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Jackson Hole

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My birthday gift this year was a long weekend skiing in Jackson Hole. (In 2011 Ted planned a trip to Venice for my birthday -0 that is, he surprised me with the plans and tickets on my birthday, then we actually went a week later. That was such a success that we have since been to Lisbon (2012) and Seattle (2014) for my birthday weekend. In 2013 we had just moved to Oregon, so we did local things and adopted our cats that weekend, instead.) It was great – not a good year for snow there, by their standards, but that still left us enough for pretty decent skiing.

I had forgotten how tiring skiing is – not the skiing itself, so much, but the walking around in ski boots, from the lodge to the lift, down stairs to the restrooms, and so on. Also we hadn’t been on skis in about a decade, and one thing I do remember is that the better you get, the more you let gravity do the work. Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling confident enough to go very fast, so I was using lots of muscle to turn and slow down a lot. We didn’t get lessons because we only had two days on the slopes but next time I definitely will. Also I will do more endurance-training workouts before hand – I was pretty exhausted hiking up a mountain two weeks ago, too, so at least some of this weekend’s fatigue was just about conditioning, I think. (Or maybe I really do need those thyroid pills I’m taking – still too soon for them to have had any effect.)

But it was beautiful there, and it was good being outside on the snow. The weather was surprisingly warm (unfortunately this made for wet heavy snow on Sunday, though Saturday was better). It definitely left me wanting to go again, a lot sooner than 10 years from now.

Only airport inside a national park:
jackson airport

Me at the top of the gondola and then looking out over the slopes:
jackson_hole

me_jackson

And now, with this and the Venice trip, I can say I’ve ridden both kinds of gondola on my birthday trips (though technically the previous pics were at the top of the gondola, and these are of the tram, which goes even higher):
gondola

pano

Also, good shopping in the town of Jackson. These hover perilously on the line between fabulous and ridiculous, but I finally caved and bought them (50% off! and very comfortable). I’m wearing them today under boot-cut jeans but I think they’ll be cute with short dresses too.:
boot

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

feminism, and also a farewell

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A woman I know posted on her Facebook the other day something like, “A married woman never has to worry about being childless, as long as her husband is around.” This is someone I’d consider wise, but the best of us have our weak spots. (She s married once, but only briefly.) I married a grown-up, and I’m grateful for that amazingly often.

I also married a feminist. The other day he mentioned that he was trying to figure out how to approach his local HR person to register a complaint: apparently, she’d been asking only the women who work for him to help plan social doings, never the men. He didn’t think that was fair. (He did go talk to her; apparently she was surprised and said she’d never realized she was doing that, which sounds awfully disingenuous to me. But possible, I suppose.)

Then yesterday, my car showed a CHANGE OIL SOON message. I called the dealer, since we’d just had it in there to have the oil changed. They told me “Oh, yeah, we must have forgotten to reset it. Just bring the car in any time and we can do that for you.” When I told my husband, he said, “That happened before on the truck, and they just told me how to reset it myself. I bet they’d have done that this time if a guy had called.” So I googled it, and sure enough, resetting the sensor (timer? mile-counter?) is a trivial thing.

It’s much harder to notice prejudice when you’re on the privilege end of it; he’s doing a good job these days.

And because I can’t not mention the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, here’s a great article about him by Neil Gaiman. I think this is some of why his books are so much more than just funny; his best characters (in my opinion, Granny Weatherwax, Sam Vimes, and Tiffany Aching) all have that same righteous rage in them.

Wish he could keep writing so we could get his views on what happens on the other side of Death’s house.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

azaleas!

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It’s not even my birthday (that’s next week) so I don’t think this is supposed to be happening yet – but apparently nobody told them:
IMG_1831
Tomorrow is the Rose City Yarn Crawl. My local yarn shop organized a group going in a limo, starting on the far side of town, so there will be lots of riding. (I mean, we’ll meetout here but our first stop is way over in Gresham.) I’ve got knitting to take; I cast on a cowl just for this, on the theory that I want it for skiing next week and my other current projects aren’t ideal for car knitting. I’m just having trouble to decide what to wear, since there’s a 30-degree F difference between tomorrow’s forecasted highs and lows, and what to take for lunch. I think I’ve settled on a sleeveless gray top and navy cords as a base, then layered over that a shawl (probably this one or this one, a denim jacket and possibly another jacket if it feels cold when I leave. For lunch, I might take summer sausage, cheesesticks and gorp so I can just nibble.

