Archives for category: skiing

I make a lot of excuses for everything. I know this. I’ve always known this. I’m actually a lot of talk and no action, contrary to what y’all think.

These ideas have been brought to my attention recently. On a deeper level. Don’t ask. Just go with it.

I woke up this morning with the uncomfortable feeling, like, yeah, get off your duff and actually do something. You ARE all talk and no action. I’ve been bitching for years about things I REALLY want to do and have I done them?

NO, because I am the QUEEN OF EXCUSES. Look at my past relations and jobs and extracurricular activities – why I can’t/don’t/shouldn’t get out of it, change it, do it.

F that.

I sat down with breakfast and a scrap piece of paper and a pen and scrawled across the top:

What makes me feel alive?


(Speaking of, at this moment, a Florence and the Machines song just came on KEXP. It’s not the song that reminds me of my trip to Australia in 2011, but this band had a song that came out around that time that was totally the theme of that trip. And that trip made me feeling so fucking alive.)



hiking/skiing uphill


good home cooked food

my favorite people


busy work

helping people


creating things with my hands


traveling and exploring



NOW, this list is all fine and good but HOW or WHAT am I going to do about each one.

Next to each item, I started writing out ideas:

Running – sign up for a trail run once a month. it costs money but whatever. Sign up early enough, it’s not as expensive. Every time I got off a trail run in 2014, it was the best feeling ever. Better than climbing, hiking, biking, swimming, whatever other sport i’ve tried.

hiking/skiing uphill – it’s winter, so it’s snow season, so I need to get my knee brace fitted which I’m doing next friday. YAY! Then I can cross country ski this year!

dogs – Don called me out last night on every excuse for not having a dog, as I’ve been moaning for years that I’ve wanted one. I essentially live in the equivalent of a big apartment (big indoor space, no fenced yard). Start researching good types of dogs for me – one who enjoys exercise and being worked but also knows how to chill.

good home cooked food – CHECK. ALL THE TIME.

my favorite people – who in my life makes me feel happy and real and myself. mentors and people i respect and look up to.

sunshine – continue to take 3,000 IUs of Vitamin D, go to the tanning beds or just fucking move.

busy work – i’m trying hard at work to do this while we’re in a slow season, as most my people are at their computers doing reports and data crunching, so field season is slow. time to plan long-term projects?

helping people – mountain rescue allows for this, but not enough. my job allows for this, but not enough. my career counseling last year shed light on working in a non-traditional teaching environment. Both my job and mountain rescue allow plenty of opportunities to do this. I need to sit down with a calendar and resources and do some research on how to incorporate this.

cleaning/organizing – i’m really good at this, no matter what it is. it just comes as required.

creating things with my hands – woodworking is the first thing that comes to mind. I just signed up for a free online four-day creative class. I would like to sit down and go through it, but see, I’m not creating an action plan here to make sure I follow through with it. I guess a bigger priority is the pile of fabric in my living room for two sets of pajama pants, three quilts, a dress and lots of mending …

music – most of the time, KEXP. Also, I have a ukelele and a guitar in my living room. In their cases. Someone told me to buy music stands so they’ll sit out and I’ll pick them up more. I need to buy two music stands. Cheap.

traveling and exploring – this takes planning. I see on Facebook (yes, the Facebook syndrome) all the trips and ideas and think, man, I need to plan some trips. Yes, I know I just went to Ireland (which was amazing) but wanderlust is getting to me again. I WILL BLOCK OUT THAT LAST WEEK OF MARCH FOR MY WEEKLONG ROAD TRIP FROM CALIFORNIA TO WASHINGTON DAMNIT. I’VE BEEN WANTING TO DO THAT TRIP FOR SIX YEARS NOW.

Gardening – that pink binder on the table? the one you keep meaning to organize by month so you know what to do for each plant, as well as layout where each plant is in your gardens? that needs to be done. again though where’s the action plan to make sure it gets done?

