Sunday, August 30, 2009

The road to AT&T park

Today may be the last day of Allison's and Chris' visit. Since this is the end, it is appropriate that we do two things...Walk and go see the Rockies face the Giants at AT&T park. Since Allison lives in Denver this will be the last training walk she will have with us before the actual Breast Cancer 3 day. We had better make it a good one.
We decided we would walk to AT&T for the 1:15 game that we had tickets for. Patti agreed to join us, so we rendezvoused at 6:30 at the Bayside in Sausalito, and invited Chris and Glenn along (so we could snag a ride closer to the bridge). The game time meant we should err on the side of being early. Our backup plan was to get Glenn to pick us up on his way to the game.
When we woke up, the skies quickly turned blue. After several days of 90 degree temperatures, we wondered where the fog was... we were overdo for a "cooling" trend. Knowing we would be walking over the bridge, that even when clear and blue, can be breezy and cold, Allison had a sweatshirt and I had a windbreaker... Patti however, was more optimistic about the temperature and conditions and had a light weight long sleeved shirt over her tank top. Glenn dropped us at Cavallo Point (near the base of the bridge). As we walked closer we noticed the heavy grey blanket of clouds camouflaging the bridge in its folds. When we were on the bridge the wind, mixed with a light mist, pelted us unrelentingly.
Coming from the opposite direction we noticed several large groups of women. I am pretty sure this was one of the organized training walks they do in association with the 3 day. there were women of all ages (some in pink - one in my exact windbreaker) walked, talked and smiled as they crossed over toward Marin. I would estimate there being around 30-40 women in different groups.
Our plan was to grab a hot something... at the Warming Hut at the start of Crissy Field. But when we got there we saw it didn't open until 9 am, and it was only 8:30. Allison looked disappointed...but we headed off in lieu of waiting for it to open. The Sports Basement was opened and we snuck inside and bought some Sharkies. Sharkies are these nifty little gummy bear like things that are loaded with electrolytes. Allison likes them so much she gobbles them up in one minute or less. I think they made these extra sticky so you saver the sharkie and get all those electrolytes slowly. I think Allison is going for that rush of electrolytes at once.
Down the way there is the Crissy Filed Information building and inside there is a cafe. We stopped there and had mochas and a hot chocolate and warmed up. I kept thinking about that sunny sky at our house when we left. It was still foggy and cold here in San Francisco.
Travelling on, we walked by aquatic park where a young couple were spelling our Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in sand. I think now that they had gotten halfway though the word, the girl was looking less than amused...
When we hit Fisherman's wharf, it was a relatively light crowd, tourist wise. I don't know if it was the grey skies of the time of year, but there were about 1/2 of the number that I had seen the last time Patti and I had walked through here.
I told Patti that there is a theme for the dinner/dance fundraiser that is being held for our team September 18th. It is going to be Dancing under the star of hope. I suggested it would be great if we all could have a necklace with a charm on it that said HOPE. We actually found them in a small shop in tourist ville ... Now we are ready!
When we got to the Ferry Building we had a lot of time to spare so we went to Mujita to get auqa frescas and a carnitas taco. What a nice and relaxed day this was turing out to be. We looked at the arts and crafts booths outside before headed out toward the Ballpark and Patti left to go back to the Ferry. We kept seeing these people in Giants paraphernalia heading away from the park with their Randy Johnson Bobbleheads. Today was a special give away to the first 20,000 people of this bobblehead that celebrated Randy's 300th win. Allison and I worried that we might not even get our bobbleheads and we were at least an hour early for the game, but we made it in time to pick up two.
We called to check to see where the guys were, but they were stuck in traffic. It was a good ting we had gotten those two bobbleheads, I don't think Chris would have been happy missing that! When we were all seated it was in some of the best seats int he house. Club Level seats behind home. Allison and Chris were brave souls in their Rockies hats and shirts. During the game they were only the subject of mild ridicule.
It was a very good game. The lead changed hands a couple of times. Remembering Monday's game where the Giants lost in the 14th due to a Rockies grand slam homer, today's victory was sweet to the Giants. Edgar Renteria hit a grand slam that was the deciding factor. As tough as that was for our Rockie fans, I understood how happy the Giant fans were after a frustrating few weeks of not being able to comfortably finish a game. As we were leaving there were your typical slightly drunk fellows (I believe someone referred to them as the animals that got out of their cage) heckling Allison and Chris. I was grateful that there were one or two nice Giants fans on our way to the car who were friendly to them!
Now we are back at the house, after a dinner out, and I am writing this, they are watching a politically incorrect cartoon called the Goode Family.
Tomorrow, its back to work. The week looks like it will be quite busy. I hope I can keep up.
I am already missing Allison, Chris and Dexter.
Next time I see them, it will be the 3 day. Are we going to see you when we cross the finish line? Mark it on the calendar Oct 4th, 5pm Fort Mason.
See you there.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Floating, wine tasting and coming in second

