Friday, December 3, 2010

2010 3-day Walk

Another amazing journey is complete! I was just reading my post from last year and realized that, although much of the trip was similar, this year was new and different in many ways. Which makes it all worth it in the end.

Rather that recap, day by day, I thought I would just give some highlights and point out what makes doing this walk so special to me......

1. Team Safe at Second: Each member of the team is special to me. They all have the ability to make me laugh and to keep the conversation going when I have run out of words. We had eight members this year, seven of us were able to walk. As a team we raised close to $21,ooo this year.

2. Happy People: This year was more difficult than last year because we were caught in a rare San Diego storm. Saturday was tough, but everywhere you looked there were people smiling, cheering, encouraging you. There are "walker stalkers" that spend the weekend moving from place to place along the route to cheer you on. You can't help but feel good, even when it's wet and your feet hurt.

3. Pink Everywhere: From clothes, to shoes, to hats, to bras, to tent, and even to dogs, their is a sea of pink everywhere you go on the walk. The sights along the walk are funny and amusing and you hear or see every reference to breasts that there is.

4. From tears to laughter: Saturday night we visited the survivor tent, where white tents are set up from the various walks that have been done during the year, all signed by walkers in memory of those that have lost the fight. Inside the big tent there are pictures of recent passings and what hit me this year is that many of these women were close to my age, some even younger. It's a time of reflection for why we do the walk and it's always good for a cry. But we manage to follow it up with an evening of dancing. Even with sore feet and legs it is so fun to get out and laugh and dance with everyone and celebrate the life that we have.

5. Seizing the moment: I discovered last year that the walk is all about living life to the fullest and seizing the moment, which includes taking pictures with the police that ride their bikes all weekend, taking an occasional shot of tequila that is offered along the streets and maybe even stopping in a bar before closing ceremonies to take the edge off of our weary feet....or something like that.

Now, I tried to narrow down the pictures so they don't go on forever, but I hope you enjoy taking a peek into what the weekend looked like to me. If you really want a good view though, you'll have to join the team....we are always looking for new recruits for next year.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Our Dodger Dog

It was August of 1997. Two newlyweds were headed to Durham, CA to "look" at some Chocolate lab puppies. Immediately upon seeing the pups we knew we weren't just looking. We named her Dodger after the LA Dodgers that Garrett so loved and was missing by living in Northern California. She was my first dog ever. We brought her home, carrying her on my lap as we drove, first to the pet store, and then to our house. That first night was rough because we were going to be tough and not let our dog sleep with us, so we put her in the bathroom where she cried. Then we put her outside where she cried more. Eventually she ended up in our room....

Dodger has been through everything with us. She loved playing in the creek in Chico, where she would drink so much water her stomach would be bloated. She became my running companion. She moved with us to Ventura, where she loved chasing seagulls on the beach. She would dig and bark in the sand and even found fish and dead seals to roll on, bringing home a lovely stench. She moved with us again to Bakersfield, where she ran around our big back yard and played in the water with Kevin. Finally she moved to Santa Clarita, where she began to show signs of aging with graying fur and a slight limp. She continued to accompany me on long runs though and became a hiking partner.

Today we had to say good-bye to our Dodger Dog. She had been steadily loosing weight and slowing down more and more. With the results from her blood tests telling us the her kidneys were failing, we knew it was time. I never thought it would be so hard saying good-bye to a dog, but it was very difficult.

We've spent today thinking of memories, Garrett sharing most of them with me and the boys. We found these pictures that show how our puppy grew up over the years.....


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Ventura County Fair

The boys and I wanted something fun to do before school started again. I heard that the fair was happening in Ventura so we headed over. The boys surprised me, especially Kevin, by wanting to go on all of the fastest rides. It was wristband day so they both got one, which let them ride unlimited rides. I told them ahead of time that they would have to go together because I was not going on those rides! They had a blast and went on many, many rides. Even more surprising was the fact that neither of them got sick! Zach did ask to take a little rest in between rides at one time, but that didn't last long. I had just been talking about how Kevin is my more cautious boy, but he couldn't find a ride that was too scary for him that day. If we didn't have to be back for cub scouts they would have stayed all night!

Any ride they were tall enough for, they went on.

The haunted house. Kevin said he kept his eyes closed the whole time.
They also enjoyed playing with these old wooden toys for almost an hour!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mt. Whitney Take 2

Coming off the mountain last year I was thinking that I wouldn't want to hike Mt. Whitney again. Approximately 2 days later I had changed my mind and decided, of course I would! Call me crazy, but there is something about starting off the day in the dark, hiking for 2 hours before the sun even comes up, and getting to view the gorgeousness of a sunrise while surrounded by a massive mountain that makes me want to put up with the LOOOONG day, sore feet, and back aches that follow.

So, we hiked again on August 3, 2010. There were six of us starting the adventure, (missing Susan and Dennis). Matt, Tina, Mark, Laurent, Paul, and I started out at 2:48 a.m. We could tell from the start that there was much more water than last year because there were more streams to cross and the sounds of the waterfalls were much more intense. The most pleasant surprise this year was the perfect weather. It really could not have been any better. I was completely prepared for the cold after last years hike, but found myself zipping off my pants into shorts, removing my jacket, and actually enjoying the warmth of the sun. There were a few times where we had to get our warm clothes back on, but on the way down we were down to shorts and tank tops. So different and so much more enjoyable than hiking and freezing!

