#47- Sweet taste of revenge

I’ve had a bit of a dark secret that I’ve never confessed for the past 10 years. My pride, my ego, was hurt. I was confused, not sure how to process what had happened but here it is: My very first Marathon was in 2005, and it was the Big Sur Marathon.

I didn’t finish.

I’ve spent ten years contemplating what happened, and the truth is I had no idea what I was doing, how to train or how Marathons worked. I was 24, feeling cocky and independent and quietly ran around my college town thinking I could take on any running challenge.  There wasn’t really internet blogging and instagraming to show me what I was up against. About 10 miles in, my body surprised me and quit. I hobbled along for a few miles after that, trying to nurse a few cramps in my legs but the uphill battle proved too much. I got scooped up by the Pooper Scooper and later drove my sorry ass home.

I didn’t give up my running career, but I didn’t tell anyone what happened. I ran a few more marathons, easy ones, but none of them settled my score with Hurricane Point, and I pretty much knew I was going to need a do-over. Even in 2012 when I made my original list, I contemplated putting Big Sur on there, and again when I made my 2014 list… it nagged until I typed it out: #47- Run the Big Sur Marathon again.

I’ve blogged about Marathons before ( here ) so I figured, this time I’d highlight some thoughts that went through my head during the entire process, start to finish:

3:00 am- No one is forcing me to get up. This is a nice hotel. I haven’t even gotten to enjoy it. I could just stay on this pillow and no one would no any different.

4:00 am- This bus ride is intentionally slow. Seriously. 1 hour to get 26 miles up hill? She’s driving slow on purpose. She’s making us feel every little hill, every little turn. This Bitch. Who the hell doe she think she is? She’s just jealous. And pissed off to work overtime.

4:15 am- Who’s this asshole running on the side of the road? What’s that? An “Ultra Runner”??? He’s running 26 miles TO THE START just to run the 26 miles TO THE FINISH?? Asshole. What an asshole.

5:00 am- This is the perfect spot for a terrorist attack. Look at us.  Sitting ducks. Where are the bomb sniffing dogs?? This is so stupid. Every. Single. One. Of. You. is stupid. Get your unattended bag away from me.

6:00 am- You all are stupid assholes. Why am I here? I wonder if I name drop, could one of these Park Rangers drop me off and I’ll start running halfway in?

6:45 am- I’m doing it! Let’s get this show started!!! I’m gonna dance all the way down the hill! Where’s the camera? I’m awesome.

Mile 3- What’s that noise? What’s that banging? Is that a pace-runner? Why are they banging on shit? Note to runners: If your shoe is going to squeak or your pockets are going to jingle, just quit now before someone kills you.

Mile 5- Men. What assholes. Look at them. They allllllll get to pee in the bushes, and I have to gamble my odds on a port-a-potty. Effff these guys. What was the pee-standing-up-cup called? Something something something Urination? I should have bought one of those. I need to pee.

Mile 8- So I’ve seen a man running barefoot, a man juggling balls,  a man running in a robe, a man with a HUGE sweat stain on his ass crack, and look here. The banging I kept hearing is a man who thinks dribbling a basketball for the entire marathon is a good idea. What an asshole.

Mile 9- If you’re going to pee on yourself, move to the side of the road and stay there. Asshole.

Mile 9.8- I got this. I’m awesome. This hill is NOTHING.

Mile 11- WTF. WTF. WTF. This is a legitimate hurricane. There goes my hat. Fuck it. I’m at the top! I’m awesome. This is amazing. This is insane. These winds MUST be 100 mph. I can’t even run straight. I might be blind.

Mile 13.1- Well, Kind of a slow time, but I’m feeling awesome! Let’s get this done!

Mile 16- Ehhhhhhh, still feeling good. Leg is knotting up. Why does this happen to me? Paramedics are watching me again. I’m ok. Gonna walk this out. Walk it out… walk it out… no big deal…. I only aim to finish…. ahhhhh crap.

Mile 20- Home stretch. I can do this. Even if I walk again I’ll finish. I can do this. We are all BFF’s here.

Mile 23- Where the FUCK is mile 24????

Mile 26- Sweet baby jesus, I hear the finish but I can’t see it.

Mile 26.2- Where are all my blood brothers at? I just got initiated. Why is this bitch smoking a cigarette after finishing a marathon? What an asshole.








#88- Seven Minutes of Silence

I listen a lot to Kids Place Live on SiriusXM.  If you haven’t figured out by now, I am neurotic when it comes to the crap my kids are exposed to so when in the car, we typically stick to Kids Place Live as it’s clean, appropriate and actually pretty hilarious to listen to. One of the more hysterical shows on KPL is Story Pirates story telling. I seriously think I love listening more than my kids do, because there is a lot of very subtle adult humor that children might not quickly pick up on.

