Month: January 2012

Five Pieces of Inspiration #1

There are so much interesting and inspirational stuff in the world, that I thought I’d start a series on things that inspire me to greater personal and professional success. Hopefully, they will inspire you as well. 

1. Paul Coelho on achieving your dreams

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

I start a new job tomorrow – a dream job actually – and I am a little afraid that I won’t have what it takes to succeed (despite a track record to the contrary). It is with Paulo’s words in mind that I will begin the new adventure.

2. Children’s books that rhyme

I recently bought Madeline for my 3-year-old niece. Set in picturesque Paris, it is a story of a brave little girl’s trip to the hospital. There are lots of things that make this one of my favorite children’s books – a spirited heroine, timelessly appealing art, and cheerful humor – but the rhythmic, rhyming text is what truly sets it apart.

3. Winter fun in the Methow

4. Lucky Chili

California caterer Nancyjo Riekse traditionally makes a pot of spicy beans for friends the first week of the New Year to bring them luck and prosperity. We like to make some anytime during the year we need a bit of luck, and it always seems to work! This is our recipe, adapted from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook:

Lucky Chili

2 cups freshly brewed coffee
2 cups vegetable broth
4 cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes,  crushed in a blender or food processor
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cans no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained, or 6 cups cooked black beans
1/4 cup date paste or brown sugar
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
3 to 4 whole cloves
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

For serving: Salsa and cubed avocado

Combine all of the ingredients in the slow cooker, except the cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours. During the last hour, stir in the cilantro and season with salt to taste. Serve the chili in bowls with toppings.

5. Gayle Tzemach Lemmon on female entrepreneurship


Norse Peak

Over the last 11 years, I’ve learned that one simple phrase will ensure you a place on just about any winter adventure: “I like step kicking in deep snow.” And that’s how I got on yesterday’s trip up Norse Peak.

We left the TH at 9 a.m. and followed a meandering snow-covered trail up the mountain for an hour or so. Pretty soon, the slopes opened up and we got our step-kicking mojo going, taking turns as needed. A long and fairly exhausting 3 hours later, we arrived at a saddle on the wind-scoured ridge northwest of Norse Peak. After a short food break, Rena and I took over the step-kicking duties and got the team to a broad, open shoulder. Only a short, steep bump and ice-covered rocks stood between us and the summit!

Three of our team members opted to stay behind, while the remaining six of us pushed on. I was really tired and tempted to stay behind, but sometimes you’ve just got want the summit more than you want anything else that day. Remembering my failure on West Granite the previous weekend, I didn’t want to turn back twice in a row. Five hours after we left the cars we were on the summit.

We sipped tea, had some sandwiches, snapped some pictures, then retreated to gather up the rest of our team members. All I can say is thank goodness going down is so much quicker and easier than pushing your way up through deep snow. We arrived back at the cars only 2 1/2 hours after leaving the summit. All-in-all a good day in the mountains!

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Tusk o’ Granite

John, Nick, Monica, Hiddeko, Vasko, Burke, and I battled thigh-deep snow on our attempted ascent of West Granite today (aka the Tusk o’ Granite). We made it to within about 500′ of the summit, but cold, driving snow, really challenging snow conditions, and exhaustion  sent us back downhill with our tail between our legs. Sigh… Next time!

Freezing rain

Seattle has had some wacky weather lately. Today’s freezing rain was simply amazing. When was the last time you saw icicles on airplanes? No wonder so many flights were cancelled.


Snow day at Vertical World

I met Lisa and Mark at the climbing gym tonight. I thought climbers – of all people – wouldn’t be scared of a little snow. Turns out, we were the only people climbing. Not having to wait to get on a single rope was luxurious to say the least.