Its our last day in the Russian River before heading back to reality. We started off the day doing some business on the phone and internet. Glad to have done it since my listing on Carrera is now in escrow. But also could feel a distinct pull of the overwhelming forces that will pull me back to work, away from the river and into "normal" life. I do wish there was a way to have more down time. Certainly this will not be in the cards for me until after the walk.

I have business and the training and another fundraising event, this one I am cooking for and the team will be my sous chefs. Hope it will mean lots of extra $$$ to help fight Breast Cancer.

After some of the money has been logged into our account, our team should definitely be a "power team" where each member averages at least $3000. In fact, I am at the moment... the person in second for total funds. The person in first has offered to post a photo of herself in a bikini on a billboard if she earns more than 30K. She has earned 35k! Team: Are We There Yet?will finish this event with our heads held high knowing we did all we could to raise as much as we could for this fine cause. So.... Goodbye Russian River... oh but before we go.... Let's get in a picnic at Rochioli and wine tasting on Westside Road. We hit Hop Kiln and a new place called Thomas George. They are still finishing the wine tasting room and working on their cellars. Good wine... its looking like a good one to follow.

Then since the temp was well over 90, we all headed back to the river for a farewell swim and float with Dexter the dog. Pizza followed and the Giants Rockies game. It was an important one for the Giants to keep them in striking distance of the Rockies for a possible wild card slot. The Dodgers had lost and so that created the possibility of even division for the Rockies who are only a couple of games back...

It is a little awkward. Chris and Allison are Rockies fans and our Tim Lincecum was on the mound. Although I wish the Rockies no ill, I don't want them to beat my Giants! We won! It was a great game for Timmy and the Giants...and a respectable one for the Rockies... two more in this series to go. After our showing in Denver earlier this week, you gotta know these are going to be tight games. Winning each is important.
Not losing is even more important.

Tomorrow is the day... we will be on the road back home and I will miss the lazy days we have had. Watch for me running 90 miles an hour because I will be BUSY. We'll be going to see the Giants and Rockies live on Sunday. I hate losing so lets all hope the Giants win!
Leaves me thinking of a song I know...where the lyrics are "Sometimes your the Louisville Slugger baby, Sometimes you're the ball." Tonight the Giants were Louisville Sluggers... Team:Are We There Yet? are Sluggers too. Sure beats being the BALL!

Still time to donate. Every dollar means something in this battle to end Breast Cancer.
Do what you can. DONATE

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Giants are in hot water... but we're still floating.


This was a quiet day for sure. Our friends left this morning. Allison and Chris took off on their own with their dog to go to the beach. With Tucker still in a cast this has been a challenging week fo rthe poor boy. The frustration he feels in not being able to run and play and stomp in the water, have left him like an angry old man. He has become quite vocal. It is as if he is yelling "IT'S NOT FAIR!"

I know that feeling and I bet you do too. Being left out for one reason or another is not fun. Our team have been having a discussion lately about what our expectations are for the 3 day. Some of us ( ahemmm me on occasion will charge ahead of the group) I do this in spurts. It isn't that I am not wanting to walk shoulder to shoulder with everyone, it is just sometimes, the song in my head is quicker than others.

When Patti was walking with Allison Chris and I the other day, she pointed out. "THERE IS NO I in TEAM!" I think she was reminding me that I had charged ahead again. I told her it wasn't me it was "The Can Can".... That was the song in my head. I told her I could change tempos and play "The First Time Ever I Saw Her Face" instead. That could slow me down!

Honestly though, I do know what is like to be left behind, to be picked last for a team. I don't think I ever was far off of the last pick for team sports. My expectations for the 3 day are to finish. To have fun with my friends. To make a difference and bring in some serious cash to end Breast Cancer. To not leave anyone behind...but at times to walk a little quicker because its the "Flight of the Bumblebee" in my head instead of "Moonriver".

