Friday, July 12, 2013

Girls that Rock

When I worked at Inner Strength there was a guy that climbed there a fair bit, Alex Smiley. I also went to school with him; we were in the College of Natural Resources together. Anyway, he’s a real nice guy, with a last name like that, it’s only fitting, right?

I would be working behind the counter and I could hear him and his friend saying their climbing commands. They USUALLY go like this “On belay? Belay on. Climbing? Climb on.” But Alex and his friend were a little more creative and amped on climbing then that. I couldn’t help but to cringe and laugh at the same time when I would hear them reciting, “Dude on rock. Rock onnn DUDE!” Oh god, its so annoying awesome and catchy. I mean, after 3 years, and all the memories I have from working and climbing at Inner Strength, THAT’S what keeps popping into my head.

So I was climbing yesterday with Amo Potatoes and Lauren and WHAT story comes to mind? Yes, I told them the awesomely horrible ‘rock on dude’ story. And yes, they loved it.

What brings me to this blog is GIRLS that rock. Rock on girls! I have been very lucky to have climbed so much in the past week with such amazing ladies. Maureen and I climbed the regular route on Fairview Dome in Tuolumne Meadows. It was my first big multi-pitch trad route, granted I didn’t lead anything, Maureen did all the hard work and I just struggled along behind her as fast as I could. Thank you again Maureen, lets do that again sometime soon. I felt like all those pitches REALLY helped my crack climbing skillz.

Maureen and I on top of Fairview Dome

Here are a few pictures from our trad day at Iris Slab in Rock Creek Canyon. Lauren and I are planning on becoming trad masters. Actually we really just like the IDEA of becoming trad masters but are totally ok with being mediocre trad climbers and badass sport climbers. Regardless, we are pushing each other to climb harder, smarter and bolder.

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Stories That I Like to Tell: Cowboy Coffee

Since being a waitress at the Pie in the Sky Café I have found that there are a few stories that I REALLY like telling.

Me, Avana and Dad, true characters in a story, well, OUR story.

It’s not surprising that one of these stories has to do with coffee. Almost every breakfast customer asks for a cup upon being seated at our modest but quaint counter. And maybe about 1 out of every 10 customers says something about camping. How their stove broke, they ran out of fuel, it was a cold morning, or something of the like. But the end result is them ditching the camp style breakfast and treating themselves to a nice cup of joe at our café.

This is where I come in. Having never been a waitress before, and I will be the first to admit I’m a little uncomfortable behind the counter. Do you stay and chat? I mean it is an intimate little counter. Am I talking to fast? Are you even listening. Oh, talking too much, oops, your food is ready and you have no silverware. Did you say à la mode? I swear you didn’t. But none the less, I try. I try to always remember silverware, drinks, syrup, and maintain an appropriate amount of chatter. Oh you would like to see those earrings? Yeah, a real nice girl made them, she works here.

Well inevitably after the broken stove story the customer will bring up something along the lines of cowboy coffee.

So here is the cowboy coffee schpeal. I love telling it, complete with gestures.

I’ll say, “Oh it was SO funny. I took my dad camping out to Joshua Tree National Park and that was the first time I was introduced to ‘cowboy coffee.’ See, my dad is great. I woke up one morning and saw him drinking coffee, but noticed he didn’t use the percolator or the French press that we had broughten (I know it’s not a real word, but it helps the story).”

Isn't he great?
Dad at Bolsa Chica enjoying the bon inferno

“My dad goes on to say, ‘Yeah, it’s cowboy coffee, you just put the grounds right in your cup, pour hot water over it, stir, let is sit for a minute then pour about a table spoon of ice cold water in it and all the grounds will sink to the bottom… the only other thing is you have to curl your lip up like this and drink the coffee reeeal slow, making sure to strain the grounds through your teeth.’’

I love hearing the people laugh. I don’t even care if they are laughing at the great story or if they are straight up laughing at me, the fool behind the counter. Oh, you want cream with that? Sorry, I’ll be right back.

Uncle Jimmy, Uncle Dan, me, Dad and Captain Uncle Eddy
With Dad at Joshua Tree
Hanging with Dad and Zoe under the Bud Light Umbrella
The Joshua Tree Crew
Dad and Acey at Acey's Wedding. Looking good, feeling good Winston. Just a funny little story from behind the counter :)


Art n’ Fart

Have you ever heard of a stitch and bitch? Fumie and I thought it sounded cute but a little stupid. We weren’t very good at crocheting and didn’t like the idea of sitting around and bitching so we created our own rendition, art n’ fart.

Sitting around doing art projects seemed a little more open ended and farting was also more our style, accompanied with laughs and ok, maybe a little bit of bitching too.

Fumie, I’ve been missing you my dear friend, please promise to come to Bishop this winter for an art n’ fart reunion. Maybe we can also geek n’ reek too? Like old times?

