Franklin Street & Never Ending Climbs

Let’s be honest.  It’s hard not to let our personal lives affect our professional lives.  These past couple weeks have been a great reminder of that, and have done a lot for my sympathy in understanding what both colleagues and students bring in to school with them every day.  Even harder is not being able to acknowledge the reality of a personal life while at work.

So you can imagine my surprise and appreciation when a colleague left a nice note on my desk this morning and a container of vegan ice cream in the staff room freezer waiting for me.


Seriously.  I always see it at Food Lion and Trader Joes, but always resist the urge to buy it.  Today, the choice wasn’t mine.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!  I made the smart move of leaving it at school, having enough self awareness to know what would happen to it if I brought it home.  A couple spoonfuls here and there might be the best solution ever to a long week 🙂


I always forget how much the Smurph dog hates the NC summers until the warm weather really starts to hit.  While in the Spring, Winter or Fall he’s dying for a longer walk, as soon as the heat kicks in he’s begging to head back home.  Literally.  He puts on the brakes and refuses to go any further.  After I explain to him rationally that he’ll be just fine, and that he needs the extra exercise to burn off the trash he devoured that day, I can often coerce him.  But it is never easy.  Tonight was no exception.

After a walk with Murph, I headed to the CHCC for a Tuesday evening climb.  Arrived a bit late, but still got some nice climbs in with Paul.  Until we hit this route, however.


I suppose you have the right to take your time.  But I’m also pretty sure there’s a sign on the wall encouraging urgency for the sake of cutting down on lines.  After waiting for over 10 minutes, we decided this was definitely ratable.  While not a rating of John, or his climbing (as he is still very much loved by us), it is a rating of the seemingly endless wait to finally get on the wall.  But if I’m being honest with myself here, maybe the real rating should be:


I suppose at the end of the day it wasn’t really John’s fault, but instead ours for choosing to wait in line behind the SLOWEST CLIMBING PAIR EVER.  Okay, I exaggerate.  But when the lines are long, your partner is hungry and trying to peace out early, every second counts.

Following another climb or two we headed out to Tyler’s for dinner and then the Orange County Social Club for some celebratory beers, as a friend’s new album was just released.


Seriously.  Heart smiling and loving life, there’s something about Joe Purdy that goes BEAUTIFULLY with a nice drive down Franklin Street.  Especially when it’s 80 degrees out and smells like summer.

Making it even more exciting?  Realizing that in a matter of two weeks all the undergrads will be gone and it will officially be CAROLINA SUMMER TIME!  I can’t wait 🙂

Overall, a great evening.  Stay tuned for the rating of Tripp’s newest album!

Until then, just living for the tens!


Another day (or three) in the Mountains

I love that I haven’t updated this since my last trip to the mountains… clearly it’s been a busy (and exciting) summer.  I doubt that this will slow down after the big move this weekend, but we’ll see how I can attempt to fit more regular blogging into the changes.  In the meantime, I just have to blog about yet another fabulous trip to the mountains 🙂


The boys had to work on Friday, but Laura, Snook and I decided to take advantage of an extra day and headed up Friday morning.  Crashing for free at a friend’s place, it was the perfect destination for my last weekend before moving.  Laura and Snook rode in one car with Preston, with Dakota, Murph and I rode in the Sooby.

I must admit I haven’t driven anywhere alone recently, and I forgot how much I appreciate time to think, sing and drive.

Friday was the perfect opportunity, along with a nice lunch stop where we picnicked on the grass 🙂  One of the rare trips where I actually would have liked to have driven some more…

After arriving Laura and I headed out to the Watauga with the pups to stretch our legs a bit.  Only about 5 minutes down the road from where we were staying… PERFECT!


Saturday began with a trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of my favorite places to drive in North Carolina (possibly anywhere).  Yielding views like this makes it pretty amazing… I couldn’t resist stopping and forcing the dogs to take pictures with me 🙂

However, there are downsides to driving on the Parkway as well.

1) if you’re trying to get somewhere quickly, this is not the way to do it.  All the tourists take the speed limit extremely seriously, however in light of point number 2, this might be  good thing.

2) As the driver I’m always distracted by the incredible views, and am thankful when I arrive where I’m going in one piece, still on the road.


Way better than when he lays on top of the crash pad (and spends the entire trip sliding around every time I turn or stop), and ADORABLE.  Didn’t even realize this was what he was doing behind me until we stopped along the parkway and I discovered this…


I’ve heard of this place for a while, but now I actually know where it is and could find it again.  SCORE!

