Take a Hike

I have many hobbies. Most of them I have cultivated as a means to keep myself entertained in the middle of the night. I have been a night nurse for at least a decade now. I’m usually more active at night than I am in the daytime. Unfortunately, the rest of the normal world is not. Business hours for normal people equates to sleep time for me. In other words, not a whole lot of brick and mortar stores are open during MY waking hours. Therefore, I don’t have a lot of places to go and things to do when I’m awake at night.

Most of my hobbies, then, involve being indoors: scrapbooking, making cards, knitting, crocheting, sewing, making bead jewelry. If you notice, these are activities that, depending on the tools being used, produce as little noise as possible. My cohabitants do not share my circadian rhythm so I need to be as quiet as I can. If I had to do something that would involve making a racket, I usually do those during the early evening or after breakfast time. Notice, too, that these are indoor activities (not including occasional trips to the craft store for supplies). That being said, I don’t go out much, if at all.

All this changed in March of this year. One of my co workers is an avid hiker. She goes traipsing about up and down mountains and hills at least every week. She loves the outdoors and considers it part of her weekly routine. Whenever she has her several nights off in a row, she goes backpacking alone or with friends. At one point, she invited me to come along with her. She took me on an 8-mile out and back hike up to Annette Lake in the North Bend area of the I-90 corridor. I had bought a pair of hiking shoes on a whim a few weeks prior and was excitedly telling her about it at work one night, which eventually led to this invitation. It was the first time in my whole entire life that I have ever gone hiking. My newbie legs were pushed to their limits despite using a pair of loaner trekking poles. I trudged through slippery snow, looking down the slope below me and trying my best not to let my knees turn to jello. You see, I’m afraid of heights. I had visions of me slipping off the frosted slopes and tumbling down to my miserable and painful end. When we reached the lake, I was so impressed by all the nature around me that I did not even notice my aching calves and my sore feet. It was an experience worth remembering. I had a sense of peace and a newer appreciation of the world around me that I carried with me all the way back down to the trail head, and even as I drove home through afternoon traffic afterwards. I have to say, on March 17, 2015 at a summit lake named Annette, a monster was born.

Ever since that day, I yearned to be out more. I began looking up hiking groups to go venturing with. I even tried to recruit my husband to go with me. I’ve gone on a few hikes since then, although not as many as I would have liked. I still check out trails on the wta.org website and make plans for when I’m off for a few days. I’ve even gone up and successfully reached the summit of Mt. Si on my third hike ever. It took me the better part of the late morning and the rest of the afternoon to get up there and back but considering I was (and still is) quite the nature noob, I think that earned me bragging rights to some degree. I’m planning on going up there every year from now on. I have even added a new item on my bucket list: to summit Mt. Rainier before I hit the big four-oh. Right now, I’m slowly amassing gear and nurturing a motivation to get out there and conquer mountains.

So I guess you can add that to my growing list of hobbies. At least I will have one that involves being outside. Even if it’s past my “normal” bedtime.

Diving Headfirst into Programming

As you have probably garnered from exploring my little webdigs, I’m trying my hand at computer programming. For now, it’s mainly designing web pages and learning how to make my page more automated and interactive. On my main page, I’m still trying to figure out how to make the 3 most recent blog posts autopopulate the “blog” section. I figured I would need some knowledge of php and MySQL to do this. I found this book called “Head First PHP & MySQL” published by Oreilly.

This would be the third Head First book I have read so far. I like how they present the content in a fun, “learn as you follow along” way. I enjoy following along with the examples and the feeling of achievement when the examples I follow actually work. And if things don’t go the way they should, I get to look back, compare with the correct code, and see what I did wrong. Somehow, this makes it easier for me to figure out how and why things work.

Anyway, so far, I have a few ideas on how I can make my “blog” section autopopulate. For those who are waaaaay ahead of me in programming skills, go ahead and roll your eyes and call me noob. Just don’t tell me how to do it. I really want to learn to write proper code and do it myself. If all else fails, there’s always the stackoverflow forums and my butt-kicking big brother who speaks several computer languages AND could probably program circles around most of you guys. With these resources in my tool belt, I’m sure I can get this figured out in no time. Until then, wish me luck.

 

PS: I’m doing a little database expirement as part of the exercises in the Head First book. It involves a fictional guy (Owen) looking for his fictional dog (Fang) who apparently got kidnapped by aliens. Play along with me so I can populate my database. click here. If the page is gone, that means I have completed the exercise and have deleted the page from my server. Thanks!!!