Posts filed under ‘Kipp E’

Cookie Decorating 2008

As I’ve mentioned in previous years, my family has a tradition of making and decorating Christmas cookies the day after Thanksgiving. This year may have been the year my mother has been waiting for. Instead of bloody amputees, BEOTCH Christmas trees or the army of butts we saw in 2007, we actually had an impressive inventory of “nice” cookies. Pretty butterflies, unicorns and ice cream cone cookies outnumbered the typical designs.

This year’s cookies featured butterflies instead of butts!

More pleasantly themed cookies

But, of course, we did have some unique appearances sneak in- DNA, Hydrogen Atoms, geek bunnies, monsters and a Kurt Cobain Cookie.

Monster Bunny, DNA, Hydrogen Atom

Kurt Cobain Cookie– with cigarette!

I tried to make an AT Logo and an American Chestnut Leaf, but both of those ventures didn’t come out well, particular the leaf. When it cooked, the cookie expanded and all my great American Chestnut teeth plumped up and rounded out.  So after the oven had its way, I was left with a Chestnut Oak Leaf instead.

Meh. An attempt at an AT Christmas Cookie

2008 was one of our more heavily attended cookie decoratings. This year we had Aaron, Meagan, Jay, Jacqueline, Mom, myself, Carolyn, Ryan Somma, Kipp, Stacy, Louise, Jenn (the bridesmaid I got to escort!), Christina and I think our youngest attendee to date– Oliver!

Stacy, Christina and Louise cut cookies

Meagan, Ryan, Mom, Me, Christina, Stacy, Louise (Photo by ae) – Note if you look at the large version, you can see I have icing on my face!

Louise, Stacy, Kipp decorating cookies

My brother prepares to decorate…by wearing latex gloves!

The youngest attendee – Oliver (shortly before Sunny stole his cookie)

As always, I enjoyed our annual cookie decorating event and I particularly enjoyed ingesting our lovely handiwork.

Additional Pictures
My Cookie Decorating Pictures
Aaron’s Cookie Decorating Pictures

December 7, 2008 at 8:28 pm 4 comments

Skiing Synopsis

Quick synopsis of the rest of our ski trip.

Kipp was sore, so we spent the day at Sylvan Lake State Park near Eagle.  We took a picture of a frozen lake.  We spent some time hunting for fossils in sandstone and we went for a very muddy hike on McKenzie Gulch Trail.  I may elaborate once Kipp uploads the rest of his pictures.  Afterwards, we ate at Moe’s Original Bar-B-Que in Eagle.  That stuff was delicious and we ran across a very pleasant surprise:

Fuck yeah!

I was in the middle of ordering my smoked turkey breast when Kipp yelled across the restaurant, “Vicky, they have sweet tea!!!”  I was quite pleased.

After that, we drove home and Kipp captured this little gem:

Perhaps I should have gotten that rental car insurance afterall.

Wednesday was the day I fell on my head.  Visibility was quite poor that day and I struggled overall.  Kipp got a couple of shots that showed what we were up against:

Stacy on the left and declining visibility on the right.

Stacy and Vicky on the lift and obscured trees in the background

Thursday was freaking awesome!  There was all this fresh powder on the mountain.  At first I found it to be a struggle, but then I LOVED it.  I never fell, but I sure had many less-than-graceful close calls.  Stacy wasn’t as lucky. 

Journal except on how deep the powder was:

…The powder took Stacy offguard and he lost a ski.  The snow was so deep– that the missing ski was no longer visible!  It was buried under the inches of powder.  Luckily Stacy knew where it dislodged and retrieved it.

Kipp and I both come from organizations that focus on process improvement.  As such, our crew realized we might not be so lucky spotting a missing ski next time.

“We’ll have to watch each other,” Kipp said, “So if there is a wipeout, we can see where the skis fall off.”

It was a very good idea.  Then Kipp followed it up with a poor calculation.

“I’ll go last,” Kipp said, “Since I’m the least likely to fall.”

Journal excerpt showing how lucky I am to have forgiving friends:

[Stacy] fell three times in succession and the third time, despite my best efforts, I started laughing.

“I’m so sorry, Stacy!” I choked between chuckles, “I’m so sorry I’m laughing.  Are you mad?”

