Sunday, December 20, 2009

City Walks SF #50: Fort Funston

That's right! We finished our 50 city walks this year, just like we'd planned.

Thanks again to Karen and Bernie for getting us such a great gift last Christmas! This deck was a phenomenal way to get to know our city (The City) and get exercise at the same time! Now we just have to figure out what to do with all of our weekends next year!


Fort Funston is a stretch of coast on the south side of the City, managed by the National Park Service. Like all NPS lands in the Bay Area, it features many military installations of WWII era or earlier. Here's one that the observation deck was built around:

There's the north side of Fort Funston, where dogs seem to outnumber people:

And here's the descent to the beach:

More beach - and fewer dogs here:

And back on top, heading through a battery:

This was a nice place, but for the distance from our house, I feel we might as well just go to Marin - so many fewer people there! Definitely a gorgeous asset for the City though.

And a lovely way to end our City Walks.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Girls on the Run

I'd like to introduce you to a non-profit called Girls on the Run International, which has chapters throughout the country.

Girls on the Run of the Bay Area is dedicated to educating and preparing girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living. Over the course of 10-weeks girls are introduced to healthy living lessons, participate in fun games, make new friends, run to build self-confidence, and prepare for their first 1mile or 5K run - the Lollipop Run on Sat. May 8th in Golden Gate Park. Our spring programs will launch on February 22nd and we anticipate serving 300 girls in 24 programs throughout the Bay Area. Over 75% of the girls in our program require scholarships to participate in the program.

There is a great need for our programs in the Bay Area; many of the schools where we offer our program only provide 1 or 2 thirty minute PE classes a week. Research from the Women's Sports Foundation shows that if a girl does not participate in sports by the time she is 10, there is only a 10% chance that she'll be active at age 25. Additionally, a Prevention Institute Study found that investing $10 per person per year in programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion in annual health care costs within five years. Our objective is to not only prevent at-risk behavior, such as adolescent pregnancies, eating disorders, depression, and substance abuse, but also to instill confidence, a positive attitude, and the importance of healthy living habits in each girl.
Perhaps you know a teenager, as I do, who may have benefited from such a program. Perhaps you, as I did, received these benefits through sports in grade school and middle school.

Consider being a coach in this program, or volunteering at one of the 5k runs, or becoming a "running buddy" in the 5ks. There are many opportunities.

Of course, I do have an ulterior motive: I am raising money for Girls on the Run as part of my training for the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon in February. (That's right, although I denied it, I am addicted to running.) I will also be a running buddy for the spring Lollipop Run here in San Francisco. Consider finding out how you can help in your town!

Hark the Herald Angels 12K

Since I never found a partner for the Santa Barbara International Marathon relay, I had to sign up for another race to at least keep myself in some semblance of shape (that was before I signed up for another half marathon...). So, a 12k on Angel Island it was. Unfortunately, I am destined to never go to Angel Island in good weather.

I spent the whole drive up to Tiburon speculating on how I could obtain a running rain slicker before the race to which I was already almost going to be late thanks to weather. Luckily by the time we got to the ferry docker, the downpour had subsided. Here I am waiting to start, a little chilly. My poor mother who picked an unfortunate weekend to visit is covered in the slicker.

For the most part, the trails and the weather looked like this:

It was really muddy.

But I loved this race - it was really fun! The runners were very friendly and laid back, and the scenery was gorgeous! Every time you round a corner on Angel Island, another view awaits you - the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, the City, the Bay, other parts of the Island. Even in the rain, the light can be gorgeous. And by the time the rain really started coming down with about a mile left to go in the race, I was back in the forest flying down a hill under the cover of trees.

I will definitely be signing up for another Enviro-Sports race in the future.

City Walks SF #41: Mount Davidson and West Portal

This walk was rather anticlimactic for our second to last City Walk. That's right - we are almost done. At 927 feet, Mt Davidson is the highest peak in the City. However, I firmly recommend Twin Peaks regardless of the few feet shorter it is. Twin Peaks features 360 degree views, rather than just the north side that Mount Davidson offers. In addition, there is also no giant cross on the time. (I will admit though, Mount Davidson appeared to have some cute stone-step trails through the eucalyptus forests.)

Due to our country's supposed separation of church and state, in 1997, the City of San Francisco sold the 1/3 acre on which this cross sits to the highest bidder. Problem solved.

