Athletes aren’t the only ones into winter sports. Cobalt and I are pretty excited about them too. And as much as we’ve enjoyed watching curling and figure skating, we really wanted to get outside.
But there’s a problem. We haven’t had much winter here. So this weekend, we and some of our friends went on a mission to 1) find snow and 2) go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing through it.
Cobalt and I, plus six of our friends and their three dogs, headed to White Pass, Washington where we skied/snowshoed on and around the Pacific Crest Trail. Cobalt went snowshoeing with four of the friends and all three dogs, and I skied with Q and J.
The Pacific Crest Trail was pretty narrow and it went straight uphill, so we were worried that we were going to have a rough time going down on skis. But that turned out to be the best part of the whole day! We cruised (and fell a lot) down the trail and came out the other side smiling. And then we went up and did it again.
And then we all went out for beer and pizza afterwards. Yum. Good day. :)
Short post today because there’s lots of other stuff going on. But I’ll see you guys next week! Same time, same place! Meanwhile, anyone else have some winter sporting activities they want to share?
Hellllooooo everyone! How are your Novembers turning out? Good I hope. Did everyone remember to vote today? Very important.
Anyway, this past weekend, Washington state got hit with its first snow of the season. On Friday, I saw a lot of pictures and videos of some wet snow falling to the west of us. But it was actually quite pleasant in the Tri-Cities. It was a little chilly but it was mostly sunny and beautiful. Then on Saturday, it was just cold. When Cobalt and I woke up, it was 27 degrees out. Yikes! Where did our brisk fall weather go? It stayed chilly all day and on Sunday we woke up to SNOW. Big, fat flakes that looked like soap suds rained down from the heavens on and off all morning. I might have lived in Colorado recently but I am still a native Californian at heart: The first snow of the season (no matter how wet it is) always makes me super excited. I jumped out of bed determined to take fun videos and pictures.
Because I lived in Colorado for 8 out of the last 9 years, my first-snow-of-the-season pictures usually look something like this. You know, with snow-coated mountains and such. We do have some hills here but I couldn’t really see them through all the haze. Plus I was intrigued by the clumpiness of the snowflakes.
So this time, I gave myself a new challenge: Photograph the fat flakes as they were falling. It was hard. I had a really fast shutter speed to capture the flakes in mid air. And I also had to manually focus on the fat clusters as they were falling. I took a lot of pictures and I still mostly missed my target flakes. But it was a fun challenge anyway.
Meanwhile, Tarantula was sitting on my desk chair watching the whole ordeal with annoyance. Humans… why is it so cold? And can you please turn on the sun?
Anyway, I want to point out that pretty much none of those fat flakes stuck so yesterday we were back to fall. Sort of. It was still super cold. But at least it was also super pretty…
PS: Today is my Sister in Law’s bday! Hurrah! Happy day! Can’t wait to see you soooooon! :D
This past weekend, Cobalt and I embarked on an epic day trip to Yosemite National Park. Over the past year, we’ve been to five other national parks and monuments and we thought we could sneak one more in before 2016 ends. Plus my family and I used to go to Yosemite National Park every summer when I was growing up and I was itching to get back.
Having spent at least a week in Yosemite when I went with my family, I had to do some careful planning for our short day trip. It helped that a lot of the stuff that I enjoyed seeing in the summer (Glacier Point, Tuolumne Meadows, etc.) is not open in the winter so I had a shorter list of things to choose from.
It’s about a 3.5 hour drive from here so we left at 7:30 a.m. to make sure we would have time to spend in the park. Our first stop: Yosemite Valley. It’s often super overcrowded in the summer but there’s a good reason for it. It’s simply spectacular to be surrounded on all sides by huge slabs of rock, rushing water, and impressive waterfalls. Cobalt is not one for crowds so I figured that by going to the valley in December, he’d still get to see the awesomeness without being surrounded by people. It was kind of a dreary day — rainy and cold — but there were still quite a few people in the valley. We headed to the Happy Isles trail head to go see Vernal Falls. You can’t drive to the trail head so we had to park the car and hike in. We got a little lost of our way to the trail head and wandered around the Happy Isles for a bit but it paid off because we saw a deer family! Here is a picture of the buck. I think this might be the best deer picture I have ever taken. Enjoy:
We eventually found the trail head and wandered up the short trail to the footbridge below Vernal Falls. It’s a nice trail, with amazing views of the river crashing around below and waterfalls sneaking down the walls of the valley. In the summer, I enjoy hiking past the footbridge via the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls but it is closed in the winter (mist = ice = slippery!) and we had a lot of other stuff to see! So we headed back down the trail to the car where we had a quick lunch before heading back to see the rest of the valley.