The view from the top was so clear with the bluest sky I've ever seen. The pictures don't do it justice and that is what makes doing the hike so special. Only those that actually make it to the top get to experience all the beauty of it up close and personal.
Some of our group were actually napping (and snoring) on the top because it was so nice! Of course the snickers bar, thanks to Tina, at the top made it well worth it too!

Then of course there is the joy of going down. As beautiful as the hike is, on the way down much of the beauty is passed by as the hours drag on. We were still able to enjoy seeing the waterfalls that we missed in the dark, view some deer, and look at the lakes and meadows, but as those last two miles continue on and on it's all I can do but to make up songs in my head and hope that the trail head is just around the corner. Thankfully, we got there eventually....a mere 16 hours after starting! Always good to be down and look back up at where you just came from and wonder how the heck you did that all in one day. :)

So now a few weeks have passed and I'm thinking.... ok, I'll do it again!
Early morning, looking up to what we are about to conquer.

At Trail Camp, before the start of the 3 miles of switchback.
At the top. Tina carried a picture of Grandma Bev, her inspiration,
who recently passed away.
A little snooze before going back down.

Mt. Whitney Summit!
We borrowed the sign from some other group on the top.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to School

I can't believe the summer is over and the boys have headed back to school. Kevin is in the 4th grade and got the same teacher he had last year, Mrs. Holst. Zach is in the 1st grade and has Ms. Ferguson. Both boys said they were not that excited about going back, but I've never seen them get up and ready so quickly in the morning as they did this morning! New haircuts, new shoes, new clothes..... the boys are ready for another great year.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great Week at the Lake

We just got back last Saturday from a wonderful trip to New Hampshire where we stayed on Lake Winnipesaukee with Bob and Denise. We had gone back three years ago and going back again was like no time had passed. We were able to visit with many of our extended family and of course the boys loved playing all week with their somehow related 3rd or 4th cousins! Every day except Sunday consisted of walking to the mail dock where the mail boat delivers mail to that part of the island. That wouldn't be so exciting except for the fact that there was ice cream for sale on the boat. So each day the boys got to get their treat there. Afterwards many kids jump from the dock or the pilings into the waves as the boat pulls aways. Both boys ended up gathering enough courage to jump in on our last day. I think Garrett swam back from the mail dock to our dock every day but one, I joined him 3 of those days, and Denise joined us one day. Kevin really wanted to do it to but it was a bit far....maybe next time! Zach loved swimming in the lake and was in from morning until night some days. We also got to watch some great thunder and lightning storms. It wasn't too hot at all and overall a very relaxing trip. The only thing missing was the rest of the family.... again maybe next time!

An evening swim for Zach

A game of Charades, followed by a sleep over with Logan and Linnea
I'm not including too many pictures because Garrett, I believe, is going to be working on another of his masterpiece videos!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Fun

I told myself I was going to keep this thing up to date and now almost a month has gone by! The whole summer seems to be flying by us. So, while the boys are watching a movie I thought I could get in a quick update before summer's completely gone.

I've been working about 20 hours a week, which is a continuation of my regular work schedule plus I picked up a few extra hours. I often wish this time of the year that I worked for the schools and could have the summers off, but it all balances out in the end I guess. So, we've been finding ways for the boys to be cared for this summer. They have gone to two weeks of gymnastics camp at Fun and Fit Gymnastics and will be going again this week. Good exercise, some arts and crafts, and a little down time at the end with part of a movie. They went last summer too and Kevin complained because he was the oldest one there. This summer he doesn't seem to care that he's the oldest and has learned to do a front and back flip into their big foam pit.

Kevin also spent a week at cub scout day camp. It was nice because four of his friends from scouts were there also and he got to earn a lot of belt loops and pins for this next year. Zach was going to go also but he needed a parent with him all week and unfortunately I wasn't able to do that. Maybe next year.

We took a quick weekend trip to Mammoth where we were able to have my parents, Graham, Tina, and Lauren meet us and have a short night together. I managed to get the boys to go for a hike, with a promise of seeing Toy Story 3 afterwards!

We stayed in town for the 4th of July this year and the boys were in the parade with cub scouts. I got to be in it too! Garrett ran his first 5k in about 20 years that morning too. We got to cheer him on as the runners went right down our street. I'm trying to convince him to do a half with me, but he's not going for it!

We just had my mom and Lauren come for the week. Kevin and Zach cannot get enough of Lauren and thankfully she is patient and plays with them. My mom is a worker bee and finds chores to do around the yard and house, which is always greatly appreciated. We had a fun night of s'mores around the fire and Kevin started us all on storytelling around the circle. We took Lauren to Universal Studios on Friday and had fun showing her bits of the L.A. world.

I'm really looking forward to next Saturday as we head to New Hampshire for a week on Lake Winnipesaukee. I feel like that will be my whole summer in one week. Well that, followed by the big Whitney hike again. I managed to make it to the top of Mt. Baldy again last weekend and feel excited about Whitney. We will be missing two of our team, Susan and Dennis, though.