Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not yet ready

Noe isn't ready to put Christmas away yet. A couple of more days....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mural in the Mission

Saw this great mural today on 19th near Dolores Street. There are so many things that I love about it!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Christmas Yule Log on TV

I've heard about this before, but never sought out to find a television station broadcasting the Christmas Yule Log on Christmas Day.

I Love it! It turns your TV into a roaring fireplace. :)

The best part is when Santa's arm comes into the picture and he moves the logs with a poker, or he tosses a fresh log into the fire. :)

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Waiting for Santa Kitty...


Christmas Decorations around the Neighborhood

Our neighborhood sure does know how to decorate for the Season!

Dick and I drove and walked around our neighborhood for a bit today, enjoying the festivities.

Tom and Jerry's house on 21st Street

As always, we went out to Tom and Jerry's house on 21st street to admire the decorations that they work so hard on each and every year. It was as amazing as always. I imagine it'll be quite busy tonight! They have a Santa out front every year to greet the kids and pass out candy canes.

An excerpt from this web site:

Tom Taylor and Jerome Goldstein once again share with you the Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree on 21st St. in San Francisco. Santa Claus brings his magical presence to the Christmas Tree beginning December 12 after his reindeer pull up to 21st St. and all the elves help him to unload Candy Canes and Best Wishes for all. Santa Claus will be available to all for candy canes and photography until 24 December from 6:30 - 10:00 PM. He will depart from the Christmas Tree at 10:35 PM to prepare for the Christmas Day Deliveries. If you look real hard toward the North of 21st Street over Dolores Park at 10:05 PM on Christmas Eve you will see his Reindeer riding on Magical Jet Carpets to get their rest before delivering all the Christmas Presents by morning time.

Getting a Candy Cane from Santa is very special because making a wish and putting the candy cane under your pillow on Christmas Eve may make that wish for Christmas Day come true!!

The Christmas Tree is a LIVE Norfolk Island Pine purchased by Tom and Jerry in 1973 as a house plant. As you can see the tree has flourished and in its 65 foot glory has been the home of the Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree and Celebration for many years.

The display is meant to embody the Holiday Spirit for all who choose to view it and is not of any religious or sectarian view.

Thanks, Tom & Jerry!

We spotted another beautifully decorated house last night as we walked down to Castro Street. This house is on Diamond Street, and the front windows are decorated with a lovely Christmas scene.

Christmas decorations on Diamond Street

And last but not least, we walked down to Castro Street today where I had to take a picture of the Annual Castro Christmas Tree. :)

The Castro Christmas Tree on the corner of Castro and 18th Street

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Evolution of the Mousie Cookie

My Mom started having us make Mousie Cookies every Christmas years and years ago. It's become an annual tradition!

We've experimented a few times (replacing the currant eyes that the recipe calls for with icing, and the red hot candy that it calls for with icing) and today we tried yet another change. We cut up tiny pieces of black licorice for the eyes, and we think we've found a winner!

Here's the evolution of the Mousie Cookie:

Mom and Sis forming the dough

licorice eyes and peanut ears

Baking in the oven

the red licorice tail is added right after the mousies come out of the oven

cooling on the rack

Mom adds the red frosting noses

an army of mousie cookies!

packed up and ready to go to their new homes!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"O Christmas Tree"

It has been three years since we last put up a Christmas Tree. (Last year, we moved into our new home 4 days before Christmas, and the year before, my Grandpa passed away right before the holidays.) It is really nice to put up a tree again, and exciting to decorate our new home for the holidays for the first time. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Red Rock

My friend, JD, took me to the Red Rock State Park today. It was a beautiful, clear day to see the Red Rock Canyon.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My second visit to the Wishing Tree

I walked back down to the Wishing Tree today, and took some time to read through some of the wishes.

What a beautiful thing this Wishing Tree is! It was lit in lights and full of hanging tags with wishes written on them. I read through most of them, and even took the time to write my own.

Here's a sample of some of the wishes that I read:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Golden Ginko Trees

This is a view that I miss seeing from the block on which we used to live.

A gorgeous row of golden Ginko trees. There's only a few weeks time between the time the leaves change color and when they fall.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Wishing Tree

The Wishing Tree Instructions
(click to photo to enlarge)

(here are the instructions, in case you can't read them in the photo)

The Wishing Tree

Feel free to make a wish. Write it down on a piece of paper (located in the jar over there -->). Place it in the slot of the jar next to it. In the next few days your wish will be hung on the Wishing Tree.

