Half way check in on my “45 things” list

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Today is the half-way point for this year’s list so I thought I would check in and see where I am right now.

1. volunteer at local animal shelter

2. stay in a Fernwood adventure tent one night

3. learn to surf

4. take a 2nd annual sister trip with Kristy 

-we did this! Went to Seattle just a few weeks ago. I even got to meet an online friend that I’ve known for over 10 years but hadn’t met in real life. It was a fun trip! Posts about the trip will be coming:)

5. try standup paddleboarding 

Nate and I did this one Saturday morning. I was not successful with the actual standup part. I mostly stayed on my knees and my few attempts at standing were not pretty. I did hurt my knees a few weeks before this and that may have played into the unsuccessful standing up part of the SUP. I haven’t given up though and plan to keep at it after I finish physical therapy.

6. make my first quilt

7. attend a roller derby game

8. take a 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico (Isla Mujeres to be exact)- This trip is already booked!! 

We totally took this trip!!! It was amazing and someday I will post photos and tell the story of our week. It was amazing and fantastic and it was the best vacation I’ve ever been on. 

9. make homemade carnitas

10. learn letterpress (San Francisco Center for the Book has classes)

11. bake a rainbow cake – Planned for December for my daughter’s birthday

12. get my hair colored

I did this for our trip to Mexico. I had my gray colored out and it was great. I’d like to go a bit darker so that’s on my schedule for this Winter.

13. join a book club (or start one possibly…)

I joined one and it has been one of the best things I’ve done this year. It’s not one of those fun wine/book clubs but it’s still one of my favorite nights each month. Great conversation with some really nice women. I love hearing other’s opinions on each book. 

14. send out one handwritten letter/note each month

– so far I’ve done this every month. I’ve been including a handwritten note in birthday cards each month. I’ve had some great responses to it:) Still have 6 more months to go. 

15. eat at Burma Superstar in San Francisco

16. read “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying up” and purge the house (already have the book,just need to read it and put it to work)

-read it but still working on completing the house. I’ve done most of my stuff in the bedroom. I’ll check back in after another 6 months

17. go to the shooting range/learn to shoot a gun

18. eat a burrito from the Mission District SF

Nate and I did this when we were in the city for the 4th of July. I couldn’t decide on which burrito I wanted to try from the many burrito list I read so we did two separate places. I’ll be posting about this day also.

19. Take a class at MPC

I am taking an American History 1880-present right now. I have 6 more weeks left so hopefully this will be a finished item by December:)

20. swim with whale sharks

TOTALLY DID THIS! Amazing bucket list moment and I will be doing a post about it.

21. visit the turtle farm on Isla Mujeres

did this on our anniversary trip and it was even better than I expected. This will also be posted about soon!

22. see the ruins and do the cliff walk at Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres

Also did this on the anniversary trip. Such an amazing trip.

23. hike Wilder Ranch

24. see the monarchs at Natural Bridges Park

25. go on a backpacking (overnight) trip with Nate

26. get together with Nate’s parents at least once a month

so far I failed at least one month. I have 5 out of 6 months done and we’ll see what happens  over the next 6 months

27. go body boarding in Southern California

28. spend a weekend exploring Golden Gate Park, SF (deYoung, tulips, buffalo, ride bikes)

29. have breakfast at Deetjen’s in Big Sur

30. organize my necklaces finally

31. host a Cinco de Mayo party

did this for my birthday but it was pretty low key and I won’t be posting photos from it. But I did it finally and I didn’t even have a hangover the next day!

32. participate in “Dance for the Rescue” again (FAIL)

-this was cancelled by the organization so it is a fail but not on my part.

33. learn conversational Spanish

I spent a few months learning conversational Spanish for the trip but I didn’t use that much of it. Mostly because a lot of the people we spoke with spoke English. I’m hoping to also learn some conversational Italian since i have a trip to italy on the agenda for 2016.

34. prepare a 5 course dinner for friends

35. visit the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

36. see Tulum Ruins in Cancun

we did this on the trip also and Tulum was amazing. Wish we had planned a few more days there. Maybe next time. 