Apparently we are going to be visiting 11 different shops. I feel like I might need to buy yarn at the first one and leave a clew behind me, like Jason in the Minotaur’s maze. If I don’t make it back, lock my credit cards and send help.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

azaleas!

oar asterisk

It’s not even my birthday (that’s next week) so I don’t think this is supposed to be happening yet – but apparently nobody told them:
IMG_1831
Tomorrow is the Rose City Yarn Crawl. My local yarn shop organized a group going in a limo, starting on the far side of town, so there will be lots of riding. (I mean, we’ll meetout here but our first stop is way over in Gresham.) I’ve got knitting to take; I cast on a cowl just for this, on the theory that I want it for skiing next week and my other current projects aren’t ideal for car knitting. I’m just having trouble to decide what to wear, since there’s a 30-degree F difference between tomorrow’s forecasted highs and lows, and what to take for lunch. I think I’ve settled on a sleeveless gray top and navy cords as a base, then layered over that a shawl (probably this one or this one, a denim jacket and possibly another jacket if it feels cold when I leave. For lunch, I might take summer sausage, cheesesticks and gorp so I can just nibble.

Apparently we are going to be visiting 11 different shops. I feel like I might need to buy yarn at the first one and leave a clew behind me, like Jason in the Minotaur’s maze.If I don’t make it back, lock my credit cards and send help.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

doing Oregon things

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What a great weekend. We did the sort of thing we used to do a lot back when we moved to Arizona, before they filled up the lake there and rowing took over our lives. I miss things like hiking and rock climbing; I also miss going out to restaurants even if my own cooking has leveled up a bit. This weekend we did both.

We started out Saturday morning at Longbottom coffee for breakfast; they may market themselves as mostly a coffee and tea shop, but they actually had a fiarly diverse breakfast menu, and they were happy to make my breakfast burrito without eggs. (I don’t have food intolerances, just don’t like them). Ted had an egg strata thingy that he also seemed to like. I actually didn’t like the coffee quite as much as the food – my decaf latte was OK, but Ted’s regular decaf tasted burnt – not dark roasted, but kind of burnt. But a) I’m not really a coffee person and b) we both had decaf, as mentioned, so take that with a grain of salt. Anyway, it as pretty decent, just not stellar. We’ve been disappointed with the breakfast places around here, since they tend toard being either greasy or limited of menu, so this was a nice find.

Since we’d decided to go out for dinner too, I wisely ate only have of my breakfast and got a box for the rest (the potatoes that came with my burrito were definitely worth saving! and the burrito itself held up for today’s lunch.)

We went grocery shopping, erged, and did some errands, then went to the Chart House for dinner. The view was spectacular – we could see downtown, the river, Mt Hood and Mt. St. Helens. The food was good; my beet salad with goat cheese, arugula, and “prosciutto crisps” (aka fancy bacon bits!) was probably the high point for me, though Ted’s salmon and my mixed seafood grill, with salmon, shrimp scampi, and crab cake were also tasty (except the crab cake, but I think I just don’t like those). The one disappointment was the winelist – nothing intrinsically wrong with it, but even though the restaurant is a chain, when it’s in a wine region as rich as this one I’d expect something more regionally slanted. I suspect this means the menu is standard across the chain, too.

On Sunday we hiked up Saddle Mountain which is why I’m sore today. The weather was good and lots of people had the same idea, so the parking lot was pretty crowded. It’s a little over 2.5 miles, with a 1600′ elevation gain; apparently it had been longer than I’d realized since I’d done a hike like that. By the steepest bits near the top, I was not only huffing but having to stop for a minute after every little segment fo the trail. I’m in pretty good shape from rowing at the moment, but I find I get tired just as fast when I do other sports. The main place it helps is that I recover a lot faster than I would otherwise. The hike was well worth being tired then and sore today; once you get to the peak, you can see the ocean to the west and south, and Mountains Hood, Saint Helens, Adams and Ranier to the east and north. It was both pretty and comfortable hiking this time of year, too; cool enough for a light jacket but no more than that (meaning that half the Portlanders hiking past us were in shorts, the remainder wore tights or jeans, and the vast majority were in sneakers rather than hiking boots), and with long views all the way up that will be obscured by leaves in another month or two. Right now the branches are just putting out buds, so there were bits of green everywhere without covering up the view.

