As of late…

Things have been a bit busy, crazy, hectic, ridiculous…

I have been home for only 22 days since the 10th of April…and I’ve taken 7 different trips…most for work, 1 to Salt Lake to see Liam and Rory’s new restaurant, and 1 to Savannah, GA for a wedding.  It has been hectic, but also very good.  I’m really loving my job, teaching Wilderness Medicine Courses.  The locations have been fun, the people I work with have been great and the work is constantly challenging and the students are inspiring!  My travel is not done yet…in fact, tomorrow I’m headed for the Bay area to teach a re-certification course, and then lead a backpacking trip for Big City Mountaineers in Yosemite!

Here are some moments from the last couple months!

I worked a 10 day course in San Francisco.

It’s hard to complain when this is what your office looks like!

While I’m gone, Woody texts me photos of our ridiculous dog! (Who sleeps like this!?!)

I had an extra day and drove around exploring…Golden Gate Park, Sutro Baths, China Beach, and Ocean Beach!

I had some beautiful weather!

Cleo found a peacock in our neighbor’s yard.

I taught two courses in Portland…

Some rain, some sun, very pretty!

Super fun to see Avery & Eloise and spend some time with Ciaran and Kate!  Looking forward to my next course in the area!

Judy and Laura came for a visit…we packed in quite a bit into two days!  LACMA!

Woody’s favorite piece of art…

We took a quick weekend trip to Salt Lake City to see for ourselves, Liam, Rory and Andrew’s new venture, Avenues Proper.  I am so proud of my brothers!  From an inkling of an idea a ways back…to an open and functioning restaurant and brewery – amazing!

Looking forward to my next trip!

We managed to make it up to Heber to see the horses!

And of course, we watched as much Game of Thrones as we possibly could and played a lot of Excite Truck – a special request of Liam!

Neither of us had seen Utah’s new Museum of Natural History.

Call me impressed!

The views are gorgeous!

A trip to Salt Lake would not be complete without a stop here…

and of course the Mole Sampler!

Back to southern California…and I headed to Lake Cachuma to teach a weekend course.  It’s halfway between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos!

I squeezed in a pre-birthday dinner with this lady!  Love her…and love me some chicken and waffles (Liam – your version is better!).

Next, we were off to Savannah, GA for the wedding of our friends Jon & Sara.

Saw some thunderhead’s building up over the middle of the country.

Explored the moss-covered trees and parks in the historic district!

Spotted a mode of transportation that NEEDS to be in my future.  I’ll be driving the scooter and Woody will ride shotgun!

Lots of fun catching up with friends from Harvard!

And ogling the crazy super-yachts and sailboats docked on the river!

These two are so cute and so in love…and they share the same birthday…Valentine’s Day.  I think I just threw up in my mouth.  Just kidding…I love ’em!

The ceremony was perfect and the basil gimlets were delightful!

On our flight home, Woody sat across the aisle from Ernie Hudson – one of the original Ghostbusters!  This is my stealthy photo!

Flying back from Savannah was the start of too much time in airports…which included Savannah, Houston, LAX, Burbank, SFO and Chico…all within 24 hours.  SFO is where I spent 13 unplanned hours…after multiple flight delays and a cancelation…I finally arrived at my hotel in Chico at 3:15 am.

Don’t worry I managed to get almost 3 hours of sleep before I was up again and getting ready to teach 30 students for 10 days straight!

My co-instructor and I made a point to go on the Brewery tour at Sierra Nevada.

They have an impressive facility, which they’ve built over the years!

They have (one of?) the largest privately owned solar arrays in the country…and plenty of sun!

The tour ended with a tasting, many of the beers I had not tried before!

Then there was more teaching.  We employ very creative teaching techniques…here, my co-instructor Liam is acting out a patient with cardiac issues as I run through a patient assessment!

Also…it was hot!  (did I mention this?)  It was REALLY hot!

Also, really beautiful!

I arrived home…for 5 hours…and found some presents waiting for me!!!

Love the clutch!  Thanks Giselle!

And then I opened the clutch to find this…

“For those of you wondering where my beard went: fret not it is still around, just not on my face. Liz has it.”

-Mark Fischer via Facebook

Home for a couple hours…and then I was off to drive north of Malibu, where I taught a weekend WFA course at a camp near Leo Carillo State Beach.  I was making a phone call and turned around to see this little guy.  Actually, he wasn’t so little!

More teaching!

