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Random thoughts

Friday, June 30, 2006

Poncho Sanchez at the Pier

I decided to forego my regular workout routine and instead walked down with Marc to the Santa Monica Pier for the 22nd Annual Twilight Dance Series, which we haven't been to in the last 21 years. We weren't sure what to expect, and (ignoramus!) didn't even know who was playing.

Me (on tiptoes, looking at the stage): Who's Poncho Sanchez? That old guy?
Marc: I don't know, that guy is playing the bongo.

I was actually surprised that not too many people were dancing while the band was playing. There was, however, a couple near us that just started going crazy, and they were awesome to watch. Marc was daring me to cut in, but I turned to him and said, "I won't do her any justice!"

Next week, the Indigo Girls are playing (why is it called the Twilight Dance Series?), so I'm psyched for that. This time, I think our game plan will be to just bring a blanket and hang out below the pier, where we can people-watch from a distance and enjoy the music at the same time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

J. Crew would be proud

I had a very preppy time this past weekend, feeling very much like I was living the J. Crew spirit. Too bad I didn't have clothes to match. On Saturday, Marc and I drove to Will Rogers State Park to see a polo match, something that I'd never experienced before. We were late, so we only caught the tail end of it, but it was fascinating to watch these polo players sitting so high up on their horses and trying to hit a ball so small.

On Sunday, we joined Marc's friend Allan on a sail around the Marina. Allan rarely uses his sailboat, so we try to remind him when it's time. Haha! We loaded up on some snacks and spent the rest of the afternoon just peacefully drifting with the wind. So relaxing!

Hmmm...I must get J. Crew clothes for next time though. And maybe a new accent? Haha!

Marc's Mammoth Birthday

Okay, since I've been delinquent with posting here, I'll have to do multiple posts in one day. This is really for last weekend (Jun 16-18), which was Marc's birthday weekend. I've been delinquent about preparing the pictures as well, so those will have to come at a later time.

After work on Friday, I drove to Chatsworth to meet Marc and get ready for our trip. It didn't make sense for me to go back to West LA, only to head back up in the same direction. So we agreed to rendeszvous at one of Marc's old clients' house.

I got there shortly after 5:30, and we were soon on our way. We were anticipating really heavy traffic but were surprised that we only had little pockets of it here and there. After a little over an hour, we were just cruising.

Cut to around 10pm, we finally found our first stop - one of the hot springs in the area. It was a short walk from the car and it was just lovely to soak in the warm water while it was freezing everywhere else. The sky was really clear that night, and we could see the Milky Way so distinctly. It was the perfect night for stargazing.

After we turned into wrinkly prunes, we finally got out of the water and settled in for the night. We simply camped by the car, under the stars, thinking that it would be warm enough without a tent.

At 4am, I woke up and our sleeping bags were frosted over, and my feet were wet and cold. It took all of my willpower to get out of the bag, pad over to the car and lock myself in with what warmth the car had kept in. Sleep came in spurts, but by 7:30am, I was bouncing and ready to get going. Marc grudgingly gave in and got up.

We found ourselves in a winding road reminiscent of old unmaintained Manila roads, where the potholes were as big as craters and there were huge rocks all over. The guide said that low-clearance vehicles were not recommended, but we inched along anyway, myself cringing at every bump that felt like an air pocket for a plane. Soon we reached the parking area for Clark Canyon, and massive rocks jutted out of the ground. I was in my element.

So we spent the whole morning and most of the afternoon in our rock playground, shimmying up several 10s and socializing with the other climbers around. We actually had expected less people but were pleasantly surprised that two of the people that did show up were people we knew.

Afterwards, Marc and I were both aching for a shower so we headed to our hotel to wind down and rest. When we rounded the corner to go to our room, we saw that the pool was right outside it, and we couldn't resist - we dumped all our climbing gear and other bags in the room, quickly changed and jumped in. The water was so warm and I didn't want to get out. But we still had a couple of things planned for the rest of the night.

I rented skis at the only place still renting them out, and in my head there was a weird feeling of walking out with skis into a 70-degree evening, in my flimsy shirt and flipflops. The cashier gave us some tips for a place for dinner, and we found ourselves in Lulu Restaurant - a little fancy, but just right for the occasion.

The next day - still in just a shirt and some flipflops, Marc and I walked up to the Main Lodge to purchase lift tickets. We then changed into our jackets and ski pants and made our way to the mountain before we melted in our clothes. The skiing was great - the snow was slushy but still manageable, and the sun was shining. There were actually people skiing in shorts; one guy even had his shirt off.

When we were done, we grabbed lunch and started our journey home. The heat was becoming unbearable by then, so we had to shed our layers and change into shorts and shirts. Only in California.... :).

I still had lots of energy when I got home; I bustled about, unpacking everything and doing laundry. Marc said he simply passed out in exhaustion. I was done with laundry by 10pm, and then went to bed.

