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Alexa, What's Today?

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Stunned By Discovery

4 1/2 months ago, I visited Carlsbad Caverns for the first time while on our family road trip to the Grand Canyon.
Carlsbad Caverns was kind of the antithesis of the Grand Canyon.  The GRAND Canyon?  Nobody misses that.  You can't go through that part of the country whether by covered wagon or jet plane and miss the fact that there's a HUGE canyon there.  You just can't.  I mean, you can see it from space, right??
But Carlsbad Caverns is so out of the way, out in the middle of nowhere, barely accessible by modern roads (okay, I exaggerate) that you could completely miss it.  The most you would have seen (before they built it up as a national monument, that is) was a yawning hole in the side of the earth and you maybe would have thought to yourself, "wow, that's a neat looking cave."

But go down inside and it's a completely different world down there.  And pitch black, if not for the modern miracle of electricity.  




I thought I had seen a fair amount in th…

Why Can't I Say No?

Yesterday my daughter and I were leaving the mall and it happened...again.
No, I'm not talking about impulse control issues (that's for another post).  I'm talking about "them".
Those people who have the kiosks in the middle of the mall and try to sell you all manner of God knows what.  You know who they are...
I told my daughter to walk to the other side of the kiosk so I could avoid the inevitable, "excuse me, can I ask you a question?" kiosk-seller pick-up line.  My daughter wrinkled her nose and looked at me disapprovingly and asked, "why don't you just tell them no?"
Why indeed...
This morning, I got an unsolicited sales email from some guy at a bank who wants to come set up a table at our company to promote his banking products.  "Partnership opportunities" he called them.  I groaned and almost hit reply to tell him thanks but no thanks.  But I didn't.  
He had name-dropped, referencing another colleague (as if that ma…

The Biggest Thing We Tend to Forget

Yesterday was Sunday, so it was church day...and climbing day!

A bunch of new climbing routes just went up so after doing a few warm up routes, I decided to try a new 5.10d route.  (If that meant nothing to you, check out REI's helpful chart on climbing grades titled "class 5 sub-categories".  Basically the route is considered "Hard".)

After watching my climbing partner go first, I observed that the much-dreaded steep section (and by steep, climbers mean a wall angle that is greater than 90 degrees therefore causing you to lean backwards into space) looked easier than usual - and I quickly mapped out a plan to get through it without tiring out too quickly.

When I got to the steep part, I was feeling pretty good until the rope got in my way.  It tucked itself inside a hold that I really needed to hang on to with my right hand and suddenly all of my strategy was gone.  All my focus switched to my hands - hanging on, trying to move the rope quickly - and none of …

Why Being Brave Isn't Enough

Look at me! Being brave!!

Okay, I'll admit it...I didn't exactly have to summon a whole lot of bravery for this shot.  I was already pretty pumped about going down again and was just super excited to have a photographer around this time.

But there have been plenty of times in my life where I had to be brave.

Starting public school halfway through the year in a new town after being homeschooled for 6 years...  Going to field training as an ROTC cadet where I got yelled at for 6 weeks straight... Facing financial uncertainty after receiving a layoff notice from a previous employer...  Calling our head of Security last week when I almost stepped on a huge spider in women's bathroom at work...

Yes, lots of opportunities for bravery.  The list could go on, but you understand.

So much is made of bravery.  It's desirable, admirable, and people will go to great lengths sometimes to explain to you the difference between bravery and courage.

But it's not enough.  It's n…

Pretty | (Not) Funny | Rock Climber

My husband tells me all the time that I'm not funny.  He pats my head in a way that would only be condescending if we weren't married and says, "you're pretty".  And so I am...to him, at least.  But when he isn't around, I have on several occasions, left other people in stitches... 

I have my dad's sense of humor, I suppose.  He loves those "dad jokes" that make you roll your eyes but still chuckle.  Personally, I have always taken immense pleasure in the inside joke.  Even if I'm the only one who's in on it.

So if I can't be funny, I'll settle for pretty.  And if I'm not as pretty, it's probably because I'm rock climbing.  Still wearing powder, covered in chalk.

Cheers to my first post!

When I was in college, someone very close to me told me I was boring. I was surprised...and hurt. Maybe because it came out of nowhere, but probably because it just might have been true.

Since then, I have amassed quite a few interests and experiences. I was already on my way into the military. Later,I decided to teach myself Arabic because it was unusual and no one would expect it. I deployed to Uzbekistan (a country most people I knew had never heard of nor could they locate). I've flown in an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter, been ziplining over a waterfall, spent 3 weeks in Uganda, fell in love with rock climbing almost 2 years ago now, and a few days ago, I rappelled off a 14 story building - twice.

I have never thought of myself as super-adventurous. I never even played sports in high school (I don't count the one season each of track and cross-country). But somehow that one comment catalyzed me to become someone who decides to do those types of things.

At the same time, I'…