Everest, et. al

Apparently, I’m not as good at updating this thing as I thought or hoped I might be.  I was shooting for once a week, but it’s been more like once a month.  Or in the case of January, not at all.  Oh well, things happen.

I thought January would calm down, since the holidays were over, but that wasn’t the case.  There was getting sick, dinners with friends, getting back in shape (I re-joined bootcamp), and the end of the fiscal year at work.  Early February brought Brian’s birthday and the super bowl, as well as a trip back to NY for my aunt’s funeral.  It was my dad’s sister, and she was too young – 69.  She was always the fun, eccentric, artistic one, and I have great memories of her from when I was little.  Many of them involve standing on a chair telling a story.  I’m pretty sure that happened a lot when I was six.  Many of the stories I heard about her over the weekend from family and friends made me wish I had more memories of her from adulthood.  Seeing a lot of family that I haven’t seen in awhile was nice – I met one cousin’s two little girls, met new second cousins, and learned that one of my cousins is an ultra runner.  While it was great to see the rest of the family, but would have been much better under different circumstances.

At the end of January, we picked our seats for Nepal and Everest.  So on 1/26, we were 90 days from take-off.  I don’t think I could be more excited.  We’ve been hiking every weekend to break in our stuff and get back in shape for the trip.  I’m treating this like a race – nothing new on race day, nothing new for the trip.

Two weeks ago, we did a seven mile hike in the headlands and tried out our packs, poles, water bottles, as well as ourselves (those hills were no joke ;)).  I should have tried out some gatorade powder or something in my water.  I ended up fighting low blood sugar all day.  Not fun.

The pack (Kelty Women’s 40 Liter pack) felt great, hardly knew it was there.  I did struggle all day to get the water bottle in and out of the holder on the bag, luckily, I would have time to practice.  Or so I thought.  Last week, I noticed a hole in the water bottle holder, so it had to be exchanged.  Good bye blue bag, hello black bag.  Which is fine – other than all of my outer layers are black.  Apparently I’ll be the goth girl on the mountain.

Poles were a great help once I got used to them.  Helpful going up hill, fantastic going downhill.  Excellent way to feel a little more stable.

Today, despite the rain, we decided to hike and headed up to Mt. Tam.  We were planning on a short hike, since it was raining and a little chilly.  But, we were excited to try out some more of our gear.  I had my new pack (still Kelty, but now black), it would definitely need some adjustments to fit me.

So, I pulled out the heaviest of the three base layers I had – Smartwool’s Women’s Mid 250 hoodie, and a pair of Exofficio underwear – tag line, ’17 countries in 20 some days…one pair of underwear’….(let’s hope it doesn’t come to that)….I also grabbed the shell of my component jacket – Marmot Women’s Cosset Component Jacket, as well as the rain/snow pants – also Marmot…I think the PreCip pant, but I can’t remember.

The good news is that the gear was fabulous.  I was actually a little warm, despite having only a base layer and an outer shell.  I also stayed dry.  All good things with the mountain coming up in just over two months.  We had a great hike….found a salamander, trekked through a waterfall (thank god our boots are fabulous), and got to experience nature in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time.

Overall, a good weekend – rested up Saturday, got some cleaning done, and then hiked today.  Now the Olympics are on for the rest of the night.  Until next time….

Graduation Weekend!

So, great weekend…I’m not really sure where to begin, and on some level, I still can’t believe it’s over.

My parents got to town on Thursday night, and our friends from San Diego got here Friday. It was great to see them, and I’m so glad they were able to come.  

I bought a dress on Black Friday, so I was excited to wear that…of course it’s orange and pink, and they recommend dark colors for under the regalia. Oops….haha.  My parents and brother brought a necklace and a charm.  Which was perfect, since I couldn’t find one to wear, that worked with the dress.  So, I wore the necklace, and can’t wait to wear the charm.  Kevin picked it out – it’s a heart with the Japanese symbol for love on it.  He looked forever, and chose that one, since it would mean something to me since I love to travel and loved Japan so much.  

We took two cars over, which was a little nerve wracking, since we only had one parking pass, and parking for classes over there was always challenging.  We passed the barrier in front of the church, and it made me smile.  I’m sure it was annoying to anyone not involved with graduation, but I enjoyed seeing the no parking, special USF event banners in front of the church.  Luckily, there was a ceremony that had just gotten out, so we were able to find two spots pretty close together, and close to where we needed to be.  

Once we arrived, I headed over to the library where they had asked us to meet, and the family went to get in line to get seats. We were supposed to be in the library by 5:45, but that time quickly came and went, and we weren’t really sure why we were there so early.  It did give me some time to catch up with the people I knew, and there were more than I thought there would be, so that was nice.  I was also able to have one of the Josten’s guys fix the hood on my regalia, that was nice too.  Finally, at 6:20, we were ushered out into the cold to line up.  We still didn’t really know what was going on.  Luckily, they got us in some from of a line pretty quickly, and through the grounds and into the church we went. 

