Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy End of Year

I have been mostly without internet since the last post. So here's a recap of the past couple of weeks. We celebrated our anniversary by skiing at Monarch in southern Colorado. I was a bit nervous about skiing after being a couch potato for so long. However, I was perfectly comfortable turning and heading downhill. In fact, my abs feel better after a day of exercising than after a day of sitting.

Then we continued on north to Denver to celebrate Christmas with Troy's family. We also found some time to go hiking through the snow with Sarah and Srin.
I always like to take a project with me when I travel. This time, I didn't have much that would travel well. Fortunately, one of my Christmas gifts was a ball of yarn, a pair of knitting needles and a set of instructions. A day and a half later, I had a scarf. Troy was so excited about this homemade scarf that he would have kept it for himself if it weren't pink. Instead, he drove me to Hobby Lobby during a snowstorm (Denver got 10 inches of snow that day) so that I could get more yarn to make him his own scarf. His is not done yet. I will have to learn how to make the scarf more than one-skein long.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another semester is done!

In celebration of finishing my 2nd semester of grad school, I am sharing with you an image of a wave propagating across the surface of a torus. In other words, these pictures are mathematically generated to show how a wave would interact with itself if every edge actually wraps back around to the other side. So this is what I do in school.

Now that I'm done with classes until January, we're heading up to Denver for Christmas and skiing at Monarch for our anniversary. Hopefully I won't suffer too much muscle pain from skiing. We have several pre-paid lift tickets for ski areas in New Mexico and southern Colorado. Then we're headed out to the east coast to meet my new nephew (and visit his family)!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Christmas crafts

Naturally, I have had plenty of time to work on crafts during my recuperation. One of the projects I picked up recently was a pre-printed fabric cowboy stocking kit from Hancock Fabrics. These two stockings will eventually be Christmas decorations hanging on the wall, because I have no need for more stockings. I am busy making them Christmas shiny with sequins, beads and stitching. Then I'll stuff them and sew them. There are also some smaller patterns with little cowboy boots, starts and holly that I may sew up and turn the whole assemblage into a cowboy-Christmas mobile. (I'm on a painfully slow and error-prone internet connection today, so you're lucky I was able to post at all, but no photos).

As of Thanksgiving, I am supposedly allowed to resume all activities including exercise. However, today I had such intense abdominal muscle pain that I had to take a Percocet (I tried ibuprofen first, but it just wasn't enough). I can already hear my Mom asking what crazy thing I did to overexert myself... well, I didn't climb a mountain, go skiing, or even go running... I swept the floors and vacuumed the living room.

According to the doctor, this muscle pain is perfectly normal. So she gave me an all-better diagnosis at my follow-up appointment this week. I guess I'm better, but I really can't jump into all of my usual activities yet. This leaves plenty of time for me to get more crafts done :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Goodbye station wagon

Hello, Ford Focus. I remember how excited I was when I got my Volvo 960 station wagon. And how excited some friends were for me. However, somebody else is now the proud owner of that Volvo. The '02 Ford Focus I bought on Friday is probably not as exciting to those who loved the station wagon, but I like it. And it was much easier to parallel park this morning.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Guess what I found at Sunflower...

While I was shopping at Sunflower Market on Sunday, I was surprised to see a whole stack of bright red Ski Queen brand gjetost! This is the first time I've ever seen the cheese at a grocery store in Albuquerque. I've even looked for it at specialty stores, but haven't found it. It was always a tradition for my family to have this cheese at Christmas, so I felt very indulgent as I bought myself a package on a non-holiday. But I really don't know if they will continue to carry gjetost.

I realize that I haven't posted in a while and the most exciting news I have to report is finding my favorite cheese at the grocery store. Sometimes that is just the way it is.