The rain was starting to come down harder by this point but that didn’t stop our fellow tourists from having fun on the valley floor. We had to stop to take pictures of the Yosemite Falls because I loved seeing the people playing in the snow through the mist. There was so much going on! People were taking Christmas pictures in Santa hats or throwing snowballs at each other. Some people were even getting out sleds to slide around the icy snow.
After touring the rest of the valley mostly by car, we set off towards Wawona, which is on the southern edge of the park. To get there, you head up out of the Valley through a long tunnel. Right before you leave the valley, there is a “Tunnel View” parking area where you can get one last glimpse of the entire valley. It was a family tradition to stop and take a picture so Cobalt and I stopped and asked a family to take our picture.
It was pouring and starting to get dark by the time we reached Wawona but I had one required stop left. My family used to stay in Wawona when we visited Yosemite and we loved hiking the Chilnualna Falls trail. It’s about a 10 minute hike to the lower fall so we parked at the trail head and ran up the trail. It was incredible! We usually go in August, which is when the water is at a pretty low point but the fall was just gushing this weekend. Forget the rain, Cobalt and I got majorly misted as we scuttled down toward the fall. It was so great to see an old family favorite again. Can’t wait to come back here with my whole family one day (hopefully soon!).
Let’s get some humans in that photo.
How are you? What are you up to? This week, I have to report at the American Geophysical Union’s national conference. Should be fun but also scary!
We have a lot to talk about today so let’s get started!
What to say?! My heart broke when I first heard the news and I’ve continued to feel uneasy about this situation since then. I’m so sad that this keeps happening – with the few crazy members of a culture wreaking havoc on so many people they don’t know. It breaks my heart to see a city that I love filled with terror. Plus I am sad about all the other places are being attacked and no one is talking about them. It also breaks my heart seeing people younger than me committing suicide to hurt other people. And finally, I worry about the anti-Islam backlash this attack is going to cause… Be careful with your blame everyone… :-/
For all of you who got excited about my post last week, yay! I am so excited too! I got a lot of comments concerning “who to trust?” considering anyone (including yours truly) can talk about science on the internet these days. Also I got a great question about what types of jobs we scientists can get these days (excellent question and super relevant to me as I am on the market for a specific type of job that may or may not exist right now). Finally, I had some general comments about what it feels like to talk about science with people who “get it.” I can’t wait to address all of these questions and comments. Soon… >_<
Tolerance vs. Acceptance
Last week, I spoke on a panel of Tolerance vs. Acceptance on the CU campus. I think it turned out really well! The room was packed! The first part of the panel was to ask our audience to discuss the definitions of tolerance vs. acceptance and we found that it was much easier to define tolerance over acceptance. I talked about how “tolerance” to me means being acknowledged but not being invited to “the party” that everyone else is talking about/attending. We decided that acceptance would then be being invited to the party and asked to dance! I talked about how I was at a loss about what to do with feeling accepted – I can’t figure out how how I got there. I don’t understand that I can just be accepted as I am. Clearly I had to have done something “right” to make people like me? Then everyone else started sharing their own personal stories about what acceptance looks like to them. It came down to opening up and being authentic with each other as well as being curious about people’s lives. So we practiced these in small groups! I feel much more closer to my fellow panel members after that and I hope everyone else in the audience feels closer to their group members now too! I think it was a pretty successful panel. I’ve heard a lot of really interesting stories about what it feels like to be an undergrad/grad student, postdoc, faculty, or staff on CU’s campus and excellent personal examples of what tolerance vs. acceptance looks like in general. The stories have continued over the course of this week and I hope people keep talking about this issue!
Speaking of this panel – I will be on the radio this morning at 8:35 am (it looks like you can stream it live or listen to an mp3 recording on that website) talking about this panel and the new seminar series I helped start at CU. Check it out!
I turned 30 last week!!! How does this happen?! Anyway, to celebrate my birthday and the fact that we had an unusually warm weekend, Cobalt and I went to Golden Gate State Park and ended up doing a 3 mile hike around in the snow. I injured my knees this past summer and have been not allowed to do any exercise besides walking for the past few months. It felt pretty good to be able to play a little in the snow with minor knee pain. I’m slowly getting better…
Now it’s your turn: What’s the weather like for you? I think everything is shifted back a month for us – nice October weather goin’ on for us in Colorado… not so great for people who like to ski though. Also – tell me your definitions of tolerance vs. acceptance or give me an example of what it feels like to be tolerated vs. accepted!