As far as art goes, I’ve been mostly just making earrings and doing the chalk board art for the resort. It keeps me busy and well, although you may think that blog writing come so naturally to me and that I am oh so good at it, this actually takes up a little bit of ‘off time’ as well.

I’ve been having a good time up here in Rock Creek Canyon and thought it would be nice to share a few art pictures.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Making Pretty Things

I may have discovered a new passion. Jewelry making.

This may not come to a surprise to some of you, but I can't wait to make more pretty things. A special thanks to the Venerable Bead in Bishop, California, Lena specifically who taught me everything about earring making in about 5 minutes. Ha. I know I have a lot to learn, but I made 16 pairs of earrings on my day off and fortunately sold some of them to my co-workers. Now with that cash hopefully I can make this relatively profitable. Or at least make enough profit to fund more jewelery.

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Miller & Son BBQ Brewing Launch

Congratulations to Steve Miller for launching his delicious BBQ Sauce today! Come on down and buy yourself a bottle of this nectar fit for the gods. You can put it on anything, chicken, burgers, ribs, potatoes, sandwiches, you name it. Phil would probably pour it on his cereal he likes it so much.

We are doing a promotion at Rock Creek Lake Resort, buy a BBQ Bacon Burger at our lunch grill and get yourself one dollar off.

Steve Miller is a very innovative and industrious guy. You will find him around the resort building something, cooking something or brewing something on any given day. And find him on his days sleeping, eating pizza and reading a book, all at the same time. What a guy!

We are so happy to be working with Steve and his equally amazing counterpart Amy King as they are 2 of the highest quality people you will find.

Check out his Miller & Son BBQ Brewing FB page

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Goodies and Fish

“Goodies” are certainly different for different people. Phil and I agree on most topics but this one we standalone.

For me, and unfortunately my poor skin, I have been breaking out because of my dedication to goodies. Which has most recently been cupcakes. Here are some lemon cakes with strawberry frosting that I made for the resort. I modified the Joy of Cooking golden cake recipe, added the tasty makeshift frosting and sold every last one. Three dozen in two days is pretty good for me up here. I have become known as the “cupcake pusher.”

Here are the “Freedom Cakes” I made just for today, the Fourth of July. A collective effort. I make the lemon cakes and loganberry frosting while Casey made the delicious strawberry jam filling.

I love just about anything with sugar. For Phil, a goodie is a much more back-to-nature, wild and primal experience. Fishing. Sugar isn’t even a basic ingredient. Phil and Steve, a resort employee and good friend, have been trying to catch an illusive monster brown trout.

I would be hung if I reviled the location of the fish, now named Hank.

After logging many hours over the course of weeks and trying many different flies and lures, one of which looked like a little mouse, Phil departed the resort around 9 p.m. and came back victorious. He caught Hank. Hank did give a good fight but Phil used his master fisherman skills and fought back. Phil being a fly fisherman and like most fisherman of this type, upholds the highest of moral fish standards. He nursed Hank back to health, holding him underwater, moving him back and forth filling his gills with water until he was able to swim away.

Phil wasn’t able to sleep that night after being so filled with adrenaline. Something I totally don’t understand but really admire and love about him.

Since then, Phil has become a self-proclaimed steward of the home water source and surrounding area of Hank. Picking up trash and going late in the evening to see if Hank is still swimming around happy and healthy, which he is. Phil doesn’t know the exact size of Hank but he thinks somewhere around 5 lbs and 20 inches. Caught on a jointed rapala. He said he would of liked to have caught him on a fly rod but resorted to a spinning rod out of slight desperation. A real prizewinner nonetheless. I’m talking about Phil and Hank here although I know I am a prize winner too having a catch like Phil.

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Lucid Dreaming and Other Dreaming Funnies

There are certain dreams that are common among people, dreams you hear other people talking about and think, “Hey! I’ve dreamt that.”

Quite a few of those dreams I’ve had… teeth falling out, arriving somewhere important with out any shoes on—usually school, when I was in school, breathing under water and flying into telephone wires. I like trying to analyze dreams but if you look online you usually come up with some negative interpretation.

I haven’t read up much on lucid dreaming, but I know I have been doing it ever since I was a kid. Most memorably were the breathing underwater dreams. The first time I was probably 10 years old or younger. I was swimming in the pool in my parents’ back yard and dove down to the bottom of the deep end. I was running out of breath but remembered I was only dreaming and that I could just breathe underwater if I wanted to. At the depths of the deep end, I inhaled what felt like a bottomless breath of water, filling my lungs, and being able to continue swimming happily.

