Starting to Sport Climb

Today Sarah and I drove to a canyon on lower Mt. Lemmon. We parked and hiked up the dry wash to a wall with a dozen or so sport climbing routes. Sport routes have anchors bolted into the rock from start to finish. These anchors are spaced a few body lengths apart. It's like Trad climbing without having to place your own protection. It's a great way to get to more and more routes once you've top-roped enough.
The leader starts up the pitch and clips in to each bolt as they go upward. At the top of the pitch the leader clips into the top anchors and is lowered or rappels back to the ground.
We climbed two routes, a 5.7 and a 5.8. They were both my first sport leads. The rock was awesome, very good texture, and great juggy holds! Perfect for a first lead! We played around with variations on both routes and had a great day.
Hairpin Turn

I'm Not The Only One Cooking!

Sarah has been busy in the kitchen as well. Here are a few of her creations that may have you drooling.

These crepes were inspired by our Stonewall Kitchen gift card.

On the sweet side she made banana & walnut with yogurt, as well as lemon curd with berries. As for savory we had steak, tomato & mozzarella with a fig & vidalia sauce.

Here is the master granola maker swift at work!

Look at that texture! mmmm...

Finally another sushi night complete with miso soup and inside out rolls with Masago (fish roe).

Any requests?

We've Been Making Food... Shocking? Not So Much!

First may I present Gravlax!

I am quite satisfied with the results of my first trial. With some cream cheese, capers, & red onion on a poppyseed bagel it was delicious!

Next is my second attempt at Mozzarella. It's a better "mozz" than the first attempt, but still needs refining...

Finally, the masterpiece! I have been yearning to make soft pretzels for a long time, and they turned out delicious.

Notice the golden brown color and salt crystal texture. Hungry?

But wait! It gets better! This may appeal to the Rochesterian readers more than others, but I'm sure most red-blooded Americans are down with the "Pretzel Dog". Why, you ask, would this appeal to those folks from Western NY? Because I made White-Hot Pretzel Dogs!!! They were YUMMY!

Yes, that is spicy brown mustard accompanying :)

Christmas in San Diego

Over the holidays I was able to meet Mom, Peggy and my sister, Elka, in San Diego! It was so great to spend some quality family time for the weekend. We mostly walked around outside (Mom and Peggy were loving being outside in the 70 degree weather) and checked out different restaurants in areas like Balboa Park, Elka's neighborhood, Hillcrest, bay area, and the Gaslamp District. On Monday, I flew back to Tucson with Mom and Peggy to meet Paul! It was great to have them get to see our apartment, the area in Tucson that we're in and the JCC. One morning Mom and Peggy came into my class to meet my kiddies and tell them the story of when God called Samuel (when he was a young child). The kids loved it - and so did Mom and Peggy. We also got to take Mom and Peggy to our favorite Mexican place for dinner, Guadalajara Grill, with the table-side salsa and mariachi band.

Christmas in Rochester

I was home in Rochester for a leisurely 10 days. It was almost shortened to 9 when our pilot announced that we couldn't quite land yet (we were already 10 min late) as a plane slid off the ice-covered runway just two planes ahead of us. He flew us back west to Buffalo to refuel and wait for the ground crew to pull the stuck plane from a snow bank. You gotta love winter in the Northeast! On board I was preparing myself for the transition to harsh cold while the guy sitting next to me (coming from Fairbanks, Alaska) was preparing for warmer weather :)
I had a lot of fun seeing my family and friends. We ate well, of course. We stayed warm, even while cheering the Bills on at Ralph Wilson, or getting out to take a hike. Even though I was home a whole 10 days, the time flew by. Did I mention that I also ate waaaay too many cookies?! I doubt I'm the only one who rationalizes that behavior with the logic "I better get while the getting is GOOD!"
Sitting here basking in the warmth of the Southwestern winter sun (I know! It's warm even in January!) I can't really say that I miss Northeastern winters too terribly much, but I do really miss all of you!
Christmas Time