Hey everyone! Looks like I’m sticking to this once a week on Wednesdays post schedule for a little bit. Life is crazy with trying to graduate and all…
A lot of stuff has been happening though so I’ll give you a mini update!
So first of all, two weeks ago, Cobalt and I made a plant home in our office! Look at those happy plantys!
Second of all, it’s been snowing a lot…. Not a fan. But at least this picture is pretty.
Finally, last weekend, we made dumplings with some of our friends for the Chinese New Year! :D This year I got to learn how to make the wrappers too. It was fun rolling them out into perfect circles. I also love folding the dumplings into these cool shapes. This year we put almonds into a few for good luck. Because four of us making/eating the dumplings are hoping to graduate from grad school this year, we decided that eating a dumpling with an almond in it meant that we would definitely graduate this year. We all got almond-filled dumplings so hopefully we will all graduate! :D
Anyway, in science news, yesterday I finished the last of my repeats for the first part of my project! So minus a few tweaks or running the assays I designed for other people’s experiments, that means I am done with the first part. Now I finally get to focus on the more nebulous and less thought out second part of my project! Things are coming along (even though they are slow)!
Your turn. Tell me about life. It’s February! Is the weather looking any better there because it’s cold and snowy here… Did you watch the Superbowl last weekend? Got any Valentine’s Day plans for next week? Let’s discuss! :D
So we got a pretty good snow storm earlier this week. It would have been fine if it hadn’t been followed by ridiculously low temperatures… I woke up yesterday and it was -11 F outside. I’m originally from California… we do not do below 0 F there. Luckily for me, I have a ton of data analysis to do so I stayed home working on my computer while burrowing in blankets and snuggling with stuffed sharks all day. At one point, Cobalt even brought me the fanciest hot chocolate ever! Maybe I should stay home and work again today!
I did actually end up braving the cold last night to go to a girls night where we attempted to decorate Christmas ornaments. My attempts are below – there’s a shark on the clear one (as well as a shark in the 3 of 2013) and a skull for Cobalt on the red one!
What temperature is “cold” to you? Can you handle -11 F? HOW?!?!? Anyway, what do you have planned for the weekend? I have some pretty exciting things planned! I can’t wait to tell you about them next week! :D
It’s spring break here in Colorado. Unfortunately for grad students like me who are done with our classwork, spring break doesn’t really mean much except that there are less undergrads everywhere. We still have to go to lab and we still can’t park on campus because spring break doesn’t count as a holiday for the crazy parking police. Booo…
Even with that said, my spring break has been pretty exciting so far. First my mom came to visit this weekend! We had so much fun even though it snowed almost a foot (yeah Colorado doesn’t really get the whole “spring” concept). Below is a list of fun activities that my mom and I did together:
We went out to lunch at this fancy French restaurant in Boulder. We pretended we were in Paris and babbled a little bit in French while eating our super fantastic meals… mmmmm
We made homemade rosemary crackers from scratch… Oh man they were so easy to make and so delicious. I wish I could post some for you guys to try on here…
We watched the crazy snowy USA vs Costa Rica game (which happened in Commerce City, CO… not too far from here) on Spanish television and screamed GOAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL along with the newscasters. I also babbled along with them in Spanish whenever I was happy that I knew a word or phrase.
We made delicious shrimp tacos for dinner for Cobalt since he had to work late.
We braved the crazy snowy streets to go run some errands and get tasty breakfast at Mom’s favorite breakfast restaurant here: The Buff (it’s on Man vs. Food – the Boulder edition if you want to learn about it).
We had a party for the 50th anniversary of The Birds because it was mostly filmed about a 30 min drive from my hometown/where Cobalt and I stayed on our minimoon and because my mom had never seen it. I always get super homesick when I watch it so it was nice to watch it with my mom…
I worked on trying to make alligator earrings in a similar style to my shark earrings…
We planted the seeds for Cobalt’s and my summer garden. Obviously they won’t be heading outside for a while…
Did I forget anything Mom?
After my mom left, I took advantage of the crazy snow everywhere and went cross country skiing around the hill by my house. No one else was out so it was a peaceful adventure through the fluffy snow for me and my sharks (Gustav is featured in the picture on top).
And now for the reason why I didn’t write on Thursday last week – I’ve been working extra hard in lab (except for when my mom was here) so that I can take some time off to actually have a spring break. Cobalt, our friend A, and I are road trippin’ to Dallas to see our friend Jem later this week! So exciting (so excited about WARMTH too…)! So I might not write this Thursday either… Or maybe I’ll make Jem cowrite a post with me (you were warned Jem… ;)). Jem and I have already planned to work on our street photography techniques as she shows us Dallas. Also, maybe Jem and I can finalllllly get our Etsy store up and running! So much excitement!
