Sunday, May 31, 2009

Happy Anniversary Baby - Got you on my mind!

Here is a 28th anniversary Floral extravaganza!

I think it was my husband's way of saying... please forgive me for spending the day with my guy friends. To celebrate the day, Glenn was racing our boat Hazardous Waste. The perfect solution was for me to lace 'em up and head out to train!
My team member and great friend Patti and I planned our walk from the Sausalito Yacht Club to the Sports Basement at Crissy Field. Patti had never walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. I find this a recurring theme, people who have lived in Marin for years who have never walked across the bridge! It's a wonderful role to be the GGBridge ambassador!
The day was very grey and there was a light mist in the air. I find when I walk with friends the camera comes out less frequently (unless the walk is REALLY challenging!)
So today's walk has fewer pictures than some. That means, I enjoyed the walk and talk!
Walking toward the bridge I heard the sound of something akin to a Tyrolean Trumpet. Looking up I could see this long heralding trumpet on the ridge above. Somehow, as out of place as this should have seemed, the vision of this silhouetted trumpeter seemed to fit.
On the bridge the wind almost took my favorite hat sailing off to parts unknown, but I grabbed it in time and saved it from a watery grave or pancaked end under some tourist bus.
Our first stop was at the Golden Gate gift shop. Patti bought a "I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge" pin. I refrained from buying Glenn a shot glass, and on we went.
The winding path down to Crissy takes you by some beautiful local flowers. When you have made it to the bottom you are only steps away from a great place to grab a bit to eat, "The Warming Hut". I like this place. It has a nice gift shop and the food is healthy enough you don't feel like you have sabotaged all your good efforts in walking!
Leaving the "Hut" we walked to the Sports Basement. If you have never seen this place is is pretty impressive and a great source for your outdoor gear/clothing and shoe etc. It is tyhe site of the old PX for the base. Patti ran a marathon in Hawaii a few years back and so she is an old hand all all this fitness stuff. For me it is still a learning curve. I am not at all comfortable wearing some of those "active wear" pants and tops. Who ever said, sprayed on pants are better. For me they are better off burned and left in the trash! I suppose I would walk faster if I wore these. I would be running FAST to try and avoid anyone seeing me in those. ICK!
Patti tried on a pile of shoes looking for the perfect 60 mile pair. She decided on a pair with the help of a nice young man who dissed my New Balance shoes. (BTW - I LOVE MY SHOES! In fact I have just ordered another pair of these, because I would rather buy and replace these shoes that wear others that are not as comfortable! )
We looked at our watches and realized, it was time to head back. The most obvious difference to me was the increased number of tourists on the way back, both on the bridge and in Sausalito. It reminds me that we live in a pretty impressive place to have so many people travel so far just to see what we are blessed with seeing on a daily basis. It also reminds me how far I walk when I travel abroad, versus how far I used to walk around here. So glad that isn't the same way anymore! These walks have me being a tourist in my own neck of the woods, and discovering it for the first time.
Back at home, Glenn arrived at almost the same exact time. We had dinner reservations so it was good we could clean up and get ready to go.
All in all it was a great way to enjoy a special day and evening.

So you saw the beautiful flowers I got for my anniversary present. Here is Glenn's present. Two self inflating sleep pads, a camelback backpack and inside, two hiking books, a gift certificate for walking shoes and a fifth of bourbon.

I am still waiting for your invitation request! Our August event is turning out to be incredible! I have three young chefs who will be catering the event. They are coming from So. Cal and donating their time. Great donations are coming in for the raffle and the live auction. And there are some really impressive wineries who will be donating wine for our tastings! Email me to let me know you want an invitation!

AND DON'T forget to DONATE!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good friends on a mission...

Yesterday half of the "Are We There Yet?" team took a training walk from my office to Corte Madera, through Larkspur and to our favorite creekside Kentfield Thai Restaurant.
8 MILES in all! Yahoo! We are all loving it!!!