Pictures to come shortly!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

On The Roster

Newsflash: Chris Wilson is the new head route setter at the gym.

You know how I've always written that Jean-Michel feels wary about letting me set at the gym? Well, that issue's gone. And while that isn't exactly what I'm celebrating, the effect of it is that I get what I want: I am now on the official roster of route setters in Rockreation.

So Chris talked with me and Marc last Monday, asking us if we still wanted to set. What we decided on is that for this month, I'll pick up all the remaining climbs that are unspoken for (except for an 11 that I know I won't be able to do), and starting July, I'll be assigned four climbs each month. I made sure to tell him that I can only set up to maybe a 5.10c, although now that I think about it, maybe setting an 11a isn't so bad for me, since it's around the level that I climb anyway, so when I create moves that I find challenging, I'll know it's around that level. But we'll see.

Speaking of setting, Merman (5.10c/d) was bumped up to a 5.11a, while Wait For It... remains a 5.9. I thought for sure they were going to make that a 5.10, since I've seen a bunch of people struggle at the top of it.

So I guess we'll be seeing more of the MD/CC routes in the gym! :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Domestication and Adventure

On Friday after work, for the first time ever, I set about and baked a cake. It was my first attempt at something this major, and I was planning to bring it to a birthday party for Douglas the next night. So I was a little apprehensive at what the results would be.

But the cake turned out really well, and I'm pretty happy with the feedback I got. One guy went back for a 2nd and then a 3rd helping. And according to Douglas, people at his work that came to the party kept commenting to him afterwards how good the cake was. So yay!

On Sunday, we woke up early and went to Malibu for some outdoor climbing, which we haven't done in a long, long time. It was a blast - we were able to do about six or seven routes, all of which were good, fun climbs. We warmed up on a 5.9 at the Stumbling Blocks, then moved on to 10s around the corner, and then eventually ended up at Mt. Gorgeous, where we did one 10c and a fun 11a. Marc and Kevin went on to do an 11b while I sat back and belayed. By then I was too pumped and I didn't think I could even start climbing it anymore.

Martin was waiting for us when we got back home - he had driven from the Central Coast one day early to hang out with us for a little bit. So after we all took our respective showers (God, a shower has never felt that good before), we went to get some sustenance at Souplantation.

I was zoning out by the time we got back from dinner so I decided to say good night and head home. Two Advils and a good night's sleep later, I was ready for the week.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I'm Just A Girl

Olivier (the French photographer) dropped off my "payment" at the gym last night, and when I got there and claimed it, Angela, Von and I immediately tore the package open and examined the contents. We looked like such girls there in the middle of the rock gym (i.e. a gym with so much testosterone), oohing and aahing over the little tubes and bottles and commenting on the makeup colors. I didn't end up with everything that I had asked for, but I did end up with a lot that I hadn't even thought to order from him, so I'm pretty happy with what I got. None of them made it on my skin this morning though - I still have a lot of experimentation to do.

Aside from that, I will need to take a closer look at my closet and start cleaning it out and discarding the things that I won't be using anymore. I'm moving at the end of this month, and the room that I will be using is a lot smaller than what I'm used to. Even Marc has already lost sleep trying to think of ways to get all my stuff in there (he did come up with a great idea to build a bed frame that's flush with the mattress and has big drawers). So that will be one of my weekend tasks too.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Off Road

This past Sunday, I finally put my bike to use again and went on my first off-road experience. We drove up to a campground on the hills by the beaches just north of Malibu, and rode up one of the easier trails. Considering that I only learned how to do a push-off start right before we started, I think I did alright. I choked on some of the dips on the trail, and the rocks on the ground kept making me lose my balance, but otherwise, I had a pretty good time. Seeing some of women off-roading in the same trail (I'm so envious of how fast and confident they are!), I know I have a long way to go. I'm going to have to find some time to practice on other trails in the area.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Game Night That Wasn't

Cecile and David came over to Marc's last night for a game night that we had scheduled a week ago. I had Taboo ready, and we had a deck of cards we were ready to bring out if the need arose.

I was actually concerned about playing games way into the night, since I had had only four hours of sleep the night before. So I was dragging my feet a little, wishing I could just knock out in the bedroom and sleep until the morning. And this was only at 4:30 in the afternoon.

I was finally successful at the domino brownies I had attempted to make, although Marc baked and I only decorated, since he was home earlier than me. They came out alright, although they left a lot to be desired in terms of presentation. How am I supposed to cut the brownies properly when they're still piping hot from the oven?! I know, you're not supposed to, but that's what the recipe called for. Geez.

Anyway, Cecile and David had just come from a trip to Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and Escalante, so they brought a CD of pictures with them for us to see. After dinner, Cecile popped it into Marc's laptop, and that completed the night. We were so in awe of the pictures and what the place looked like that it took us the rest of the night to go through the CD.

Of course, predictable me, at the end of the night, I turned to Marc and said, "I want to do that."