#9- State of Jefferson

California is really, really big. And it seems unlikely to me that someone living in the most Northern parts of the state would somehow feel they identify (and have the same needs as a citizen) to someone living the most Southern part of the state.  You clearly go from one extreme to the other, so the State of Jefferson doesn’t seem that far fetched of a concept to me.

But politics aside, I feel that seeing all of California is a traveling adventure in itself. One day I hope to say that I’ve seen every region of the state, just as I hope to one day see every part of the U.S. Which is why #9 (make a Northeast Cali road trip) made my list.

It’s a wasteland. Forgive me if you live there. I’m sure there are some creature comforts that you get used to if you stay awhile. But we drove straight through and up to Oregon. Honestly, it seems like there’s a lot of drugs being shared with all of the questionable trailers parked in the middle of nowhere (and going nowhere).

Here’s my picture documenting it:

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta to the East

Our road trip took us in to Bend, Oregon (an oasis that seems to pop up in the middle of more wasteland) and then further up North to Portlandia. We then swung back down along the Coast to visit my grandparents in Coos Bay before cutting back over to Ashland. I pretty much loved everything from Portlandia to Ashland. Ashland, I will be back….

#11- Football!

I’ve been wanting to attend a Pro-Football game for the past forever it feels like.

I grew up in a relatively pro-49er home, but I think it was that way mostly because of proximity.  We hosted a few Super Bowl Sunday parties over my childhood, I played football with my Dad & brother for fun in our front living room, and in junior high my P.E. class held me in high regard for my ability to throw a football with great accuracy- despite being a girl. I was always the first chosen for a team when it came to flag football (first girl anyway). And in High School, we had a great football team that gave me better reasons to show up to the Friday night games and watch.

And that’s pretty much my Football history.

But, of course Social Media and moving to the Bay Area pushed my desire to actually attend a game (#11 on this year’s list, # 13 on 2012’s list) which is exactly how we closed out our 2014 this past Sunday.  We clearly were good luck charms for the 49er’s, who I guess were on a losing streak and just announced they were saying good bye to Coach Harbaugh. My computer just auto-corrected his last name for me.  It was also fitting to bring our newborn son, Levi, to check out the Stadium that was named in his honor ;)

I have mixed opinions of our overall experience. First, the traffic getting there and in to the game was non-exsistent for us. Literally. We pulled into a Target parking lot located about 2 miles away, opened up our Uber app and ordered a driver that took us to the entrance of the Stadium for a whopping total of $6.

Second, coming up on the lower stadium seating and looking out onto the field, it was as if I was watching it all take place on my yard. Everything was so close! I almost felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me. Amazing.

Unfortunately, our seats were on the next level up.  Which still had really great viewing, but after spending a few minutes walking around and taking everything in I started to feel really bitter because we passed a thousand or so people all with their special badges that got them onto the better elevators, to the better seats, into the better restaurants, using the better bathrooms.  It all felt very Caste-System like. Booooo. I don’t like feeling like I’m a lower class citizen.

We tried to visit the museum, but I guess that closes during the game. We tried to check out some restaurants, but we don’t know the right people. We tried going into the souvenir store, but there was a line.

The game was great to watch, however. Blake & I like to mock anybody and everybody in our line of viewing, so that was half the entertainment. And the fact that there was some great plays and an ultimate win for our home team, made it all worth it in the end. Levi slept through it all, however, so he’ll have to do a do-over one day…

#70- Room for More

A Circle is round

It has no end

That’s how long I want to be your Friend

Yesterday, someone had suggested to me about joining another women’s group. At church the other Sunday, the topic was the importance of having a social circle (the topic went much deeper than just that but I won’t go in to it here). My response to both situations was that I was just. exhausted. And not exhausted where I want to stay in PJ’s all day and swear off bathing. But just exhausted of being pulled or pushed or nagged to do more, be more and have more. I have been, for quite some years now, completely satisfied with my life and where I’ve brought it to.

With that said, I did put on my Bucket list for 2014 to make a new friend (#70). At the start of the year, I felt like I had room for a new friend. Or, 20+ new friends.

Girls on the run

And now I’m done for awhile. Here they are, my new friends. I love them all so so soon much.  One of my other bucket list items was to start a Girls on the Run program at Pescadero Elementary.  What I didn’t know in that moment was that there were three other women in Pescadero who were as passionate as I was about bringing something like this to the school.  I had put out a general bulletin asking for a co-coach, and I got 3!  We got to know each other pretty well, having practices twice a week for two different seasons.  And to add icing to the cake, we also had to go out and find run buddies for each of the girls for their big Race Day.  Which meant, this year alone I met about a dozen more fabulous Pescadero residents that I didn’t know existed.

In the picture above are just a few of the girls we coached, their run buddies, me and all 3 of my co-coaches: Sky, Deborah & Kathy. In September, shortly after I had Levi, Deborah had called me to check in and see if she could bring me a meal. When I saw her name on my home hone caller ID, my heart smiled. When we ended our conversation that day, I knew I had found a life long friend and I realized then I would be writing about these ladies and this group for this bucket list item. There is something so sincere about these people that you don’t find very often.

My heart is full.

#57- Alliance Redwoods

I’m a huge proponent of Outdoor Education.  Borderline nut about it because, if given the option I’d probably opt to have my children spend their entire school day outdoors, knee-deep in nature and skip the textbooks entirely. I’ve had too many positive experiences to NOT feel this way.