37. Hike Griffith Park in Los Angeles

38. camp at Limekiln State Park

39. take dance lessons with Nate

40. make Jay’s buffalo wings

41. plan a bonfire on Carmel Beach

42. visit the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

43. zipline into the ocean (FAIL)

this one was suppose to happen in Cancun if we had time but it didn’t happen. I don’t know of any places in California that you can do this so I probably missed my chance.

44. have a breakfast pizza at the Big Sur Bakery

did this one weekend with Nate and our friend Craig. I’ll be doing a post about that day. Coming soon to the blog.

45. visit Mercer caverns in Murphy, CA.

-also got this one done. It was really neat and educational. This was discovered during the same time period that I was learning about in my history class so this made it even more fascinating.

A few of the items are coming up or are on the schedule for the beginning of 2016 so I am working on the list. I will definitely do a blog post on my birthday next May to see how much I accomplished. 45 items doesn’t seem like a large number of things to get done but it really is. And the number just keeps going up…haha. Even if I don’t get everything done the point of these lists are to get me out there & doing stuff. I was so tired of feeling like my life was just work and housework and cooking. I was stuck in a rut and this list has pulled me out of it and it really has been a life saver. Even if I don’t get near the final goal it has still kept me thinking and planning and looking forward to our next adventure. Even Nate seems to enjoy doing the items on my list. Wait until he sees list 46;)

Jennifer

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Hiking adventures: Tanbark and Tin House Trail- Big Sur, Ca.

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For Valentine’s Day I planned a day of hiking for us down in Big Sur. I’ve never really been into the whole commercial part of this holiday…this isn’t to say that I don’t like receiving flowers or going to dinner but I never expect anything on Valentine’s Day because I already know that my husband loves me all year long. Anyway, this is a hike I’ve wanted to do for a while but doubted I could do it. Because I decided that this year is the year I stop being afraid of putting myself out there, try new things and push myself more to get out of my comfort zone I made plans for this big hike. It’s not big in terms of length but it’s ALL uphill to the Tin House. This trail starts out across from the unmarked Partington Cove trail head (a neat, very short trail that takes you to a small cove that, during prohibition ,was rumored to be a favorite spot for alcohol smugglers). The Tanbark Trail is also unmarked and is located across the street. At first glance, it’s an unassuming trail but very quickly you are in a redwood canyon  filled with ferns and big boulders while heading inland. This only lasts about half a mile and then you begin your upward climb.

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This photo is a perfect depiction of the upward trajectory that the trail takes for 2-3 miles. It evens out a bit but it’s still pretty upward until you get to the Tin House.

Midway through the hike we stopped and had lunch on some fallen trees. It was a pretty spectacular view for a Valentine’s Day lunch. Sun streaming through the trees, total quiet other than the small brook running though the valley and moss covered trees to sit on. It was a nice reprieve from the uphill climb we had been enduring. This may not be a very long hike but you definitely need to be in shape to get up these hills.

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The trail tops out at the junction to the Tin House. The trail actually ends at a fire road but off to the left is the trail that takes you out to the Tin House. Some info about the Tin House from this website “The house has an interesting history and was built in 1944 by Lathrop Brown, a former Congressman from New York, who also built the home above McWay Falls that was finally removed in 1965. The tin sheeting and parts came from two old gas stations, and the house was fully finished inside with rich blue walls in the living room.

The story goes that when the house was completed, the Browns spent one night there and soon discovered that the tin structure made a lot of noise as it expanded and shrank with the temperature changes. They never returned.”

At this point the house is in pretty bad conditions due to weather and vandals. Nate was up there about 1 or 2 years ago and I guess it’s become even more damaged than when he saw it then. When you walk around to the ocean side of it though the views are spectacular of the coast and Partington Cove area. Standing there enjoying the view I could imagine the lawn parties they may have had here had they stayed here more than the one night. I wish I had seen the house when it was not falling apart and crumbling. I bet it was a pretty awesome sight.

The fire road that takes you back out to the highway is pretty steep but after you come out of the trees the views of the coast are amazing. The only downside of the hike is that when you take this exit out you have to walk the 1/2 a mile back to the car right on Highway 1. With all the turns and narrow road this can be a bit of an adventure. We had to cross and re-cross to keep on the bigger part of the shoulder so that we were safe.