What can I say about the "Are We There Yet Team?" Three of the members were college buddies of mine, actually Sorority sisters. I have known one of them since Junior High School. I have been the matron of honor in one of their weddings, a bridesmaid in another. One was a bridesmaid in my wedding. One is my daughter's Godmother. One of the team members is my daughter. Suffice it to say, we have see wars before, together. We have been a part of each other's lives in a way that is more precious than the rarest jewel.

When I went through my diagnosis and treatment for cancer, they each were there for me in their own ways. I remember being away on a "girls weekend", an annual event for the past many years. They had a theme night. "Hats". I was bald as a cue ball then and they knew it. I guess they didn't want to take the bold step of shaving their heads in solidarity, but they did don silly hats. Competitive me, I came up with a pretty creative hat. This was in the middle of the OJ Simpson trial, and we like the rest of the country were riveted to the daily news. In fact we played a game while floating in the Carmel river of.. "Who am I" from the OJ Simpson trial. We knew all the players. My hat was a black hat, with a helicopter on the top, white bronco on the rim being chased by a police car. (All were hot wheel type cars...) The front said GUILTY! I still have that hat sitting in my closet.

Next month is our girl's weekend. We will be in Santa Maria on a great ranch. I am sure we will do a few great long walks by cows and turkeys. Our theme there is a Foreign Affair. We once again will be thinking of one of us going through her battle with Breast Cancer. She will be starting radiation immediately after our weekend. Hers is a great prognosis. This is in large part due to the kind of vigilance that exists in Marin to diagnosis Breast Cancer as early as possible. The radiologist found her cancer on an x-ray. The Dr. said, most people would have missed this. Without the newer digital machines used for the mammography, she could have been facing far greater odds in her battle. As it is now, I am confident she will join me in the 95% of women who are diagnosed and survive this disease.

Once again, I think it is important to recognize that the funding provided by Susan G Komen has been instrumental in many of these developments. I ask that you be generous in your help to keep this incredibly important organization vital. Today's economy is tough. There is a danger that the funding will dry up. We cannot let this happen to an organization like Susan G Komen. It is too important. Within the next hour 20 women will hear the words "You have Breast Cancer". DONATE and be part of the reason those numbers will begin to dwindle, until one day there is NO ONE who will hear those frightening words.

And if you do hear them yourself one day, I hope for you, you are surrounded by the same kind of strong and supportive sisters I have been blessed with... There is no better weapon in your fight than the love and support of friends.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day

My husband and I went to his father's house last night. When we walked into the door, to the left under Grandma Dold's clock decorated with American Flags, sat a small display of his service medals and hats. George (Glenn's Dad) served in the Merchant Marine and later the Navy during WWII.

Each time we visit, George seems to have another story from his younger years. Many of these memories are of his service. He saw action in the Pacific, Mediterranean and the Atlantic. He was in the Mideast and even sailed into Japan after the end of the war. It was during this time that he met Glenn's mother at a dance in SF. They were married when they both were very young. In fact Glenn's Mom was only 19. His hat still has rice lodged in the brim from the day they were married.

Today, my son-in-law is serving in Iraq with the Colorado National Guard. Both he and George felt they were a part of something bigger than themselves. Something important.

We are all in a position where we can give something of ourselves, to a cause greater than our individual needs. This walk for Breast Cancer is done by women who have decided they can make a difference in a very very difficult battle.

There are people who say, to support a cause like this is a waste. There are those who say after all, these foundations support drug companies, who have vested interest in the disease continuing. When I heard someone had made this comment, I felt very sad. Let me tell you what I know, from personal experience.

The efforts of Susan G Komen for the Cure have played a part in many of the drug therapies that have been discovered that have made Breast Cancer a disease that has a 95% cure rate if found in the earlier stages. A very large part of the work they do is to educate women about mammograms, self exams and being their own advocate in their health. What I know is, by the many messages I was receiving about self exam, I would once a month so a self exam in the shower. It was because of this I found a lump. It was because I knew where the lump was I was able to tell the x-ray technician where to look. My cancer was growing at a very quick pace. If I had not found the cancer when I did my results could have been very different. I was able to take advantage of the discovery of adriamycin, tamoxifen and alternative treatments because of the testing funding by Susan G Komen. I was a part of study funded by Susan G Komen on how eating fiber through fruits and vegetables help with survival rates.

