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….

Long December

So, this probably be a long post, written over several days, because…well, it’s been a long December.  Apparently, the year decided to go out with a bang.

The month started out normal enough…marathon planned, zero training, first trail marathon.  Typical me.  haha.  and, as I mentioned in a previous post, it was so much fun.  I need to train better, but I do really want to do the 50 mile race next year.

After that, it seems like it all went crazy.  Some good crazy, some not so good crazy.  The following Tuesday, I had my last class ever.  Very surreal, and a stressor ’till the end, but it was over. Brian surprised me with some wine and a poster when I got home. Thursday that week our good friends got married at city hall.  It was a beautiful wedding, city hall is really pretty, especially all decorated for Christmas.  I can’t believe I hadn’t been there before.  Following the wedding, we spent the day in Sonoma and had dinner at Seven Hills here in the city.  The following day, my parents arrived for my graduation, which was later that evening.  Graduation was fun, and I still can’t believe it’s over.  But, I am excited to have more free time.

Throughout all of this, Gordon, our oldest cat, got sick and kept getting sicker.  He had stopped eating his regular food, so we changed him to wet food, and he started eating again. The. He stopped eating that…sometimes, he’d pieces of ham, or chicken, and we started feeding him baby food. And then, force feeding him baby food when he quit eating all together.  We took him to the vet, and they couldn’t find anything wrong, and then took him back to the vet, and for an ultrasound. And, they still didn’t see much wrong…a kidney infection, but his numbers weren’t bad.  Ugh…poor kitty.  They gave him pain pills and antibiotics and different food, and he seemed a little better for about a day.  They were going to give him a feeding tube, which was a little more invasive than I wanted to sign up for, but if for some reason getting him to eat was the key to him getting better, I wanted to give him that chance. But then he started to have trouble breathing. We took him back to the vet, and she let us know that there was something pretty bad going on – brain tumor, advanced heart disease, or both. None of which are good. She offered to send us to a specialist, but, what would come of that?  Torture him a little longer to find something we can’t fix?  No, that’s not right. So, we made the tough decision to let him go.  Which, was awful, but the vet was wonderful.  Seven Hills Vet in diamond heights. Highly recommend. Highly. The vet called later that night to let us know she was thinking about us.  Today, we received a card in the mail with a sweet note from the vet and a paw print from our kitty. Very touching and very nice.

Then we were off for the holidays!  Somehow, we flew first class to buffalo – I’m still not sure how we swung that, but it sure was nice. It was nice to get home and see the family and extended family, really busy though. Lots of people to see, but it was a good time. I did have a bottle of wine crack/burst/something in my suitcase, luckily, it didn’t escape the plastic bag it was in. We also ordered a bunch of stuff – coats, pants, etc. for our trip after consulting with Brian’s uncle. Getting excited about that….other than having to buy a bunch more stuff. Fun, but ugh….

Work wasn’t that crazy, what was it I said….an alert a day keeps the boredom away…haha. A couple of fire drills at odd times, who doesn’t love working at 3am ;).  But, it’s been fun, and I had a really good store visit while I was there. However, I am looking forward to some time to relax.

And, now 2013 is coming to a close.  Where did it go?  It really doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I was eagerly awaiting the departure of 2012, and  announcing that 2013 was going to be the best year ever. I had goals, wishes, things I was going to accomplish.  Did it all happen?  No, but…I do feel like I’m in a better place than I have been the past couple of years. It must be all about a positive outlook.

So, what was 2013?  It was a year of a second ironman, which I still didn’t finish….it was the year where one of my neighbors tried to blow up the apartment building, nothing like hanging out in the street all afternoon..the Jetta exploded and now we have another car payment….it was the year my first pet died, and I’m sure the year of plenty of other things I don’t care to revisit.

However, it was also the year I turned 30 and had one hell of a party. It was a year where I presented a paper at not one, but two conferences.  It was a year where I got to visit and find my way in Germany and had so much fun doing so. I visited a lot of places – Colorado, Louisville, Raleigh, Chicago, Arizona, Bremen, Hamburg, and I’m sure there are others.  I met up with a lot of friends, both near and far, and realized I know some pretty amazing people. I heard Hillary Clinton speak and saw Kelly Clarkson sing.  I discovered the headlands, and know I will always have a place to lose myself.  I bought a bright green car because I could and drove it home blaring Katy
Perry’s Roar. It was the year I finally got to walk across the stage at USF, something three and a half years in the making. It was a great year, for these reasons and more. But, I’m ready to turn the page.

So, here’s to 2014 – here’s to new adventures and getting back in shape.  Here’s to Everest basecamp and a Rhone river cruise.  Here’s to more free time and finding something to do with it all.  Here’s to another exciting year that’s better than the last.