Some blog news: I finally figured out why the little archive list to the right was using Albanian month names, and fixed it. I also now have a ClustrMap which lets me see where the people are who are reading the blog. At this point I can pretty well guess who the dots in Germany, the East Coast, and Oklahoma are. The Texans and New Mexicans could be any number of people. Of course, you could also leave comments so I know who's reading.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Labor Day

As a break from "work", we celebrated Labor Day weekend by climbing mountains in Colorado. Specifically, we tackled three 14ers near Lake City. We drove up to the trailhead for Sunshine and Red Cloud on Friday (it took about seven hours, so we had to deal with the rough dirt road at night). On Saturday, we started hiking around 6:30am to summit Red Cloud, then we traversed the ridge to Sunshine. Then we had to hike back over Red Cloud to get back down. So we actually climbed three 14ers in a day if you count Red Cloud twice. It was 11 miles round-trip, and such a beautiful day that we spent quite a bit of time on the summits. We didn't make it back to the camper until 4pm.
Troy and Wiley approaching Red Cloud.

Sitting atop Sunshine with the ridge to Red Cloud behind us.

On Sunday, we climbed Handies Peak from the American Basin trailhead. This was a relatively easy hike compared to the day before. Only 5 miles roundtrip, but the view was gorgeous!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Baby samplers

I feel compelled to write about the cross-stitch project that I'm working on right now. It is a baby-sampler. I pieced together a pattern from purchased patterns and a design of my own. However, to keep it a surprise for the recipient of this project, that's all I'm going to say about it. It's been fun working on it, and as it is a design in progress, I'm excited to see how it turns out.

Here are some other baby samplers that I've done in the past. I think I have done more baby-related projects than anything else. At this point I don't have any completed cross-stitch projects in my own house... they have all been given away. And in the past, I did not take pictures of my work before sending them off. I think it would be fun to go visit all of my cross-stitches because they all belong to people that are very important to me. These two cross-stitches now reside in Chicago where I visited a few weeks ago.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I visited this little cutie in Chicago a couple weeks ago. He had just learned to crawl a couple days before. Obviously, he still likes to keep plenty of toys within reach so he doesn't have to crawl to them.

On the flight home from Chicago, I had the pleasure of sitting on the tarmac for an hour... twice. This has not been a very good summer for flying. During the last hour-long tarmac drive, my overhead reading light did not work (and it was night) so I could neither read or use my laptop for an hour. As an apology for the broken reading light, the airline gave me some travel vouchers... which are already expired.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I'm back!

Right off the top, I'm giving all of my excuses for the lag in posts: not enough time due to traveling, adjusting to a new computer, no good photos to blog (actually I just don't have a good way to get photos to the blog). That's only three excuses, not too much. But to fight those excuses, I'm posting a blog with no photos.

Classes start up again on Monday. I'm excited to have a new schedule. I spent the summer working long days at a desk and then escaping out of town quickly. Which really isn't an ideal schedule. I'd rather mix up the days a bit so I'm not sitting the whole time. And being out of town every other week makes it difficult to get anything done at home. The long hours behind the desk and in airports/planes have gotten me out of shape. Fortunately, Jenn has put me on a running schedule to train for the Duke City Marathon relay. We need to be ready to run 6 miles by October 21. This will be the longest run that Jenn has ever done. And it is really motivating me to run at least 3 times a week, which I haven't done in a year and a half (since I did the Austin Marathon). It feels great to start the day with a run!

To continue my get-in-shape kick, I signed up for a yoga class (part of my free tuition) and bought a gym locker for the year. So I'll be prepared to workout anytime. At first, I was upset that the only yoga class that still had space is at 8am, but now I'm looking forward to getting out of the house early at least a couple times a week. Don't get me wrong, 8am is not early, but I rarely get to campus before 10am. For example, this morning I ran 3 miles, read a magazine, staked the cherry tomato plants, cut back the sunflowers and played some piano before leaving for work.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Down from the mountain

After being computerless for a while, I have returned with some photos of Uncompahgre Peak. We were in Denver for a wedding, but what's a trip to Colorado without climbing a fourteener? So after the wedding weekend, we headed down to the Lake City area. The weather was nicely much cooler in the mountains than it had been in Denver. The hike started on a nice bright morning. Here's the rocky summit:

You can see that the clouds were starting to gather. They quickly turned dark and reminded us why we needed to get an earlier start to our hike. Get off the mountain by 1pm is the rule we'll stick to from now on. Wiley did not enjoy hiding out under a rock while waiting for the hail to stop on the way down the mountain. But he did make it to the top and back down again. Some people had their doubts that he could handle it.