So stand up! Support this great cause - if you do not believe you can make a difference in the world I give permission to sit down. I am certainly glad through this challenge, and so many others, there are people who are proud to stand in the face of overwhelming odds confident they will prevail.
It was this spirit that men like my Father-in-law and son-in-law took with them to war. It is the same spirit in which we are walking. We are walking to make a difference in something bigger than ourselves. Help us. DONATE.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pt Reyes part II - and Tennessee Valley the sequel

Since the last post was so beautifully enhanced with the photos of my husband, I thought I would let it stand on its own. So I am posting my cell photos here.

This one's for Goli! If I knew what to pick, I would have brought you some. This plant is often used as a spice in Persian cooking.

BTW there is never too much of Tennessee Valley! Carol, my good friend, joined me for a hike, from my house to the beach and ... back again. A breezy beautiful day. A great time to talk with a really good friend. If I was to pick one quality of Tennessee Valley Beach Trail that stands out for me... it's the talk-ability. I think we covered most of the topics we possibily could. Now we both have ALL the answers!

THANKS CAROL... for the walk, and so much more. Next time we will hit the street! We have both decided, generally speaking, hiking is more challenging that walking on pavement.

The past two days... I have walked 12 miles, followed by 8 miles... You know what? That equals 20 miles. So... all I have to do is do 20 miles back to back for 3 days.... Phew.... it is going to be some feat, for my feet! But I know I can do it.

PLEASE DONATE if you haven't already. Allison sure could use the help reaching her goal. Each dollar raised will help make the difference in ending cancer now. DONATE and make a difference.

Pratically Perfect in Point Reyes - or Do I really need a walking stick?

Point Reyes National Seashore is as the name implies a NATIONAL treasure. We have lived in Marin for nearly 30 years. I am ashamed to say, although I have driven through Point Reyes many times, I have never hiked here. My husband Glenn, in High School was part of a hiking club. He often came here, hiking to the top of Mt Wittenberg, with a 50 lb pack. When I was deciding on where to do a good "long" hike Point Reyes was my first choice.

We woke up to gray and foggy skies. The idea of walking in fog seemed less than appealing. But the weather looked to be pretty much the same everywhere else we had talked about, so... we took a chance, and after walking the dogs, jumped into the car and headed off.

We found our way to the Bear Valley Visitor's Center. Since this was our first time out to Point Reyes (in our middle years) I thought sticking to the relative flat walk to Arch Rock, would be wise. So off we went on the Bear Valley Trail, along with an assortment of walkers, runners, bikers and strollers.

It is always remarkable to me when you are walking through a deeply forested place how the smells and sights take you back to other adventures. The bright green foliage stands out from the trees above and seems to glow with a supernatural light. The sound of the birds, the sound of the creek all serve to calm any tension remaining with you from the outside world. But the smell, there is something soothing and organic about the smell of the trees, the coastal breeze and the way it makes me feel grounded somehow.
The trail is wide so it is perfect for an easy walk. It is slightly uphill in many parts however and it is deceptive in the distance. The walk from the parking lot to the coast is approx. 3.9 miles. Along the way we stopped to snap a few shots...

Woman in PINK!

You can watch the landscape turn into more of a beach scape as you near the coast. And on your face you feel that slight chill coming from the ocean breeze. I was really surprised when we turned the corner to see about 50 people all sitting on Arch Rock at the end of the trail. It sort of looked like your basic bottle neck. I looked around to see if there was anywhere we could hide and still have the view. We waited our turn to have a seat on one of the rocks so that we too could be surrounded by the ocean, at the end of the trail.
One of the attractions out here was a little grey fellow, who was decidedly not camera shy. I couldn't decide if he was a mole or a gopher. Maybe you can identify him. Quite small actually.