Anyway, one thing I hear a lot on KPL is live tapings of musicians and performances and storytelling and it reminded me of when I was young and my mom would take us to Solano Community College for child-friendly entertainment. I loved going to the shows! Between listening to KPL and reminiscing about my own youth, I realized I needed to recreate similar happy moments for my kids. So, #88- Attend a live children’s show…

Story Pirates, Mondavi Center. YES! It worked out that my friend Erin came and brought her little guy and her mom. I swear I was literally on the floor laughing at times.  I was completely amazed by the Performers ability to do improv from the minds of very young kids- so much of what came out of the audiences’ mouth made no sense, but the Story Pirates went with what ever was shouted out and turned it into a theatrical MASTERPIECE. They used very little props, but it clearly looks like they raided a few thrift shops for the ensembles they did throw together. Besides that and their homemade sign advertisement, there isn’t much more to them.  The crowd was small (“intimate” as the professionals call it) but that meant more participation.

I’m hooked. Every time they are in town, I am dragging my kids to the show, and Erin agrees!  Who’s coming with us??


#31- Working Mom

I had a good run- 7 years I worked jobs that allowed me to have my children by my side and I loved every single minute of it. I am so grateful to my husband for providing us a home and for allowing me to be with our babes. But I was starting to put serious thought in to going back to work full time, and I was also rethinking my career path- a desk job, finally? My entire adult life has consisted of finger painting, water splashing, garden growing, story times, play dough, and conversations with little people. I loved it.

I miss it.

We moved back to the Sacramento Area recently. Being pulled from all the comforts of my working life in Pescadero is a surefire way to open back up the possibilities and opportunities I could happy ignore living in a remote farming town (since the opportunities didn’t exist much there anyway). I applied for jobs that were completely out of my realm, weighed my options and chose one offer that seemed challenging, and ultimately still in my field of work. Which, I didn’t think worked for my bucket list challenge #31: Work a job in a completely different field of interest. But, interestingly enough when I told a few of my friends that I was hired on as a

Social Worker, Amador County

the response was almost all the same: “Oh, I didn’t know you were interested in that?”

Huh? I’ve done nothing but advocate for children & youth, what do you mean you didn’t know?

And then I got to work.

This is really, really hard.

Most children we place in foster homes are really just fine for the most part. But there have been a few cases that… have given me nightmares. Literally. The other night I dreamt I started stashing children in my home, closing the blinds and locking the doors convinced that I would save them that way. The things I have heard, the eyes I have peered in to… My hope is to never run out of tears to shed for these children. The day I do is the day I quit.

I recently took a teen out to lunch for her 17th birthday. I’ve met with her several times and this was the first time I saw her smile, and it was the first time I heard “thank you.” I was asked why I went out of my way to treat her, given the rough treatment I’ve taken from this teen’s own mouth. It’s on each of us to prove to our youth that the world isn’t as bad as it seems. She’s not angry with me.  She’s angry at the world and rightfully so.
I was trying to think of how to best document in pictures what I do, since so much of it is actually confidential. So, I am opting to post a ‘slideshow’ of sorts to show that it’s not all entirely depressing- ha! These were selfies I took of myself and texted to my co-worker in the next office over, during a phone call that lasted over an hour and a half and was rendered completely useless 3 days later when the caller sent me an email that said, “Nevermind what we discussed, change of plan!” *sigh* enjoy….

#63- A Night at the Drive-In

This event is pretty self explanatory.  I’ve never in my 30 years been to a Drive In. There wasn’t one around when I was growing up ( I don’t think) and in college, I never had a friend suggest it.  I don’t think I even knew a Drive In existed in Sacramento until much later on in my college life, when I happen to be driving up HWY 50 at night and from the freeway you can see all the screens. Having driven past it often enough it finally made my list- #63.

The deal is ridiculously reasonable- We went on Tuesday Family Fun Night, which is $5 for adults, $1 for kids and free for anyone under the age of 5. So, For Myself, Natalie & Holly I paid $6 to see Pixar’s Inside Out. You just can’t beat that.

I was thrilled to send out a last minute text to friends and be able to round up some accomplices. Beth & Jen had never been to the Drive In either, and were great sports with supplying tons of snacks and foldout chairs. It looked and felt a little bit like we were at a big Campout, or Tailgating party with how many families were also out with their glow lights, crying kids and typical family-friendly nonsense. The surround sound was courtesy of the radios in our cars and from there…we had a great night!

The Drive In itself was pretty decent.  Although the lot was clearly dated, the bathrooms were clean, the inside snack bar was orderly and the playground is a nice touch. Also, they have jumper cables & staff person on hand to jumpstart your car if the battery dies during the movie. I’d definitely do this again.