This walk also involved the neighborhood of West Portal, which we have visited several times for the cute 3 screen movie theater just two subway stops from the Castro. We went there just this past weekend to see the Fantastic Mr. Fox.

City Walks SF #42: Glen Canyon

I love Glen Canyon! I know have blogged about this before, but I can't find it in my archives. This time we went here for the actual city walks. I mean really, can you believe these pictures were taken right in the middle of the City?

City Walks SF #47: Bernal Heights

Here's another area of town we had never been to before. Bernal Heights Park was very nice - filled with joggers and dog-walkers, and with great city views. I really enjoyed it. Bernal Heights is also a cute little neighborhood with shops, restaurants, and bakeries. There are so many little streets like this sprinkled throughout the City, right in the middle of residential areas - I love it.

City Walks SF #48: Potrero Hill

This is an interesting residential area with great views of downtown, but it is oh-so-remote from good public transit. We walked by the Anchor Brewery, but they have no tap room here, and tours are so limited you have to take vacation from work to get one.

We also saw the real curviest street in San Francisco. Not as picturesque or as close to other things as it's famous counterpart, Lombard Street.

City Walks SF #49: South Park and the Embarcadero

Ah, we did this walk so long ago that I have forgotten so much. For some reason this walk involved a chain - Gordon Biersch, but since Matt and I so rarely turn down beer, we stopped in anyway.

We also took a short walk along the bay, stopped by AT&t Park and then headed into this strange area called South Park. Situated smack in the middle of an industrial area, this is an oval-shaped green area with a playground, cafes, and commercial spaces for the creative types. Strangely, it's just a block or so from Matt's office and we had never seen it before.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Holidays

Hello blog friends!

Matt and I have been busy moving and also having some great adventures.

In reverse order, because that's how I uploaded the pictures and now I am lazy:

On Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, after being scared out of Yosemite early by snow that the Echo was not good at driving through, we stopped at the Cosumnes River Preserve near Sacramento.

People like to bird here:

These trees were nice enough to shade me from ridiculously high winds that literally blew me around:

We enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner at the Yosemite Lodge food court, where I partook of tofurkey and vegan dressing, along with mashed potatoes, yams, and pie. We also went ice skating that night. On Friday morning we took a phenomenal 10 mile, 3200 foot hike up to Glacier Point. You can see more pictures of this hike on Facebook:

But before we got to Yosemite, we woke up early Thanksgiving morning and ran a 5 mile turkey trot!

Karen and Bernie had been in town for the holiday to see Bernie's family, so we got to enjoy Tyler for a short time:

The weekend before Thanksgiving, we drove down to Ventura for a friend's wedding. On the way home, we enjoyed a sunset along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Also along the PCH, we found seals super close up at Morro Bay:

And also checked out the rock:

And a bit of OHV-free beach near Pismo:

Along with beautiful Monarch butterflies!

Here's me with the groom:

And my husband:

In front of the beautiful view from our hotel room (this is not how I pictured Oxnard):

And two weekends before that we were back in Arizona (sadly for a funeral), but also got to see the nephew:

And of course before that (and still), we were moving into our new apartment with this beautiful backyard garden:

And that was the last month of my life in reverse!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thank You for All Your Support!

I finished!

This has been an amazing season for me. With all your generous contributions, I raised over $2800 and counting for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! At last night's inspiration dinner, we had a fabulous speaker who is in remission from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (and whose parents both are Hodgkin's lymphoma survivors!). She talked about how sometimes patients need more than just moral support - they actually have real needs. LLS was able to fill those needs for her by providing $1,000 to help with her copayments and other medical bills. She was just out of college and only had a major medical plan because her employer did not offer health benefits. She said to always remember that when you make a donation or raise money, it is not going to a faceless organization. It is actually going to one person, and it is meeting that person's needs. So rest assured that your generous contributions are making a difference in the life of a blood cancer patient.

Around 5,000 TNTers competed in the Nike Women's Marathon today, together raising the equivalent of $500,000 per mile. And you folks made that happen!

Of course, I have gotten something out of this as well. I have met many inspirational cancer survivors, family members, and even patients undergoing treatment. I have gone from running 0 miles to running 13.1 miles! But of course I had my setbacks. Between my sprained ankle at the end of August and my bout with h1n1 at the end of September, my training was less than adequate. I have not run more than 3 miles at once in over six weeks, and I had never run more than 6 miles in my life! Because of my illness I didn't even go to the gym for nearly 2 weeks.