About a 15 minute walk/hike off the Blue Ridge parkway, there’s a large collection of pretty sweet rocks.  Luckily Bill and Jen were headed up this weekend as well, as they came prepared with pages worth of beta.

While my climbing wasn’t as good as I would like (what did I expect after climbing so little this summer?), the other climbers were great, and I probably had as much fun taking pictures and being outside as I did actually climbing.  Plus, now I can head back anytime I want 🙂


It just keeps getting better 🙂  Now if I could just get my autofocus to work…


After leaving for the mountains I decided to protest showering for the extent of the trip, and it proved to be pretty nice.  Always better when you’re actually camping outside and don’t have access to a shower, it saved time and the trouble of worrying about doing my hair.  Pretty much didn’t touch it the whole trip.  Perhaps next time I’ll take it a step further and finally dread my hair like I’ve always dreamed about… was getting pretty close by the end of the trip anyways.

After a morning of climbing, a visit to a local Art festival, and some lunch from the Ham Shoppe, we headed down to the river for some much needed relaxation and swimming.


Only wish we had found a deeper swimming hole…


The skies are beautiful all over the state, but this one might take the cake.


After another fabulous breakfast at the nearby Grandview Diner, Scott and I decided to tackle another trail up Grandfather.  The Profile Trail takes off literally about 5 minutes from where we were staying, which was PERFECT!

About 3.5 miles up we hit a fork… having gone up Calloway Peak last time we were in town, we decided to head towards Attic Window Peak, hoping to find some good views.

Did we ever 🙂

We spent about as much time taking pictures as we did hiking… okay, not really but pretty darn close.  Can you blame us?

We came to one overlook that had a straight cliff going off the side, which led to me freaking out, becoming a bag of nerves, and of course insisting on a photo shoot 🙂

Sadly we forgot to pack any food, and didn’t think about the fact that we wouldn’t return until 3.  Needless to say the hike down involved some hunger, exhaustion and shaky legs.  We finally made it back to the bottom 🙂

-.5: Not actually being sure we’d found the peak and having to turn around once we’d gone far enough.

-1: Extreme hunger

-1: Weakness that came with the extreme hunger on the way down

Sadly we headed home from there, and now it’s time to recover back in the triangle for my last week before shipping out 🙂

More on the move later, and until then, just living for the tens!

North Carolina Adventures


You all know how much I love my Sunday morning climbs, usually at the Chapel Hill Community Center.  I must admit, however, that not much can beat a Sunday morning climb at Pilot Mountain when it’s 78 degrees and not a cloud in the sky….


A bit deceiving, as you can’t actually see it in this photo, however because of its awesomeness we were able to fit 5 people, a dog, a crash pad (see below), and five peoples’ worth of climbing gear (including four ropes and two full racks) into my somewhat tiny Subaru sportwagon.

You could probably fit about two people in the roof-top carrier alone…

-1 for our inability to keep all the straps tied down, frequently causing crazy sounds coming from the roof…

-1 for the gas mileage that results from that many people/that much gear into my tiny car with previously great gas mileage…


Gotta admit, I’m a big fan.  Some of his best shots… (in my opinion)


It only takes one my friends…

I’ll save the last point for when I win an award given by someone outside the framily…

Until then, just living for the tens 🙂

My Heart is Happier :)

I find my heart is just plain happier when I’m in the mountains of North Carolina.  There’s a legend that something special is buried deep below the mountains, causing visitors a feeling that can’t really be described, but can most definitely be felt.  I think it’s a feeling of a content heart.  That combined with the framily is bound to make one of the best Easters ever.  A slideshow to come shortly, but in the meantime a random assortment of ratings from the long weekend in Blowing Rock, NC.


I must say, I LOVE taking Dakota to the mountains.  He’s so good, that when I don’t have to worry about other dogs around I pretty much leave him off leash the entire time.  And he LOVES it.  Sticks right by me, but clearly loves the comparative freedom.  Plus, he’s up for anything, despite being a bit older.