Another lucid dream I often had as a child was one that took place at a wedding or some type of big event. I would be assessing the selection of cupcakes, cookies, cake, and candy and would begin to fill a plate. I would begin loading up a mountain of goodies. Filled with excitement of the soon-to-come oral pleasure (that’s what she said), I would begin to become anxious. The anxiety came after acknowledging in my dream that I WAS dreaming and if I didn’t hurry up and find a seat I would wake up and be unable to satiate my sweet tooth. Soon after making that realization I would inevitably wake up. Sad face.

After having that same dream multiple times as a kid, it wasn’t until recent years I had it again. The only difference with my adult life sweets fantasy dream was, yes, I got to acknowledge that I was in fact dreaming. And yes, I WAS able to eat every little sweet thing on my plate.


Here are the dreams that I really wanted to highlight, please comment if you have any stories of your own to share, I would love to hear.

In recent month I have been having multiple dreams where I will be reading some kind of text, a book or what have you, realize I’m dreaming, realize everything I am reading is just a creation of my own imagination and soon after that… the text jumbles and disappears. Gone.

It sounds a little chaotic and yes, it is actually quite chaotic in the actual dream. Not to sound to narcissistic, which I’ll say isn’t a bad thing, but when I’m reading the text in the dream I have this moment of “Whoa hey this is brilliantly written stuff – HEY! It’s a product of my imagination, Hey Julie, you are pretty creative here and quite a nice girl!” And at about that time the text starts to go bye-bye. This just happened the other day while napping after work and I can’t remember what it was that I was reading but I remember I wanted to read MORE. Has this happened to anyone else?

On another note… all this dream chatter is very disorganized.

Someone once told me that you should write your dreams down RIGHT when you woke up in the morning. This is funny. When I was working at Sunrise Ranch I decided to take up this practice so I put a notebook and pen at my bedside and thought I would write the dreams down as soon as I woke up. But this often happened in the middle of the night and duh in a sleeping stupor. I would scribble down a few words, assuming I would decode them in the morning. But, I would wake up to chicken scratch and words that I swear I would normally spell right but could hardly recognize as English. Has THIS ever happened to anyone?

I’m pretty sure that my brother heard this from a movie, but he said you can’t see yourself in mirrors in dreams. I know that isn’t true because I had a dream in the past year where I looked at myself VERY closely in a mirror and realized that YES it was in fact me but the teeth in my mouth belonged to an obscure elementary school friend of mine. I doubt in real life, even if there was money on the line, that I could actually place the teeth as THEIRS, but in dream world they were undoubtedly those of a class mate some fifteen years ago.

Dream ramblings are fun. Maybe I’ll write another lucid dreaming part II and maybe it will be equally all over the place.

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Hill Top Hot Spring

Sweet Sixteen. That was a memorable birthday.

Stephanie, my step-mom planned the family birthday expedition. She outfitted us all with our first Nalgenes, wow how many have I owned since then? Indestructible, ha..

After a long drive and a night at the Hacienda our journey was about to begin. We started at the base of the Hoover Dam and we’re to kayak down the Colorado River. I can’t remember exactly how many miles, but I think roughly 9, then we would get picked up by the same outfitter that dropped us off.

I imagine people could kayak the whole section in a matter of hours, but we took our time, spending 3 days camping near the water and hot springing at all the pools a long the way.

One of the pools in Boy Scout Canyon. Although this photo was taken in 2011 on a different trip with Phil.

I remember there being a pool in a cave, the sauna cave, yes the name was quite appropriate. You had to walk in ankle deep water, maybe 100 feet, and at the end there was a pool you could sit in. But the cave was pitch black and following my dad and Steph I chickened out and turned around. I remember seeing what I thought were lizards, crawling on the walls and the squishing of mud between my toes. Getting a little nervous in the dark, having deserted the rents, I ran my hand along the wall as a way to guide myself back to the cave entrance. I remember breathing my first breath of fresh air and how it felt so cold and fresh.

I am really lucky to have gone to so many hot springs. Hot springs in Baja, Death Valley, the Eastern Sierra, Southern California… I hope to add more to my list. But what brings me to this blog is my all time favorite hot spring, Hill Top, outside Mammoth Lakes.

Hill Top is absolutely perfect. It’s close to Rock Creek Canyon, so the drive for us right now isn’t very long. It’s hot, but not too hot (unless you are sun burnt). It has a drain so it stays clean with the help of its regulars. It has a valve so if its not hot enough for you, go ahead and open er’ on up!

The view is amazing. You have the Eastern Sierra looking at you from one side and the White Mountains from the other. On top of all that, some kind person put astro turf around the pool so you don’t have to get your piggely wigglies dirty. Plus the contrast of the green astro turf, blue sky and white clouds makes for some amazing photos.

The only downside is that it’s often crowded. The pool is good sized but gets crowded fast. That being said, I’m not going to post directions on here, but that probably won’t stop the dogged go-er from doing a quick Google search.

This pool is actually at Wild Willies, another beautiful Eastern Sierra hotspring

I love the eastern side. It is so beautiful here.

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