“I’m mad,” Stacy confessed as he clicked a boot back into its bindings, “but not at you.”


Kipp had his own difficulties later that day.  He lost a ski and even though he was able successfully find it in the snow– he couldn’t get it on.  After a 30 minute ado (which did include some skis being hurled out of frustration), he was finally able to get it back on after the large cake of ice was removed from his boot.

Thursday also marks the very first time I took a support call on Vail Mountain.  I got called outside of Two Elks Lodge after lunch.  In case you are curious, it was a DSN issue.

Software Support at Two Elks Lodge

Finally Thursday night, I got to visit with my cousin Allison!  Her babysitter, Liz, drove her all the way down from Boulder to Vail to eat supper with me.  Later that evening we watched watched a movie.  It was very nice of them to come and see me while I was in town.

Friday the skiing was pretty nice, but the main goal of the day was to go snowshoeing!  We originally aimed to do that on Tuesday, but did not get back in time from Sylvan Lake.  Then we decided to do it Friday morning… but a surprise Gondola closing thwarted that.  The third time is a charm.  We were able to ski in the morning and successfully make the Friday afternoon hike!  

Friday brought all three of us two new experiences:

1) Hiking with snowshoes on our feet
2) Skiing with shoes tied around our necks. 

I love my Asolo hiking boots and the memories I have had with them makes them very sentimental objects.  HOWEVER, that added love did not make me enjoy the sensation of descending a slope with them flopping around my belly.  It was worth it though.  I loved snowshoeing!

I was worried Stacy and Kipp would not enjoy our snowshoe trip that much and that they were just humoring me.  That worry disappeared the second I saw our tour guide.  She was pretty.  She was blond.  She was charismatic.  I knew I was set.  🙂

A stranger from the Bahamas, Stacy and Me on the snowshoe hike!

Kipp rests on the snowshoe hike

Memorable Songs
We had a few songs of note this trip:

1) Sandwiches

Sandwiches are beautiful.  Sandwiches are fine.
I like sandwiches.  I eat them all the time.
I eat them for my breakfast.  I eat them for my lunch.
If I had a 100 sandwiches, I’d eat them all at once!

Kipp taught us that chant in the mornings when we made our “saving money” sandwiches.

2) This is Why I’m Hot

I’m hot ’cause I’m fly.  You ain’t ’cause you’re not.

Stacy and Kipp were not familiar with this song.  Yet, they could still appreciate the deepness of Mims’ philosophic mind.  It was quoted a couple of times during the trip.

3) Born Free

Boooooorrrrn Freeeeeee.  Blah blah blah blah. Blah– Blah.  Blah.

There was a slope called “Born Free” which often prompted this song.  Unfortunately we only knew two words.  “Born” and “Free”.

“One day, we’ll have to look up the rest of the words,” Stacy said.

4) Snore Symphony

The first two nights, Mike and I shared a bed.  Kipp dubbed it the “Snore Bed”.  He said it was like a symphony.  First I would be going, then Mike would join in.  We’d harmonize together then I would fade out and Mike would have a solo. 

Luckily for Kipp and Stacy, I’m told there weren’t many encore performances.

Picture Frenzy!
Kipp’s Pictures on Flickr
Stacy’s Pictures on Flickr
My Pictures on Flickr (Mostly stolen from Kipp and Stacy!)

Related Blogs
Stacy’s Blog
Mike’s Blog

April 1, 2007 at 10:11 pm 2 comments

Greetings From Vail

Greetings from Vail, Colorado!

Transition from Spring to Winter
On Saturday afternoon, I took the dogs for a nice spring hike in Virginia.  We had wonderful warm weather and lots of sunshine.  On the drive back, I passed a house where a little girl was taking down a decorative snowman from her front porch.  Spring was definitely in the air…. and here I was leaving for a winter vacation the very next morning!

Thanks to my insistence to hike with the dogs on my last day home, I put myself in a frenzied situation where I was packing and preparing until 1 AM Saturday night.  That’s all fine and good except I needed to leave at 4:30 AM Sunday morning to get to Greensboro in time for my flight!  Needless to day, Sunday was a tiring day.  But all in all with such little sleep, every leg of the journey went by exceedingly smoothly.  Even my wee hour drive to Greensboro got kicked off with a bang.  As soon as I turned on the car, James Blunt’s “Your Beautiful” came on the radio. 

