PTA Award

I’m going to toot my own horn here for a second. Last month I was on a team of people recognized for our work with Safe Routes to School. It was unexpected and, of course, nice to be honored. Unfortunately, I couldn’t go to the ceremony because it was on a Thursday from 4-6 pm, which is the absolute busiest time of our week. My friend Tiffany sent me pictures though.

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And I got a certificate.

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Spring Walk & Roll Day 2017

Way back at the beginning of the school year, I chose to have our Spring Walk & Roll Day in March instead of April because a) we had rain in April last year and b) April is when the standardized testing is happening and I figured everyone already has enough to worry about. Well, point b) was fine, but, unfortunately, we still had to fight the rain. I was really worried we’d have an unsuccessful event, but with the helpful ideas of a veteran Safe Routes rep, we managed to pull off another great W&R day.

It was a family affair — Bruce and Finn both helped make the poster and man the tables.

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The poster was a huge success!

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Here’s a video that shows all the post-it notes that the kids drew. I really was surprised at the outcome — such enthusiasm and creativity!

Weekend in Laguna

I got to sneak into SoCal for a weekend in Laguna with Cari in March. It was beautiful and relaxing. I have no pictures of us, but several of the beautiful landscape.

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Also, here’s one from the airplane showing how temporarily green California is.

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Alex’s Memorial

In November, my sweet cousin Alex passed away after a lifelong battle with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and various other illnesses. His life was a lesson in perseverance. In addition to adversity the likes of which I can only imagine, there was adventure, poetry, and most of all, love. His parents’ and siblings’ dedication to him and his care and well-being are the most beautiful illustration of family I’ve ever seen.

His memorial service was planned for the end of January in Orange County, so I flew down for the weekend. Luckily, Cari was available so we spent the time together before the memorial on Sunday afternoon. The weather was perfect (and a welcome respite from all the NorCal rain). Cari and I went on a couple of walks and spent as much time outside on the deck as possible. Here are a few pictures.

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I don’t have any pictures from the memorial service because I was too busy catching up with family and friends. It was a lovely time and I’m glad I got to go.

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Birthday Weekend in Pasadena

It all started in October when Bruce and I were graciously invited to the Kings/Sharks season opener in San Jose. The Kings lost the game, our starting goalie was seriously injured, and after suffering through the Sharks skating through a giant shark mouth, I texted my friend Sherry to say how much I missed Kings games. Sherry texted back that I should come down for my birthday because there was a game that day. I laughed it off as impossible, but it stuck and lo and behold we made it happen!

So, on December 9th we left about mid-day to beat some of the traffic. We were a little nervous to leave the kittens at home for the first time, but they were in good hands with Detchemendy/Eide family taking care of them. Here’s Julia giving some love to Emmy.

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After finding and settling into our little Airbnb house in Pasadena, we went for dinner at Zankou.

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It was sooooo good.

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In the morning I got up for an early walk which was chilly but beautiful (and not as chilly as I’m used to now!).

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Then we had breakfast with Bob, Vanessa, Reba and Thomas at Du-pars. Great to see them and enjoy some yummy pancakes and french toast. I forgot to take pictures until the very end when Finn was, apparently, grumpy over some slight. It’s a terrible shot, but I’ll put it in anyway for posterity’s sake.

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Soon it was Kings game time. It was a 1:00 game and Sherry had a surprise for me, so we left Pasadena really early. The surprise was a picture with Luc Robitaille, my favorite King. (It was a season ticket holder event with the new 50th anniversary monument that had been rescheduled to the 10th because of rain. Good luck for me!)

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After the picture, we visited the team store (stocking stuffers for the boys) and had a drink before the game started. It was a great game — not too stressful and the Kings won 4-1.

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While I was at the game, Bruce and the boys met Rob and Chapin and went ice skating at the Pasadena Ice Rink. Chatty Finn even managed to get a reluctant Chapin to try skating, so success all around! After that Bruce took the boys to visit the Bates, where I met up with them after the game. We had a lovely visit with Colleen, Darryl, Emily, and of course, the boys’ favorite, Molly.

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From there we hustled up to to Altadena for the Christmas Tree Lane lighting ceremony. We’d missed the Pintos’ pre-party but saw some friends briefly. It was super crowded! But such a fun hometown event.

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We managed to catch up with the Bannings for a few minutes so I got a shot of the kids together.

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And, more importantly, we found Erin who was going to babysit the boys while we went out for a celebratory dinner with Cari and Rob.

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We finally settled on a restaurant (Little Beast in Eagle Rock) and I actually thought to have the hostess take our picture, which never happens. Actual documentation of an adult outing, yay!