I got back Sunday…cumpled into bed exhausted and spent Monday putting my life back together as my time at home is short once again.  Monday night we put my latest birthday present from Woody, a baking steel (kind of like a pizza stone but made of pure steel) to the test and had two delicious pizzas!

Tuesday was a blur…and this morning, WOody and I were up before 5 am to get him to the airport with his Watermaster raft and all his fishing gear for a week of fishing near the Henry’s fork of the Snake river.

I returned home after a stop for some coffee and took Cleo for her morning walk.

June Gloom has set in full force…but who can complain when your trees shower the sidewalks with purple flowers!

Back on the road tomorrow…home at the end of June with hopefully some more photos and an adventure or two to share!

Happy Summer!

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Weekend Review

So I was home for a week…leaving on Wednesday to teach courses in Portland, OR.  But I managed to get quite a bit done during the week I was home.

A girl should be so lucky to have a husband who came home from work early on Friday to whip up some enchiladas made with real New Mexico chile’s that he mail ordered while you were out-of-town.

I’ve got to work on my heat tolerance…but flavor was spot on and the perfectly ripe avocado was nice and cooling!

Before I left, I had picked out some paint to match the paint color in our master bathroom.  This looks like a hallway…but it is actually our closet.  Through that door is the main hallway of our house and the red continues the entire length.  This led me to feel like our closet is in the hall…and over time, it started to really annoy me.  Don’t get me wrong…as reds go…it is a lovely hue, and we’ve got the same red on another wall in the family room…but it just didn’t belong in our master hallway closet.

I used two coats of primer (that is some seriously dark paint), and was amazed at how much I liked it, even before any real paint made it onto the walls.

…and here is the final result…

I *LOVE* it!  The color is Benjamin Moore Wish…and closely matches the bathroom which is through the door on the right.

It brightens up the space and makes the whole space feel like a master suite, instead of a bathroom off of a hallway with a closet that leads to the bedroom.  I’ve been thinking of painting the bedroom as well…but it is not as pressing now that the transition is not so jarring.

Woody had a geobiology conference at Caltech all day Saturday, and I attended a friends tenure celebration after getting coffee and catching up with a friend.

Mark clued us in to a pop-up store happening this weekend…so we headed to 3rd and Fairfax to get some chilaquiles for breakfast from Lotería at the Original Farmer’s Market.  Stuffed we headed to an unexplored area of the city…the Arts District, just east of downtown LA.

The pop-up itself was interesting…all american made, all menswear, and very  hipster…as such, we were warned of beards and selvedge denim.  We didn’t purchase anything…but ogled some hammered metal cuff bracelets, canvas aprons, pretty surf boards, pomades, vintage styled rucksacks and saw a lot of stripes, wool, denim, and leather.

Had we known of all the interesting places to grab a bite to eat, we would’ve skipped 3rd and Fairfax and headed directly here.  Despite having just eaten, we couldn’t pass up a handpie from Pie Hole.

We opted for the beef hand pie…which was warmed up for us.  It’s delightfully flaky crust and savory beef inside was perfect…not juicy, but not dry either.  I would definitely stop by this place again, if I was in the neighborhood!

Across the street was another place that is now on our list…Wurstküche…a place full of sausages, Belgian fries and beer…what’s not to like?

And then, because we had not had enough pastry…I made a quiche…which was one the better ones in recent memory.  Full of kale, mushrooms, pancetta and Gruyère with some zucchini on top – made more delicious as we had a friend over for dinner whose wife and baby are out-of-town.

All in all, a delightful and productive weekend!

Now it’s time to finish the laundry, get organized and pack up for Portland!

Snapshots and a bit more…

So far 2013 has been pretty great!

I started a new job (teaching wilderness medicine courses) which is working out great!  My first course was in Berkeley and I had the privilege of teaching with a friend from college!

My students were an interesting mix and even wrote a limerick about me on the last day of class!

After Berkeley, it was on to Utah to (hopefully) get in a few days of skiing, see my family and meet up with Woody who gave a talk at the U!

The weather did its best to keep us from skiing…freezing rain storm, weird inversion, crazy fog, horrible air quality…so while woody was busy, I did my best to keep busy!

Liam and Rory and their partner Andrew are deep in the midst of recipe testing, construction, beer brewing, contractor and architect meetings in preparation of opening their gastropub in the Aves – they’re hoping to open in April!  Check them out on facebook, there has been quite a bit of buzz about them already, as evidenced here.

