Looking Forward

I’m getting ready for my golden birthday; 28 on March 28th. This birthday has made me think more about what I want to accomplish in my life than any I’ve had yet. The big takeaways are: I want to create authentic content, while still being an accomplished person athletically. I want to be an athlete journalist.

One big goal is to do a big wall climb, starting seriously training when I’m 30. The other is to start to accumulate other freelance content gigs, perhaps eventually amassing enough to have my own media house and/or business.

I’ve been in Portland for a while now, and it’s time for me to make some decisive decisions. One of which involves committing to moving. My places are either up towards Seattle or out to Salt Lake. I’m not sure which one it’ll be yet, but I’m currently leaning towards Salt Lake because of the quality of snow and rock, and because of the cost of housing.

It also means that I need to keep track of my progress, and create a project from this effort. I’ll be brainstorming in the coming months about what I want to do with it… Money is a factor as well. Gathering content accounts will be essential to making my life supportable. In the mean time, I’ve started selling things on ebay and have had a lot of success with that. I want to go to some thrift stores and start being that person that shops around for gems that I can then turn around and sell for profit.

These plans combine everything I really love and feel passion for. I have a good feeling about 28.

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On Being Away

What is mine? Ceaselessly, my creativity pours into a pocket reserved for something I didn’t create. I’m giving it up willingly though- I have to remind myself. Creativity in exchange for an on-the-job business and marketing education, as well as financial security to hold myself stable for a time.

I haven’t written a piece for myself in months. I get confused about where the lines lie now. In the past, it didn’t matter where any boundaries were set- I could blurr them as much as I wanted because my passion was my hobby; I used the furtive energy I felt to fuel my accounts of adventure and travel, sending, selling and posting to things not related to my day job. Now I’ve found a day job that pays me to do what I was doing already, though in a greater volume and with less personal affects.

Am I good at this? How long do I want to do this? Do I want to go live in a van for a year and follow that desire to generate stories and moments with others? Where is it I want to end up? Or is it to hole myself away, half-attached to the real world via a contracted string and half connected to the small town I then call home. Getting a finger on the pulse of the local veins and knowing all who lived there. Greeting customers with a piping hot coffee after waking at 4:30am to open the small town shop. Catching up with the teachers who mill through on their way to work, the kids after or during school and then retreating to my studio nook to keep tabs on the content I manage and see what my mind produces for me for the day.

That’s what I want. I want it all; small town, big life- a hand in both pots and never happy to settle for anything less than being integrated to everything and knowing all that’s going on. I’m an undercover gossip queen; royalty of rich-life (meaning to me ‘fulfilled’); and a host of friends whom I can greet and check in on and know their lives (not money money rich). I want enough money to keep me from worrying about it; and no more, no less. I want enough money so I can join a yoga studio and buy a friend a drink when they want it and guiltily purchase another pair of shoes I don’t need, but that I want because I think they’re pretty. I want enough money so I don’t fret about paying rent for the month or whether my car is technically legal to drive because I haven’t paid insurance since I need to purchase ticket home to see my mom and she can’t help me with the fare.

I felt the growing richness of my life this week coming back from a trip which was oh-so-welcome. Friends texting me to see where I was; what was I doing and could I come hang out because they missed me? I walked into a home this morning on the east side and was hit with a great barrage of hugs and “How are you?”s and faces that lit up when they saw me.

Distance makes the heart grown fonder and you don’t know what you got til its gone. We didn’t have to pave paradise, but its so nice to know you’re wanted when you leave.

Moving up

The shoulder is on the mend! I’ve been doing my best to stay on top of getting in my physical therapy exercises every night and it’s been seriously paying off. My should feels less achey and my neck feels more relaxed. It’s funny how things can improve over time. When I first started doign my exercises, it felt like nothing was changing. My shoulder still hurt, it still felt weak and stiff and I had an extra 30 minutes of stuff I had to take care of before I fell asleep. Not fun when you’re seriously exhausted.

But now, almost a month later, I’ve gotten stronger. I told you I’d been sharing my journey of recovery back into rock climbing, and I have a new milestone to share! This past weekend over memorial day I went camping with a huge group of friends in the Mt. Hood wilderness. We camped out along the Salmon river for three nights, sharing meals, drinks and endless games of ShitBoots. All of the guys that were out on this trip also happen to be professional arborists and these guys hate sitting still. We asked if they’d set up a tree for us to climb while we went on a hike during the day, and we came back to a 200 ft line set into a 230ft tree with an additional traverse line set 150ft up across the river that ran by our campsite. They also modified our giant 20ft rain tarp about three different times during our trip, just because one side of it had started to look a little droopy.

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But I’m getting side-traceked here, let me get back to the good stuff. So, there we were: watching our friends each tke turns gearing up into the arborist harness, attaching their foot ascenders and disappearing into the moss-covered branches of the 300+ year old Doug Fir. I sat by, anxious and excited to give it a try. I told everyone (at least five different times) that I wasn’t sure if I’d make it very far. I was just going to test it out, see how my shoulder felt, and if it was bugging me, I’d come back down. I knew though that as soon as I started, I wasn’t going to want to come back down. Really, I was just hoping my shoulder wasn’t going to bother me so that I didn’t set back my healing time. It was going to be a test.