Since the Giants are on the big fat losing end of this game.... I decided to upload the latest videos and pictures and try to avoid looking at the 9-0 game. I think the Giants have a whole other tune in their heads tonight... like the "Death March?" Hoping they pick up the pace tomorrow against the Rockies. ENJOY the pictures. DONATE to Allison, she is only $170 from her goal!!!

PS - Brag time. Allison is the principal candidate for two internships for Jan-April. One is in Peru the other in Jordan... which shall she choose? VOTES???

Potpourri on the Russian River

During our stay here we have been lucky enough to enjoy the time with friends, our eldest daughter and son in law, their dog, our dogs in lazy hours of summer serenity.

The mornings have been cool and our days have started slowly. As the day progresses we have found our way to walks or the beach, to the deck or out to the river. All along the way we have had the chance to talk, like you never can when life's responsibilities are yelling so loudly in your ear. I was taught Texas Hold-em by my son -in -law and won...Watch out APR! Sonya and I had a chance to spend some time together we haven't had in way too long. Patti and John came to drink a little, walk a lot and float on the River.

Our dogs know this is a vacation. For Dexter, our Colorado visitor, he has discovered some lost gene from a swimming breed. He hit the water like he had found his long lost best friend. The ease and pure joy he showed as he chased a ball in the river, was a distinct difference to our two dogs who tentatively try their paws in the shallowest of waters.

On our walk, Patti and I discussed, why people get Breast Cancer. As survivors we have seen people try to no avail to find that A+B=Cancer answer. Marin has had a higher number of women diagnosed with the disease (in line with other higher income areas on the coasts). Why people ask..why is that? Ultimately it may come down to the reason why one person is born with a big huge nose while another's nose is a small button.

For me, I was told I had no risk factors for Breast Cancer when I was younger. They would ask "Did you Mother have Breast Cancer?" I would say no and they would say " well then we won't have to worry about that." I would explain that she did die from Cancer as did my Grandfather and they would reassure me that so long as it wasn't BREAST cancer I was at no higher risk. On the face of this, this doesn't make logical sense to me. I believe that some people will simply be more available to cancer than others because their families show a history of getting cancer when other people don't. My grandfather had cancer of the larynx (from smoking cigars), then later colon cancer (no connection). My mother had lung cancer which metastasized to the brain (from smoking cigarettes). Obviously, smoking would be a bad idea for me. But what about estrogen.

Estrogen is what is in birth control pills. I took BC pills from my freshman year in college until I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (except for my pregnancies). I would get non pain migraines that were induced from too much estrogen in my body. My mother never took birth control, and she died just as she started hormone replacement (at the age of 49). My cancer tested as 98% estrogen sensitive. Who is to say whether my mother, if she lived, would have also had breast cancer.

Patti, also has been on BC pills and more recently hormone replacement. One of the things scientists have pointed to is the higher than normal rate of Breast Cancer in women who have delayed childbirth (or never had children at all). In our Marin world most of these women took the pill. They have been able to afford the education and medical care that makes childbirth often a choice. Certainly the delay to have children is the norm here. I remember being a young sprout at 29 at my Lamaze Class (I thought I was getting old to start a family!).

So as we walked on our 8 mile walk to nowhere, Patti said she was disturbed by the claim she heard from one doctor that wine causes breast cancer. Yeah, that disturbs me too. I participated in a study trying to prove that eating fruits and vegetables in large quantities could help avoid Breast Cancer recurrence. After 5 years, they determined, it didn't have any effect, but eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you in other ways.....

Ah ha....

They say some red wine is good for your heart. Just because you have had Cancer doesn't mean you won't die from heart disease! Too much alcohol and your liver suffers, not to mention your reputation! I believe that most things in moderation never hurt. And after visiting Gary Farrell yesterday, I can say, some things like wine... are a very good idea. But for me... I would say estrogen is a decidedly a BAD idea. But does this mean it is bad for you??? I couldn't say. Glenn's grandparents smoked regularly and lived to be 96.

Now our guests have departed and its just the dogs and us. The strange sight of four computers all hooked up to the wireless is made a little better by the fact that I am the only one sitting at one. That's a sure sign river life is taking its hold. The kids are down at the river with their dog. I am heading off to put on my swim suit. All is right with the world... and as a reward for all this fine living, a listing of mine received what looks to be a great offer. I could get used to this.

For your viewing pleasure enjoy the following photos and videos.

Your good friends can almost win... until you take the final pot.

Dexter the river dog!