When we got back to the car we decided to head down to Partington Cove because we hadn’t done this short hike in a couple of years. We spent a little bit of time sitting on the bench watching the waves and resting for a bit.We probably should have spent a bit more time hanging out there because by the time we got to the Point Lobos area of Highway 1 the traffic was at a standstill and stayed that way for almost an hour (just to go 5 miles) due to numerous events happening in the area. It took so long that we just stopped by Chipotle’s and picked up dinner so that we could just stay home the rest of the evening and watch movies. Happy Valentine’s Day to us!

Hike length: 5.6 miles (plus another mile for the Partington Cove trail) Elevation Gain:1600 ft.  Trail condition: Excellent and very well maintained. Trail is unmarked but obvious.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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List 44: camp at Big Basin in Santa Cruz (#36)

IMG_3605IMG_3281 Big Basin has been on my radar for years. We did an impromptu day trip there one year but it was so busy that we couldn’t even find parking. Thankfully Nate forgot about that detail when I told him I’d reserved a campsite there for our anniversary weekend. He remembered  it as we pulled up to check in at the park but at that point it was too late;)

This is a busy, BUSY park. Fortunately the weekend we went the weather was predicting rain (which happened) and so I think this deterred some people from keeping their camping reservation and so the first night (Friday night) was very quiet. We knew we had a long hike the following morning so we didn’t want to have a late night anyway. You can’t tell by the photo but the tent we took was HUGE. Like for 8-10 people and it was just the two of us…Nate had recenlty found the tent at a second hand store and this was our first weekend trying it out. It fits our air mattress (no judging) with plenty of room for a few other people. The only thing it didn’t come with was a rain flap so Nate fashioned one out of a large tarp. He did an amazing job but unfortunately, even though the prediction was for light rain for a couple of hours, it rained from 10pm until 6am the next morning with almost no break. So the tent flooded a little bit. We were dry and we had the foresight to put all our stuff in garbage bags so overall we were good. But a cold damp tent is not what you want to wake up to. We had a long hike ahead of us though so being cold ended up being a good thing as it forced us to get up and head out as soon as possible.

One of the reasons I waited so long to plan this outing was because I wanted to be able to do the Berry Falls loop which is almost 11 miles. Last year at this time I could barely walk a mile because of my Plantar Fasciitis issues. My podiatrist had me limiting my walking to about a mile only each day. That was a tough time for me. Thankfully I healed up pretty quick (by following his advice) and a year later I am doing 11-12 miles with no pain at all. I guess giving up a couple months of my life for healing was worth it!

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Anyway…the Berry Loop Falls Trail. It’s a must. It is one one of the most enchanting hikes I’ve ever been on. The amount of lushness and growth in this little valley is mind boggling. Redwoods and ferns and creeks running through it. I love the fact that when trees fall down the park just leaves them down and just cuts out enough of an area so you can walk the path. This loop features a couple of really impressive waterfalls that run year round. We took the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail and hiked uphill to the falls (usually people do the trail the opposite way) and then out to park headquarters on the Sunset trail. I think that the way we did the hike worked out better than if we had followed the directions most websitse give. All the tough hiking (ascending and descending numerous times through a gorge in the redwoods) was in the beginning so by the time I was tired, we were on Sunset trail which is pretty much a descent all the way down to the main park entrance.

It took us a little more than 5 hours to hike the trail with a short break to eat lunch after we passed the falls. Nate also took a detour up to check out the camp sites at Sunset Camp while I opted to rest:)

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By the time we finished the hike the sun was out and the day was beautiful although the chill in the air was still quite cold. We arrived back a the camp by 3:00 and just couldn’t get warm. We didn’t want to start the fire too early and run out of wood by 7:00pm so we opted to sit in the car and read for a bit until we both started to fall asleep. After much deliberation we decided to pack it all in and we packed everything and left. Seriously. We were cold and exhausted and neither of us were looking forward to another possible cold wet night. This is not the first time we’ve packed up early. Sometimes one night is enough…LOL.

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My goal was to camp at Big Basin and hike the loop and both happened even if we didn’t stay the whole weekend. We ended up getting back to Monterey in time to pick up food at our favorite tacqueria and veg-out on the couch watching movies. And we enjoyed sleeping in our warm dry bed that evening too:)

Thanks for reading!