Friday, July 6, 2007


As promised, here is the completed wedding cross-stitch. Note that the wedding isn't for a another week, so SHHHHH.... don't tell the groom and bride about this. Actually, it won't be that big of a surprise for them anyway. And I couldn't wait to put this online, especially because I won't have much computer access after the wedding.

This lettering was done using the DMC rayon floss. It does have a certain shine to it. This design had a simple color scheme with only 4 colors, but it makes the lettering that much more striking. We were also excited to find a two-tone from and the black/red matte that highlights the colors of the cross-stitch.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Thanks to the city rebate program, we replaced our who-knows-how-many-decades-old toilet (with an estimated 7 gallons of water per flush) with a simple new toilet (1.6 gallons per flush). I really didn't know just how much water the old toilet was using, but I always knew that it took FOREVER to refill itself. It's one of those toilets that you check on several minutes later to see if jiggling the handle will make it stop... only to find out that it always takes that long to refill itself.

Now instead of flushing that extra 5.4 gallons of water, we can use it on sunflowers and tomatoes, YAY! Of course, the city has another rebate program for xeriscaping our yard, but that takes far too much planning. I prefer to do my home improvement piece-meal. Getting the xeriscape rebate requires an approved plan and a minimum of 500 square feet. Maybe I'll pull it off this fall.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Work in progress

The wedding cross-stitch that I have been working on for months is nearly finished! I'll post it when it is... but first I'll share with you the history. I thought my husband's art would make great cross-stitch patterns, better than a straight from photo to pattern converter can do. Here's a painting of our dog that he made.

I was hoping that he could take a photo of his cousin and fiancee and turn it into a drawing that would make a good cross-stitch wedding gift. The photo we used was post last week. And here is the resulting pattern on grid... It was difficult to explain to my hubby why the lettering on this would be nearly impossible. I think I pulled it off, though. It was fun designing a cross-stitch pattern with someone else, but it was also frustrating working with someone who doesn't cross-stitch. I may try it again, but not on my next piece of work.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


We celebrated the 90th birthday of Troy's grandma in Denver last weekend. We enjoyed record-breaking heat, a 3-month old poodle, and plenty of luau-themed food. We forgot to bring the camera, so I'll have to wait for someone else to send me pictures.

I was inspired to try new things with my cross-stitch. One thing that caught my eye was this rayon embroidery floss which has a nice shine. So I'm giving it a try for the lettering on a design. It seems a bit fussier to work with. I hope it stands out as much as I envisioned. I am hoping the letters will look somewhat like foil embossed lettering on paper.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Work in progress

Early this year I had the idea to combine my husband's art with my craft to create a wedding gift for his cousin. We started with a picture from the couple, then Troy drew a design, I made a cross-stitch chart from the design and am now stitching away. Here is the inspirational photo.

... I'll share the resulting cross-stitch later (it does not look like this photo). I often get frustrated that most of the cross-stitch patterns I find are too cutesy or fuddy-duddy, so this was an attempt to make something new and more personal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I just returned from 9 days on the big island of Hawaii and 12 days on Kauai. The three best things I did on the trip:
  1. Snorkelling for the first time. Apparently, I hyperventilate while underwater, but once I calmed down, the coral reef and colorful fish were amazing! Sorry, no underwater photos.
  2. Lava.. I usually think of national parks as overly-cautious places where they terrify you into thinking that the natural world is the most dangerous place to be (if you want to go for a 15-minute hike, you must bring bear spray, snake-bit kit, a gallon of water, emergency flares...) but Volcano National Park actually encourages you to walk through active volcanic craters, rift zones and lava flows. Sure, the really dangerous stuff are off limits, like lava benches that collapse into the sea. However, they still have their hangups at Volcano NP. Rangers told us it would be a 5-mile hike over aa (rough black lava rock) and pahoehoe (smooth black lava rock) to view flowing lava. Locals told us how to get to the same flow from outside the park with a much shorter walk.
  3. Backpacking the Na Pali Coast to Kalalau. Of course I enjoy any backpacking trip with friends... but there is just something special about hiking to a place where you can wear just a bikini and a sarong for five days while collecting mangoes to eat everyday.