Sunday, July 27, 2008

Climbing Hill 88

This week, Sam's friend, Leo was back from several weeks of traveling in Europe with his family.

We were happy to have him spend the night with us on Friday.

The two of them giggled, laughed & played.

Before Leo's trip, during another sleep-over they played differently.

That day, we had taken them on a remarkable hike to the top of Hill 88.

Cam had discovered what a cool place this was another day.

I'm glad he shared it with us.

This Flickr set has more photos from our hike to the top of Hill 88.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It felt like flying.

When I looked into things to do in Vancouver, at the top of my list was going to a place called Grouse Mountain. I wanted to take Sam ziplining. They also offered tandem paragliding but I thought that was a bit too far out.

It turned out that Sam wasn't quiet heavy enough to zipline but he could go paragliding. He was most interested in this activity as well so we decided to go for it. It was the day after his 11th birthday.

I loved it. The views were beautiful and amazing. The experience was fantastic. It felt like flying.

Before we landed, Todd, the pilot on my flight, asked if I liked roller coasters. I said I did. Soon, we were spinning. It was a thrilling, exhilarating experience.

Sam's pilot, Herminio took him spinning too

Still photos (and more about the experience) to come...

Congratulations Kelley and Andre

I have the pleasure of working with a wonderful person named Kelley.

Kelley has an enthusiasm that is infectious.

Her kindness, warmth and friendship are valued and appreciated.

Today, I am writing to thank her and her husband, Andre for including us in a couple of cele-
brations they've had since we've known them.

We enjoyed joining them at Pajaro Dunes to celebrate Andre's birthday last fall.

Their recent boat-warming celebration was fun too.

At CASA, Kelley has served in many roles. She has decided to leave at the end of August to pursue other passions and interests. I wish her well and know she will succeed.

In the future, I hope that we will stay in touch with Kelley and Andre.

This Flickr set has photos of their boat party that I took for them.

Sam's 1st Cable Car Ride

Awhile ago, Cam and I were surprised to hear Sam say he hadn't ridden a cable car yet.

Cam already wrote about our Memorial Day, when we went into the city to ensure Sam had this experience.

Here are some photos I wanted to share from that day.

Rantings about my favorite music...

As I've mentioned before, I am enjoying connecting with folks via Facebook. When I was creating my profile, it asked about my favorite music. I've decided to transcribe those rantings here and replace them there w/a list so that I have room to add new artists whose music I am getting to know. Below is what I originally wrote.

Narrowing things down is always so hard for me. Any list of my music favorites seems incomplete. I usually start with Shawn Mullins because his music is very meaningful to me.

I bought a Linkin Park song this week, I like that "Shadow of the Day" song they've been playing on the radio lately.
Right now, I'm listening to my Howie Day station on Pandora. Cam and I saw Howie Day in Chicago and like him a lot.

Tonight, in addition to Howie, they've played songs by the following artists I like, Ben Harper, Dave Matthews Band, Snow Patrol, Augustana, Train, Better Than Ezra, Weezer, Dashboard Confessional (I can't name many (or any) of their songs but I can not not sing along with For You to Notice. I need to buy it. Gosh, it is their 72nd most popular song.)

Blues Traveler (MRZ & I saw them during Memphis in May, along with Ben Harper.) and now they are playing Josh Kelley. I like hundreds (if not thousands) of other artists too but maybe this will give you an idea of my musical taste.

There are the Goo Goo Dolls, finally being served on Pandora. Where would I be w/o the Goo Goo Dolls? Their concert at my first Memphis in May festival, with my friend Sherry, was a turning point in my process of finding Mary. Later, the love, understanding and encouragement in their songs would sing me through hard times. "There's no time left for losing. When you stand, they fall."

More they played tonight... Jack Johnson, Damien Rice...

More music: Jen Chapin (Cam got her CD for me after hearing her on a flight home from some business trip and thinking I'd like her music. I love it. Later, I found out my friend, Melissa Rose Ziemer had played with Jen.)

Brian Vander Ark (Cam and I saw him open for The Samples at House of Blues show where we were enamored with each other and his voice. - He has a Jen Chapin connection too.)

Rachael Yamagata (Melissa said her friend who had played with Bumpus had a solo CD, I bought it to check it out and support her friend. It turned into one of our favorite CDs of the year.)