 

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

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Hiking adventures: Peralta Trail- Superstition Mountains, Arizona

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One of the adventures we had planned on this trip to Arizona was a day of hiking in the Superstition Mountains. Since we’ve always gone to Arizona in the dead of summer, hiking has never been an option. Now that dad lives out in the middle of nowhere (Queen Creek) the Superstitions are just a quick drive from his new house and so we headed out one morning to tackle the Peralta Trail. It was the perfect length (almost 5 miles or so- round trip) from the trail head to the saddle view of Weaver’s Needle. According to my dad, I’ve been on this trail before when I was younger (under 12) when I backpacked in with my dad and a group of other backpackers. I didn’t remember of course. The road to the trail head is dirt but a there is a large parking lot and bathroom facilities There is no water available though to refill your containers with so plan accordingly. I read numerous sources that said there was a parking fee but when we went the parking was free. Apparently Peralta is the most popular trail in the Superstition Wilderness and can be very busy at times . We went on a Tuesday and it seemed pretty quiet to us. We passed a few people but after hiking the Pinnacle Peak Trail  just days before, this one was so quiet and peaceful. (with the exception of the guy who was hiking while blasting his music- we let him get way ahead of us so that we didn’t also have to listen to his bad music choices).

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The views on this hike are amazing. The saddle with the view of Weaver’s Needle was awesome but I think almost every view on the hike was breathtaking. It’s so different from what we usually see on the Central Coast and it was a welcome change. It’s a pretty easy hike even with the noticeable elevation gain. It’s gradual for the most part and didn’t give me any problems at all. I think the biggest hindrance of the day was the weather. Cool weather in Arizona is like hot weather where we live and so by the end of the hike we were exhausted and had both run out of water. I can’t believe there are people who would do this hike in the dead of summer. Even in January it was almost 80 degrees midday. I would suggest doubling the amount of water you think you might need. I had also misjudged the amount of time it would take to do the hike and didn’t bring lunch food with me and so the last half an hour of the hike was pretty rough on both of us (me because I was so cranky and Nate… because I was so cranky) If you find yourself in this part of Arizona I highly recommend that you explore this trail. You don’t have to be in amazing shape to do this hike but you should be, at the least, at an average fitness level. Beginner hikers may find parts of the trail tough. There are some narrow parts and the trail is not marked in any recognizable way but is still pretty easy to maneuver. Nate is a natural with hiking and he always seems to know exactly where the trail is even when it’s not obvious to me. After we got to the top of the saddle we explored a bit around the area (adding another mile or two to our final total) as Nate was hoping to get closer to Weaver’s needle. It’s much further than you think it is though and after walking an additional mile or so we decided to turn around( due to my lack of food).

Hike length: 4.9 miles to the Fremont Saddle view (round trip)  Elevation gain: 1380  Trail condition: excellent even though it is not marked in any wayProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIMG_3226.

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer

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List 44: Attend the SF Chinese New Year Parade/ Hike Mt. Sutro (#4 and #20)

IMG_2626 Some of the items on my yearly lists come from pretty random sources:

Hike Mt. Sutro #20

In the case of Mt. Sutro, I saw an Instagram photo by a photographer I follow, that instantly had me making a note about it in my planner (even in this big world of technology driven apps and calendars  I will still choose paper over everything else). When I finally went back and checked out the trails and photos online for Mt. Sutro I was sold. It’s like a little forest oasis in the middle of San Francisco. And on some days it looks magical even. The photo I saw on Instagram and what I read on this site had me hoping for a foggy day for this hike but leave it to me to pick a wonderfully sunny day to visit San Francisco (just kidding…who doesn’t love a clear beautiful day in SF). We had some difficulty finding a spot to park initially. If you are looking to hike this park and try to follow Google’s map directions,  it will take you to the heart of the park and there is no parking there. And most of the parking around the park is for UCSF students. The website I linked to has better options for finding parking than the way we did it. We lucked out with a spot right off of Parnassus Ave, just steps away from the park. We cut through the back of the school, up quite a few wooden stairs, winding around different school buildings until we located a trail. The trails themselves are very easy to navigate. After some of the hikes we’ve been doing lately this trail was almost too easy. We did the whole park in just about an hour and a half (3.45 miles).IMG_2611

IMG_2608If you find yourself in the city and want an easy, short hike this definitely fits the bill. This is a good one if you want to take your kids on a hike too. I can see this being a reprieve, of sorts, from the city life. When traffic and people are just too much, you can just take a quick break and hike these trails. Even though it’s right in the middle of the city the trails are quiet and it’s hard to believe there is a whole big city surrounding it.