I loved how this beach was marked with a kind of strata from the tide and waves.
There was a woman who asked us to take her picture standing here. So we asked her to return the favor. She was from Poland and was out here for a biking adventure. Every once in a while you can't help but remember, we live in a place that others travel the world to come and see. Today, I was glad we were actually out there seeing it too.
When it was time to start heading back, we had a decision to make. Do we go back the same way we had come? Or do we challenge ourselves and take the literal HIGH road back. We opted for the high road. I knew that would not be the easier way, but as they say, there is more to see on the road less traveled. So off we headed, first on the Coast trail, then to Sky Trail.
On this trail there are several switchbacks. In all we most likely gained around 950 feet in altitude. I reminded Glenn a couple of times, that I was going to need to stop and rest along the way. These stops are brief though, only enough to catch my breath and allow the pounding of my heart to slow. I made some snide comment about how all the people on the trail were half as young as we were, when around the corner came four 70 somethings with their walking canes. Ah hmmm... Ok, so I have a way to go to be as in shape as they apparently are! We still were undecided about which way to head back. There were a number of options.

We started down the Old Pine Trail, when two hikers asked us if we needed help, since they knew the area well. We said sure...which way is best to Bear Valley? They suggested we take Meadow Trail, since although it was steep "in places", it was quicker to where we were headed. And so... off we went.

And there was indeed a beautiful meadow, complete with wild flowers. By this time I was so wet from sweat, you have no idea! I had had to take my glasses off since they were fogging so much. I was glad for the relatively flat goings on this trail... until we reached a point in which we had to descend that same 950 feet to Bear Valley.
The trail down was washed out in parts, and the going was a little tenuous. Glenn had discovered he did need some new hiking shoes, that were better on the downhill sections. I had discovered a new meaning to our Team name "ARE WE THERE YET!"
But eventually we were there, and proud of the effort. The pay-off was a day that will be in our memories for a long long time. I am looking forward to more hikes, each a little easier than the one before, not because they are shorter, or less demanding, but because I will be that much more able to manage the day - with or with walking sticks!

About the color pink....

Glenn said a great thing on the trail. We were trucking along up a hill and when I came to a group of 30 somethings, they stepped aside and let me pass. (I have to admit not everyone did). But after we passed them Glenn said "They make way for a woman in pink, they know she's on a mission." And that hit home for me. I am on a mission. Whenever we are lucky enough to be on a mission we have a purpose that makes each day more meaningful. There's a great book called Cure for the Common Life: Living in Your Sweet Spot: by Max Lucado. I don't know if you are religious. I don't think you need to be to GET this book. It talks about finding the sweet spot. That place in your life, that when you are doing this thing, it all works. Kind of like hitting a baseball on the right place on the bat. The ball goes forever, you find it actually took less effort...That's were we all should be living our lives. And you know what, I am finding this walk to be a place where my life is humming along in the sweet spot.

We are given certain talents. When we live our lives without utilizing these talents, we are always battling against ourselves. When we try and live the other guys life, you will always come up short. We will never reach our potential. It is when we are using our gifts that our lives take on a kind of grace and ease that just screams...I am meant to do this. I may not be an athlete. I may not be the fastest, or strongest walker, but I know I am meant to do this. And.... it is sweet.

Finally some shameless plugging of the shirt I designed on Zazzle. If you are walking in the 3 day, you can purchase this shirt and customize it on Zazzle. You can add the names of anyone YOU are walking for on the front. You can even change color, type, order in a men's style, order a tank top.... basically just go to this link and start customizing the shirt. There are other shirt designs I have created there. You can order an "Are We There Yet?" shirt that will root on our team! Also at my Zazzle store there are VERY cool notecards that you can use to thank your donors. Or even order without the message inside, or customize your message. (Photos were from a trip to the conservatory of flowers). So go to my store at Zazzle, pick a shirt or design, customize it... buy and 10% of your purchase will go to the walk...

GO HERE... The address in case you need it is