Now if you'll excuse me, its time to float.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Occidental to the Sea

When you are in a new place and you are training for something as challenging as the 3 day, you have to look around to find that perfect route. The route can't be too long, after all you do have other things to do on this vacation besides walk. But it has to be long enough to keep up your momentum. It has to push you just a little. After all October 2nd is pretty darn close.
I scoured the Internet looking for suggested walks and could really find any except Armstrong Woods and Austin Creek Park. So I looked to biking suggestions and found one that looked interesting. You would leave out of Occidental on a road for around 10 miles, with hills, and end up at the ocean. They said the route was beautiful, and that for me, was a prerequisite. I looked at the topography and saw it would contain significant ups with a final down leading to the sea. Looked good to me!

I asked Glenn if we could go to Occidental for breakfast...and so off we went. We had the perfect pre-walk breakfast at a great little spot the Howard Station Cafe. When the check came... we left, off to walk to the Pacific. I hoped that somewhere along the way I could get a cell signal to call Glenn to get our return ride.

Coleman Valley Road is smack dab in the middle of Occidental. I am sure it is well known among people in the area, but in general it is not a road that is traveled much except for local traffic. It became evident as we turned to walk up the road... it would be up and up and up for a good while. But the road was shaded and the day all ours, so we took it at our own pace and trudged ahead.

In the first half mile you know you are near Occidental. There are a number of homes along the road and even a few street signs all those tell tale close to town sights. As you continue on you find the look becoming increasingly rural. On the way we passed Llamas in one of the "nearer to town" homes. I think Allison found her dream home (on the market for $849,000) . I told her if she bought it I might even house sit. It had a pond with turtles and blue gill fish, vegie garden, paddocks and horses, a 2 bdrm main home and a 1 bdrm cottage on 6 acres. Not bad for $849,000!

The landscape stretches out like a gigantic mural, in 360 degree wonder. At points along this route you can look around and see no signs of people. The stillness startles you until the breeze from the ocean lures you her direction.

At one point, we came upon another road I had read about. The biking link said you would need GOOD tires. Hhmpf... What to do??? I asked Allison to flip a coin to decide which way to head. She flipped it over her shoulder but caught it. The coin said, stay on Coleman Valley Road. If anyone has taken Willow Creek Road... let me know if we should go back and turn right!

When we came upon the sign that announced a winding road ahead, it also let us know we had walked 2 miles by this time. The intensity of the uphill start could have made you believe it was more like 4... but.... onward.

Along the way you can see little creeks that have dried for the summer. The ferns and the moss still cling to the shade and every once in a while some remnants of the spring rain lingers in a still pond. There is a smell to the outdoors on rural trips like this, that will morph from blackberries, to eucalyptus, to dried grass to musty undergrowth. Some of the smells are so intense you can almost taste and feel them. How is it that when the is something that so overwhelms one sense, it makes the others step up and pay attention. You can tell how old approx. this area is. The school house had the date 1869 on the front.

I wonder when you are away like this, how it is to live your life. Do you miss the quick trip to the store to pick up a curry sauce... or do you learn to grown all your own ingredients and make it yourself. Do you find yourself missing that neighbor over the fence, or is it more fun to go on a walk to say hello.

There are reminders of the past along the route, including old horse drawn farming equipment.

Structures that used to have a purpose sit clinging to the bank of a creek, ready to tumble at any minute.

You wonder when the last time someone used these buildings was. Then you wonder why they never removed them, instead of leaving them for the elements and time to chip away until they crumble to nothing. Of course you are left with the strong sense of gratitude that they still are there for you to wonder about.

Big open fields lead to to solitary ranch homes.

This was a nice respite from the hills. Allison and I enjoyed taking a stroll along the flat stretch of road.

Some of the scenery is pretty enough for a painting. In fact I bet I have seen one or two of these idyllic subjects some time in the past.

As we crossed the summit we could see and feel the ocean's presence.

Adjacent to one ranch there were sheep, hiding out in the shade of an oak.

I had a cell signal and called to notify Glenn that we could see the fog. I was sure we were at least 2-3 miles off though. He said he and Chris would start for Coleman Valley Road and see if they could find us. (I didn't want them to catch us before the ocean, so I picked up the speed... thinking the rest of the way would be down hill... It almost was except for that last surprising rise around the corner of my eye.)

The road less traveled.

Except by us.

The fog sat at the far distance of our journey... waiting.

Almost there ... the last Cattle guard.

STOP!!! It's Hwy 1!

And the Somona Coast!

The end of the road... from the coast.