Hiking Wheeler Peak…

Note: You may have read this post way too early. WordPress hiccuped and I couldn’t fix it. But here it is, in the intended order of posting.

We talked to a local who said that if we started our hike early, we ought to miss the storm that was forecast at Wheeler Peak so Chris, Steve, and I were out the door by 5:00 AM on our last vacation day. Lorna opted to stay back with the kids on their last day in Red River. She and her mom took them on a 4-wheel excursion up the mountain.

We parked the car at Taos Ski Valley (altitude 9439′) and started up the Bull of the Woods trail. This is longer, slightly easier, scenic route to the top, but it’s uphill all the way. It is 2.1 miles to this meadow.

We still have 5 1/2 miles to go to reach the peak. Oh my. This sign got my attention. If you ski, you know that a black diamond means ‘expert’. It may not mean that for this hike, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

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Some parts were only a little uphill, more were really uphill, and there were a few disheartening spots where we went downhill and then had to climb back up. Deep sighs all round.

We walked across snow a few times…

Honestly, our lungs were killing us. As we got higher, we stopped to breathe every 100 steps.

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You reach the 2nd highest point before the you get to the actual peak. And then you hike down a while before turning back up. It was harder than it looked like it would be but we did it. Wheeler Peak, altitude 13, 159′

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The views were amazing!

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This is Chris standing way closer to the edge than Lorna would have been able to tolerate…

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We took the short, steep way down. The first part were switchbacks over a huge granite talus field. I was happy to have on knee braces and to have a real trekking pole because this was the scariest part of the whole hike. No photos, I was focused on not falling.

The last part of this trail intersects with the downhill part of the Williams Lake trail that we had hiked earlier in the week. We went back to the Bavarian Restaurant to celebrate reaching the peak and hiking 11 1/2 miles with more Andechs beer. As we sat there, the rain finally came. Life is good :-).

 

 

Red River, NM…

Sometimes you have to get away from your actual business to plan the future of that business. That is why I took my office manager (Lorna), web and social media consultant (Chris), shipping clerk (Elanor), and the man who does everything else that comes up (Steve) on a working vacation to Red River, NM. The boys (jack and Bear) had to come too because they couldn’t stay home alone and, besides, we love them :-).

Red River is a long day’s drive from Sherman. Lorna and I did a lot of talking on the way out and back. I made notes and took photos. The white van in front of me in most of these photos belongs to Chris and Lorna. It was a 2-car expedition.

The land is mostly flat from Sherman to the mountains. There are lumpy stretches (not really hills), and towns. There were trees in most of the towns but out on the prairie, not so much. The elevation rose as we drove west.

I didn’t get good photos of the mountains from the car on the way to Red River because the light was wrong. And I missed some lovely photos when I was driving. It’s better to be safe than wrecked, right?

We took a more scenic route on the way home, through Tucumcari and Las Vegas, NM. The mountains in Red River quickly gave way to plateaus. The trees gave way to scrubbier plants.

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And then it got flat again, all the way home, which is one reason why we who live on the prairie go to the mountains :-).

I do love being able to see off into the distance, and I love how big the sky is over flat land, but it’s not for everyone. I’ll share more photos of the trip, with mountains and people, later this week.

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Listen to your bits…

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I have spent 24 years drawing with my mouse on the computer. For the last several years, I used Apple’s magic mouse which is touch-sensitive and allows you to swipe across it to move the cursor and it has been wonderful — until a few weeks ago when I was doing a whole lot of drawing in Illustrator.

My right index finger (the mouse-finger) started to hurt, a lot. And it got swollen. And then it hurt worse. It is at this point that many people go into denial. I do not.

I treat my body like a used car. If warning lights start flashing on your car, you take it to a mechanic, right? We should all head to the doctor when our bodies send us similar warnings.

It may not be this way in your town, but here plastic surgeons are the hand guys. I visited Dr. Swamy who has been in practice here a long time and is much beloved. I took my mouse and asked if that was the problem. Yes, it was. I asked if rest would make it better enough to be able to use the mouse again. No, it would not. We agreed that I had to find a new way to draw in the computer and I had to also find a more ergonomic mouse.

 

 

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The mouse was easy. I got a Logitech M570. I’ll have to be careful not to overuse any of my fingers but I can do that.

I won’t be using the mouse to draw. I am, instead, viewing this as an opportunity to buy a tool that I have lusted after — a Wacom Cintiq tablet! (Imagine a quilt-y picture instead of a lizard.)