That song always reminds me of skiing!  Last year, Carolyn and I were skiing a sparse weekday at Snowshoe and that song was playing at one of the lift loading stations.  I was fond of that song already, but it was so much better as Carolyn and I ascended up the mountain and listened to it slowly fade away under the whir of the lift and the silence of the fresh mountain snow.  With that one song on my car radio, I was suddenly in the mood for winter again. 🙂

First Ski Day
Yesterday was my first day on the slopes.  Our crew currently includes Kipp, Stacy, Mike Newman, myself, Paul (Kipp’s brother) and Sarah (Kipp’s brother’s girlfriend).  At first, I thought, “This isn’t that much different than the east coast”, but then as our adventure progressed the views got exponentially more beautiful.  Sometimes, it felt like I was in a movie, all the scenery just did not seem real.  Riding up the chair lifts is a whole different experience because you have so much to look at.  And sometimes, a flat section was a bonus because you could afford to absorb the views (and rest your weary legs).

Last night, we had a wonder dinner at Ti Amo in West Vail/Avon.  It was expensive like all our meals here, but it was well worth the extra expense.  It was far above the caliber of the $5 bottle of Gatorade I had at the Two Elks Lodge.  🙂  I had a pasta entree that featured jumbo shrimp, garlic, mushrooms, a cream sauce (not cheese!) and sun-dried tomatos.  Very good.

We’ve had some casualties so far– Kipp sprained his thumb.  Stacy got sunburn and Kipp got a nice extended snow burn on his back.  Nonetheless, everyone is still having great fun. 

My new cell phone camera proved to be useful yesterday.  I took some pictures from the slopes and thanks to Flickr’s upload capability, I was able to upload them live from the slopes.  Here are a couples of pictures:

Mike Newman, Me (in my Rocky Mountain National Park shirt), Stacy

More of our Vail pictures are available on my Flickr site

March 27, 2007 at 12:25 pm 2 comments

Spring Plans – Skiing

I do more in the Spring than just Lent and a birthday hike (FYI cheese fast commences tomorrow).  Yesterday, I finalized my travel arrangements for a trip to Vail at the end of March (3/24 – 3/31).  My partners in crime are Stacy and Kipp.  I’m very excited about this trip.  If you are going to be in the area and want to join us for a day of skiing or would like to meet up for a meal, let me know.

This will be my first time skiing outside of the east coast.  I’m told once I experience skiing in the west, I’ll hate skiing in the east.  Sounds valid.  Though, people did tell me the same thing about hiking. 

“Once you see the Rockies,” someone told me before my July Colorado trip, “You’ll realize our mountains are shit.” 

I did not find that to be the case at all.  Granted I only have a sample size of one Rocky Mountain hike.  It was an awesome hike and I absolutely loved my time there, but it’s the Appalachians that are still home to my heart.  The Rockies are grand in size–  but we have such diversity here in regards to vegetation, canopy and topography.  And when I’m on the Appalachians, I feel much more connected with the history and spirit of the mountains. 

Of course with skiing, the point isn’t the vegetation.  The point is long, beautiful, white slopes.  So with skiing, the east coast mountains are certainly going to be hard pressed to beat the Vail experience.  Actually, they probably don’t stand chance. 

I’ll find out for myself next month!

February 20, 2007 at 3:29 pm 1 comment

Previous Post Updates

Today I have two updates to previous posts:

Sentimental Text Messages
Dang, I had good timing with this post.  Last night my phone died.  The display would only display white.  I could still place calls and hear the other party, but I could not receive calls or do anything that required the display– which includes my beloved text messaging.  Luckily, I was eligible for my two year phone upgrade so I went ahead and got an LG enV.  Although Verizon was able to transfer my contacts, my saved messages and my pictures were lost.  No big loss– my favorites were already documented on my blog.  🙂

Thank Goodness I’m With the Puparazzi
After nearly four months, Kipp uploaded his pictures from our Smoky Mountain National Park trip.  And looky here, guess what shirt I’m wearing!