(Irony? KEXP is now playing ALIVE by Empire of the Sun)

it feels good to get all this out, but it also means planning and budgeting. that’s where i get blocked. when do i have time to sit down and plan and budget? that’s my problem.

the other question – in a year, after i do all these things, will i finally be happy? i constantly feel like there is something else there, something else that i need to satisfy me, because apparently my charmed life right now (i’m not going to lie, i know i have it good, on paper, my life looks fantastic) isn’t enough.

there you go.

No one ever said i didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve.






While this is a completely fabricated story, this will have truth behind it in mid-March. I’ll happily write a more accurate version for the Stranger… maybe submit it to The Kitsap Report.

Potential headline next month:

Hed: No Dancing at St. Pats Dash​ This Year

Subhed: Bremerton contingent has injured dancers, unable to show up and lead the city in a rokus good time 

SEATTLE – The live band who showed up to play in the beer garden following Seattle’s legendary St. Pat’s Dash was sorely disappointed to see an empty dance floor this year.

Oh, there were hundreds of people before them in the cavernous Fisher Pavilion, but in typical Seattle fashion, those people stood around politely drinking their post-dash beers. They were leaving room in front of the stage for those who wanted engage in some high energy Irish jigging.

But no one showed up.

People got nervous. Frightened. THEY may have to step up and dance in front of hundreds of strangers. The crowd was at a loss of what to do.

Typically, for the past four years, right around 10 a.m., a group of six to eight wildly dressed folks in costumes usually consisting of tutus, ribbons and Lyrca, and mostly from Bremerton (a small Navy town across the Sound) step right up in front of the band and start dancing. Hard. Badly, but hard. They dance until the drummer is finally breaking down his kit. They sweat. They fall. They get back up. They drag members of the passive aggressive Seattle crowd to engage in animated fun.

The Bremerton Crowd outdoes the Ellen Selfie at the 2014 St. Pats Dash.

The Bremerton Crowd outdoes the Ellen Selfie at the 2014 St. Pats Dash.

In the past, there have been willing volunteers, one dressed as a leprechaun, another with long orange braids, and another wearing a kilt and a spaceship kitty t-shirt, who needed no encouragement to jump in with The Bremerton Crowd.

But this year – it was quiet. The clinking of empty plastic beer cups used to construct beer towers was deafening.

“I wasn’t sure what to do,” said the band leader. “It may have been a small group but they were familiar, fun and welcoming and fed off our energy to get Seattle going. That’s a tough job because Seattle is a tough crowd.”

The band played on, much to their dismay, to a lifeless crowd of Irish and wanna-be-Irish drunks.

Further investigation uncovered The Bremerton Crowd down the street at The Five Point Cafe, where it was learned that Bremerton runners and dancers Kevin Koski and Tiffany Royal were nursing a broken pinkie toe and recovering from ACL surgery, respectively, this year.

“I figured we’re were going to make headlines this year for NOT being there,” Koski said, who is known for running the Dash backwards. “We’re bummed that we can’t there this year. We’d hoped Seattle would step up for us. It’d be hard for them to do but I had hope!”

Royal took a big sigh and shook her head.

“Typical,” she muttered and, then pushing back the green ribbons woven through her hair, she reached for her pitcher of IPA. She had no further comment.

11:11 a.m. Oct. 25, 2011

That title above. It’s a weird statement. I was just checking my Twitter feed, which I’ve pretty much neglected this summer and fall due to just being barely having enough time to check Facebook (well, obsessively trolling the FB for pictures of my new nephew anyway).

So I checked in on Twitter, where most of my climbing/outdoor friends live. I clicked through to a few blogs I’ve missed reading and skimmed over articles about friends climbing this, biking that, hiking this, offering various philosophies on the outdoor lifestyle and mindset. It took me back to 2009 and 2010 when I was reading them consistently and embracing it all.