Murph has also turned out to be quite the mountain dog.  While I still have to keep him on leash almost all the time (his nose is known to lead him far away at quick rates), his endurance is INSANE.  We took him on a six hour hike on Sunday to the highest peak on Grandfather mountain, and he was still pulling on the leash at the bottom.  Pretty impressive 🙂

All in all the three pups got along fabulously, minus a little humping, a little whining and some minor growling… overall a huge improvement 🙂


In the downtime between climbs/hikes, we hung out at our super chill cabin and enjoyed some delicious food.  My favorite had to be Laura’s homemade Satans Balls.  Made out of cake mix and icing, dipped in melted chocolate and then add sprinkles, they were HEAVEN.  Except for the fact that they were small and there were a lot.  Pretty sure I made myself sick off them on Saturday night.  Although that didn’t stop me from eating more for breakfast on Sunday morning…


On Sunday Scott, Laura, Mazzi, Paul and I headed out to tackle Grandfather Mountain. After a couple side stops along the way, we finally found the entrance we wanted.  We hiked as a group for awhile, and about 2.5 miles in Laura, Paul and Mazzi headed back while Scott and I went on a search for the summit.

While it ultimately took about 3 1/2 hours to get to the peak, it was TOTALLY worth it.  The highest point on Grandfather Mountain, it provided a 360 view like none I’ve seen in a LONG time.  It was incredible.

-.5 for the snow/ice we encountered at the last steep pitch.  It resulted in several almost-falls, soaking wet/freezing feet (I was wearing my five-fingers) and a soaked/freezing butt (after deciding this was the safest way to descend).  However, we made it safely!


This morning we decided to get up super early and hike to a lake about 2 miles away to check out the sunrise.  While we got a bit lost on the way there, luckily some nice folks on the Blue Ridge Parkway picked us up and brought us there.

Totally worth the early rise, both for the company and for the view.  Don’t get to see this very often…


We left Holloway Mountain with a lot to be proud of… Ben’s first time leading trad, Laura and Katie’s first outdoor ascent’s, Scott’s first climb outdoors with us, Liz’s first lead climb in the morning, and Jay, Paul, Mazzi and I looking better than ever.  Not much to complain about here 🙂

All in all another fabulous framily vacation.  Stay tuned for the movie- hopefully with audio this time!!!

Jeff & Jill Visit North Carolina!

Don’t worry, The Bachelor Finale and After the Final Rose ratings will be up by this evening.  In the meantime, I’m going to finish the post I started from this weekend when Jill & Jeff came to visit from DC!

A lot was accomplished…


Jill and Jeff arrived late Friday night, so obviously an early morning 5K was appropriate for Saturday 🙂  We were in luck as a local UNC sorority was hosting a Shamrock 5k in downtown Chapel Hill.

I was a little concerned going in, as I’ve all but given up running due to marathon knee injuries from college.  Instead I’ve taken up spinning, step aerobics, water aerobics, and general cardio at the gym.  I’m definitely in better shape, but wasn’t quite sure about running shape.  However, what I love about 5K’s is the race atmosphere which makes the time fly by.  I ran the whole thing, finishing in 28 minutes, by far my personal best ever.  I will admit though, my knee was pretty sore for about two days afterwards.

Jeff & Jill kicked butt as well, and most importantly we had an awesome time and I got to show them Chapel Hill 🙂

-1: How can you have a Shamrock 5K in February?  They need either 1) a better name, or 2) to move the date.

-1: I forgot to ask if you could bring dogs, so left Murph behind.  We showed up to dogs everywhere… how perfect would it have been to have put Murph in his new shamrock shirt and had him run along???

*Huge bonus points for the long sleeved t-shirt 🙂  All for only $15!

We spent the rest of the day Saturday walking the dogs, attempting yoga (class was postponed once we arrived at the gym) and then hitting up some delicious Torero’s downtown with an awesome friend of Jill’s from the Peace Corps.  Unfortunately no pictures were taken, but this was probably a good thing considering the amount of tears that resulted from laughter.  I suppose that’s what 6 giant glasses of Diet Coke (after not having had any for MONTHS) and good people will do…


Sunday morning I made them get up early again to head over to the Chapel Hill Community Center for a classic Sunday morning climb.  Thankfully Ben was there as well so I got to climb along with J&J.

I must say I was totally pumped with both their eagerness and bravery.  They both hopped right on and did awesome 🙂  Fun to watch.

-1: I’m still not climbing enough which leads to mental frustration every time I get tired and sore so quickly 😦


After climbing we went to breakfast, and then got prepared for Sunday afternoon spinning (at this point they began calling this ‘Boot Camp’ vacation, and I realized they may never come back).

