Tuesday, November 09, 2004

all decked out... and no where to go!

If you climb, and you hear the word 'decked'... it is not, as Martha would say, a good thing. Essentially, it means you fell, and you hit the ground. This past weekend, while climbing at Smith Rock with Jim, I did just that.

It was a stellar day--beautiful weather, great friends, and uncrowded routes.

We started the day at the dihedrals, scaling cinnamon slab's 2 pitches before rapping down the backside to climb Spiderman.

The first pitch there was dull, but the second pitch rocked. just past the first belay anchor was a tough spot where I really had to wrestle with a nut to get it out. after that I climbed back down to a good foothold to rest up before attempting a layback. Then I took a deep breath, gripped the left side of the crack and used the entire right side of my body in unison with my hands and feet to shimmy up and over the bulge. that felt amazing. The next interesting part was a roof with an undercling that took you out to this bizarre layback move. it took some thinking and
some arms to get around, but I managed to do it smoothly on my first shot.

I was super stoked because I finally felt like I was climbing efficiently. at no point were my arms pumped out or my legs shaky... I didn't hesitate or spend a lot of time looking for the right move. I was just having fun!

Once I got over the crux, Jim told me he'd saved me ‘a little’. I noted that he'd built a trad anchor and left about 15 ft to the bolted anchor at the top of the route. I already had all the ‘big’ gear from cleaning the route below; so after taking a swig of water I took off on my very first trad lead. I placed 2 cams and the biggest hex in the rack before clipping the anchors and belaying Jim the rest of the way.

I was on top of the world!

We did some 4th class scrambling around the top of the buttress before making our way back to the anchors above cinnamon slab and rappelling down to our gear. there were people all over most of the routes there, but one remained empty. I asked Jim to let me lead what turned out to be 'easy reader'. Rated at 5.6, it was a very easy sport climb. it was almost disappointingly easy... at this point we had a little more than an hour of daylight left, and after a bit of discussion, we decided to go to Lion's Jaw.

Now mind you, I was feeling VERY confident... okay, 'over' confident... at first I said I couldn't lead lion's jaw, as it is a trad route. Jim said I could, so I said okay without giving it another thought... had I been thinking, I would have realized that I probably wasn't at the top of my game--tired, hungry, feet sore... but I wasn't thinking. I was jonesing like an addict.

I tied in, placed a cam at the bottom as a directional, and started up the smooth dihedral. at the first solid footing, I placed a second cam and gave it a good yank in every direction. satisfied that it wasn't going anywhere, I clipped the rope and headed up. this is when I first sensed I might be in trouble. it took a while to get the cam into a good spot and my right foot was especially fatigued from holding the position. Jim, concerned that I maintain a good level of protection, was instructing me to place gear. I get a bit literal when I’m tired, so I started trying to place a nut right where I was... my footing was crappy, though, and I knew I wouldn't be able to last there long. I pulled off a 1" nut and tried to slot it in the crack... it was too small... I put it back on the ‘biner… at this point Jim suggested I take the whole carabiner off my gear sling and try slotting until I found one that fit... I started to take the ‘biner off, but realized my foot was going to pop at any minute, so I down climbed to the ledge next to my last piece of gear.

I rested there for a minute then headed back up, but stupidly stopped in the exact same place I was in before... finally, I realized I need to climb up, that I just couldn't stop where I was... unfortunately, I realized it a little too late... sensing my feet were about to go, I jammed both hands into the opposing cracks and scrambled around with my feet looking for anything to stand on... the wall to my left was impossibly smooth--I couldn't even get traction smearing. and then my left foot slipped off the wall entirely. the jolt caused my right foot to pop off the tiny nubbin. the crack was too smoothed out from years of climbing and all at once I was sliding straight down the wall... I don't know when my hands came out of the crack. I do know that I looked down between my feet at one point and saw what looked like high-speed film running backwards... truly bizarre. I waited for Jim to catch me at the second piece, but I don't even remember slowing down. Chances are good I actually kicked the 2nd cam out on my way down... I don't even remember hitting the ground. I remember, albeit vaguely, sitting down. Jim kept telling me I was all right and had his arms around me... I thought, 'what is that sound? who's screaming?'... then, as if waking from a dream, I realized that I was the one screaming bloody murder... and then the full brunt of the pain in my left foot took over... I screamed to have him take the shoe off. I knew in another minute or two the swelling would be so bad that they'd have to cut the shoe off... of course, the slightest touch made me scream louder.

Friday, November 05, 2004

just joking...

i've had all kinds of blog fodder swirling in my brain this week, but sadly, precious little time for writing. so for now, i offer this:

Sunday School
Little Mary was not the best student in Sunday School. Usually she slept through the class. One day the teacher called on her while she was napping, ''Tell me, Mary, who created the universe?''

