Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whew, what a whirl wind weekend... or should I say week! Last week was great because Jeremy got to stay in Austin for half the week (and the previous weekend) and then we both went to Houston together on Wednesday. (fyi - all roads leading out of Austin were horrible on the day before thanksgiving! it took me an hour to go 10 miles, yuck.) Thursday we had a great thanksgiving with 23 of our closest friends in Clear Lake. Did I mention that there were 7 pies for 23 people: 2 derby pies, 1 pecan cheesecake, 2 apple pies, 2 pumpkin pies. Too bad I left the rest of my apple pie in Houston this morning... now I have to wait until this weekend to finish it up. I also got the chance to do a lot of my Christmas shopping on Friday (aka Black Friday). Thanks to Ami for coming out with me so early to shop. Jeremy even came to meet me at the mall for a few hours, but he just wasn't as much fun to shop with. I think it's his plan to be grumpy when shopping so I stop asking him to come with me.

Also this weekend I made two cake pies. Well cakes really. Okay one cake and one cheesecake like thing. The cake was a chocolate sachertorte and the "cheesecake" was a nobake tangerine cheesecake both from my new chocolate cookbook. This is the second time I've attempted the same sachertorte. While it did come out much better than last week, I just still wasn't that impressed. My goal is to eventually make all the cakes/pies in the cookbook. Two down, many many more to go. (Tomorrow my coworkers will get to try out the tangerine cheesecake and tell me what they think. I think it's good, but I still prefer the baked kind).

For now I leave you with this recipe for buttered rum from the Clem's. Thanks for introducing me to this yummy drink!


1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 cups vanilla ice cream

1. Combine sugar, brown sugar and butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted (6-8 min).

2. Combine cooked mixture with ice-cream in a large mixing bowl, and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often until smooth (1-2 min). Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen up to one month.

3. For each serving, fill one-quarter of a mug with mixture, add one ounce rum and three-quarters of a cup of boiling water. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hueco Tanks!

This past weekend me and 6 of my friends (including Jeremy) headed out to Hueco Tanks in El Paso, TX. Man it's quite the drive, but totally worth it once you're there. Jeremy, myself, Brent, Mari, Neil, Jamie, and Eric all spent three days on this amazing rock. It was great. The first day we headed out on a guided tour through the Hueco Rock Ranch and hit up the East Spur. We warmed up on the boulders in the 'hard to kill' area and then spent some time on the 'black and blue' boulders. This was Jeremy's first real climbing trip, and he did GREAT! We finished our day on a V2 boulder problem called "the vulgarian." It was AWESOME! A bit of overhang, throw a heal hook, reach up, hit the top, find the ledge... waaaaay back there, pull the roof. Although I didn't send it this day, I was able to go back first thing Saturday morning and try again. After resting all night, I sent it on my first try... and second and third. Did I mention it's super fun?

On the second day, after playing around on 'the vulgarian' on the East Spur, we went to East Mountain with our guide and played around on 'moonshine roof'. It was pretty cool, but at a V4 it was really hard for me. Especially since it was a V4 roof. I could make the first few moves, but that's about it. Jeremy and I went off to a close area and played around on some V0 and V3's but at that point my hands were so shot we decided to just chill and watch. The last few hours of our day got rained out as we were heading to another warmup area, so it was pretty much a short day.

Sunday morning was super awesome. We all headed to North Mountain with Mari as our 'guide' and got on some AWESOME stuff. First we warmed up at the potato boulders (or something like that). Some great V0/V1 warmups in that area, and this stellar V0+ highball. It's pretty easy climbing, but it's facey and crimpy and about 30-35 feet high. I was very proud of myself for sending it, and I didn't even get too scared at the top. Jeremy took some great perspective photo's which you can see up on flickr (see link at bottom). After warming up we headed to "Nobody gets out of here alive." A stellar, and easily the most popular V2 boulder problem, possibly in the world. Or so I've heard. It was freaken awesome. So get this, you start with your shoulders on the ground, your legs in the air, and your feet wedged into this hueco. Then you do a reverse sit up to start. It's a 7(ish) foot roof that you pull for about 7 more feet of climbing on the face to top out on the boulder. I managed to get the first few moves under the roof, but couldn't bring my energy up enough to reach for the first hold on the face. No matter though, it was super fun. Thanks to Jeremy for taking all kinds of great pictures. We were pretty beat up after this but we all headed over to one last area to try to get on a few more easy climbs. First we checked out a climb called 'godiva' which I was told that I had to get on by our first day guide, Charles. Well let me tell you, this brings a whole other meaning to highball. Are you kidding me?!? This thing was more like a free solo up a 60 foot cliff. Okay maybe not 60 feet, but easily 40-45. No thank you. After skipping this, we went to the warmup boulders and played around a little more. At this point my feet were so swollen that I couldn't get my climbing shoes on and my hands hurt like death. Brent, Jeremy and I decided to call it a day and head back to Austin.

Overall it was a great weekend and a wonderful first trip to Hueco Tanks. Our guide on the first day Charles, was great, and our North Mountain 'guide' Mari was super helpful. Thanks Mari! Without her we would have been lost for a while. Out of the 7 of us, Mari was the only one who'd been there before.

If you want, check out all the pictures on my flickr page HERE.

Friday, November 6, 2009

halloween, hueco, and football

Halloween has come and gone, but the pictures will be here forever! Or at least until they get consumed by other pictures on my flickr page. Once again Sean threw an awesome halloween party at his place and this year it was HUGE. Really, almost a little too big. There were people who said they were there and yet I didn't see them all night. Christen, Merrick, Lisa, and Vinny did a great job dressing up as KISS and of course won the costume contest. There was a large group that did Mrs. Packman, that was pretty cool. Check out my flickr page for all the pictures and costumes.

More excitedly than halloween though, is the fact that I FINALLY get to go to Hueco Tanks next weekend! YAY! Three days of the best bouldering in the world. Okay, I know three days isn't enough, but I'm just happy to get there. I can't wait! Check back for pictures in a few weeks.

One final note. Saturday Jeremy and I will be at boondoggles from 2:30 - 5:00 watching the PSU/Ohio State game. If anyone wants to join, you can find us there! We'll be watching as Penn State stomps all over Ohio State once again... i hope.