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We had a lovely time, exactly what I was hoping for to celebrate our birthdays.

The next morning, Cari and I got to have a walk together — in person, not by phone! I was happy to get some extra Cari time, knowing she had a busy Sunday and I wouldn’t see her again. As an aside, we stumbled on not one but two Little Free Libraries on our walk! They were numbers 24482 and 30115.

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After that, we cleared our stuff out of the Airbnb and drove up to the Heffernans’ for breakfast. Jerri had to work that day so she invited us up for a visit before she had to leave. Here’s a shot of all the kids.

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Our last stop was a park play date to catch up with long-lost friends. So many Cottage, Aveson and neighborhood friends showed up! Bob, Vanessa and Thomas came too for some added family time. It was a lovely meet up for us. I was too busy visiting with everyone to take many pictures, but here are a few.

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After a late lunch at Ginger Corner Market across from the park, it was time for us to go home. I got one last picture from Christina of the kittens getting some love, so we knew they were doing well.

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Our drive was long as usual, but thankfully traffic was pretty light. We were all exhausted, but it was a perfect birthday weekend.

Vintage Christmas Party

December 3rd gave us not only Finn’s piano recital but also a Vintage Christmas Party put on by a couple of our favorite Fairmeadow moms. These are our hostesses, Karen and Christina, and as you can tell from their outfits and the decorations behind them, they went all out.

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Bruce and I got dressed up vintage style as well, although I just couldn’t manage the 50s-60s hair. But I did get a petticoat and I pulled out my mother’s pearls which were definitely from that era.

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Bruce decided to go with 50s NASA engineer. I tried to get him to shave off his facial hair (which I’m pretty sure was a no-no among that ilk at the time) but he wouldn’t do it. We did manage to make a pretty accurate recreation of the pocket contents and a NASA badge. He also had his calculator on his belt like a holster.

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Here are some more pictures from the evening. Super fun!

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December Bike Ride

My bouts of vertigo this year have really kicked my butt and kept me from doing some of the things I love. I’ve missed a lot of the regular weekly hikes I used to go on, as well as the occasional bike rides with that group. So, the fact that I was feeling good and had no scheduling conflicts was very exciting when a ride came up on December 2nd. I rode 16.44 miles with two friends, Sonya and Leslie. Here we are at the half-way point.

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And here’s our route info.

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Hopefully 2017 will bring better health for me!

Fall Walk & Roll Day 2016

Last month’s Walk & Roll Day was the first one I’d done since becoming the only Safe Routes to School rep at Fairmeadow (instead of one of three reps). I wanted to do a bang-up job of getting the word out, so I made new posters and Bruce helped me hang them by the car line.

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I also posted flyers all over school, sent home a small flyer in the Friday folders, and put the announcement in the weekly newsletter. OK, maybe overkill.

The Friday before the event, there was an all-school assembly. When Finn and I arrived at school, the Principal asked him if he would participate in the assembly to talk about Walk & Roll Day. He was game, and I have to say he did a great job, especially considering he didn’t know about it until just before it happened! Here’s a still shot of him talking with Principal Althouse.

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And of course I recorded his whole part. He said he was super nervous, but I don’t think it shows.

As for Walk & Roll Day itself, it was a great success. I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it because I’d been fighting a bout of vertigo for two days beforehand. I had made arrangements for stand-ins just in case, but luckily with a lot of help from Bruce that morning, I was able to do my job that day. I only have a few pictures because I was super busy greeting students and handing out raffle tickets. Here’s one of Finn, who was manning one of the entrances.

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And here’s our main entrance before the main crush of students arrived.

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We had a ton of participation in active transportation that day and almost no solo car trips, as evidenced by our sticker charts.

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Our normally busy car line was almost empty. I’ll take that as a success!

Obama Motorcade

President Obama was in Palo Alto on June 24th for a conference at Stanford. I knew this because I got the multiple traffic warnings from the PAPD about the impending ObamaJam. And so, when I needed to run an errand to the other side of town, I rode my bike. (Truth be told, I always ride my bike when I have to go over there because even on regular days the traffic and parking are horrendous.)

Anyway, I was on my way back and crossing Embarcadero when I saw a gaggle of motorcycle cops riding down the street. Then two of them stopped at opposite corners of Embarcadero and Greer, and the timing was consistent with the traffic warnings so I stopped to ask one of them if Obama was en route. Luckily the CHP officer was very nice. He told me yes, eventually, the motorcade would be coming all the way down Embarcadero, but he wasn’t sure exactly when, probably 15-30 minutes.

Of course, I had to wait! So I parked my trusty steed across from the officers and found a shady spot.