When Mary didn't stir, little Johnny, an altruistic boy seated in the chair behind her, took a pin and jabbed her in the rear. ''God Almighty !'' shouted Mary and the teacher said, ''Very good'' and Mary fell back to sleep.

A while later the teacher asked Mary, ''Who is our Lord and Savior?'' But Mary didn't even stir from her slumber. Once again, Johnny came to the rescue and stuck her again. ''Jesus Christ!'' shouted Mary and the teacher said, ''Very good,'' and Mary fell back to sleep.

Then the teacher asked Mary a third question, ''What did Eve say to Adam after she had her twenty-third child?'' And again, Johnny jabbed her with the pin. This time Mary jumped up and shouted, ''If you stick that damn thing in me one more time, I'll break it in half!''

The Teacher fainted.

Monday, October 25, 2004

getting to the root of the matter...

this morning i kicked the day off right with a cuppa tea, bowl of cheerios [both prepared by my sweetie, jim], and a valium... then, at 7am, jim drove me to the dentist for a root canal. fun!! the drugs started kicking in on the ride downtown and before long we were both donning our goofiest 'house invaders' cockney accents and talking complete nonsense about something... again, the early hour and valium induced haze have conspired to rid my memory of details. i do recall that right about 4th and main we both started laughing uncontrollably... i'm hoping he'll add in some details. i remember there was some business on the radio about the manchester pop scene from the early nineties... they also played a happy mondays song, but i honestly don't recall the spark or where we took it...

the root canal went fine... between taking a valium and skipping my anti-narcoleptic meds, i was pretty much unconscious. now the numbing has subsided and the aching has begun, so i guess i'll go pop a vicodin.

over the weekend, jim and i hosted a HUGE halloween party. there were easily 100 people there during the course of the evening. there are many photos, but for the moment i don't have access, so you'll just have to wait to see them. jim and i dressed up as 'mark' and 'princess'. don't they make a cute couple?

it was a lot of fun, especially when the dance floor [formerly known as the dining room] filled up with wildly gyrating cartoon characters. we were thrilled with the creativity and energy put into the costumes by our friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends... by 3am the bar was dry, the keg was drained, and aside from a few folks from shift, i was the only one left standing... as such i politely offered to let the shifters to stay if needed, otherwise it was time to move along. i made my way through the house and back deck extinguishing all the candles, party lights, and lamps. once the last guest wandered out the back door i locked up the house and headed up to bed. i finally got to sleep around 4am.

i awoke bright and early at 8am... nudging jim awake, i suggested he take christine, bobby, and myself out for breakfast. knowing that bob wouldn't be up for a bit longer, the three of us lounged around and chatted like teenagers at a slumber party. once bobby was up, toni joined us and the 5 of us made our way to the hawthorne cafe and chowed down.

it appeared the weather was going to play nice so we decided to head to rocky butte to do some climbing. jim offered to put up some trad gear [there are no bolts to speak of] to mimic a sport climb so that i could do my first lead. he had 3 pieces of pro on a sloped 5.7. at the top of that i had to run across the grass up to a 5.9 dihedral that had no pro at all... although he put up anchors, since i was leading, i wasn't on belay on the 2nd pitch, so a 25 foot fall could hurt... a lot! just in case, toni was kind enough to spot me and hauled her bouldering mat over to where i was climbing. the holds were a bit thin, but jim had been working on teaching me stemming techniques at the gym, so i made it up without a hitch, clipped the anchor and lowered back down. yay!

Monday, October 18, 2004

this is news?

this morning jim and i awoke, as we always do, to our local public radio station, OPB... in our half awake delirium the weather report started to sound like fodder for stand up comedy. it's been raining hard and steady for the last couple days and the report was stating something painfully obvious and even more uninteresting, along the lines of 'wind and rain causing local leaf blowers' great hardship...' that's actually one of jim's riffs on the topic which lead to gut wrenching peals of laughter... he had countless others, but, it being early i can hardly remember anything besides how hard i was laughing.

he sent me another via email:

"Hopscotch Drawers reporting increased difficulty throughout the week."

suffice it to say, we laugh a LOT.

a couple weeks ago a story on queen latifah singing standards led to him saying, 'what's next? diana krall re-interpreting rap songs?' then he crooned, 'peeeeeeeeeelll mmmeeeeeeee a grrrraaape. . . bitch!'

i almost peed the bed. it stayed with me all day, too... i would be sitting in a meeting and suddenly i'd hear his voice, 'peeeeeeeeeelll mmmeeeeeeee a grrrraaape. . . bitch!' it wasn't one of my more 'composed' days... the best part was the reaction i'd get from people when i just up and sang it out loud... the back story didn't seem to matter.

this afternoon i thought i'd go to OPB's website to check for more interesting 'weather related' stories. instead i found this headline:

"Undecided Voters Big Mystery in Presidential Race"

no shit?