But I finished! And I did it, I think, in approximately 11 minutes per mile, which is just a bit slower than the pace I was hoping for pre-injury and -illness. And while I am exhausted now, it was a fabulous experience! A couple of weeks ago I was not even sure I could finish, and this morning I was not even sure I could run the whole thing. But I did it, thanks to all your support. I did not want to let my donors down!

And I owe special thanks to my wonderful husband who supported me during training, waited on me when I sprained my ankle and while I was sick, and showed up on the race course at 8 miles and at the finish line while still under the weather.

Thank you again for all your support and your generous donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

(And just to show that it wasn't all fun and games when I finished the race, I'm even letting you see this picture.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Happiest Place on Earth

(Photo taken by Bernie)

I never told you about Disneyland! I will do so now so I can think about happier times before h1n1 visited our little household.

We went to Disneyland for Matt's 30th birthday, because, well, Disneyland is free on your birthday and I have been wanting to go there for years. I feel bad that Matt did this for me, but he is a grown man and I can't stop him. At least he enjoyed spending time with the children!

My favorite rides were Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, the Jungle Cruise, and Tom Sawyer's Pirate Island. The first two are probably obvious - the closest thing to roller coasters and other real amusement park rides. The Jungle Cruise is funny because of all the ridiculous jokes cracked by the guide, and of course it was more funny because Bernie thought it was so hilarious. Some of the content is rather offensive and seems a bit racist though... Tyler also thoroughly enjoyed the ride although he was standing up at the beginning of it (with the assistance of Uncle Matt) and got into a bit of trouble with the guide.

I can't even remember what the island is really called, but I think it has something to do with Tom Sawyer. I enjoyed this because I am basically 5. There are "caves" to explore, things to climb, shade trees, fun bridges, and all sorts of other things to explore. I could have stayed longer, but alas, the real children and their parents had already grown tired of it. Also by that time my ankle was about the size of an orange...

Anyway, yay for Disneyland! We also had fun at the beach and pool with even more friends, and the Dodgers came was a raucous delight.

Now if only the fires hadn't existed and my ankle hadn't been destroyed, the weekend would have been even more fabulous.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Team in Training Thank You Gifts

Guess what? I have less than one month left to get ready for my first ever half marathon. Even worse: I have 1 week left to raise nearly $500 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as a participant in their Team In Training program.

So here's the deal: the first 15 people who make a donation of at least $35 between now and October 1st can choose to receive a thank you gift worth between $5 and $20. You can view the options below. All you have to do is make an online donation and write which thank you gift you would like in the comments section. If someone has already chosen a gift, consider it spoken for. Here is the website:

I will send your gift in the mail to the address you enter for your donation.

Don't forget that you can also make a donation by purchasing fabulous handmade stationery, craft paper, and gifts from the following site:

Each donation helps accelerate finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. More than 823,000 Americans are battling these blood cancers. I am hoping that my participation in Team In Training will help bring them hope and support.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support. I greatly appreciate your generosity.

(For those of you who have already donated and did not receive a gift, I apologize. It doesn't seem fair. However, I am behind on my fundraising and I have some leftover prizes from another event that didn't work out, so I had to do something. Feel free to donate again!)

Thank you gifts:

  1. Apple sketchbook
  2. Owl sketchbook CLAIMED
  3. 100% notepad
  4. 100% notepad
  5. 100% notepad
  6. Strawberry bangle purse
  7. Brown bangle purse
  8. Pink bangle purse
  9. Parrot bangle purse
  10. Red bangle purse
  11. Brown/flower bangle purse
  12. Handmade stationery set
  13. Handmade bits and pieces bag CLAIMED
  14. Starbucks gift card ($10) CLAIMED
  15. Olive Garden gift certificate ($10)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

City Walks SF #46: The Latino Mission

Now, this part of the Mission I actually like. It isn't as trendy as the northern part, Spanish is still spoken most places, and you can purchase Mexican pastries on the cheap. Of course we have yet to find a panaderia as tasty as Golden Crown.

The area is also apparently famous for its murals. Here are just a few:

I think the one below is Matt's favorite. He loves Mr. Burbujas.

Also a soda fountain that supposedly dates back to 1918. I am a big fan of soda fountains, being a lover of milkshakes, fries, and other such treats.

If you have to get off the BART in the Mission, I definitely prefer 24th street.