid for how hard I am repping this band, but I just want to share my excitement with the many MANY people that read my blog (clearly sarcastic).

Moving on. Bless Phil's heart for letting me play the below video on a nightly basis. I know he loves it too, I mean who wouldn't, but I'm sure after the nth time, he has had his fill. Again, try to tell me you watched this video and didn't just absolutely fall in love with Emma Stone! It couldn't be done! I love her. 

Blessing Phil's heart yet again. He has seen this next one more then he would like to admit, but hey, that is one of the perks of living with Julianna Marina Aseltine! Endless amounts of musical fun! Maybe my tastes aren't as refined as the next persons but there is something about all these videos/songs that literally make the little carbon and other elements in my body go into a dancing hizzy. It's amazing. 

The guy that sings Elsa's part. Genius. 

I don't exactly know what makes me love this next video so much: the KRNFX guy or the shaking camera at the chorus or the guy with the long hair or the mesmerizing female singer. They are all just so good!

One more Walk off the Earth goodie:

This last video I actually, and truly wish I could say I hadn't watched as many times as I have... but she is just so endearingly annoying!

If, on the off hand chance, that you actually made it through this entire post with out getting sucked down the wormhole that is YouTube, nice work!

I just wanted to share some of the videos/music that I am currently obsessed with and if I just ruined the past 20 minutes of your life... well according to Lt. Quincannon of the 2013 box office smash hit Gangster Squad, "Two things you can't take back on this job, kid. Bullets out of your gun, and words out of your mouth." Go ahead and add "hours of wasted time on the internet" to that list.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Matthes Crest

Maureen and I had been planning on climbing Matthes Crest in Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park for a couple months. I really loved how casual we were in making plans, she just threw the idea out there, I said yes, I put it on the calendar, then a couple days before the climb I got a FB message saying to meet at the trail head at 7:30, bring a compass, and that was about it.

Maureen and I met at the Cathedral Lakes Trail Head and set out towards Matthes Crest. I had the compass, as she had requested, as well as a GPS and print outs from Peter Croft's book, The Good, The Great and The Awesome. We had plans on climbing up the 5.6 at the South end of the traverse, but didn't plan on running into 4 other groups with the same idea. It was a busy day on the crest. Maureen managed to squeeze her way up something and I managed to follow, with groups on either side.

We took advantage of the other people being on the route, as you can see from the picture below. We asked someone to snap this photo of us perched on the first pitch.

And so the traverse began. There was a group of 3 (2 women and 1 man) leading the way, they were soloing most of the route (meaning, no rope), 2 groups of 2 guys each, which were directly in front of us, and another couple+ groups behind us. Maureen and I were moving pretty quickly, simul climbing all the way to the 5.8 crack/dihedral. Simul climbing, short for simultaneously climbing, it is when you are both tied into the same rope, on opposite ends, climbing as the word describes, simultaneously, with a piece or two of protection in between you. The idea here is that you can move quite a bit faster. The catch is, if you or your partner falls, you are essentially the anchor on the other end of the rope. I would say, you would only want to simul climb if you are very confidant in your ability as well as your partners, which we both were.

At the beginning of the traverse we quickly passed the 2 groups of guys and were moving right along, chipper and having a great time. 

We got to the 5.8 and Maureen appeared to walk right up it. I struggled a little bit but managed to get myself to the top.

I had an "anything goes" mentality to this climb, hence the scratches on my forearms, bruises on knees and the holes in my pants.

Beautiful views and smiles all the way around. 

No need for a tri-pod when you have friendly people to take pictures for you.

This is what much of the traverse looked like. You can see Maureen leading the way and the rope connecting the two of us together. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the ramp just below Maureen was only about two and a half feet wide, dropping hundreds of feet on either side. Scary? Yes, a little but the business hadn't even started yet. 

Here Maureen is climbing up a small crack on the traverse, still on our way to the North Summit.

Looking South.

Traversing along, following behind Maureen's lead about 40 feet, often keeping the rope in one hand as not to trip on it. 

The North Summit! What a beautiful view. Maureen looks South into the National Park and down the ridge we just crossed. We signed the register at the summit 10,400 feet, had a little snack and decided to keep moving.

Many people rappel off the North Summit and forgo completing the ridge traverse to the far North end. And maybe we would have done that if it wasn't for the above mentioned book, The Good, The Great, and The Awesome by Peter Croft, where he says, in reference to rappelling off the summit, "'d miss out on some of the best climbing the route has to offer... so finish it off properly, climb down off the North Summit and continue traversing north along the arete..." So that's what we did.

We decided to carry on and the parties behind us admired our courage. I didn't understand why until we were committed to the decent. We understood that there would be some 5.8 down climbing but didn't think that there would be anything harder then what we had already done. Boy were we wrong.

Let me say that nothing was over or head or above our ability range. Let me say that neither Maureen nor I were ever scared or unsure of what were were doing.

Now, let me say that Matthes Crest was the most exciting and potentially dangerous thing I've ever done.

Here we are thinking, "We made it! All down hill from here!" Although we couldn't have been more wrong.

As we were descending from the summit and continued moving North on the ridge, 2 men, one older and one in his 20's passed us, free soloing. The 20 year old was wearing approach shoes. Maureen kindly asked, as we were a little unsure of exactly which way was the best way along the ridge, "Is this the 5.8 down climb?" The older man's, response, with a little bit of a cold chuckle, was something like "Yeah, this is the right way" and "there's quite a bit more to come."

As we continued, we soon found out that, yes, the party wasn't over at the North Summit, the party was just getting started. Unfortunately we weren't advised it was a business party and there was a lot more work for us to do.

Again, these photos do not encompass the amount of exposure and the risk involved but this crotch shot, taken through my legs while down climbing a ramp was one of the many "scarier" moments on the climb. The next piece of protection was below me 10+ feet. A fall here would have been detrimental.

Looking at the photo now, I don't really know how Maureen and I climbed this mass of rock, but we did. Straight up and over those jaggedy columns. 

The below photo isn't Maureen or I, I took it from, but I wanted to show what one particular section of the climb looked like. This section is referred to as "the wave." As you can tell by the exposure and sketchyness of this section, I wasn't too particularly keen on the idea of pulling my camera out and taking a photo.

Maureen and I looked down, like the woman in the photo, and got a sight that I don't expect to see too many times in my life. Looking down the face of the rock, hundreds of feet, was truly breath taking.

The below photo is from the far North end of the traverse, we made it, now just three more miles back to the trail head.

Another great adventure with Maureen, looking forward to more in the future.

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