Vicky in Great Smoky Mountain National Park (with old cell phone!)

But, of course–  The Rocky Mountain National Park shirt, I wear everywhere else!  I remember thinking I was ever so clever packing a Rocky Mountain National Park shirt to wear in an entirely different National Park.   Anyway, all of Kipp’s Smokies pictures are available on his Flickr site.

P.S.  I just realized that I’m wearing that same shirt right now!  I think it is pretty safe at this point to declare it as one of my favorites.

February 13, 2007 at 12:00 am 1 comment

Great Smokey Mountains: Quick Recap

This weekend, I traveled to Great Smokey Mountain National Park with Soleless Red and Spit McCoy (aka Kipp and Mike).  We have just started to scratch the surface with all the pictures from this trip, but here is a quick recap (not proofread):

A Tale of Two Blue Cranes
On Friday, we got stuck in hideous traffic in Pigeon Forge.  We were driving in two cars which quickly got seperated in all the traffic and confusion.  At one point, we were coordinating on cells phones trying to figure out who was where. 

“What do you see?” Mike asked. 

Kipp described a neon blue crane that was spinning around.

“Oh you’re behind us,” Mike said, “We passed that a while ago.”

It was a reasonable conclusion– I think most cities would be able to sustain just one glowing blue crane business.  But not in Pigeon Forge– it apparently needed TWO such neon structures.  It turns out Kipp was ahead of us…at the blue crane we had yet to see.

I was also amused that Pigeon Forge had a Jamboree, a Jubilee and a Hoe Down all within the same city block.

Rainbow Falls
On Saturday, we woke up at 5:30 AM and headed out to hit the trails!  It was still dark when we were filling out the registration at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.  We parked Kipp’s car up at Newfound Gap and then drove back down to the Rainbow Falls Trailhead.  We loaded up all our backpacking gear and I got to do my very first hike with a full pack (special thanks for Carolyn who lent me her pack!). 

Sometimes carrying two retractable leashes and the water for myself and two dogs feels heavy– but it certainly did not compare to my pack on Saturday!  I had some difficulty putting the pack on by myself and often after a break, I needed my companions to assist loading me back up.  I read once about an experiment where scientists put a crab inside a clear jar in an octopus’s tank and they would time how long it took the octopus to figure out how to unscrew the lid of the jar to get to the crab.  I believe part of the experiment was they let the subject octopus watch another octopus figure out how to get the crab.  The subject octopus then immediately knew what it needed to do when it was presented with the same problem.  The octopus’s ability to learn through example was not lost through evolution.  During one of our breaks, I noticed Mike unloaded his pack on a tall rock.  When it was time to suit back up for action, he merely sat down on the rock, snapped on all the buckles and stood back up.  I started using that technique and suddenly I was empowered to get my pack on without assistance.

Kipp help me find my way around the pack as well.  At first, I found myself with quick a bit of sensation in my shoulders.  Kipp did some targeted strap yanking– he loosened my shoulder straps and tightened the waist.  That simple gesture shifted more of the weight to my hips which I found vastly more comfortable.

The first mile was not the steepest, but it was the most difficult for me and during that difficult period– I did have my hiking doubts that I would make the trek (Refer to “People Get Held Back by the Voices Inside Them“).  However, after that first mile, I think I adjusted to the extra weight or perhaps just built up a little bit of confidence.  From there on, it was smooth sailing.

Well, smooth sailing for me.  Poor Mike had thought he had just gotten over a cold, but discovered that the illness had returned in full force.   By the time we reached Rainbow Falls, it was apparent the cold was having an effect.  We were able to travel an estimated 1.5 miles further, before Mike had to Summon the Strength to Wuss Out.  The decision was difficult, but in the end, our group definitely made the right call.  After carrying heavy packs 4 miles and up a 2000 foot ascent, we turned back and returned to the car.

It was still a wonderful outing with great fall views and an amazing collection of mushrooms!

Soleless Red and Black Bears
Turning back had some fringe benefits.  On our way down, the sole of Kipp’s right shoe came off.  We tried securing it back on with rope– but alas, that sole wanted nothing to do with Kipp.  As a result, he descended the rest of the trail with significantly more awareness of the rocks on the trail.