While Jill seemed a bit nervous at first, they both came out of the class pretty pleased.  Spinning is definitely tough, and I’ll admit there’s a 10-minute period at the beginning each week where you want to die, but then you get in the groove and end up loving it.  I’m glad they felt the same way 🙂

-1 because this instructor in particular always cuts the classes short at 45 minutes rather than an hour.  If I’m gonna be there in pain I’d rather just work it out for a full hour.

Covered in sweat we left to prepare for Scott’s birthday framily dinner!

The framily came over at 7 to celebrate, and the theme this week was ‘Scott’s favorite foods’, since it’s his birthday 🙂  Included were:

  • 3 pounds of gummie bears
  • hot chocolate with marshmallows
  • hot dogs
  • hamburgers
  • mac ‘n cheese
  • funfetti cake with funfetti frosting (made by yours truly)
  • Snooky’s special delicious dessert


For a last-minute plan, this sure did come out good.  Real, homemade mac ‘n cheese.  Plus, it left me with leftovers that will hold me over until July.  +10.


You can’t go wrong with funfetti cake topped with funfetti icing.  End of story.

-1 for forgetting candles.  Although I think this use of an Ikea candle was pretty clever 🙂  It made it into more of a doughnut cake…


I knew the grandparents were stopping by North Carolina on Monday, but wasn’t expecting a call from them Sunday as they arrived a hotel about 5 minutes from me.  I convinced them to join the framily dinner, and it was nice to once again mix family and ‘framily’ 🙂


While in town Jeff introduced me to a new iPhone app I’m in love with.  It’s called ‘Words with Friends’ and is free 🙂  Essentially it’s an ongoing scrabble game that is played between two people via iPhones.  You can play quickly or over time, whenever each person has time to play.  You get a message (like a text message) every time they’ve played, and there’s even a chat option so you can trash talk.  My fave 🙂

If anyone wants to play, my username is camidh672 (meant to be camish, like everything else in my life, but I accidentally typed d and they wouldn’t let me change it 😦 )

-1 for the many cheating options that exist when you’re not playing in person…


While busy, it’s been nice to have my parents, Rodney, Kim, Jeff, Jill and my grandparents all stop by within two weeks.  I love life in North Carolina, but I love my friends and family from the north (and other parts of NC) as well, so it’s nice when the worlds collide.  That also makes it sad when they all have to leave 😦

All in all a fabulous weekend full of tens 🙂

Catching Up…

I love the excitement of almost-Christmas time 🙂

WARNING: Cheryl, do not read this post if you haven’t checked your mail recently and don’t want any Christmas surprises ruined…


It’s funny to me that I’ve spent all my time since getting Murphy, as a 5-week old puppy, teaching him to be well-behaved, and I’ve spent all my time since getting Dakota, as a 8-year old dog, teaching him to ‘misbehave’.  He came so well trained, that I’ve actually had to teach him things like entering a room without waiting for permission, climbing up on the bed, and now climbing up on the couch.  When not encouraged, he just lays around and follows me.

Climbing up on the couch has become his new ‘trick’, and I kinda love it.  Nothings cuter than an 80 pound dog somehow trying to figure out how to curl up his body so it all fits.  And due to the softness of my couch, he just sinks right in and looks like he’s in heaven.  Now I can cuddle with him while doing work, and am entertained by Murph’s attempts to claim his territory.

-1 because I still haven’t figured out a way to get both Murph and Kota to cuddle on the couch at the same time…


I often complain about only receiving bills and coupons in my mailbox (not that I don’t enjoy, and use, the coupons, but it lacks that personal touch I’m looking for in my mail), but Friday was a definite exception.

All in one day I received two (that’s right, not one but TWO) paychecks from Teacher U, a $100 gift card for life from my Aunt (turns out Visa makes gift cards that can be used anywhere that accepts Visa), and some holiday towels from my Grandma to help bring festive cheer to my apartment.

I have zero complaints about my full mailbox, and all its exciting contents 🙂  In fact, it may have been the highlight of my day.

Thursday night (after all the excitement from the mail) I headed to one of my very first Thursday night climbs at the Chapel Hill Community Center.  This semester I had Thursday night classes, making it impossible to ever hit the CC on a weekday.  Excitedly remembered that now I could!