There were daffodils along the road on the drive there too, as well as the flowering trees I’m seeing everywhere (cherry or dogwood or probably both). Those wild daffodils are one of the things I love about spring here.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

good things

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A couple of brags: Just a couple of days ago I learned that my book has a review up on Amazon! (I mean, a critic’s review, not a reader’s review – still none of those.) It’s from the American Society for Quality’s main journal, Quality Progress – since I am an ASQ member and get that one, I checked back. It’s a full review in the December edition and can be seen online here – the tag line that Amazon quotes is “This is a balanced, well-written, practical and easy-to-read guide on business process management, and I strongly recommend it.”

Yay!

In a completely different field, because I created one of their designs for this year’s Rose City Yarn Crawl, I am in the “Designer Spotlight” my local yarn store – here’s their newsletter. I’ll be in the store one day of the Crawl to show off and discuss my designs.

And today I walked into our daily standup meeting two mintues late, only to find that the manager whose turn it was to run it today was showing off something I led and talking about how much he liked it.

I suppose things might be about to head downhill from here, but meanwhile I’ll enjoy it!

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

assorted minor kvetching

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Maybe I’ll run away after work today and never go home. This is the downside of having a workout plan – you know what’s lurking in wait for you. Today it’s erging 5 sets of 5 minutes at AT – Anaerobic Transport pace, which means pretty hard – with 5 minutes or rowing easy between sets. Or maybe I’ll run away tomorrow, when I have to do 3 sets of 4 minutes at TR (Oxygen Transportation pace, even harder). Twelve minutes of exertion doesn’t sound like much, but I think those are the ones that have been landing me with the migraines. Ted says he thinks those TR pieces are even harder than AN, the hardest pace of all at flat-out maximum effort, because the AN pieces are typically very short. They’re generally only 60-90 seconds. TR is hard enough to be unpleasant, and unlike AN it’s not over before it can hurt too much.

I have a theory, largely based on Dr. Facebook, with supporting research from Dr. Google, that the visual migraines I’ve been and possibly also the vertigo episodes I’ve had before are caused by crimped neck muscles from bad posture, especially during these intense erg workouts. (Trigger point theory says that tension in the sternocleidomastoid can cause both of those. I haven’t yet figured out how reputable trigger point theory is among actual medical people, but my doctor didn’t denigrate the idea when I mentioned it to her on Monday. )

Anyway, as a result, yesterday, I went in for a massage and facial yesterday: the massage in hopes that it would help unkink my neck muscles (and because any excuse for a massage is a good excuse), the facial because they had a pretty good deal for first-timers at a spa that’s actually on my way home. (Hand and Stone, a chain. I hadn’t been there before, though I’ve visited their competitor Massage Envy.) This raises another question: am I the only person who walks out of a massage and facial feeling rather like Lady Montdore from Love in a Cold Climate? She’s the one who is transformed from a massive Victorian dowager to a superannuated flapper by massages and facials and dieting. Fortunately, I never was the grande dame type so perhaps I’m safe.

In addition to the migraines, my doctor and I agreed that it was time for me to go on thyroid meds, since my TSH levels were up (meaning thyroid function is down) since last year, when they were already out of normal range. I can’t tell if I have any symptoms from this or not, because they’re all things that can have perfectly normal causes. I mean, I’m tired because I work out all the time and I’m aging, I’ve put on weight because I have a very sedentary job and I’m aging, my hair is thinner than it once was because I’m aging, my memory is for shit because I’m perimenopausal (aka aging). My wrists hurt me sometimes because I’ve abused them over years (of age). On the plus side, my IBS is much less troubling than it once was, either because I work out a lot or due to age. I get cold more easily than some because I’m small and don’t have much thermal mass – or maybe I thermoregulate poorly because I’m aging – but either way, I love wearing sweaters and don’t mind layering so I can take things off when needed. Or maybe middle age doesn’t cause those symptoms at all and we only think it does because thyroid function tends to go down. In theory, I could have thicker hair, less sensitivity to cold, less trouble losing weight when I want to, fewer episodes of painful wrists, thicker hair, more energy, sharper wits and so on in six months. My guess is that either nothing noticeable will happen or it will “cure” the problems I don’t have, and I’ll have killer IBS and an inability to wear sweaters.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