Then I thought: “Wow. I feel like I don’t get out anymore.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Backcountry Skiing,

It’s too early to say if I’m in love, so rather, I think of this as a moment of lust. I can tell you the second when it hit me though, so much so that I fell over.

How I love thee, so light and sweet...

Sunday. April 17, 2011. About 3 p.m. First time ever out on backcountry gear. We’d just finished lunch at a high point near Blewett Pass. It was time to ski down. I was exhausted already from the climb up (2,200 feet and 4 hours of continuous skinning) and was a little nervous about heading down. When I get tired, I fall and when I fall, things hurt. And when things hurt, I fear injuries.

But I tried to keep a clear head. This is what it was all about. Sweet, sweet fresh spring snow. The sun had softened the surface just enough. My playmates skied ahead. I watched them carve, and then gave myself the whole field to enjoy.

During that first turn, I immediately fell in love. It was so easy, so swift, so smooth, so comforting, like bouncing around on a bed of pillows covered in 1,000-thread count pillow cases. I found myself talking out loud… “oh wow … oh my god …oh my god, this is so so so good…”

It was the most blissful run I’d ever had. And I was so caught up in the moment that as I turned the corner to meet with my group, I immediately fell over and yard sale’d.

Kevin and Jim came over to help me up and asked if I was OK. I looked at Jim and said, “Jim, that was amazing. That’s almost better than dating. I’m about ready to cry, that was so amazing.”

After that, I was done. I was bit. I had it in me. There was no looking back.


I never really had any intentions of engaging with you. When I first learned about what you were all about, I was hesitant. The only people I knew who skied the mountains were boys – boys who I could barely keep up with hiking and who were far more advanced climbers than me.

But when I saw some of those boys sweep down that gentle hill spotted with little trees that one spring morning in 2008 near Mt. Rainier, while I was struggling on old school cross-country skis, I was immediately jealous. I wanted to do that. I wanted to be free, not traversing in a line of people.

However, it just wasn’t time yet. I continued to stick to the resorts and my way-too-small ski boots. I started to lose interest.

Then I came upon Second Ascent’s 20% sale in October 2010. Girlfriends had been making noise about starting to buy your gear. Naturally, as a former journalist who doesn’t know any better when I’m curious, I inquired about which skis would best for me.

An hour later, I’m the owner of a new pair G3 skins and Karhu’s Betty skis. Six months later, after some smart shopping, research, networking and demo’ing, I had Scarpa Gea boots, Dynafit Vertical ST bindings, an avy beacon, shovel and probe in my possession. The boys at Marmot Mountain Works, who sweetly installed my bindings and fitted my boots all in one morning, were impressed with my setup and happily offered advice on all of my gear’s neat tricks, switches, knobs and advantages.

I swear, I didnt plan on being matchy-matchy. It just happened that way. Really.

I was ready to go…. But were you ready for me?

After the recent Blewett Pass outing, my first day ever on backcountry gear, first day ever skiing continuously for seven hours and first day ever sking on unadulterated hills, I think we’re off to a good start.

Jim and Kevin showed me what you were all about – skinning on trails to skinning up steep slopes, using my heel climbers, learning what it’s like to traverse through trees without skins and that there is not only powder out there but also sheets of ice. I love skinning up steep hillsides possibly more than I love the skiing down. I love the quiet of the hills with just friends and hearing an occasional holler of joy. I love the never-ending possibilities of open hillsides, skiing through the woods and the occasional fast cruise down a logging road.

Our love maybe a bit premature, therefore, I’m only declaring our relationship to be lustful. However, like the drug of love, I’m addicted and need more.



One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the music. It’s tried, true and traditional. It always lifts the spirits and usually we all know the words. OK, maybe just the first verse.

This was the case recently, coming back from The Snowshoe Adventure and I’d just realized, after a long 12-hour day and in the middle of the 3-hour drive home, I’d lost my wallet. I knew exactly where it was too. Back toward the mountains another hour or so. Read the rest of this entry »