I was geared up, through the safety test and locked in. I started climbing, and it was hard. My friend Logan told me I should imagine I’m staning on the acesnders and try to keep my body as straight and upright as possible and that eventually I’d find my rhythm. The first 30ft I started to worry that I was going to be relying on my shoulder too heavily. I was akward; sitting back too far, getting hand cramps and taking a rest about every 10ft. But, I was putting most of the work on my right shoulder and my left shoulder was doing pretty well. So I kept going. I’d climb another ten feet or so, sit back, take a break and look at the bark next to my face. I admired the soft moss that extended on the branches all around me and I soaked inthe view that improved dramitically the further up I went. Then, about 2/3rds of the way up, I hit my stride. I was hoding onto the rope differently with my hands and I was taking these tiny baby steps up with my toes against the tree. What Logan had said to me at the base of the tree made sense about 100 ft up. It was far easier than the way I’d been climbing before and it felt like I flew up the last 50 or so ft to my friend Ben. My should felt even more protected in this modified ascension and I was so excited that I was not going to have to force myself back down the trunk.

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I reached Ben at the 150ft traverse line (dropped off a hot dog I’d been carrying up with me) and continued up to my friend Kelsey who was sitting at the top. It was open where Kelsey was, and the views were some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. Imagine the best view you’ve ever had from the top of a mountain. Now imgaine there’s no mountain around to ground and you’re part of that breathtaking view. That’s what it’s like to sit 200ft in an old Doug Fir in the Mt. Hood wilderness. Incredible.

After soaking in as much of the view as I could, I descended (nervously- I’m still giddy when I do something new and mildy terrifying!) back down to Ben to ride out above the creek on the traverse line. Once he got me all hooked in and off my ascending line, I warily walked out to the end of a swaying branch. Ben was laughing at me the whole time, just telling me to, “keep going.” I was nervously laiughing back at him as I inched my way out over the apparent abyss.

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Being out there was amazing! I loooked down to see Logan and Breanna as tiny ants anlong rock parts of the riverbed. I shouted and laughed and almost felt like I could cry, but didn’t. It was another amazing experience and coming down that line was soooo fun! Logan grabbed the end of my rope and gave it a yank, letting me have one of the best swing rides of my life. I descended, laughing and still shouting, into the waiting arms of my friend Breanne, who comically caught me as if I were a damsel in distress that had just descended from the heavens.

It’s been feeling better over the last few weeks and I know that actual rock climbing is in my near future.

Thanks for following along in my recovery with me and I can’t wait to keep moving forward!

Rock Climbing Goals: 2015

Way back when-- Me, learning the ropes at Rocky Butte (just outside of Portland, OR).
Way back when– Me, learning the ropes at Rocky Butte (just outside of Portland, OR).

Since starting at High Cascade Snowboard Camp back in 2012, I have given up the freedom of having a summer. My life was dictated by a crew of snowboard-headed managers, my time dedicated to creating an amazing atmosphere for kids young and old to be consumed by. I was consumed by it too; life becomes exceedingly small when you live, work, play (and hookup) within a bubble of 120 people for 2 1/2 months.

This is the first summer in three years that I will be the sole person responsible for dictating my plans and I couldn’t be more excited! Something I heavily neglected over the last several years have been my climbing adventures. During the months of June, July and August, I was occupied with snowboarding and snowboarding camp. In the fall and winter, Portland and the PNW becomes supremely soggy and not so great for climbing. I couldn’t afford a gym pass and so let my bouldering skills fall to the way-side.

That’s what I’m excited to change this year. I’m going to physical therapy for an old shoulder injury that has kept me from fully committing to rock climbing again and gearing up to actually get back into it again. I can afford a gym membership with my new job (yay!) and am stable in Portland once again, with friends I can count on to climb with. Because of all this, I’ve begun setting some concrete goals for me to work through before the end of the year. Since outdoor climbing is so dependent on weather (and weather in Oregon can be so fickle) I haven’t set a specific end-date, I’m merely saying, “before the end of 2015” (so most likely by November).

My goals break down something like this:

  • Climb at 5.11a on top-rope
  • Lead-climb a 5.10a
  • Consistently climb at V3- V4 level at the Circuit
  • Enter the Portland Boulder Rally in the Intermediate category (in October).

These ability-goals are based off the grades that I had previously been climbing at, though raising the bar for myself so I have a new challenge to overcome. When I was last seriously climbing, I was leading 5.9’s and climbed a 5.10b outdoors. In the gym I was climbing V3’s, most V4’s and attempting some V5’s. I know I can get back to this level and I’m looking forward to it. Another part of my goal will be recording my progress on here from successful shoulder rehab to PBR (Portland Boulder Rally). It’s going to be a great time!