fashion for the non-photogenic

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I’m having a closet problem lately: too much stuff in it. Problem is, the vast majority of it is stuff I actually wear. My sweaters may not fit well in their hanging shelf doohicky, but I love wearing sweaters and don’t want to give up any of them unless they’re entirely falling apart. Then there’s the stuff I don’t wear often, but need to have because when it’s needed, it’s really needed: suit, dress slacks, dressy dresses. I have been trying to be more realistic about getting rid of or at least sidelining clothing that doesn’t fit me any more, on the theory that even if the weight I gained during our expat years magically melts away someday, fashions have changed. (Not the year-to-year fads; I ignore those unless they’re something I like. I’m talking about the multi-year trends that are why you could walk around a mall ten years ago and see everyone in boot-cut jeans with shorter, tighter tops, whereas now jeans are tighter and tops are longer and looser.) Still, there are some things that are classics, like my two menswear-styled plaid vests. There are also things I think I should wear, like work-appropriate button-down shirts, but don’t because collared shirts are not that flattering on me. I’d put everything I don’t wear in a box under the bed, if only I could find a box low enough to fit, so I could keep it for a year and then throw it out if unworn in that time.

But I like my clothes and shoes. I love that an increasing proportion of my sweaters and socks were made by me. I love the decreasing proportion of my clothes that were purchased elsewhere – every time I wear them, they bring back memories and I’ll be sad when they’re mostly gone. I like that most of my jewelry has a story. I like thinking about what goes together, and planning what to wear the next day each night as I’m waiting to fall asleep. As much as I like choosing outfits, though, I’ve never wanted to do a fashion blog or even fashion posts here because of the photos. First, for the winter half of the year I’m rarely home during daylight hours, which cuts down on photos I can take. Second, I’m the least photogenic person I know. I don’t hate the way I look; I just hate the way I look in photos. My eyes cross, my chin sags, my teeth look anything but white (they came out multicolored, in one recent memorable photo!), my belly sticks out so that I look misshapen. Any photo you’ve seen here was culled from many more that looked much worse. I think I may have found a solution to that, though:

vestoutfit

From the top down, vest made by me (Boogie Vest pattern in Cascade 128 yarn), fine lawn collarless buttondown, jeans, Ariat cowboy boots. Other details include an emerald necklace and earrings Ted gave me years ago, though I realized in daylight that they don’t really go with the more olive green of the vest, and a low ponytail because the outfit seemed to call for it.

Or I could just learn to live with the way I look in normal photos. This was actually easier to take, though!

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

this and that

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In no particular order, things that have been on my mind. It’s a scattered place in there.

One thing I didn’t mention was that after wearing high (not sky-high) heels all night at my reunion, my big toe was numb for the next few days – actually it was the left half of my left big toe and the right half of the second toe, so I assume those are on the same nerve and that I pinched it. This may mean I’m in trouble today; I wore my high heeled Docs (something like these, but mine have eyelets for the laces and more of a platform) but didn’t remember until I got to work that I have a meeting several blocks away. It doesn’t make sense to drive; I’d have to park far enough out that it’s silly not to walk in the first place. At least I don’t need to take my laptop, so I won’t have the weight of a backpack on me.

Exciting News: I just fund out this minute that the creators of the songbook Rise Up Singing, Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, are putting out a new songbook, Rise Again. The book’s website says “Rise Again will have a large variety of song genres just as Rise Up Singing but will have more songs from genres that were not very well-represented in RUS – blues, country, jazz standards, early rock, Motown, recent popular & indie songs written after 1995″. The website has a full list of songs, plus the preface by Pete Seeger. (I’d buy it is I didn’t already love the other one just for Beeswing, Jambalaya, Hey There, Delilah, Fear an Bhata, Pancho and Lefty… they’re all available online of course, but sometimes it’s easier to play from a book.)