The Nadas (They were the only ones inviting me out on weekend nights when I was first single, Sam was having visitation with his dad and all my friends were home with their husbands.) Hello Dave (Were on the FreshTracks tour with the Nadas. I met MRZ at one of their shows. I'd been alone in St. Louis, Sam was in Iowa and again, the band's was the only social invitation I had so I drove to Carbondale where I met Melis.)

Cowboy Mouth (saw them at Memphis in May with Sherry and Shay and again at HOB, Chicago with Stacey as she was helping me try to find a job there. Thanks, Stace.

Lifehouse, Collective Soul, Pat McGee Band...

What about Dispatch? Through Pandora, I was introduced to the song Outloud. I didn't know anything about Dispatch except that I couldn't stop singing that song. I was thrilled to learn about how after visiting Zimbabwae, members of the band were inspired to do something about the poverty and death they saw there. They've written music inspired by the culture and people they met there (I love Elias from All Points Bulletin (Live)) and held concerts to raise funds to make a difference in the area.

How could I forget Pete Yorn?

New artists I added to my Facebook list today include: Newton Faulkner, Matt Costa, Pink, John Mayer.

Brett Dennen and Yael Naim both had videos I enjoyed on the Virgin America flight to and from Seattle.

Again, this is an incomplete list. Just sharing. Thanks for caring.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bunch of Balloons

At the conclusion of a recent CASA volunteer app-
reciation event, one of my lovely co-workers started popping the balloons. There was no glee involved, she was just trying to dispose of them.

Without really thinking, I said, "You're murdering the balloons."

She explained that she didn't have room in her car to take them, that she'd tried to donate them to a hospital but been turned down because of the latex... I said, I'd take them.

While I was gathering up my things, they brought maybe 20 balloons together into a bouquet and handed them to me.

I felt like I might float off like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. Several times, on my way to and from the ferry, I ran and jumped, trying to get the feeling of being lifted but; alas, I was more like Eeyore.

On the ferry, the balloons received much attention and I was able to pass some out to a couple of awe-struck children.

When I got home that night, Sam was already asleep but the next morning, he woke up to see the ceiling above his bed covered in balloons. He had so much fun with them.
(The orange stripe is from his Giant's game w/Cam.)

Leo came over for a sleepover and helped him try to defeat them but the balloons are resilient.

Weeks later, some still remain.

Good to know there are some perks to having your mom work as an advocate for other kids.

This Flickr set has more photos of Sam attacking the balloons.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Sam's 1st Shiner

On his second day of X-Sports Camp, Sam gave himself a beautifully impressive shiner. When Cam came to pick him up, he though he was wearing eye make-up.

Sam explained that when learning how to do a flip there are lots of things to remember.

They seem to flip hundreds of times a day.

Sam said that once, after tucking his knees, he forgot to rotate.


He was a real trooper. They wore them out at this camp. He was tired and even a bit sore after the first day. He said he wished he had some time off between classes but went back happily the next day. Then he got the black eye.

We were impressed with how both he and the camp handled it. They just gave him some ice and encouraged him to get back out there. He did.

He was up for camp on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday too.

He says he still hasn't quite learned to do a flip but he intends to.

We were impressed with what he did learn and have him signed up for a second week of camp in July.

Sam seemed proud of it in the pictures Cam took.

I thought it made him look tough. Cam thought it made him look pretty.

We all joked around about it a lot.

I tried to capture the evolution of the black eye by taking several shots of Sam over the next few days. There isn't one great picture but there are lots of interesting ones.

Go to this Flickr set if you want to see them.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Dearest Els,

It was wonderful to talk with you on your birthday today.
I'm sure the next time we see you it will be this moving.

More music I like lately...

We flew to DC on Virgin America. They let me watch music videos. Below are some I enjoyed. (I own all of the songs now too.)

Mr. Pitiful is my favorite Matt Costa song so far but I like it so much that I bought Songs We Sing and Unfamiliar Faces on iTunes. Check out this quirky, endearing, fun video. I love seeing familiar scenes that were shot in and around San Francisco. I want to try out his one man band machine.

I liked the questions Pink asks in Dear Mr. President. Her song was stuck in my head for days after the flight (the other two were too).

I loved this John Mayer song the first time I heard it. The video for Say compelled me to watch The Bucket List. Cam watched it with me. We enjoyed it.

Even if your hands are shaking... And your faith is broken... Even as the eyes are closing... Do it with a heart wide open... Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say. Say what you need to say. Say what you need to. Say what you need to. Say what you need to say...