I want to get my fitness back and I need to face a new challenge. I’m excited to heal my shoulder fully and get back in to the world of rock climbing, a sport that has shown me some of my greatest personal potential.

I can’t wait to share this adventure with you!

Car Crash


I got hit by a car today. It was scary. In a way I haven’t been scared in a long time- in that way where your body simeotaneosly takes over and shuts down, and nothing you can try to do or think will calm you until your body decides it’s time to be calm. 
I was at an intersection downtown. Me on a two-way street with a stop, the road in front of me a one way with no stops, running north to south. 
I stopped. I looked. I put my car in first gear and began to move forward, then- SHIT– cut right, brake hard, watch in slooow motion as the on coming car approaches my side of the car. It won’t hit. It will hit. Here it comes. Hit. Car stops moving. Hit flashers. I’m fine. Get out of car. 
Except suddenly I’m not fine, and three fireman, two witnesses and the guy who hit me are all around. I’m breathing heavy and shallow. I start to talk and realize I’m about to cry. Shit. Sit down. Someone asks if I can move my car, and I ask if he can drive stick, because I cannot get in that car right now. He obliges. 
Later that day I get a call from my insurance, where they inform me the accidet would be my fault. No. No way. That guy in the 2011 Honda was flying down 2nd, and if I hadn’t cut so hard to the right he would have nailed me directly in the drives side door. No. I am a good driver. He was speeding. He hit me. He broke a single headlight. The side of my car has a car-sized indent in it. No. 
They took a statement and are processing the claim. Nothing has been sorted yet. I’m glad I’m ok. 
Poor Stanley*.
*Stanley is my 2002 Mazda. 

I don’t know how to start this exactly.

It’s a tough subject that never seems to get any easier. I’ve felt compelled to write this down though, ever since the thoughts popped into my head two days ago. My thoughts on race; racism. I don’t think that I will, but I hope I don’t offend anyone with this. [I feel compelled to mention that, because every other second there’s someone who accidentally said something wrong on the internet when they didn’t mean to, and t haunts them forever. I don’t think this is that piece for me, but you never know..]

I was walking home and noticing how many more black people are in my new neighborhood compared to my old neighborhood. I felt separate from them as we passed each other along the sidewalk. They stood out against me, I against them. I then started wondering if this was how I felt around my friends that were black, asian, mexican, etc. No. I realized that for the most part realized their ethnic background and/or skin color had never even come up as more than a mental acknowledgement. “Yes, you do not look like me. Yes, you have a few mannerisms that are different from mine, but so do a lot of other people,” and that was about it.

I then began wondering why I was feeling such a vast gap between myself and the strangers around me in my local community. What I concluded was that we had nothing immediately in common. Maybe if I talked to them, got to know them- we’d find we had similarities. But chances are that we won’t stop to have that talk, that I’ll never know more about them than I did in that passing moment.

Within snowboarding, you know your kind. You can pick them out of a crowded bar or on a MAX train during rush hour. You know them as you pass them by on the street and no words were ever exchanged. You see it in their dress, their attitude, the way they carry themselves- it’s like a neon sign shouting, “YOU AND I ARE ALIKE ” no matter who they are or what they physically look like. This is the difference. My friends who happen to be X, Y, or Z are just that- friends that have trait X, Y, and Z; but they also snowboard. Snowboarding is what defines them and our relationship, and glosses over everything else. I’ve formed closer bonds with people that don’t speak english and live thousands of miles from me  than I have with some people I’ve had full conversations with around here. There’s something unspoken- an undertone of camaraderie, that amasses and overwhelms everything else.

I think more people should join sport. You learn a lot about yourself, about depending on others and about the fun that can be had when you share an amazing moment that you create together- that no one else can have. The rush of cutting a perfect line through fresh snow and seeing your friend follow after you or grinning stupidly at the bottom- in those moments, no ones cares what else you do. If you can ride and you love it, nothing else matters.

Commuter Combat– Surviving Public Transit

Sketch: Number 8 Bus Portland

The time is just past 5:30 and the number 8 bus is operating at max capacity. We can take no more.

The Commuter Combat Arena is packed.

Our wheels are pressed to their utmost PSI, gears creak and the steering wheel churns. Hopefully we’ll make it home, but our fate is as uncertain as the number of people exiting the bus at each stop.

At the last pause, one more warrior left our midst, and the pressure within the vehicle lifted just enough to allow another single passenger to board. The conductor rasped between coughs, “I can take one more!” The waiting pedestrians looked longingly at our vessel, choosing the single among their midst that would be allowed passage to their home. The bus eased shut the doors and pressured the accelerator. We cruised smoothly past four faces, glaring at us from under the #8 road-side post.

Perhaps next time those tired souls will be welcomed in with open doors and ushered to an uncluttered seat of their own. For now, we- the crowded crew of this bursting bus, journey on towards our abodes. We stay thankful that we are the riders- for having a promise of way home is enough for us to endure this rocky journey.