Project Athena Fundraiser


Gentle readers, I would love your help!

In the grand semi/sporadic tradition that I started back in 2002 when I walked in my first of three Breast Cancer 3-day events, I am back on the walking trail again in 2016.

(No, I will not and have not stopped running, but I did take a much needed rest from the longer runs after my 3rd 1/2 marathon in a 5 months time span earlier this year!)

First, here’s the fundraising page – I plan to raise $3,000 to participate as a Supportive Goddess in this event. It is *only* 50 miles over 2 days (hahahahaha…yeah…”only”…) and the route sounds just breathtaking Oceanside Harbor to San Diego Harbor so if you know that coastal trail, you know it is pretty stunning! The Athena who I am supporting is my friend Angela who has courageously bounced back from several back surgeries after being thrown from a horse a few years ago. She is a shining example of someone who is moving forward from surviving to thriving and I am honored to be able to walk with her 🙂





I am…*looks at calendar*..oh about 33 days late posting this! Consistent with the Xmas photos 🙂 So yeah, 1/3/15 was the big 5-0. And it was a Saturday. The Friday night before I had a very nice dinner with the family up near my parent’s house. That freed up Saturday for my local friends. I had asked Renee to throw something simple together and she did a GREAT job! Not only did some locals show up, but she had extended an invitation to my remote friends to make a video message for me or send me a card. I’ve never had so many cards mailed to me for my birthday! They pretty much replaced the holiday cards on my mantle and the videos were such a lovely treat. So here’s some photos from the gathering at the Beer Lounge. What you wont see is the real excitement – me, setting my hair on fire as I blew out the candles!! Thankfully the person who was taking the photos had the presence of mind to put her phone down and smother the flame out. FEW! I mean, we are alluding to me having a Fabulous Girl on Fire Year of being Fifty, but I wasn’t supposed to be so LITERAL!!

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Motivation, perspiration, inspiration and iron ass hill


Ready to tackle the trail!

Ready to tackle the trail!

This morning I drove up about 60 miles north to Crystal Cove State Park and participated in a 6k trail run event. My motivation was to spend a day with my high school friend #651 – it was her birthday and she was treating herself – no, challenging herself – to achieving something new. She started off in January of this year walking in a 5k event that she was supposed to do with her best friend #649. That 5k walk was to honor #649’s mom who was battling cancer. Sadly, mom lost her battle so #651 had to swallow her fear of doing something so intimidating all by herself.

And she did it.

And that created a monster 🙂

We’ve been trading tales all year of our events and training progress. She dove right into doing mud runs and obstacle course events – hard core – I haven’t done those!

In October she did this one insane event that I honestly don’t think I could have done. She wore a video camera on the top of her hat and shot some really amazing video of her journey through the course. She walked most of it, needed help getting over and through a few spots, but she DID IT!

After that one she posted that today’s would be her next event and that her goal was to jog “some” of it. She’s been really trying to up her effort from walking to jogging.

The trail today was HARD. If I had been intending to run it all myself, I think I would not have been able to. The first two miles were almost totally UP an intensely steep hill – 813 feet. It zigged and zagged and I know I would have alternated running and walking from onr switchback to another. Otherwise I would have had NO stamina to get back down!

Up UP UP we went. Slow and steady.

Up UP UP we went. Slow and steady.

Somewhere on the trail I dubbed this Iron Ass Hill because going up this thing gives you an Iron Ass whether you want it or not!

IMG_2744See that teensy white piece of paper on the shrub? That was the 2 mile marker. HERE, it finally started to level off. We then turned another corner and came upon a water/gatorade stand. We each took a cup and then…with level trail and mostly downhill left – she said “Let’s GO!”

So at around the 2.1 mile marker we jogged.

Stunning views

Stunning views

The weather was perfect. December on the So Cal beach trails brings cooler air temps, but the sun still heats it up just enough. #649 and I were a little bit ahead and we started yapping and the next thing we knew we had gone a mile. At the start of the jogging we had given #651 a few tips on posture and gait which she had picked up. She found her comfort zone and just kept moving. One foot in front of the other, up and down at a steady pace. Before we knew it, we could hear the finish line, then see it, and then at the last little bit we all sprinted across together.

She ran TWO MILES today. After having only gone a block at a time around her house before!

Smiling the whole time – feeling no major aches or pains – she just kept on moving.

Now she wants to repeat all the events again in 2013. Only she wants to do MORE jogging than walking.

I think she’s got this 🙂





Oct 10 – From one corner of the country to another




I’m stealing a writing prompt from last month’s NaBloPoMo selection – “Write about one object you see at this exact moment.”

Well, since I am writing this while taking a lunch break at my desk, as my eyes wandered off my screen, the first thing I saw just above was this calendar.

(A technical note – yes, I am writing these typically a day in advance and scheduling them to post the next morning – I am finding that to be a lot better in terms of daily posts than what I did in May which was scramble at the end of every day to write about that day. That was one way to do daily posts and it was sometimes fun, but…I wanted to try something a little more polished this time!)

So let me tell you about that calendar. It is of Maine lighthouses. This is my…5th or 6th version of this calendar I think?

It’s an interesting tale how the state over the upper right corner of the country has become the place I would most want to spend a summer or any extended time visiting. Can’t get much further away from my left coast corner can it? As it happens when I joined the two online groups where I’ve met most of my friends, that he people who happen to live in Portland, Maine perhaps are the most kindred of kindred spirits to me. That is enhanced by the fact that both times I have visited Maine, I loved every moment. Do I love the people that much more because of where they live? Do I love where they live that much more because they are there?

Probably a little of both.