PS: if your wishes have come true, you can write about something or someone that you are grateful for.

The Wishing Tree

I noticed this tree the other night as I drove by on my way home. I walked past it this morning as I was going to the mail box. First, I admired the tree strung with lights and the many tags hanging from its branches, each with handwritten notes.

Next, I noticed the sign that was posted next to the tree. That's when I learned that it is a Wishing Tree!!

I didn't have time this morning to read through the wishes, but I'll make sure to make time over the next couple of days. I want to make sure I have plenty of time to read each wish, and soak it in.

How wonderful to discover that our block has a Wishing Tree! I always knew that there was a bit of magic on our street. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reconnecting with more friends from High School

Doug, Anne, Kimi, Tomiko and Trina

Last night, I attended a cocktail party in SF hosted by an old high school friend, Anne. I had reconnected with Anne over Facebook a couple of years ago, and saw her last summer at at gathering at Kimi's house. Kimi and Manuel were there, along with two other friends from high school that I hadn't seen in years!!

Tomiko and her husband were there. The last time I saw Tomiko was over 14 years ago at our 10 year HS reunion.

Doug and his wife were there as well! I hadn't seen Doug since graduation!! We all graduated in 1987, so (shockingly!) we're going on 24 years! Egads!

How fabulous it was to hang out and catch up with these wonderful friends from our past. Everyone is well and happy, and it's so nice to reconnect with each other again.

Thanks, Anne, for hosting such a lovely evening!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Glassybaby Fundraiser for the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure

Yesterday evening, I hosted my first fundraising event for the 2012 Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. This will be my third year participating in the 3-Day. It is also the 10 Year Anniversary of my team, the Warming Hut Hotties. Last year, I raised $7,855.00. This year, I'm upping my goal to a whopping $10,000.

I've been a fan of the company glassybaby for a few years now ever since my friend, Paula, moved to the Seattle area and brought one to me me as a gift. I have bought one or two additional glassybaby in the years that followed, including more as gifts, but this year, after moving into our new home, I really got the glassybaby bug.

One thing I love about the glassybaby company is their goodwill efforts. They have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to various charities and organizations over the years, and often host events benefiting specific causes.

I spoke with them when I was at a glassybaby event in October about the possibility of hosting an event with them to go towards my fundraising for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. They were immediately interested, and we talked about the possibility of hosting an event next Spring or Summer.

They contacted me later that week asking if I would be interested in doing a Holiday event in late November/early December. After a lot of back-and-forthing, we came around to having a fundraiser event at my house on Wednesday, December 7th.

The event started at 5:00, and the glassybaby van pulled in front of my house around 3:00. Over the next two hours, the glassybaby team unloaded hundreds of glassybaby from the van, and filled my house with their beautiful vessels of glass. It was really an astonishing process to watch.

The evening was a great success! I had slightly fewer people come than I was originally expecting, but those who did come seem to have thoroughly enjoyed the products. 10% of all sales from last night's fundraiser will go towards my fundraising efforts. Last night, we raised almost $400 towards my fundraising.

Glassybaby is also being extraordinarily generous by offering me an online promotional code to share with friends who were not able to come, or who live out of the area. 10% from the sales of each Glassybaby bought online by my friends will also be donated to my fundraising account! If you're interested, please visit the glassybaby website and type in the promotion code "3day" (one word, no quotes) when you check out. Orders must be placed between December 8th and December 31st. Their website also offers free shipping.

It was a wonderful evening with friends, family, light and giving.

I took several photos from the evening - it was really pretty amazing to see hundreds of glassybaby fill my house and backyard with beautiful light. I wish I could keep them all! ;)

Many, many thanks to all who came. It was a lovely evening, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.

My thanks and gratitude to the Glassybaby company for being so being such a delight to work with, and for being so generous towards my cause. The event last night went so well that we are hoping to do another in the late Spring or Summer!

The Glassybaby Van comes to my house!

Unloading the Glasybaby boxes

The main display in the dining room
(we also showed a video of how glassybaby are made)

The backyard
(my favorite, I think)

I showed Linda's DVD slideshow of the 2011 3-Day

The backyard lit at night

The fabulous Glassybaby team!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Photos from the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon!

I just got a neat little email from the friendly folks who took the professional photos during the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon this weekend.

