Please excuse my absence…

I’ve just returned from 10 days…of out of town…of summer vacation…of family reunions…of travel…of good food…of tennis…of golfing…of Sun Valley…of trap shooting…of swimming…of road tripping…of soccer watching…of wine drinking…and most importantly…10 days of having a great time with people I love.

So please, excuse my absence.  I will be posting probably way too many photos in the next few weeks.  I hope you are all enjoying your summer and taking advantage of the long days, bbq’s, and relaxed schedules.

But…I won’t lie…it’s good to be HOME!


Cleo in the Mist…

A photo essay of our trip to some beaches just south of Oxnard.  June hit, which means June Gloom here in Southern California.  Consistently, we will wake up to overcast, foggy, cool mornings and by 2 o’clock, it is sunny, bright and warm.


Lately, we’ve had some weekends packed full of dinners, commitments,visitors, and adventures…

We tried to take Cleo on a hike in the Santa Monica mountains…but upon arrival, we were told dogs were not allowed…(news to us after lots of research and finding no such information)…so we headed up to the beaches just south of Oxnard.  They were perfect…nearly empty, and Cleo could run wild.

Woody managed to sneak Cleo up onto the couch.  There is no happier place for her than when she gets to snuggle with one or both of us on the ‘human’ furniture.

Wynne came to visit for a night, and we grabbed burgers at this place.

I’ve been volunteer coaching soccer for the community organization in Pasadena – the kids range in age from 4-12.  The kids in green are my team…but each Saturday, everyone practices together for an hour and plays the other color teams during the second hour.

They are all very cute, very squirmy and constantly doing about 8 other things…that aren’t soccer.  It’s hilarious.

I also went for a hike with Cleo in the San Gabriels way up above Pasadena…LA is in the distance and you can almost see the ocean…it looked like it was raining in Santa Monica.

We took a drive up towards Ojai for a short hike…Cleo loves any moment where she can get off the leash and run around following her nose.

She loves jumping right into any water we find…and will usually cross at least 5 times while we are planning on how to cross.

And of course, for Woody, weekends also usually include some work.  I got to play lab partner for him one morning when he had instrument time.  I took some notes, touched only things I was allowed to touch and tried not to break anything…and of course asked a lot of annoying questions, just like an 8 year old would – along the lines of…”What’s this do?”…”what are you looking at?”…”what’s making that noise?”…”How do you know where the laser is pointing?”…”what happens if you push that?”…etc.

Woody was very patient!

Here’s to more weekends filled with adventures and friends and good food all summer long!

Baby Chicks!

I work at a school…my office happens to be right next to the kindergarten classrooms.  Each spring, the kindergarten gets a chance to watch baby chicks hatch out of their eggs and grow for a week.  I love this activity.  Who doesn’t love the chance to see brand spanking new tiny fluffy chicks! I snapped a few photos on the old iphone – so not the best visually…but I had to share!

This little guy had just hatched in the incubator and was a little exhausted, taking a quick break before trying again to stand up.

He (or she) was the first to hatch and chirped very loudly as there was no one else to huddle together with.

I overheard some great comments made by the kinders including:

“look, they’re falling in love with each other and snuggling”

“Everyone’s here this morning, Jason’s mom, and Derek’s mom, and a amissions person” (me)

I think in another life…I could teach Kindergarten…they’re always entertaining.

Slackline – Attempt #1!

How’s your balance?  I thought mine was maybe a little better than average.  Did I think that I would have any chance of standing on a thin width of webbing strung up between two trees for more than a nano-second…NOT A CHANCE!

But I’m full of surprises.

We set it up between two trees we deemed appropriate at Caltech.

This is new school slacklining…no jury-rigging here.  Mine came complete with a ratchet.

It looks a little like caution/police line/crime scene tape.

Very tentative at first…using the tree…wearing flip flops…

Woody tried out the barefoot method – it is a much better way to go.

The pictures don’t do it justice.  It looks calm and slow in the photos…when really there was a lot of wind-milling going on.

Slacklining was a bit of a workout as well…I used all sorts of tiny muscles I hardly knew I had.  If you look close at my fingers…you can see how tense my hands were – which resulted in sore forearms the following day.  Try explaining that your arms are sore from an activity where the whole point is not to use your hands.

It felt like it was a lot higher off the ground.

At one point, I almost fell…so I ended up crouching in an attempt to stay on…again…tense fingers…

Eye of the tiger…


By the end, we were both able to stay on for about 10-20 seconds…and I’m excited to set it up again.  It’s a little addictive…almost like when you were little and just kept getting back on the monkey  bars to complete a successful cherry drop despite blisters on your hands.

Thank you Woody for an unexpected and creative birthday present!

Onto another year…

Okay…so I’m 31.  According to my brother, this qualifies as being in my ‘mid-thirties’.  This all happened in the midst of the craziness of the end of May – May 21st to be exact.  We had a lot going on.  But we managed to squeeze in a celebration or two – thanks to some really great friends.

Jennie brought me breakfast – homemade sausage and mushroom mini-quiches.  (no pictures – they were too delicious!)

I was treated to lunch by my office at this place and was basically queen for a day.  It was lovely.

Anna and Rhea biked over and visited me at work and brought me homemade scones.  (can you tell there is a theme…? delicious treats)

I also enjoyed some (very) frozen ice cream cake – flaming ice cream cake in fact.

I also received some very fun things…

a slackline…(see upcoming post)

A new work bag made entirely out of recycled fishing waders…I can actually see some old patches where people tried to make repairs before throwing in the towel and purchased new waders – and it’s completely waterproof…so I have no excuse now to not ride my bike all year-long.

And finally, I was lucky enough to be taken out to dinner by my friend Jen…

Thanks for all the birthday love, phone calls, goodies, and cards.  I have great friends and family!