Work got crazy for Woody and he had to head back to Pasadena a couple of days early, but my last day in town, Wynne, Liam and I headed up to Alta for my first day of skiing in a couple of years.  (which, by the way, is a totally depressing fact!)

I’ve got to admit…I surprised myself.  I pretty much thought my legs would crumble to pieces after a couple runs…but they held up well.  Although it was INCREDIBLY windy, it was snowing and it just kept snowing more and more…so much that it was hard to finally decide to call it a day.  Great snow…great skiing…and I only really crashed hard once.  We expected a bit of a slog down canyon (Sunday evening, the OR show ended, Sundance Film Festival ended, Alt Summit ended, roads were bad, everyone stayed later since the skiing was soooo good).  However…none of us expected this…

We left the parking lot at 3:45 pm.

We arrived home at 7:35 pm.

The drive is just about 20 miles.

We averaged 5 miles an hour.

It was AWFUL!

For me the next morning meant a 5:00 am wake up so I could get to the airport for a 7:30 am flight back to Pasadena.  It continued snowing all night long, and while I made the (silly) assumption that the roads might be vaguely plowed…and by roads I mean Interstate 80…by 5:30 in the morning…I was proved wrong.

Between snowy slick roads, dragging luggage through piles of slush, overheated airports and the general unpleasantness of travelers before the crack of dawn…my morning was less than stellar!  Let’s just say I was pleased to be returning to mid-70 degree weather!

Back in Pasadena, Cleo and I got into a fairly regular schedule.

We’ve spotted some unusual things…

This is about a 10 inch long lizard tale artfully placed on our front stoop.  I have yet to see the tail-less lizard lurking around.

A few of our mornings have been quite cold!  (I can hear the laughter of those in places like Minnesota, Utah and the east coast!)  Yes, that is ice on the top of the car.

And frost on the grass!

But…it’s still California!

Woody took off on a field trip to Death Valley with students for the weekend and I had a whirlwind Saturday that involved about 140 miles of driving.  Carrie happened to be in town for a conference the whole week and had a bit of time Saturday morning before she flew out of Orange County.  I drove down to Irvine and met up with her for some breakfast and exploring at this place…which we stumbled upon.  It was very non-orange county and was a bit of a gem!

I think it is where hipsters go to recharge their flannel-clothed-beard-wearing-yoga-loving-craft-inspired-woodgrain-addicted-batteries.  The photos on yelp explain it all.  Old Vine Cafe provided a delicious (if not huge) breakfast!  And as usual, Carrie and I never remember to get a photo of the two of us.  After dropping her at the airport, I headed towards San Pedro to explore this place and partake in a blogger crafting event in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.

Fun to make some new crafts, meet some bloggers in person whom I know through their online photos and writing.  After I finished my crafting…it was time to drive to the Hollywood/Beverly Hills area to pick up two bottles of wine Woody and I bought for some friends at a wine event the week before.

LA has so much to explore…it’s nice to get out and see some new places!

And of course, get stuck in some traffic as well.

Sunday brought another storm, and since I hauled all of my ski stuff back to SoCal from Utah, it was time to attempt skiing in Southern California.  I had high hopes…

You can spot the snowy peaks after about 35 minutes heading west on the freeway.

About 14 miles from the exit up a very windy road…you reach Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts.  This is about as far as I got…actually, I parked, had time to put on all of my gear and as I was reaching for my skis from the top of the car, one of the parking attendants drove by in a truck mentioning that the winds were blowing so hard up top…they were closing for the day.

Plans thwarted!

All was not lost…as I was just about out of the foothills, I kid you not…a BOBCAT ran across the road in front of my car about 30 feet away!  My jaw dropped and I actually said it out loud in the car…”I just saw a bobcat run across the road!”  It looked just like this…except running!

Thanks to Mr. Bobcat – all was not lost!

Since I have chunks of time in between the courses I teach, I have been trying to get out as much as possible and explore new areas of LA county.  Jennie and I both had a Wednesday afternoon free…so we took Cleo for a hike in Eaton Canyon.  It’s a beautiful area…very popular…and on the weekends very crowded.  It’s a quick 3 mile round trip hike up to the waterfalls and much of it is shaded.  The afternoon was made even better when we topped it off with a stop for some frozen yogurt!

Valentine’s Day came and went.  Woody and I made Gruyere Fondue and started watching season 1 of The Wire…again.

Cleo has been enjoying the sun…Her tongue sticking out is too much in this pic!

With our chilly nights, she has also made it a habit (Woody has been a bad influence) to snuggle under the covers early in the morning until we can’t hit snooze on our alarm clocks anymore.