What a cool technology! They had us wear little bands on our shoes, which I assume tracked out location around the route, and also (now I know) associated our number with the photos that were being taken throughout the race. Neat!

Here are a few of my favorites.

Trina and Jason immediately after the race! Happy to see that we looked none the worse for wear!

My sister's favorite when I showed her the photos. I dig the Texas Hold Em on the Circus Circus sign.

Striking a pose for the camera and holding one of the infamous white towels that my walking team is so familiar with. ;)

Crossing the Finish Line!

Full view of the finish line

A cool shot of the beginning of the race. I assume this is shot of the corral (#40) that we were in, but I'm' not sure. Too many people in there to tell. Can you find me and Jason? Did I mention that there were 44,000 participants?!

Monday, December 05, 2011

Recap of the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon

The Route. Click here to see it in more detail.

Oh, what a night!

What a fun and unique adventure!

Jason and I had a GREAT time walking the Las Vegas 1/2 Marathon. It was a fantastic way to see the strip in a way that you wouldn't otherwise have a chance to.

Seeing as this was my first marathon of any kind, I didn't really know what to expect. I knew it would be very different from my experiences with the SGK 3Day 60 mile walks.

I brought my trusty water backpack with me to make sure that I'd stay hydrated. I figured there would be water along the route (and there was) but I preferred having my pack with me to insure proper hydration, as well as to carry important supplies like snacks (good thing I did!), blister/medical supplies (which I'm happy that I didn't need) and for general storage. So glad I brought it.

The route was fantastic. We started at one end of the Strip on Las Vegas Blvd at the Mandalay Bay, walked down the "New Strip" (which ends around the Encore"), past the "Old Strip" (Circus Circus, Hilton, Stratosphere, and the newly closed Sahara) all the way down to "Old Vegas" on Fremont Street.

The weather was chilly (low 40s, I think) but for the most part, it was perfectly comfortable for me and my regular layers of gear that I wore. It only got really chilly once, when it started to sprinkle/light rain around mile 10 or so. Luckily, the rain didn't last long, which was lucky, because it really made everything much more cold.

The marathon is actually called "Zappo's Las Vegas Rock 'n Roll Marathon". To go along with the theme, every 3 miles or so we would pass by stages with live bands performing. That was a great way to get a little pep in your step when needed.

So, in truth, I haven't done any serious training since the SF 3Day back in September. I've kept up with my routine walks around my neighborhood, and working out on my elliptical machine at home, but it's not the same at all. I was a little nervous going in, but ended up doing just fine. One thing that I realized before this marathon was that the whole route would be flat - which is SO different than what I'm accustomed to. This may seem like a good thing to most people, but honestly, I missed having hills or stairs to climb to mix it up. My muscles aren't accustomed to walking on a flat surface for that long of a distance.

As we were walking, I also realized that this is certainly the longest mileage I've ever done without short breaks or a food stop. (When I train with the Hotties, we are all about food!) The only "breaks" we had during the marathon (of course, since most people are running, and it is a race after all!) were to use the Porta Potties - which I did several times. (Hotties would be proud to know that I stayed well-hydrated!) We usually had to stand in line for 5-10 minutes for each potty break, which was a nice little rest for our feet.

Another difference in participating in a marathon is the street closure! Imagine - not having to stop at every block for signals, stop signs, bicyclists, etc.,! Such a new concept for me. So, this also meant a faster, non-stop pace, which was quite different.

Because of all of these factors, I did manage the quickest MPH speed for any long-distance walk that I've done at around 4 MPH. I think the average when training with my team is more like 3 MPH, or 3.5 if we're with a smaller group.

We completed the 13.1 miles of the 1/2 marathon in 3 hours, 41 minutes. Not bad! We were in the very last group of runners/walkers and left the starting line at 6:10 (the first group of the 1/2 marathon started at 5:30) and crossed the finish line at 9:48. I wasn't expecting to be done before 10:00, so that was great!

What a fun experience it was to walk the 1/2 marathon in Las Vegas with my wonderful friend, Jason.

Many thanks to Jason (who is a runner) for offering to walk with me the whole time, when he certainly could have taken off at any time to finish earlier! What a guy! :)

Trina & Jason huddled in Corral #40 before the race

The Starting Line

(Almost) the finish line (how confusing!)

The actual finish line! Yay!!

Our stats for the 1/2 marathon