The processional was cool.  I found my family and got to wave, yes, it was like I was five again.  Haha.  We got to watch the faculty come in, and it was cool to see them in regalia. They all had different stuff and outfits and hats on.  Not sure what it meant, but still cool.  The Dean’s assistant sang the national anthem, wow…she had a great voice.  Then the dean and the Prevost said a few words, Prof Yang, who I wrote the paper with, did the opening prayer.  There were two student speakers, and then the honorary doctorate was awarded.  I don’t remember much about her, other than she centered her speech around labor unions in Guatemala. Perfect for a class of business students…..

Then the Prevost did the presentation of the graduates, congratulated the class of 2012, and told us to move our tassels. Yes, you did read 2012 right.  Funny thing, my family didn’t notice it, but all the students did….

Walking up to get my diploma was pretty surreal, and over way faster than I wanted it to be.  Once they read through the undergrads (thankfully, it’s December and there weren’t many of them)., they started the grad students. As we walked up, they took two photos of us.  The whole thing happened really quickly and we were pushed and pulled in multiple directions – stand in the right spot…fix the tassel and hood, etc.  Then we were up, up the stairs, card to the attendant, and walk across the stage. Or get pushed across the stage. It was a little crazy. The guy collecting the cards with our names on them was  telling everyone to keep moving and pushing them forward. Then when I got to the Prevost handing out the diploma cases, he shook my hand, and pulled me forward faster.  It was fine, but I do wish I’d had a second to enjoy the moment. But, my professor was on stage, along with another that I really liked, so it was cool to say hello (albeit quickly).  Once I shook the Prevost’s 
hand and made it down the stairs on the other side, I followed the directions from volunteers around 
the church and back to my seat. I couldn’t believe I had really graduated. And I was pretty sure the smile was going to freeze on my face.  We patiently waited for everyone else to have their rushed moment – and placed bets on whether or not they would shove the baby carrying guy across the stage – they did….

The ending speeches and prayers went pretty quickly, even with one of them in Chinese. The Prevost joked about how he’d given us the most expensive Christmas gift we’d ever get….haha, kind of funny, but not really.  He also pulled out a Santa hat and joked about how he should have worn that with his graduation garb.  It was one of those hats where the top flips back and forth. That was pretty funny.  Then, it was over and the recessional had begun.  We went out a side door, so were out in the courtyard pretty fast, and it was crazy.  So many people everywhere….students trying to find families, families trying to find students….and of course, I had no idea where my family was.  Picking a meeting place may not have been a bad idea.

I did run into one of my professors, Stackman, so that was cool.  He said congratulations and did this cool bow thing. Then, I realized it was cold and getting dark, and I should find my family.  I went around to the front of the church, thinking they might be there, or inside.  But, they were kicking people out of the church, so I decided to wait at the top of the steps – they’d find me eventually. And they did.  Sylvia found me shortly after I stopped there, and took me back around to where everyone was. Brian had flowers for me, and everyone had hugs.  We quickly decided to head to dinner and take pictures there, since we were short on time and it was dark out. My friend Mark gave me a pen on our way home.  A nice, fancy, handmade pen….very cool.

We took the cars home and Uber(ed) to dinner.  Uber is great, similar to a cab, but way cleaner and faster. We had dinner at 7 Hills – a nob hill restaurant owned by one of our friends, and our go to for special occasions. As is typical, they didn’t disappoint. They have an appetizer that I really like, a ravioli uvo thing. They only had two left that day, and they were saving them for us…so delicious.  We toasted with champagne, had good food, and good wine…and some port, and overall had a good time with awesome family and friends.  And, I wore the grad garb for the entire thing….haha…I had intended to pull it off, but we needed photos, and then it was an additional layer in the cold. Kind of like a giant blanket. 

In other news, our old kitty has pretty much stopped eating. No fun, but hopefully the vet can help figure out what’s wrong and how to fix it. We should hear from her early this week, and will go from there. Hopefully it’s something easy to fix.  

One down, one to go…..

Second to last day of class….check, pick up graduation wear….check….so close, yet, one paper and presentation away.  But, so surreal at the same time. After three years, I can’t believe it’s here!  I went out early on Black Friday to find (and hopefully get a discount on) a dress.  I found a great one at BR, bright colored and fun, but of course not part if their Black Friday sale. Luckily, I was able to use my employee discount.  My family from NY and our friends from San Diego are coming to celebrate – I can’t wait, but first about that paper and presentation. Luckily, we had movement on that tonight too.

I can’t believe how fast these past few months have gone….it seems like it was just summer, but we’ve already made it through Black Friday and are marching right into Christmas. Black Friday weekend was far less crazy than last year, well, at least I wasn’t up 29 hours again. As much fun as that was…. I did have a couple workouts interrupted by phone calls and another just as I was grabbing dinner, but, it comes with the territory….and I wasn’t up for 29 hours. Thank god.

We had a great thanksgiving, or friendsgiving.  Great times with great friends, delicious food, everything you’d want from the holiday. And mulled wine….who could forget mulled wine. We did our typical Macy’s Black Friday, less crazy since we got there long after it opened, but we got our ornaments and a few gifts. Spent the rest of the weekend watching holiday movies and decorating.

I love the holidays…and I’m realizing how much fun I thought this post would be and it seems really rather dry…haha. Oh well. It happens.

Busy December ahead….trail marathon this weekend, then if I don’t get eaten by a mountain lion, the nutcracker, dinner with friends, and finally back to NY for Christmas.

Until next time…..