**We had some time between the hike and the start of the parade so I looked up what  other “must see” place was close by and the Painted Ladies popped up. All the times I’ve been to San Francisco I still hadn’t made it over to see these iconic houses. So on our way to Chinatown we made a quick stop to check them out. Beautiful weather in San Francisco means there are tons of people out and on this day the park was packed with people. One area of the park was so busy you couldn’t walk on that portion of the grass. I’ve never seen anything like it. Nate and I talked about how this was not something you would see in our area. Monterey, for all it’s beauty, is lacking any kind of an interesting social scene that other, bigger cities and towns seem to have. It was cool to finally see these houses in person and I’m happy I can cross that off my list of things to do in San Francisco.

Attend the Chinese New Year Parade in San Francisco #4

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My (year of the) dragon guy next to a cool dragon

I added this to my list when I turned on the news one evening in 2014. The 2014 parade had happened that day and the news was showing video of the it and I thought it looked like it would be really fun. What I learned from this activity was that I hate parades. I think its funny that I just realized this though, having been in numerous parades back in my marching band days. And I can remember liking them as a child but maybe I was just easily excited by things as a child. 90% of this parade was b o r i n g. I loved the different costumes and the excitement of being in a crowd and all the fireworks and poppers being set off. I loved the long, colorful dragons they carry along the parade.  I loved being in the middle of all that chaos and being near all the other people enjoying the parade. The boring part, the politicians and other folks driving by in cars or walking by is what I discovered is not really my thing. having never been to Chinatown before we wandered around for a bit before the parade started. I was looking for a little trinket to pick up inChinatown and we tracked down the fortune cookie factory for Nate. They make them right in front of you and when you buy a bag they also give you a handful of the unfolded ones, right off the “press”. Warm and buttery and so crisp (I didn’t actually eat any of these but that’s how these smelled). Nate was in cookie heaven! We left a little early from the parade so we would hopefully (ha!) beat the traffic and we learned later that we missed the big, really long dragon that makes an appearance towards the end of the parade.Kind of  a letdown to find that out. Despite that disappointment we both felt it was a fun day.IMG_2652The thing about San Francisco is that even if you spend a day sightseeing there is still SO much more to do up there. I’ve lived here almost 22 years and I still haven’t seen half of what this city has to offer. Looking forward to some more SF adventures this year. There are at least 3 or 4 on my #45list!

 

xoxox

Jen

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Hiking adventures: Pinnacle Peaks Trail- Scottsdale, Arizona

 

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Now that we’ve pretty much stopped drinking we find that we are often filling that time with hiking. (Actually, friends have also noticed this and pointed it out to us too , which is pretty funny) When I plan trips now, I no longer look for breweries or drinking establishments, I look for hiking spots. It’s our new favorite way to spend time together. There is no doubt, in either of our minds, that this is a much better way to spend our time together. I feel so much better and being outdoors and active is so much better for us as a couple. Traveling has changed a bit because of this lifestyle change though. We normally make it out to Arizona at least once a year to see my family but in the past it’s always been in the summer ,mostly because of Alex and school, and because my dad had a pool. Not a fancy pool by any means but a pool that I have enjoyed on and off for the past 25+ years of my life. He sold that house though and opted for a new house, in a new housing community, where the pool is a community pool. Now, I don’t have anything against community pools per se but the convenience of rolling out of bed, donning my swimsuit and jumping into the pool by 9:00am is gone. I am a little heartbroken about this still, btw. Anyway, because of his residence change, we opted to travel to Arizona in January this time. This worked out better with our current lifestyle too. IMG_1613In the past we would spend our time in Arizona visiting breweries and hanging at the pool because in Arizona, in the dead of summer, there isn’t much else to do. We stayed with my sister in Scottsdale for the first few days (my dad moved out to the middle of nowhere) so that meant our first hike needed to be near or around Scottsdale. Nate had already done Camelback Mountain years ago so I was looking for a hike neither of us had done before. Pinnacle Peak seemed like the perfect hike to start with. Not too long. Not to far from my sister’s house. (Nate hates how spread out everything is in Arizona). I read a few things about the hike and it seemed like it would work for us. Even though the weather in Arizona this time of year is wonderful it’s still 10 degrees more than we are used to. IMG_1632I had read that this hike was busy on weekends but I was not prepared for this kind of busy. It was almost like a conveyor belt of people. There was always someone right behind you or right in front of you. The hike itself was great. It’s been referred to as the “stairmaster” hike and that name fits it. It’s a steady climb up to the peak (1300 ft elevation gain) and the trail itself is only 3.5 miles round trip but the views of the Valley are great. The houses out there are amazing too. We spent some of our time discussing which house we would live in if we had that kind of money. It’s a fun  hike but if you are looking for a one without tons of other hikers, this is not the trail for you.  Can’t beat the view though. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAs I’ve grown older I’ve begun to appreciate the landscape of Arizona much more than when I was younger. I disliked everything about the desert when I was growing up here and couldn’t wait to leave it. Looking back now though I’m sure it was just that I was looking for a change. Looking at the familiar landscape now just makes me feel nostalgic and I appreciate the beauty of the desert. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