For whatever reason the actual climbing was less than stellar, and I got seriously pumped out pretty quick.  Not entirely sure why which made it even more frustrating.  BUT, Scott got belay certified, and Jay’s roommate Tim showed up for the first time, also getting belay certified.  It’s always exciting to see new faces, and to have new folks who are able to belay 🙂


After that we headed to Carrburito’s, a pretty popular burrito joint in Carrboro.  While many, many people speak very highly of it, unfortunately I didn’t have the greatest experience the first time I went.  I’ve blamed it on burrito choice, and have been meaning to return.  This time I choose completely differently, opting out of the burrito options in general.  This time I got spicy, cold soft fish tacos, with tomatos and lettuce on the side.  I tried the fruit salsa, and  stole a couple of their delicious flour tortilla chips to go with it.  Overall I would highly recommend this choice.

Not nearly as overwhelming as a burrito, it was the perfect amount of food.  -1 for the lack of warmth (when I eat Mexican there’s something disappointing when its cold) and -1 for the lack of sliced avacados to go with it.

After Carrburitos it was obviously time to head to karaoke at Bub’s.  We’ve recently discovered some new karaoke locations in the triangle, and are flirting with the idea of a karaoke tour…stay tuned for when the adventure will begin.


At first I didn’t notice it, but about 15 minutes in I turned around to see a pretty incredible Christmas tree at Bub’s.  Covered in empty beer can ornaments (for a local dive like Bub’s, this is more than appropriate), it was pretty classy.  Smelled delicious (oh how rare real trees are these days), and added some Christmas spirit to the place.

-1- the variety of beers represented could have been greater.  Maybe one from Pennsylvania perhaps…


The Christmas spirit brought by the tree was so powerful, we decided to start off with a Bobbasheely Framily christmas carol.  We went with ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, as it could easily be divided among four people, and most people know the words to sing along.

Much to our disappointment, the crowd was NOT feeling it.  Probably didn’t help that the DJ introduced us with a ‘bah humbug’.  No singalongs, and in fact I noticed many people turning their backs.  Not the response I’m used to when karaoking, and I must admit it was not fun (the response that is- I still had a pretty good time with the singing).


Lucky for us, Snooky and I had already put our request in for our famous duet, Total Eclipse of the Heart.  We figured we couldn’t waste another opportunity to practice, plus the fact that the crowd clearly needed to know we could do better.

We’re getting better at dividing the song appropriately, and tonight was a good night for us performing.  It felt good, obviously sounded impeccable, and more importantly, the crowd enjoyed it.  Some biker dudes behind us even started swaying to the slow parts and high-fiving mid-song.  I’d say it was a big success.

-1- we’re still working on our coordination and even division of the song.  Luckily there will be many more opportunities to practice 🙂  In fact, I wonder if Harrisburg has any karaoke going on while I’m home… Until then, just living for the tens!

Awesome Climbing Quotes

Thanks to Claud, I’ve been pretty distracted the past day reading through a website full of awesome quotes about climbing.  Lucky for you, I’ve weeded out the best 🙂

“What an odd sport we inhabit, where bits of obscure rock in remote locations are recognizeable.”    — Richard Pawlowicz.

“Getting out of this required a 5.11 Beached Whale move combined with a Bloody Scream, something they never teach in the gym.”    — Lord Slime.

“That was amazing ! Five lead changes to climb 40 feet of rock ! How can they say this route doesn’t look good ? This was MORE than a route — this was an EXPERIENCE !”    — Larry D.

“The best climber in the world is the one who’s having the most fun.”    Alex Lowe.

“I’ve climbed with some of the best climbers in the world, more importantly, to me, they are some of the best people in the world. That’s another reason why I climb.”    Jim Wickwire.

“Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”    Doug Lawson.

“Yoga is a system, scientifically proven to boost your climbing ability significantly. Why do you think you always see that Guru figure sitting on the top of the mountain? You think he/she got there by enlightenment ?”    — Lg.

“How do you distinguish between being off-route and putting up a first ascent ?”    — Bruce Bindner.

“I climb as hard as anyone on earth. I just do it on easier routes.”    — Mad Dog.

“In fact, I think you should add your body fat to the rating of the climb, to get a true measure of your inner climber. So climbing a 5.7 with 22% body fat is way harder than climbing a 5.14 with 3% body fat.”    — Mike Yukish.

“In fact, I think you should add your body fat to the rating of the climb, to get a true measure of your inner climber. So climbing a 5.7 with 22% body fat is way harder than climbing a 5.14 with 3% body fat.”    — Mike Yukish.

Check ’em out for yourself here.