Now it’s your turn. What kinds of things do you do with your family when you visit them or they visit you? Is it spring there yet? What is your ideal spring break activity? Do you want that tasty cracker recipe? Have you been to Dallas? If so what do you think of it?
On Sunday, I had a very fun adventure planned. Cobalt and I were going to spend the morning and early afternoon in Denver with our friends and then watch the Oscars in the evening at our house with anyone who wanted to come over. Then it snowed 5 inches before we even got up on Sunday morning… The roads were a mess and it was still snowing pretty hard so nope on the Denver plan. That left me feeling pretty conflicted because I really wanted to go see my friends in Denver but it never snows 5 inches here in Boulder so I also really wanted to go play outside in the snow. Since I didn’t want to drive up to Denver in crazy snow, the only option was to play! So play I did.
I was in luck because my friend L was planning on cross country skiing with her dog along some of the running trails here in Boulder and it turned out she wanted company! I was dressed in all my snow gear and hauling my cross country skis out of our “Harry Potter closet” (it’s under the stairs if you didn’t guess) within ten minutes. L showed up and we frolicked around in the snowy wilderness for the next hour and a half. It was lovely. We had wonderful conversations, skied happily through the snow, and hung out with her adorable black lab. Meanwhile it was still snowing….
Later in the day (now we’re up to 8.5 inches of snow), my friend A came over for the Oscar party but she showed up an hour early so we could play in the snow in Cobalt’s and my backyard. We sat down in the snow like children and proceded to build an enormous snow shark spanning our entire backyard pretty much (it’s not that big… we live in an apartment complex…). His name is Lur and you can see him up there at the top before he got his magnificent pinecone eyes… Here are some pictures of me and A with Lur!
The adventures continued yesterday because Gustav wanted to meet Lur. Here are some pictures of that encounter…
I think they liked each other because of this Instagram pic…
A and I then escaped lab early yesterday because hey… we rarely get this much snow at once and then on top of that, it rarely stays around more than a few hours (the weather here is weird… 70 degrees one day, snowing the next, 50 degrees after that, you know…). A has a new snowboard and she wanted to play around with it on the hills we have here before actually taking it to a ski resort. So we bundled back up and took my cross country skis and her snowboard up to the hills right by our houses. It turned out to be a fantastic day for playing around in the snow – the sun was very bright and warm and there was sooooo much snow to play with. Some pictures of those adventures…
Whew! I am tired now from all this crazy snow playing. It’s supposed to snow again today too! Too bad I actually have work to do though… ;)
Anyway, I’m sad that I didn’t get to see my friends in Denver yesterday but so happy to have gotten to play in the snow instead. I guess the moral of this story is: when life gives you snow lemons, make snow lemonade!
What’s the weather like where you are? Is it spring yet? Do you get a lot of snow or no snow? What are your thoughts on snow? I hate driving in it but I love playing in it/watching it from the warmth of inside…
Yesterday, the day that Cobalt and I already had to get up at 4:30 am to catch a plane to leave for the holidays, was the day when Colorado finally decided to give us some snow. Needless to say getting to the airport on time and then actually leaving the airport was a bit of an adventure. First of all, we had to walk to the bus stop with all our luggage in the snow. Then we had to ride the crazy crowded bus on the crazy slippery roads to the airport. Once there, the jetway to get to our plane was not heated so we had to bundle back up to get on the plane. We boarded the plane on time but then we had to wait for people from connecting flights to land and get on our plane. Then we had to wait for their luggage to get on the plane… I watched it all happen sleepily from my window seat at the front of the plane while Cobalt grumpily tried to sleep. By the time we FINALLY had all the passengers and their luggage aboard, we had to take the plane to get deiced. I am from California so plane deicing is not something I see very often. I thought it was crazy to watch and sneakily snapped a few photos of the plane next to us and our plane getting deiced. Craziness. The title comes from the fact that the truck that was involved in the deicing of our side of the plane was IceMan14. I think the truck on the other side was IceMan4…
It’s supposed to snow on the day we head back to Colorado too so you might get to read about more snow/ice traveling adventures sooner than later…
Anyway, Cobalt and I are officially on holiday break for a while so if my posts aren’t regular it’s probably because I am reading/eating/sleeping/doing crafts/spending time with Cobalt and family/etc. I hope you all have wonderful holidays! Stay warm and dry! :)