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After about 30 minutes, the cops blocked off Greer, much to the chagrin of many drivers. There was even one woman who tried to cross the street on foot and was quite perturbed when the officer told her she couldn’t.

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After several sweeps from the police helicopter, a small crowd of onlookers joined us and finally the procession started.

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It was pretty great.

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There was a long line of vehicles behind the one Obama was in — press vans, ambulance, more police, etc.

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I stopped taking pictures as Obama’s car passed by and I did, in fact, get a glimpse of our President. In light of the disaster that is this year’s election process, seeing Obama was especially exciting!

And then, in the blink of an eye, it was all over and the streets were open again. There are hundreds of cars backed up though, so I was very happy to be able to jump on my bike. I was home in five minutes!

Jasper Ridge Tour 5/13/16

My friend and hiking group leader, Sonya, arranged for a docent-led tour of Jasper Ridge last month. It’s the only way you can hike in the area, which is a biological preserve owned by Stanford. Here are some photos from the hike.

The large, but shrinking, reservoir.

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The dam adjacent to the reservoir. Quite an interesting build.

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Here’s another view of the dam, from down below.

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Our docent pointed out lots of interesting things …

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… including this rock with holes used by the Native Americans for cooking.

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It’s a beautiful place.

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We passed this giant oak on the way in and out. So majestic.

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Mother’s Day 2016

Mother’s Day came one week after our move and we were all still reeling from the chaos and finding our way around the boxes. The boys also had a birthday party to attend, and the cable guy was coming to figure out what was wrong with our modem. Regardless, I had a lovely day that started with breakfast prepared by the boys and my morning newspaper edited to my liking by Ezra.

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Oh, if it were only true.

I got in a nice long walk while Bruce took the boys to the party, and the cable guy fixed the wifi. In the evening we went for pizza at Howie’s and dessert at Tin Pot Creamery. It was a great day and I felt rejuvenated enough to face the coming week of tackling Boxland! Love my boys.

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Two Hikes

I’m going to combine my last two hikes in April into one post. The first, Arastradero Preserve on the 11th, isn’t the most strenuous hike, but we added a bike ride with one fairly tough spot to the hiking mileage for a good day’s workout. Here are a couple of photos, including our somewhat smaller group that day.

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The second hike, Rancho San Antonio PG&E Trail on the 18th, was much more difficult. I’d been to Rancho San Antonio and remembered a pretty easy hike, but this was not the same trail. So much up hill! I guess the silver lining is that it makes for great views, if you don’t die of heart failure.

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We had a big group for this one — lots of gluttons for punishment!

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Mission Peak Hike 2/29/16

Our group tried a new hike last week — Mission Peak in Fremont. I didn’t do any research ahead of time but the description from our leader said it would be a tough one with a quick elevation gain. At least one regular hiker who did do more research bowed out, and several of us had serious reservations about half-way up. From the bottom, it didn’t look like it would be too bad, and the rains had made everything so green!

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Turns out, it’s a grueling hike — nearly seven miles round trip, muscle-killing straight up for the first half and toe-crunching straight down for the second. The views, though, mostly made it worth the discomfort.

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We could also see the snow-topped Sierras when we got to the other side of the mountain, but my picture of them didn’t come out. Here’s our group at the top; apparently, taking pictures with this post is all the rage on social media. (Who knew?)

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Here’s one of just me.

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And here’s the view from the tip top.

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I’m glad we had such a lovely day because I can’t really imagine doing this one again!

El Corte de Madera Creek Preserve 2/22/16

This week’s hike was new to me, and was one of the more scenic trails I’ve seen. We weren’t even that far in when we noticed we had a peekaboo view of the ocean.

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The trail was fairly strenuous in places but mostly shady.

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I liked this stretch of manzanitas.

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And they were blooming which was an added bonus.

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There was a tribute to the crew of an airplane that crashed there in 1953.

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And our lunch spot was a vista with another beautiful view of the ocean.

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And here’s the group.

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Our next stop on this sightseeing hike (as our leader called it) was the Tafoni Sandstone Formation which was pretty spectacular.

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And finally we stopped by the Methuselah tree, an enormous old growth redwood.

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It’s always hard to see the size of these trees without reference, so here are a couple of our hikers standing next to it for perspective.

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Once again my tracking app showed this hike as 7.44 miles while everyone else’s trackers came up with more miles. Let’s say it was 8 and call it a day.

Stanford Dish Hike 2/17/16

There was a 70% chance of rain on Wednesday so we opted for the fully-paved Dish Loop at Stanford for our weekly hike instead of fighting the mud on the regular trails. We managed to finish the 5.5 mile walk before the rains came but the cloud formations made for great views. And it was so green!

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Here’s the group.

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