A Ragged Mountain

I was itching to get out of doors and all this fresh snow wasn’t helping.  I made a few phone calls and had a small team ready to hike (a small mountain).  Matt was pressed for time on the backside of the day, so did him a solid, Nick and I drove down to him and planned the hike down in the Camden area.

Matt was our guide (he needs more practice) and showed us a torturous time on Ragged Mountain.  They received similar amounts of snow, but they also received the sleet and freezing rain.  The powder was covered with a crust that was completely painful to break through and then drag a snowshoe back out of it.  We took turns breaking trail and though it seemed forever to reach the top, we managed it in just under four hours.  About an hour was spent at the top, setting up the stove, boiling water for hot chocolate and to refill our empty water bottles.  Without the need to break trail, we coasted the two and a half miles down in about seventy-five minutes.

A short video will be posted at a future date.

Matt ponders the next incline, with Blueberry Bald in the background

Matt ponders the next incline, with Blueberry Bald in the background

Is My Blood Boiling Yet?

At work we have the opportunity to work above our expectations and be rewarded for it.  I’ve had a few chances to do this in the past, and had banked some points to spend at an assigned internal store.

I like to “buy” things with these points that I wouldn’t normally spend money on.  Jess had been wanting a back massager that sits in her office chair for some time.  I thought it was ridiculously priced for an item that would probably see little use.  So I always talked her out of it when she pressed for one.  I noticed that they had them in the “Points Store” so I got her one (a really nice one) for Christmas.

Well, all that to say, I bought myself something also.  Something I wouldn’t normally pay money for.  A blood pressure kit.  Of course its easy to use with its automatic pump and readout, but therein lies the problem, the readout.  What’s that mean?  It does have some icons on the screen that basically say HI or LO in medical-ish terms, so I guess I’ll know when my blood is boiling.

Another shake of salt please!?

Another shake of salt please!?

Thirty Days Without Food

From a restaurant.

In an attempt to keep better track of our expenses, we started a written budget this year.  We itemized everything we spend money on, set a budget for the item, and tried to stay within it.  We even had a column for Eating Out.  So I guess you could say we were under budget in that column.

Of course if you’re not eating out, your eating at home.  So even though its only a fraction of what you’d spend at a restaurant, the grocery budget was probably extended a bit.  After all, that was about 4-8 meals a month to fill in.

So, here’s to Beans and Rice and Rice and Beans.

Rice, cheap food... a staple for half the world.

Rice, cheap food... a staple for half the world.

Get a iLife

So I spent my birthday allowance on the latest copy of iLife. iLife ’09.  It just came out on the 27th and I was late to pre-ordering it, but the tracking showed it coming on my birthday, the 28th.  Of course, FedEx needed an artistic yet pointless signature and didn’t leave it at the door.  Happy Birthday Shawn!  You get nothing!

Jess signed the slip and they re-delivered today.  It was a fat install and I haven’t had much time to check out the new features yet, but that will come soon enough.  GarageBand has guitar and piano lessons, iPhoto has face recognition and geo-tagging.  iMovie now has “stabilization” and better editing tools along with some video effects. I’ve imported my Sledding Video and will be making that over the next few days.  Stay tuned.

GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, iWeb

GarageBand, iMovie, iPhoto, iDVD, iWeb

Blue Hour

OK..  So this is the type of photos I was hoping to show here on the “Photo Blog”.  I haven’t dug my “real” camera out in some time (still haven’t).  But I try and snap a photo of something significant (read: artsy) every once in a while with my point and shoot.

I’ve been meaning to shoot a “blue hour” photo for the last month.  Winter time is always a good time of year for this because it’s generally cold and clear.  I missed the moon at the “finger-nail” stage, so this is over-exposed on the moon.  Too much waxing.  I grabbed the mini tripod and set up a timer photo at 0.8s/F8… find out when the best time is for your Blue Hour Shot.

5:16p - EST

5:16p - EST

Half Way to…

Today was another one of those days.