Then when we were driving back to Gatlinburg, we came across a mini traffic jam on Cherokee Orchard Road.  Ultimately it was rubberneckers– but it was rubberneckers I can forgive— they were looking at a female black bear and her cub in a tree!  Our crew pulled over and I was able to see my very first live black bear (I saw a dead one with Meredith near Wind Rocks)!  I was extremely surprised at how high the two bears were and even more surprised at how at ease they were at that height.  The mother balanced on a branch to go to sleep, not at all concerned about the likes of gravity.  Soon it was brought to our attention that there were three more black bears on the ground.  I took a look and, man, there was a HUGE one out there.  I was under the impression that black bears looked like big dogs.  This one was no dog.  He was huge.  I’d prefer to not run into him when hiking alone.

Mike’s Picture of Bear on Flickr

Finally, we took our time returning to Kipp’s car and enjoyed a lot of the overlook pulloffs.  Marion’s Overlook was especially beautiful.  Looking at the valley below, the scenery didn’t even seem real.  “It feels like a painting,” Kipp said.

Appalachian Trail!
In preparation for the trip, I printed out a copy of the Smokey’s Trip Planner.  I marked a few waterfalls and in the margin of the “Favorite Destinations” page underneath “Clingman’s Dome”, I scrawled the notation “Pic by Sign”.  I was referring to the Appalachian Trail– which weaves 70 miles through the park and skirts the North Carolina-Tennesee Border.  After all the AT mileage Mike and I have done in Virginia, I wanted a picture of us at the AT in a different state.   Welp, we were able to fulfill that desire when we dropped Kipp off at Newfound Gap!

Clingman’s Dome
After dropping Kipp off, Mike and I headed off to Clingman’s Dome.  It is the highest point in Tennesee AND it is the highest point in the Appalachian Trail.  Mike and I were extremely lucky– we got to enjoy great views and we got to see first hand how quickly the Smokey’s namesake rolls in.  It was amazing to look up and see how quickly the fog moved. 


In my post last week I talked the importance of timing in pictures.  That message will be 100% reinforced by our Smokey pictures.  At one point, I was about to take a picture of a splendid view, but found myself out of batteries.  No problem– I had two in my pocket.  BUT– by the time I switched out the batteries and pulled the camera up again, fog already completely obscured the view.  Once we get all our pictures coordinated, Mike and I should have some good ones demonstrating the huge difference just a couple of seconds make way up on top of Ole Smokey.

On our way up, I overheard our youngest generation marvel at the fog.  A very young boy coming down the path, told his parents, “We was in the clouds!” 

Chimney Tops
This morning, Mike and I took a short but steep hike up to Chimney Tops.  It was an awesome hike with a great rock formation you can climb up for a view.  Mike made it to the top of the rocks very easily.  I struggled though–  It took me three tries to find a viable route to get up to the top.  How did I finally find the way?  Just like the octopus and the crab and my backpack loading lesson– I learned by copying.  I copied the route of a family of three!  The view at the top was awesome.  On one side we could see a clear sky and fall colors and on the other side we could see fog.  Our final hike in the Smokey’s was a great summary of the trip– fall colors and fog.

Impressions of Gatlinburg
Don’t get me wrong, I do think Gatlinburg is picturesque.  But my overall impression is damaged significantly by the parking and traffic situation.  Quite simply– it’s horrible.  It is difficult to admire the quaintness of a mountain city, when you’re constantly on the lookout for a barrage of pedestrains and lit brakelights… or when you are trying to plan your route three steps ahead to make sure you can make the turn you need to make or actually find a parking spot.

Mike and I counted at least 8 seperate businesses that focused on Old Time Photos– five of which concentrated within a couple of blocks.  Often there were two such businesses right across the street from each other (very much like Lewis Black’s “Starbucks across the street from a Starbuck’s” bit), or just a couple of doors from each other!  I was surprised by Pigeon Forge’s two blue cranes, but seriously can there really be that much demand for fake western photos?!?!

How about getting rid of one or two of those establishments and putting in…actual parking.  Call me crazy, but people who are coming to the mountains to “rough it” can probably make due with just six Old Time Photo venues.

October 8, 2006 at 11:45 pm 2 comments

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