#67- On Top of the Bay

Growing up, I had a distaste for the Bay Area in general.  I thought it was polluted, ugly, crowded and intimidating. I still think it’s all those things, but since living it (as one does on the Peninsula tucked away from all things polluted, ugly, crowded, and intimidating) I feel that delusional sense of pride and comfort that comes with making a place your home. That’s MY polluted, ugly, crowded and intimidating home… hm.

I’ve hiked plenty of areas over the years, but more recently my hikes with little ones in tow often look more like strolls amongst a paved path shaped like a >1 mile loop.  Family friendly but by no means adventurous and that sense of pride and accomplishment is associated with making it the whole mile without a meltdown, an accident, or an incident. Also, when I think about MOUNTAIN tops I’ve stood on, it’s never been because I hiked to that look out point.

So, #67 (climb to the top of a mountain) seemed like a reasonable quest to satisfy the urge. In a far off dream, this Mountain would be called Everest or Kilimanjaro. But until then, I settled on the highest peak in the immediate Bay Area- Mt. Tamalpais.

My friend Gina had posted about wanting to get out of her comfort zone and hike more, so it was easy to find a friend to come along with me.  Not to mention in the past year or two, two women alone on their Mt. Tam hikes turned up dead (I failed to mention this to Gina) so the buddy system was in full effect!  So was my taser gun (I failed to mention this to Gina, too).

The hike itself? We started at Bootjack Trailhead, started off upwards, paused at the West Wind Inn for lunch- now that’s an interesting hike-in resort- and then continued on toward East Peak.  The most challenging part was the rock-climbing and stair-hopping Fern Creek trail but otherwise it was mostly scenic with a bit of shady and a bit of sunny. For those who want the false sense of accomplishment, I guess you can drive to the top, park your car and walk the extra 200 ft up to the Fire Watch Tower. But where’s the fun in that?? It took us 2.5 hours to climb up and then 1.5 hours to climb back down. The view from the top? Amazing of course. Everything from a far-enough-away distance looks beautiful. Sitting there for several minutes taking it in, I felt like the Bay Area was wonderfully peaceful and charming. Home, really.

91- #keeptahoeblue

Hello out there!

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus. Excuses here, excuse there. Kids, life, baby, more excuses. Wine.

Last week commenced Summer break (read: Natalie’s done with school) and since we’ve never been good at sitting still, the first thought we had when we woke up was, where should we run off too?  

Lake Tahoe seemed to be as good a choice as any. And, #91- Cruise the lake in a boat has nagged at me since January 2014. Specifically because we spent our first weekend of the new year staying at a lodge and had a cruise booked, only to have it cancelled because of the one-and what seemed to be the ONLY- snow storm of the year. This isn’t the first time Mother Nature interfered with my Bucket List [insert mad face emoticon here].

Lake Tahoe is a bit of a conundrum for me. I’ve come to the conclusion that despite dozens of trips to this place growing up, I’ve never once really done it ‘right.’  Typically, I have been either too broke, too lost, too drunk, or with a group too big and as a result I’ve either never really skii’d, never swam, never been to the beach on a warm day, never gambled, never got a good night sleep in a nice bed. And at best, if any of these things did happened…. I never remembered. Tahoe must have realized this in my hiatus and has actually done some fabulous upgrades to the entire area.

This time we did it right. Including a boat cruise around the lake- it’s the bluest lake I’ve ever been on, and breathtaking.  We stayed 3 days at the Base Camp Hotel (ahhhmazing), got a private tour of Emerald Bay, cruised the Tahoe Queen around the lake,  tried some new restaurants and shopped all the little boutique shops that are popping up everywhere.  I’ve been told the same Corporation that redid Vail & Aspen are redoing Tahoe. Smart move for Tahoe commerce for sure. Job well done, “We will be back.”

#55- A Man Hunt!

Making my lists, I’ve mentioned before that I draw inspiration from things I did in the past that were so much fun, I’d want to do again.  A few of those things are drawn from childhood memories- building a fort, a snowman, Mac N Cheese, etc. And then I also remembered scavenger hunts. Bored summer days, my mom inventively made up silly lists and we’d run from house to house collecting stuff. It was also a popular youth group activity, and then my youth died away…. *sigh*

Until recently! Even though I put a Scavenger Hunt on my list in 2014 (#55), at the time I had no real plans with it or ideas other than I thought it’d be fun to do around Dixon with old friends.  And this is exactly what happened as it all came together flawlessly with Lisa’s Bachelorette Party.

I’m proud to say, I came up with this list entirely on my own, with only my brain and not Pinterest’s or Google’s input. I’m also thrilled to say I had a dozen enthusiastic friends very willing to take up the challenge 🙂

I’ve been told we checked off every item on the list. I do have a few pictures on my phone that don’t make sense but I think may be tied to the game. When I asked what was the “thing of value found on the floor”Cristy replied, “The Bride-to-Be” which I think is accurate.  All in all, a success!