I’ve read a lot of research regarding this, and how one’s emotional/spiritual health can largely be tied & correlated to how much time they have with natural experiences. Without these experiences, one often is left depressed, lost, mentally unwell. I realized that, many of my own opportunities came with attending church camp at Alliance Redwoods. I found God at Alliance Redwoods- hidden along the mountains of the Sonoma Coast- and not because of the bible thumping they were doing there.  It was pure freedom in a safe space. It was hiking on trails, swimming in the streams and rivers, sleeping in a bag looking up at the stars, getting utterly lost in a redwood forest, watching the glow of firepits and hearing it all like my senses were more alive than I could ever imagine back in city limits.

Most of my weeks spent at this camp were with Gina & Jessica, my best childhood friends. The last time we were together AND at camp was well over 10 years ago.  I wanted more than anything to relive these moments, for nostalgic purposes. So, to check #57 off my list (visit Alliance Redwoods) Jessica & I made the drive the other day, and it was (almost) just as we remembered it.

We were talking about how, some days it seems like we are meant to wake up and find ourselves 10 years old again, ready to do life over. Like Time isn’t really happening and if we wished hard enough, we could be back at camp doing art at the craft shack, flirting with the boys, making calls on the payphone and doing silly cheers at the campfire circle. Right? Any morning now I’ll be back in my sleeping bag debating if I want to take that cold shower….

I’m glad the camp is still there, still thriving. I hope to send my own kids there one day.

#39- Fun Day Run Day

Natalie has often begged to join me on some of my runs, to which I have often discouraged her for several reasons.  Mainly, running “is my ME time.” Also, I like to go for an hour +, something I know she’s not up for yet.  When I do go for a run with her, it’s typically for just about 10-20 minutes tops.  But since coaching GOTR at her school, Natalie has been much more persistent- so I decided to dedicate a few mornings of ours to coaching just her.

I originally put on the Bucket list to run a 1k with her (#39) but Seeing as she also wanted to run the 5k GOTR Race in SF with our team, I figured this would be even better! I blog some of the experience [ here ], but here’s one more photo from the middle of our race together:


I am so proud of this girl’s ambition, every. single. day.  Natalie has far more energy and drive then I ever remember having as a kid.  She will be amazing at whatever she does!

#43- Labyrinth

I am so far behind on documenting my adventures so far this year! I swear I’ve done far more than I’ve written up as of yet.

But today was such a great day I really wanted to write this down before I forgot-  We drove up in to SF to visit Land’s End and check out the Labyrinth built there some years ago.  I first got curious about Labyrinths when I read about one made out of Books (also erected in SF) in celebration of World Poetry Week.  I thought it would be a yearly thing, and since I had read about it after the week event had passed I was eager to scope it out the following year.  But much to my dismay it apparently was a one time deal. In my search, however, I came across the Labyrinth at Land’s End, SF.

The pictures online of this place are breathtaking.  The spot itself is breathtaking; I would agree with the photos. It’s incredibly peaceful if you time it right- as in, when it’s likely that no one else will be there.  I think we lucked out, because when we hiked down to it there were only a few others there (I was worried by the amount of tourists on the main trail that it would be overwhelmingly overrun) with only one couple clearly taking advantage of the Labyrinth’s intended purpose: a silent meditation as you carefully walk the maze of rocks.

After they completed it, I had a go with Levi on my front and the two girls trailing.  Since it’s an unregulated, public space of movable rocks the Labyrinth is subject to change, and with the exception of two small rockblocks we were able to complete the whole thing almost entirely uninterrupted. The only obnoxious intruders being two teenage tourists who thought it was a hopscotch and one woman walking her purse puppy who found it appropriate to piss on the rocks (the dog, not the woman… but I suppose the manners are the same between the two at that point).

Labyrinth, Land's End, San Francisco


I sort of wish there could have been a sign explaining the purpose of a Labyrinth, but since it’s not a ordained monument (for obvious reasons I suppose) that would be highly unlikely. But as we were taking in the views and heading out, there were clearly others who were careless around the Labyrinth and I can see how in its history at Land’s End it has been destructed in the past.  I suppose the good news is that some spent time to put it back together again.

#49- A Mystery

Everywhere I go, I typically come across one Mystery Spot bumper sticker at some point in my travels. Growing up, I’d occasionally see a write up, or TV clip regarding it as well, so it’s a place that- when Santa Cruz is mentioned in Conversation- often pops into my head as associated with the tourist destination town.

Moving closer only increased the frequency of this reminder of a place I had never been to, which is how it came to be #49 on my list.

Surprisingly, one of my only other friends in the area, Sherida, had never been either and had always wanted to go.  Surprisingly, because Sherida is the other thing I think of when I think Santa Cruz because she lives and breathes the region like a third love (one being her family, two being her dog). We made a date to take the kids one quiet Monday after school.

For $6 per person, I’d say it’s a very fun and entertaining tourist attraction.  The validity to it?  I’m no science junkie to know but my personal feeling is that it’s just a great optical illusion which, at the very least challenges kids to think about…stuff…. We felt dizzy, we laughed, we experimented.  Our tour guide was hopelessly cheesy with his slapstick G-rated humor but he also talked really fast, to the point where I felt that maybe that was part of the gig: talk fast so visitors don’t have enough time to digest what is said and question the authenticity of what is being presented.  Or it was just him.

At any rate, at the end of the 45 minute tour we got a free bumper sticker.  Which would explain why I see them EVERYWHERE and probably is a great advertising strategy.  It certainly pulled me in and  got $12 out of me. Natalie stuck hers on the trash can at our post office, but I am still considering where I want to put mine.  It sounds silly, but it almost feels like a rite of passage… no, a civic duty…. a responsibility to the greater good to put mine somewhere good and continue the message of The Mystery Spot. Ridiculous, I know.