I’m trying a new thing on the erg. I’d like to race on our home lake this April, if I can get in shape enough not to embarass myself too badly (that last spate of marathon training, which I abandoned about 2/3 through after the Holiday Challenge, never did really feel like it was clicking). Masters rowers race one km for our sprint races in spring and summer. In the past I’ve tried 2k training plans, adapting my own plan and just winging it; this time I decided to try something different and start with the Fast-Track FItness Training Programme from indoorsportservices.co.uk. (They used to be the UK arm of Concept 2.) I’ve used their marathon plan many times and found that it works well, so we’ll see how this one goes. It’s not explained quie as well as their marathon plan or even their 2K plan, but I’m pretty sure I understand what to do – and if not, what I think they mean is probably close enough. If our home race (the Covered Bridge Regatta) goes well enough, maybe I’ll even do a race or so in Portland. Maybe.

I’m a bit jealous of all my friends and family on the East Coast, because it seems that we are not getting a winter this winter. I’m especially envious of the Philadelphians, who got a day or two off of work and some snow to play in without actually having the inconvenience of criplling amounts of snow. Here, we’re expecting highs in the 50sF into the foreseeable future. It’s very nice and hasn’t even been raining all that much – even in winter, Portland has blue skies more often than you’d think, because our rain and clouds often don’t last the whole day. But I do miss winter. We had a few very cold days and even a snow flurry around Christmas, but that’s been it for the winter. Our one big storm last year was in February, so there’s hope, but the current warm forecasts stretch out through half the month.

I probably need to go to a doctor and talk about my thyroid – when I had my physical last fall, my TSH levels were a bit high, which is a symptom of low thyroid function. Last year, the doctor said I was borderline and could choose whether to treat it; this year the levels are higher still, so I suppose I should. Ironically, I’ve been putting this off because the potential payoff is so big (and I don’t believe they will really happen). Low thyroid function can result in fatigue, hair loss, carpal tunnel sydrome, forgetfulness, greater sensitivity to cold, difficulty losing weight, depression – who wouldn’t want more energy, better memory, thicker hair, easier weight loss (if you’re trying!), cheerier mood, less wrist pain, and so on? But none of those things are really *problems* for me. Sure, I have less energy than I’d like, but what I’d like is to be able to hop on an erg and do a half marathon any time. I’d like thicker hair but mine is just fine. I’d like my wrists to bother me less often, but I type, knit or row much of the day, every day. In my experience (as a fairly healthy person) you go to the doctor, she says, “Yes, you might have so and so,” and either they can’t do much about it or they try a treatment and nothing really happens. (It’s not that I’m anti-medicine, just that I’ve always been fairly healthy. The only cases where doctors have made any difference is when I’ve been ill with bacterial stuff, when I had some precancerous cervical cells removed a couple of decades ago, and on birth control. I do believe doctors are in general more use when there’s really something wrong – though of course they can’t always help even then.) So I’m in doubt if it’s worth a doctor’s visit and the costs thereof (I have high-deductible insurance) or if I should just wait until I have to go for some other reason.

And just to complete my usual rowing/reading/knitting subject list: I’m currently working on the Follow Your Arrow 2 Mystery Knitalong – I like this one because there are 2 options for every clue, so that I get all the fun of discussion but don’t end up with the same FO as a thousand other knitters. My other current project is gloves for Ted. My plan is to complete these and then start a sweater for me (possibly Rogue, if I can figure out how to do it without a hood) and then a shawl for a friend’s birthday.

This is why I ought to blog more frequently, just to get all the daily stuff written up so it doesn’t come out in one big bolus.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

requiescat in astra

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I take note of this week every year – we’re into the saddest week of the year for NASA, because of all the anniversaries clustered together:

Apollo 1 launch fire: January 27, 1967

  • Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Command Pilot
  • Edward H. White, Senior Pilot
  • Roger Chaffee, Pilot

Space Shuttle Challenger disaster: January 28, 1986

  • Francis R. Scobee, Commander
  • Michael J. Smith, Pilot
  • Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
  • Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
  • Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
  • Greg Jarvis, Payload Specialist
  • Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist

Space Shuttle Columbia disaster: February 1, 2003

  • Rick D. Husband, Commander
  • William C. McCool, Pilot
  • Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander
  • Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist
  • Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist
  • David M. Brown, Mission Specialist
  • Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist

Not forgotten.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

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