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The Cintiq tablet is actually a very fancy computer monitor that is touch-sensitive and that you can draw on. It’s similar to the iPad Pro, but you hook to to your computer and the Cintiq mirrors whatever is on screen. I’ll be able draw in Illustrator with a special pen. I’ll be able to use the pen in Photoshop as well, and I’m sure there’s more. I suspect that I’ll be able to move the mouse on the screen with my finger, much like you can on your smartphone.

On the advice of a friend (thank you, Amanda) I got the biggest Cintiq. I have gotten used to using a very big monitor and there isn’t any going back from there. Thankfully, this is piece of business equipment that I should have gotten a long time ago. I think it might actually make me more productive while also helping me to preserve my right hand – my sewing hand!

The bigger issue, and the point of this post, is that you need to pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore warnings, take care of your bits early rather than after damage has been done. Because I said so :-).

 

Visiting the Dallas Arboretum…

NOTE: If you got the way-too-early link to next week’s Wednesday Giveaway it’s only sort of gone. It will post on time next Wednesday. If you already commented, your comments should still be there.

Lorna, the kids, and I went to the Dallas Arboretum yesterday and it looks like spring is already here! Jack took way more pictures than I did.

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Bear rarely wanted to stop for a photo.

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The cherry trees have begun to bloom. That was a surprise to me — I didn’t know there were cherry trees there!

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The crepe myrtles are lovely even when they have not leafed out.

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This is for my friend, Catherine :-).

 

Let it go…

I make quilts because I can’t not make them. But, once finished, I am more in love with the next quilt. Finished quilts tend to end up in my closet. It seems that I am not finished with the urge to tidy up because I can no longer ignore the shelves stuffed with quilts.

It began with the need to take better photos of my quilts. As I unload the shelves, I’ve found quilts that I haven’t seen in years, like this Amish pinwheel. It’s one of the few that I kept from before Linda and I started Piece O’ Cake in 1994. I had time to hand quilt back in the day!

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I gave away most of the quilts that I made before-POC. I’ve given quilts away since then, but I kept way too many made for books and patterns. I thought that I might need them in the future! Well, the future is here and I don’t need to keep them all. What to do with the quilts that need a new home?

Several are finding new homes with my friends. It’s easier than I thought it would be to choose the right quilt for a particular person — it’s a lot like the wand choosing the wizard. Giving quilts is one of the funnest things ever. I LOVE putting a quilt-smile on a friend’s face.

I know that I will run out of quilts before I run out of friends to give them to, but that’s OK. There will be more quilts. And there are quilts that don’t fit anyone I know — those are traveling with me and will be offered for sale. One this is for sure, I’m done stuffing the closet!

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The Daisy quilt, above, was made for a magazine article for Rodale Press. Or maybe it was for inclusion in a book. 

He did it!

I remember when our oldest son, Christopher, first went to school. He was cute, and smart, and on the quiet and serious side.

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We were proud of him then and we are proud of him today, on his last day of school*. He has successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at SMU. Oh happy, happy, very happy day!

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This was a long time coming. Chris and Lorna have had 3 children, bought and remodeled a house, and worked hard to survive during his journey through higher education. Steve and I are proud of his achievement on every level. Way to go, son!

*Chris’s area of study is the long 18th century of British literature. His dissertation is currently titled Primal Filth. I have not yet read it, but Chris is an excellent writer so I expect to be entertained.

More from St. Maarten…

My selfies are getting better. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.

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We went on a snorkel tour on boat with Octopus Diving. The fish were pretty, the water was warm, and the Dramamine kept me from getting motion sickness. All good.

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We snorkeled out by that rocky island. IMG_8055

When I wasn’t snorkeling, I was visiting with Captain Kyle who is 27, has lived all over the world, and who can put all he owns in a small duffle bag. His life sounds really interesting, probably because it is so different from my own life. Just thinking about how to live that way and still quilt was enough to make my head hurt.

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Shadow selfie…

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I’ll sign off with these two beach photos. St. Maarten was wonderful, and the vacation shared with friends made it even better!

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I took this with the iPhone Camera+ app which is a very cool app. I used the in-app editing tool that is a whole lot like Lightroom. I’m visiting St Maarten and I thought I’d have my big camera out and about with me but it’s not working out that way. My iPhone is turning into my camera on this trip and it’s working pretty well.