We invited our friend Ian along for the hike and it is always fun to hang out with him. He and Nate have been friends since elementary school and I’ve always appreciated that when we’re in Arizona that Nate has someone he can also connect up with. Arizona trips are often filled with seeing my high school friends so it can be a bit boring for Nate when I’m off having lunch or shopping with girlfriends. Or dragging him to happy hour reunions filled with people he doesn’t know. Neither of us are good in new social situations so I can understand his anxiety when I drag him places like that. I appreciated that Ian came out and hiked with us. His wife and kids were out of town and he had a BBQ to go to but still he made time for us. We were rewarded with a special treat at the end of the hike too. One of the animal rehab organizations (Wild at Heart) had brought out a variety of birds/raptors for people to see. They had a Great Horned Owl, a Red Tailed Hawk, a Peregrine Falcon and an amazing Bald Eagle. I’ve never seen an eagle up close like this. It was a wonderful way to end our morning of hiking.Even though I wasn’t allowed to hug(or even touch) the hawk like I wanted to;)

 

Hike length: 1.75 miles each way. (3.5 total)  Elevation gain: 1300ft   Trail condition: excellent
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List 44: do my first 5K AND run The Color Run (#13 and #14)

Before the mayhem started

Before the mayhem started

Two bucket list items done in one event!

Item 1: I’ve always wanted to run (aka jog) a 5K. This particular item has shown up on my yearly “bucket list” since I was 38 . I just thought I should try it, at least once. I’m not a runner though. In fact, I don’t even like running. It hurts my knees and right hip. My breasts already sag enough, they don’t need more help. Seriously. Even when I was younger the act of running never appealed to me. I wish it did. Nate ran a 5K years ago and that snowballed in to him training for the Big Sur marathon. And my friend Martha started with a 5K and now she runs all types of races, of all different distances,  all the time. It’s just too hard on my body. I already have to be careful of what shoes I wear and I have to make sure I stretch my feet often because my feet, I discovered last year, have issues. Or so my podiatrist says. They have some mechanical defects that make things like running a bad idea.  Despite their issues though I wanted to attempt at least one 5K in my lifetime.

Item 2: My interest in doing this particular 5K came about from seeing a friend of mine, Nicole and her Instagram photos. Those photos immediately made me want to participate in one of these fun runs. For me, if I’m going to go out and run… there better be fun involved because I… will never be a serious runner. Never. And this one was colorful and ended in a big party at the finish line. Who wouldn’t enjoy that kind of fun!

Scratching these items off my list,  in the past few years though, just wasn’t working out. Scheduling issues normally. We just never seemed to be available the weekends that a Color Run was happening. Or I found out about it too late and they were sold out for that run. Or they were happening during hot months in very hot areas and I don’t even like walking around in really hot weather let alone attempting to run in it. I felt like the universe was working against me. I thought “It’s not going to happen AGAIN this year”

Back in November 2014, I was planning our vacation to Arizona in January, and was still undecided what week we were going to be out there when on a whim I decided to check the Color Run website.  I couldn’t believe it. There was a run happening in Tempe during the same time period!  And just like that it all fell into place. Nate even agreed to run it with me! It was meant to be this year:)

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We could not have asked for a better day to do this run. The weather in Arizona, in January, is amazing. It really is one of the best times to visit this area. This would probably not have been as popular inthe dead of summer. There were so many people participating in this race. It’s a popular race with young people (aka college kids). Just look at the wave of people behind me in the above photo. And we didn’t leave in one of the early waves. We’re probably in the 10th or 11th wave at this point (the line to the bathroom was ridiculous and the reason we weren’t in an earlier wave). “Runners” as far back as the eye can see. It was totally crazy!