Fast forward to yesterday, it was time for Mt. Baldy: Round Two!

There are a couple of things to note about the image above.

1.  There is not a lot of snow on the ground – therefore, you have to take Chair #1 up to “The Notch” in order to even get to any terrain that would be mildly ski-able.

2.  I count approximately 15 cars visible – another area is out of view…so on the high-end, let’s estimate that there are 70 cars in the parking lot.  Total!  And not all of those are cars of skiers and snowboarders.  Mt. Baldy is very popular for scenic rides to the Notch, and there is a tubing area as well.

3.  It was cold – about 25 degrees.

4.  Those are some rickety chairs…also chair #1 takes approximately 25 minutes.

At this point I still wasn’t quite sure what I had gotten myself into.

At the top of the lift, it was more than a little unclear as to where the other lifts were.  Not a whole lot of signage and no obvious flow of skiers.  Only two lifts with actual ski-able runs were running, and 1 is really a short connector chair to get you back up to the notch from the gully where chair #3 is.

This little place is a lot like Alta, in that, everything is open…runs are not defined by trees…only defined by the amount of snow.  If they had a 3 foot base, you could ski anywhere and it would be amazing.  I headed off to skier’s left to catch what was left of the 10 inches of new snow from the storm that is now plowing towards the east coast.  I’m glad I did, although I skied over my fair share of willows trying to poke through the snow and at least a few rocks…and there were definitely some icy patches.

Apparently, the ski patrol (most of which is volunteer) all have crampons and ice axes in their lockers as there is a good chance that somebody gets themselves into a place that they can’t get out of…and just skiing out to them to assist is not really an option.

It was a lot like skiing at Alta is like in early November.  Thin is a bit of an understatement.  The views are incredible, the two groomed runs were really pleasant, and the complete lack of yahoos is unheard of for Southern California!  The view above is looking back towards the LA basin and the view below is looking out towards Victorville…basically you can see a good third of the way to Vegas.

I skied more than I thought I would…answered a lot of questions about “why I was cross-country skiing down the mountain?”…and decided to call it a day, knowing that it would be about an hour and a half before I got home with the 30 minute lift ride and traffic back to Pasadena.

So when I came up, I had to put my skis on right before getting on the lift…and coming down, you have to take your skis off…then they load them on to the chair behind you and hope the chair doesn’t swing so much that your skis slide right off.    The liftee was flummoxed by my tele skis…they don’t lock together and the center bar of the chair makes it difficult to hold your own skis.  Finally a sunbeaten older patroller came to the rescue and taught the liftee how to do it.  Riding down a chairlift with no skis on was a new experience as well!

All in all, it was a good day.  I’m glad I went and I might even look into getting onto their volunteer patrol.  I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the next storm and see if I can get more than 2 days of skiing in this winter!

Okay…

Now you are up to date!

Phew…that was a long one!

So it’s 2013…

Turns out (shocking, I know) I took a lot of photos during 2012…perhaps too many.  Some made it up here, but at least 80% did not.  I found a neat little app (memovy) that will time-lapse photos from your phone and add a little music to it as well.

(also, I mistakenly titled it 2013…when it should really say 2012…but I can’t change it now…so deal)

Here’s a quick recap of 2012…

We traveled to…

  • Monterey, CA
  • Colorado
  • Utah
  • Portland
  • South Africa
  • San Francisco
  • Mammoth
  • Jackson, WY
  • Yellowstone
  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Sonoma
  • DC
  • Santa Barbara
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Georgia
  • Lander, WY
  • and probably a few other places I’ve forgotten.

We…

  • Attended two college graduations
  • Threw a joint 60th birthday party
  • Celebrated from afar another 60th birthday
  • Went wine tasting (three times)
  • Went on at least 2 fishing trips
  • Quit a job
  • Then got a job with NOLS (bucket list)
  • Cooked a lot of good food
  • Completed a Triathlon
  • Lost 10 pounds
  • Had papers published
  • Breathed new life into our 12-year-old Subaru (According to our checkbook, it should last another 12 years now)
  • Reconnected with a friend from high school
  • Reconnected with at least 5 friends from college
  • Watched our nieces and nephew grow up (way too fast)
  • Visited family
  • Had family visit us
  • Drove MANY miles
  • Worked hard
  • Threw a Christmas party
  • Had friends visit us
  • and I’m sure there is more…

Here’s to an even better 2013 filled with more adventures, road trips, friends and family!