Every year you get older.  But some years… some years you hit those “marker” years.  The big ones being 20, 30, 40, etc. And then there are the other significant years.. 18, 21, 62, 65.  Well, for me.. all the “divisible by five” years are significant.  It means you’re half way through a decade and there’s a chance you have little to show for your “five years in” mark.  How time flies eh?

Over half of Nathans life I’ve spent in my thirties.  I wish there were more accomplishments along the way, but life sometimes works that way.   We don’t always see what we’ve contributed until later in life (I hope that’s the case for me).

So… Thirty-Five.  Because I ask Nathan every year.. I guess I should ask myself.  “Shawn, what are you going to do with thirty-five?”  Start by cooking my own birthday supper on the grill in a snow storm!

"Invisible": technique I found on the web today.. thought I'd give it a try with my first photo of myself at 35.

"Invisible": technique I found on the web today.. thought I'd give it a try with my first photo of myself at 35.

Happy Birthday Boy!

Nathan turned nine tonight.  At 7:21pm.  You know me and numbers.  His birth information is easy to remember.  Born at 7:21p, weighing 7lb 12oz on… 1/27, in Room 217.. OK, I don’t remember the room number.. but still.. that’s a lot of 1′s, 2′s and 7′s.

LEGO, $, Wii, Rockets, and a little more Yankee paraphernalia rounded out the gift lot.

So.. Happy Birthday Bugz!  Dada Loves you, you’re my favorite son.  Sorry you had to go to school on your birthday.

Last Single Digit Year

Last Single Digit Year

100 Bags of Pellets…

Consumed.

I just tossed bag 101 into the stove.  I’m on my “last” [stored] ton of pellets.  I left the softwood pellets as the last ton.  Since I bought them first, I’ll see if that turns out to be a good decision or not.  These pellets don’t look as nice as the hardwood ones.  They smell better though.  Their overall length average is probably close to half as short as the hardwood (botched math sentence!!).  Hopefully the feed rate is going to work at its current setting, because I won’t be changing any settings in the night!

One more photo of Pellets!

Hardwood Left, Softwood Right

Hardwood Left, Softwood Right

A Sledging We Will Go

Age old question..  Do you go sledding, or do you do go sliding?  It’s a sliding hill or maybe a sliding trail.  You slide down the hill.  But you do so on a sled.  Around here, sledding is generally the motorized type.  I know it’s always been a confusing subject, because.. well, let me tell you the short version of the story.

When I was about eleven or twelve, a friend of mine called his Uncle and asked if we could borrow his sled.  See where this is going already?  We walked the near mile and a half to his Uncles and met his Aunt at the door ready to be handed the keys.  She said he got it out already and leaned it up against the garage.  The leaning up against the garage didn’t add up, but when we looked over our shoulder in that direction, it all became immediately clear.  Clear that is, that we were running out of day light and maybe we’d borrow the plastic Paris sled (just like ours) another day.

My father-in-law loves to build a sliding trail.  He loves to slide down it too.  Last year was a great snow year for sliding sledding.  This year is turning out OK too.  The trail is now in place, with built up banks an cold weather makes it fast.  We braved the cold and made some successful runs today.  As long as the rain stays away, the trail will last as long as our enthusiasm for it does.

Stay tuned for a short video of… us on sleds coming soon.

(BTW, sledging is the European term for sledding.)

Uncle Buddy and Nathan tandem down the hill

Uncle Buddy and Nathan tandem down the hill

“Danger” is My Middle Name

I’m not as adventurous as I used to be.  Apparently now my adventures are lived out on the surface of a board game.  Nathan received a new board game for Christmas this year, The Dangerous Book of for Boys Game. He also has the book.  The game is impressive.  Very challenging really.  Tying knots, drawing constellations, and some word scrambles.  You work your way around the board earning raft pieces and occasionally lose them to a “Storm” card which sets you back.  It’s a fairly long game, especially when you keep running out of time trying to spell words with the flag cards.  I won’t mention who “survives” most often.

So, until my next big adventure… you’ll finding me facing off with Nathan, Surviving the cardboard elements.

A Warm fire and a 'Dangerous' Game

A Warm fire and a 'Dangerous' Game