 Even with my recent 50lb weight loss this was still tough on my knees and feet. I told Nate to go off and run it at his speed and we would catch up with each other at the finish line. Awesome husband that he is though, he finished and then turned around, found me and ran the final leg of it with me. He really is such a great guy. I’ve lucked out on so many level with him as a husband. And this race…it really does end in a big party. They hand you more color packets (you get colored corn starch thrown on you during the race) as you cross the finish line and this year they’d added a “sparkle” to the color lineup and so everyone starts throwing the colored cornstarch in the air on & on their friends and it’s just everywhere. It is crazy. Nate and I were finding glitter for weeks after this run, on everything. Even items we didn’t have with us on the trip.

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I was thrilled to get two items off my list accomplished on this trip. 44 items doesn’t sound like a ton but you’d be surprised at how much your regular, everyday life gets in the way of accomplishing things (even easy items).  And this is exactly the kind of items I want to accomplish. One that takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me try something I’ve been scared to attempt before. Looking forward to even more adventures this year. Jen

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List 45

I was totally a slacker and never updated this blog with how I was doing on my list 44. I actually got almost half the items done this time! As I’ve mentioned before, I normally only get about 10 items done out the of the 40+ things on the list but this year I really worked hard to get as many done as I could. The list keeps getting bigger each year which means I have to motivate myself more and more to get shit done:) I will be posting about some of the stuff I did over the next few weeks but in the meantime I turned 45 so…time for this year’s list.

1. volunteer at local animal shelter

2. stay in a Fernwood adventure tent one night

3. learn to surf

4. take a 2nd annual sister trip with Kristy (we’re thinking Austin)

5. try standup paddleboarding

6. make my first quilt

7. attend a roller derby game*

8. take a 10 year anniversary trip to Mexico (Isla Mujeres to be exact)- This trip is already booked!!

9. make homemade carnitas

10. learn letterpress (San Francisco Center for the Book has classes)

11. bake a rainbow cake

12. get my hair colored- FINALLY

13. join a book club (or start one possibly…)

14. send out one handwritten letter/note each month*

15. eat at Burma Superstar in San Francisco*

16. read “The Life-Changing Art of Tidying up” and purge the house (already have the book,just need to read it and put it to work)

17. go to the shooting range/learn to shoot a gun

18. eat a burrito from the Mission District SF

19. Take a class at MPC

20. swim with whale sharks

21. visit the turtle farm on Isla Mujeres

22. see the ruins and do the cliff walk at Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres

23. hike Wilder Ranch

24. see the monarchs at Natural Bridges Park

25. go on a backpacking (overnight) trip with Nate

26. get together with Nate’s parents at least once a month

27. go body boarding in Southern California

28. spend a weekend exploring Golden Gate Park, SF (deYoung, tulips, buffalo, ride bikes)

29. have breakfast at Deetjen’s in Big Sur*

30. organize my necklaces finally

31. host a Cinco de Mayo party

32. participate in “Dance for the Rescue” again

33. learn conversational Spanish

34. prepare a 5 course dinner for friends

35. visit the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

36. see Tulum Ruins in Cancun

37. Hike Griffith Park in Los Angeles

38. camp at Limekiln State Park

39. take dance lessons with Nate

40. make Jay’s buffalo wings*

41. plan a bonfire on Carmel Beach*

42. visit the The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)*

43. zipline into the ocean

44. have a breakfast pizza at the Big Sur Bakery*

45. visit Mercer caverns in Murphy, CA.

*- This means they have shown up on a list before and I still have not done it. Most of these are from List 44.

