Nov 24 2010

Starting point

My dear friend Emily was in town this past weekend. Unfortunately for our timing, it happened to be at the beginning of an early winter here in Yosemite. I would have loved to show her all the wonders of my backyard, but we’ve postponed that until spring. I love having friends visit. It’s like getting Christmas presents only better. I get the same excited energy, but instead of material things, you get to have one of your most loved things in life come and play with you for several days.


I’ve known Emily for a long time, probably since we were both about 4 feet tall. I know we’re not much taller than that now, but when you think of the ratios, that’s a long time.


I had a million things that I wanted to do with her, but in reality, could do only a fraction of them. Being climbers, we of course had to fit in the climbing gym on our itinerary. I even bought some new men’s workout pants for my hubby so that he could come along with us. Emily informed me that she had just taken two weeks off due to a crazy travel schedule that had popped her around the world and back over the past month. I informed her that I had practically taken the past year and a half off due to on onslaught of injuries that made me feel like a geriatric eighty year old, and therefore she need not worry.


On our way to the climbing gym we stopped at the coveted Heath Ceramics annual sale. I’ve never actually been to this sale, only heard rumors and whispers amongst my friends. Heath’s products are like the ones your parents would have. Or, more like if your parents were extremely hip and cool, then they would have them. My home is outfitted from estate sales at my grandmother’s retirement community, where hip and cool refer to replacement body parts and the weather outside.


Walking in to the store was like entering a mob scene. I almost turned around out of fear. I am the farthest thing from an avid shopper, throw in aggressive and I’d rather stay home and eat brussel sprouts. But after some gentle coaxing from Randy, we entered the amazing world of Heath. Every direction I looked I wanted one. A bowl, a serving plate, cook books, cutting boards, salt and pepper shaker, blue vase thingy that I would never use but sure looked pretty, no matter what it was I wanted one. A permanent grin went across my face as I aimlessly wondered around the aisles. Then the unfortunate thing happened, we looked at the price tag. It was like popping a freshly filled helium balloon. All of our fun and excitement went down the tubes. Instead of imagining a truckload of goodies on our way home, it would only be a lonely gift or two; a cutting board and a serving bowl.


We arrived at the climbing gym in a complete downpour. It always makes it easier to climb in the gym when you can actually feel the rain on your skin. Otherwise I question whether I’m just being a pansy thinking the weather is crap, but not actually knowing.


Emily and I both had to pass our belay tests before we could climb. I wondered if I actually knew the proper way to tie in and belay. Yes, I have been doing this a very long time without the unfortunate incident of dropping someone, but perhaps I had gotten lucky? It must have been a funny sight: the instructor with Emily Harrington and Beth Rodden nervously demonstrating that we know how to belay. We passed our belay test with flying colors, well maybe not flying colors, but it sounds better if I write that.


After several hours of climbing I was exhausted. My forearms ached from the volume of gym climbing. I’ve been a crack addict for the past two months, and the act of actually pulling on the holds instead of jamming in between them taxed me. And for those of you who haven’t been to the Planet Granite at the Presidio, it’s worth the trip. A huge new gym with extensive bouldering and route climbing, all with a million dollor view of San Francisco and the Golden Gate.


We wrapped up our gym session with a brutal ab routine from our friend Michelle; and then we had the hopeless job of figuring out where to eat. Taking someone out to eat in the Bay area is like picking a favorite child, basically impossible. How do you show someone all the wonders of the food in one night? Being a Saturday with no reservations we decided on one of our trusty fall backs, Cafe Rouge, and it didn’t disappoint.


Now I’m sick in bed, watching the snow pound Yosemite. Usually this amount of snow on the Valley floor doesn’t come until around Christmas time. The local skiers are rejoicing and the climbers are all fleeing. I for one think that it’s just what the thirsty Sierras need. Seems like the past five years or so have been pretty dry, so it doesn’t hurt to have some early moisture on the ground. I’ll probably be cursing myself for saying that when I’m shoveling this winter. I know there’s a die hard group here who will climb come hell or high-water. That means busting out the snow shovels and scrambling to the top of white topped boulders or climbs. But for now at least it’s quite picturesque.




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  • Welcome to the blogosphere!

    November 25, 2010 at 5:21 am
  • No way- a blog! Good job! I hope you love it… Blogging can be super fun. We can be blog dorks together now 🙂

    November 25, 2010 at 8:23 am
  • Hey Beth! Great writing. Last weekend was tons of fun. Very good to see you. PLeeeease come visit me now 😉

    November 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm