28 May 2013

Fun Employment!!!!

Looks like my summer vacation is coming to an end! I am very excited and happy to announce that I just accepted a role as the Marketing & Membership Manager for The Mountaineers!

A 100 year old non-profit providing outdoor education and conservation for the Pacific Northwest, The Mountaineers is the perfect place for me! I will get to work with people who do what I love (mountaineer! ski! climb! hike! BE OUTSIDE!) and I will be designing programs and marketing messages to get even more people into the great outdoors!!! This means even more fantastic adventures to come (and yes, I will be recruiting all of you to join)!

Jumping for Joy!

I am so very thankful to have been chosen for this amazing opportunity! Thank you to all of you who supported me during my Funemployment, even though I know it was unpleasant for you to see my adventuring pictures while you were at work....on a Tuesday.

My Funemployment is now over, but my Fun Employment is just beginning!

14 May 2013

How To Have A Kickass Birthday

Start with an obnoxious birthday countdown. Yes, it will be annoying, but you don't care, because honey badger don't give a f***. I recommend a monthly countdown, with a bigger deal made for the quarter, HALF, and three-quarter birthdays.

About a month before your actual birthday, go ahead and just plan a week's worth of celebrations. Your parents (and presumably grandparent's and friends of parents and so on and so forth) eagerly anticipated your arrival for MONTHS! A week's worth of celebration is hardly overkill.

Then, execute on such plans.

Start slow: commandeer your running group by bringing cookies and announcing it's almost your birthday. This will whet everyone's birthday appetite (and just might get you a few free drinks).

Bram leading a 10c at Amazonia Wall. Just thinking about it now makes me cringe.

Go climbing outside and climb as you've NEVER climbed before! No, this does not mean crushing. This means flailing and getting shut down on an easy 5.9. Go home and contemplate crying in your meaningless, empty apartment because you suck at climbing and that is sad. But then don't feel those feelings, turn them off instead. Choose to feel GOOD because, even if you suck at climbing, you are still WINNING AT LIFE!

Start sewing like a crazy person to finish your costume in time for the party in 3 hours. Stress about how HARD it is to put icing on cupcakes (seriously, it is super difficult). Decide icing can wait and go back to hopeless costume project. Miraculously finish sewing and go to party!

Invent a ridiculous theme party idea and invite good friends to attend. Be genuinely humbled by all of the awesome people who show up and impressed by the creative costumes. Elementary School Throwback - who would have known it was such a treasure trove of possibilities?!?!

Elementary School Throwback - Find a picture of you aged 9 or younger and dress to match
Stas was lucky that his parents started dressing him up ridiculously at an early age.
Sarah went all in and it was AMAZING!
Wow. Even Honey Badger would be impressed with this one.
Seriously go team dress up! Nailed the basket hand placement and everything!

Leave party early (1am) to get home, sleep, and get up early (5am) to drive to Mount Saint Helen's. Put on a tutu. Climb the mountain. Ski down.

Helen's - much more melted out than last year.
Bram putting in a skin track. In a dress.
No summit? No problem. Jumping pictures are always awesome!
Team Tutu! We are better skiers than ballerinas!

Sleep in a tent. Preferably with a hot lady (in white leopard print tights). Extra bonus points for setting up the tent while wearing a tutu.

Everything is better in a tutu

On your actual birthday, go climbing again. Try not to suck so much.

Erica and I at the climbing gym. Thanks for my favourite beer! Straight from the brewery!

Then go to eat sushi. Because, sushi.

Happy Birthday to you too Hexar! (And Ben and Kristi and Amber and ALL MAY BABIES EVERYWHERE!)

Oh yeah, and do this all in 4 short days. ANNNNND Go!

Thanks to all of you who celebrated with me! Next year: Dirty Thirty!

Don't forget your action figure mascot!

08 May 2013

Shuksan Attempt - Avalanche Report

Last Friday my buddy Imran wanted to attempt Shuksan, a major objective near Mt. Baker.

Being excellent planners, Imran called me at 10pm and we decided to go for it, leaving Seattle at 4am the next morning. He also convinced his friend Alexis to join us. Apparently there are a lot of crazy skiers in these parts.

Imran put together a very professional trip report. In it, he named all of the people in the party, the gear we'd be carrying, our planned route, the emergency contingencies and of course, the medical concerns for the traveling parties. For me, under Health Issues, he listed "shortness". That's right. It's official. I suffer from shortness. And all this time I just thought I was just Vertically Challenged?

Topo of our LONG route

We were on the trail by 7am with pretty variable skinning conditions. We'd have big patches of snow, then bigger patches of not snow. It's always a debate when you are skinning: remove the skis? don't remove the skis? For the most part...we opted to just leave them on. We got up early! We deserved to be lazy about this!

Alexis finding the snow

Adventure skinning

We traversed for a very long time before beginning our climb. The snow was corntastic and the sun was HOT. I can honestly say this is the warmest it's ever been for me skinning, and I was seeking out the shade with every opportunity. We took a quick break to enjoy the views before heading up toward the col (where most people camp on overnight attempts) and the Sulfide Glacier.

Imran chasing the shade

Little breaky break

Alexis CRUSHING the steep

We gained the ridge and spent a good deal of time enjoying the view and contemplating our next move. Our only real option, if we were to continue, involved a traverse across a 37 degree, south-facing slope with cliffs above and below. Not ideal at 11:30am when it was already 75 degrees out.

Big traversy slope at left

Not a bad view

After discussing at length we felt comfortable at least checking out the slope to see how conditions were before calling it. Imran led the way and had gone maybe 100 yards before we turned back! He took a small handful of snow and tossed it onto a slope below (from a safe place). It grew into a giant pinwheel in seconds and landed with such force that it caused the crack slab slide below. Pretty crazy!

Pinwheels turn to slab

With that our decision was made. Back down we went. The snow was....sticky and variable but that's adventure skiing at it's best! And again, spectacular views!

Hellloooooo Baker!

Once safely at the car we had a mini-epic wherein we lost the car key and had to break in using two ice axes and a probe. I am happy to say that we successfully probed our way into the car and gained the unlock button without breaking any windows! We also located the key.... eventually... right where we thought we had put it. Tricky key, playing hide and go seek!

Careful with those sharp edges!

Kristina: Probing Master! 

In all I'm really proud of this adventure. We made a good decision to come down to live to ski another day. Alexis taught for NOLS for a long time and put it aptly when she said, "Unusual weather patterns breed unusual avalanche conditions." It's been above 70 for a week now in Seattle, quite out of the ordinary for early May, making snow conditions out of the ordinary. Remember to look at overall trending when you are getting after it! Looking forward to more adventures this summer as conditions stabilize!

06 May 2013

I Came By It Honestly

While in Montana my sisters and I were discussing our hair cowlicks (because that makes perfect sense) and discovered that we ALL have a flat spot on the back of our heads. And not like, you know, a run of the mill, barely noticeable, everybody-has-one divot. No, no. We all have a HUGE FLAT SPOT that would make us look like circus freaks should we ever shave our heads. Apparently we have our father to thank for this lovely little deformation. Rest assured that none of the Ciari girls will be rocking the shaved head look.

No Hair? No Dice!

Another odd thing about the twins and I is that none of us ate green vegetables until we were in our early 20's. We just didn't like them. Allegedly people's taste buds change every 7 years, so maybe it was that, but I choose to blame it on my mother's cooking (sorry mom!).

And this got me to thinking...what other features and traits did I get from my parents?

Apparently I looked the exact same nearly 29 years ago

There's an idiom for this: to "come by something honestly". Maybe it's because I'm getting older (and thus am becoming more and more like my parents with every passing breath) but lately I find myself fascinated by the idea of Nature vs. Nurture. With so many friends who are new parents as well, I am curious to understand how we become who we are - what is genetic vs. learned?

Let's take an easy and obviously traceable example: I have green eyes. So do both of my sisters. Those are from my mom, but also courtesy of my dad who has blue eyes. Green eyes are recessive to blue, and thus my dad must be a green/blue from his parents for us to come out green. Make sense? I didn't think so.

But then there are things that aren't genetic. Learned habits if you will. Just yesterday I was talking with my dad and he mentioned that he likes to stand on one leg with the other one tucked behind his knee like a flamingo. I haven't lived at home in 10+ years, and I don't recall my dad ever standing this way...but I also stand like that. A lot. Suddenly my life makes a whole lot more sense.

Me and Popi. The Flamingoes.

One trait I know I learned from my dad is cleaning as I work. When I'm cooking I've already got most of the prep dishes done by the time dinner is ready. I can't stand a mess, especially when you have time to clean as you go. My dad does this, and thus I do this.

I have my mom to thank for my professional and organizational skills (and ultimately my Grandmother, who passed along the trait so strongly that my Aunt keeps a spreadsheet of all of the birthday cards she's sent anyone...ever.) Funnily enough my career path is quite similar to that of my mom. My parents met when she was selling radio in Steamboat. She did that for many years before going to work for herself as a headhunter. My first job out of college was as a sales coordinator for a local TV station, before leaving to sell radio myself! After a few other jobs and a few layoffs, I am now contemplating creating my own business. I guess this means it's true....ultimately we will all turn into our parents.

Lexinator - the Ciari girl future!

Other random facts about me (that you probably don't care about but I find FASCINATING): 

  • I have really low blood pressure (from my dad) 
  • I don't really sweat very much (from my mom). Good thing when you are lazy and don't feel like showering, bad thing when it's hot and you get overheated.
  • I can sleep anywhere. At any time. In fact, I just took a nap and woke back up to finish this sentence. Not sure where I got this one, but I sure am THANKFUL!
  • I have a propensity to exaggerate. Honestly I think it's just a Montana thing. Stories are just better when they are BIGGER!
  • I cannot decorate to save my life. My sisters - excellent at it. Me? Not so much. It is terrible and depressing and twins can one of you just come out here already and do my apartment for me?!?!
That's enough about me. What sorts of crazy coincidences/habits/traits do you have in common with your loved ones?