I’m excited this year because I have some fun trips planned. We’ve already booked the flight and hotel to Isla Mujeres/Cancun area and now I just have to get through the next 3 months which seems sooo far away. I know it’s not though so I’m in planning mode BIG TIME. I also have a friend that made a “40 things in my 40th year” list and I’m hoping to do some of her items/goals with her. So this year, my 45th, is looking to be a fun adventurous one. I’m ALL in this year.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all” – Helen Keller

xoxo

Jen

 

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Currently: December 2014

readingEleanor and Park. And this website. I’ve been reading all her archives. Beautiful love story.

drinking: water, water and more water. I gave up all sugar, natural and artificial, in October and while it’s been life changing on most levels it’s also very boring.

listening to : Christmas music (obviously) but also Elliott Smith (who I’ve always loved but never just sat and listened to track after track) and Taylor Swift (no judgement!)

feeling: a little overwhelmed about the holidays. Always have such good intentions for activities and crafts and such but they never come to fruition. I didn’t even attempt December Daily this year.

watching: Re-watching Inspector Lewis on Amazon streaming. Nate and I are also watching Broadchurch (so we can watch the American version afterwards)

enjoying: the much needed rain of the past few days.

coveting: a GoPro camera. For a big anniversary trip we’re planning for July. And this Wes Anderson book (swoon)

making: a baby book for my sister-in-law (it’s her Christmas gift) of my niece’s first year.

planning: a couple of vacations. a couple of blog entries, a couple of days at the cabin at Christmas time. I am always planning, you guys;)

jen

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What I read: October 2014

16045144A Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny. I have read almost all the books in this series. I love them. I love the characters and the main police inspector. I dare to say these are almost as good as Martha Grimes’s books featuring Richard Jury. A few years ago I plowed through those at neck-breaking speed too, much like I am with these. Unfortunately this author has only written 9 books and I am on the 9th at this point (well when it gets returned to the library I will). This one though was my least favorite of all the books. It took me weeks to plow through it and I think this was 50% my lack of interest in reading and 50% that I didn’t like what was going on in the book. I tend to get attached to characters in series and when stories start  moving in directions that I don’t like I get upset. That’s what happened with this one. I didn’t like where she was taking the story and I just wanted the book to end and for the story line to go back a different direction. I kept hoping  that the ending would have some kind of redemption and make sense of the chaos she was bringing to the story & characters but that was not to be. I was left with “what the fuck just happened?”.

 

 

17167084How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny. Redemption! I loved this one as much as I disliked the other book. I just had to have faith in the author that everything was happening for a reason.

If you like mysteries where the violence and details are not gross with details (my mother-in-law hated the Kathy Reichs books for their very detailed description of wounds and such) then I would recommend these books. I became really attached to the characters in the first Book “Still Life” and they are a well written mystery series.

 

 

 

 

13538873Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore I had so many friends on Goodreads that loved this book that I was anticipating loving it also. I wanted to love it and there were aspect that I did really love (like the message of the book) but for most of it I was pretty much “eh” about it. Which is weird because I love mystery/adventure/secret society books a whole lot. Maybe I just didn’t click with any of the characters. Maybe I just don’t love Google enough. ( Or Amazon…and I love me some Amazon). I guess part of it is that I couldn’t shake the feeling that this book was meant for a much younger audience than me. It would do well with the YA age group and even though I’ve loved tons of YA books this one wasn’t one of them. My husband, who is a bit of a computer nerd, might appreciate this story much more than I did. I have recommended it to him but I definitely don’t think this is a book for everyone.

 

 

 

81ZqOFyzSjLNot That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham. This book is definitely for the Millennials out there. That’s not to say i didn’t enjoy  it but she’s definitely part of the “share everything with the public” kind of girl,  like most of the younger generation that grew up with social media, in their faces, all the time. But, I really enjoy her show, and I already knew she was a woman that put herself and her awkward/uncomfortable experiences out there. She definitely captures that awkwardness, of being in your teens/ early twenties, in this book. Many of the stories made me cringe. Many made me laugh out loud. Most of us though… we’ve been in her place trying to learn how to deal with sex and changing bodies and crazy hormones so even though her experiences were vastly different from mine…I could still connect (or at least my young 20-ish self could) with the stories she was telling.

Started: Instruments of Darkness. I won’t be finished with it by the end of this week though so I’ll include it in my November book post.

xoxoxo

Jen

 

 

 

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