My August Mom roommate lives there. The first time we shared a room was at the first gathering. Very few of us had met face to face back then unless someone already lived near another family or had vacationed near another. To reduce costs we immediately talked about sharing rooms for those of us traveling alone. But it was scary! Who do you chose? As we have learned, online compatibility does NOT translate to real time compatibility or that you will be good travel companions. at all (lord knows I learned that lesson in future years with the Netroots Nation events!)

But, we all pretty much had to roll the dice. I honestly don’t remember what drew me to Maine Mom. I am pretty sure it was I who approached her about it. (She probably remembers better than I do!). All I know for sure is that once we finally met in Seattle the deal was set in place for all future gatherings. If we gather anywhere near each other’s city, we extend the visit to hang out at our homes. She took me to see a couple of the Maine lighthouses that are near her so every time I turn the calendar to the ones I know I feel an extra warm glow.

Then there’s the Cheers & Jeers boys. From the Daily Kos blog community which drew me to attend the Netroots Nation events. Bill and Michael are who I spend probably the most time with when we all attend. The first time I met them was in Portland Maine. Towards the end of an August Mom’s gathering I had put the word out to the New England C&J group that I was visiting and they threw a little luncheon together. That first hug from Michael? Well, you just don’t forget those!

I’m telling you, one of these years I will spend a summer in Maine and just BE with Maine Mom & her family and Bill & Michael. I *need* to do that.

The calendar comes from Michael every year. It started as a part of a Secret Santa gift exchange and he’d thrown one in for me for fun. He’s asked me every year if I still want to get one. Oh, yes, I sure do! I mean, it is lovely to have all of these fantastic friends, but when you are all so damn far away and I am lucky IF I get to see you once a year? Or not, as this year has turned out.  At least let me be able to look up and see the place you live, think of you all, smile and go about my day.

A glorious long weekend in San Diego


Yes, I know, I live here so the headline could seem as if it is hinting that I traveled somewhere new. Which I did. Sort of.

Friday night started it off out in east county for the first varsity football game of the season (horrible…penalties, turnovers…lost 22-7…16 still on the sideline though he should be suiting up around Game 3….) We are still in the throes of this summer humidity laces heat wave that wont end so it was REALLY warm out there, but fun as always and just as the night descended…the Blue Moon started to rise:

Saturday had been set aside to visit with my high school buddy Lisa who drove down from LA to take her own end of summer vacation away from it all (her medical practice + TV show which keep her insanely busy so seeing her…or exchanging more than two line text messages or emails – is very rare)


We enjoyed a 2+ hour lunch at Barbarella in La Jolla just up the street from the Beach & Tennis club where she was staying, then we wandered back to her room and prepared to sit out on the beach:

I told her I was teasing my running buddies with this photo and she said “Tell them to get out here with us!” and the next thing you knew Renee, Eve, Lisa and I spent the rest of Saturday sitting on the beach and then wandering right back into town for a fantastic Italian dinner. It was one of those completely relaxing summer days/nights which, on it’s own, would have made the long weekend superb.

But there was more to come!

Sunday we went for our usual longer run. We got a later start than usual so it was plenty warm by the time we started with the hill repeats but it actually wasn’t that hard. I’m starting to think I am getting decent at this running thing!

The girls then asked me if I wanted to join them out to a horse ranch/birthday party bbq and I said “Hey, why not?” Back out to the back country of San Diego for yet another change of pace:

Monday we had a full day planned, though again starting later so we could all sleep in. Chip made sure I didn’t get up before I was needed to:

The day was spent out on the downtown Embarcadero where they were celebrating the Festival of Sails – a collection of tall sailing ships were docked there and we could climb all over them and some even went out for voyages in the harbor as well as some mock cannon battles. We didn’t take a voyage but we did climb over every boat we could and we got some shots of the sailing ships:

After four solid days out in the sunshine and heat, it was finally time to end the final day with a trip to a nice, dark, cool bar:








Party Pics!


Here’s my Facebook status from Sunday night:

“Collapsing into bed having managed to pull off a movie and bbq birthday celebration despite the grill master being out of commission. Thank gawd for substitute grilling experts (oh, it was just a *little* fire!) and super easy going friends and family and that last burst of energy (beer) that got me through a complete clean up inside and out. It was a total Triumph of the Single Parent day.” 🙂

27 woke up sick on Saturday and it continued into Sunday. Having never worked a grill in my life I was a tad panicked. Then I remembered that one of 16’s (that’s gonna take awhile to write!) friends is also a grill master in training. So then the bigger issue was that I had agreed to drop off the boys to a movie and then pick them up after because I thought 27 would be able to help with shopping/cleaning/setup. Thankfully I cleaned on Saturday. But after dropping off the boys I had to then shop (improvising items along the way), fill up the propane tank and then prep and toss a whole chicken in the crock pot before heading back out to pick them up.

The substitute grill master in training had never done beef ribs before however, the sauce/seasoning that he threw together to coat them must have been good. The slight issue with the lack of beef rib experience is that he didn’t anticipate the amount of fat on the ribs. We also (oopsie) didn’t properly clean the grill from the prior meal cooked on it. So……there was a wee bit of a FIRE while the second batch was cooking. In front of the brand new fence (memo to self – pull the grill away from that a little more!) and some low hanging tree branches.

Oh, another memo to self (and anyone else in the vicinity): a garden hose provides a ready stream of water for dousing a fire. There is one just five feet away from the grill. Perhaps that would be faster than running inside to get the jug of drinking water? Sheesh!

Anyhoo – no harm (other than the crispy black ribs!) no foul and there was still plenty of food and great conversation – mostly directed by the teen boys and their tales of mis-adventure. The beer didn’t hurt 🙂

Ribs before charring :->

Chowing down #1

Chowing Down #2

Attempting to hide the evidence of BBQ sauce all over his face….

Nope – can’t hide it kiddo!

Birthday BBQ crew.