Friday, August 31, 2012

Family, growing old

I suppose as I sit here in a Hotel room in Fallbrook California,there have been few times when I felt more tired. To watch a parent age is a difficult thing. I know many of my friends have been in my shoes in recent years. Many have lost their parents. Although my father has survived this latest event, he is having surgery today that is dangerous for him, but is less dangerous than doing nothing. He is in and out of very conscience alertness where he seems nearly his old self, to moments where I see him clinging to life on a thread of oxygen.

When we are children our parents make all our decisions. We push and we fight them as we become teens seeking to earn the right to make our own. As my father approaches this time in his life, I see not all of his decisions have been good ones and now I struggle against the necessity to become involved in making decisions for him.

He is married to a lovely woman whose hands are far fuller of worries and stresses than anyone should carry. But she has the right to do so.

My brother and his wife, my aunt and my sister, are all here. We have tried to educate ourselves about the costs and realities of care and the cost of not having any. It is an uncomfortable time for us all.

When we first had a health scare about Glenn's Dad, we walked away determined to better prepare for a second crisis. We also made a vow to not put our own children in this position. Somehow not much has changed in this regard. Now as much as I may wish it isn't so, my own father is in need of help. Whether he will allow us to help I suppose will play out with some time. One thing is certain, I am glad I came.

I hope he recovers enough and is well and safe enough to live a longer life. I hope I can come to cook a turkey dinner for him and pour him a glass of Merlot. That I am sure he won't turn down. November seemed so close not that long ago. Now it feels years away.

Today is his procedure, tomorrow I head home. Something about this time in my life makes me feel like I am every age. I am a little kid, wanting someone to tell me what to do, an adult confident I have good options for people to consider,  like a parent to my father while aging myself and as tired as I have ever been.

Say a prayer for my Dad and one for me. On this road of life I am walking through a particularly rocky patch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Training for the ages

I apologize for not having written in a while. I have had one or two or a thousand pots on the fire, so to speak. Some days you are inspired. Some days you are inspired to write. Frankly right now, although inspired I am not too inspired to write. BUT in lieu of fine prose I will catch you up on Team:Are We There Yet? and our progress as we head to the starting line of the 2012 SF 3 day.

We got an announcement or two since I last wrote
 CONGRATULATIONS to Leslie who was selected to carry a flag in the survivor circle at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. I know how amazing that moment will be. I am so glad Komen selected her.
Leslie has had a lot on her plate. It is easy to put ourselves on the back burner. She got through her Cancer treatment only to have to deal with her daughter's Cancer. I am hoping this moment as brief as it will be will help her with her own healing. I know it helped me.

AND Komen's press release about the 3 day walk included me. That is quite an honor. If you read it in a paper it most likely will be near the classified ads! But what an honor. A long time ago I realized sometimes, the biggest gift you can give is just being there. Having Cancer for me was a bit different. After I got through treatment, I basically hid. I didn't really share what I had gone through. I didn't talk about it. Now, I am not shy at all about sharing my experience because I have seen that it can make a difference. I think in being quiet for so long about my Cancer, somehow I am making up for lost time?

The training this past week included a walk with the PURCHASE kids to Cavallo Point and back. I am constantly impressed with how accepting they are with all this walking. They may even sort of enjoy it!

Look at that sweet pea. I get major waves of gratitude and joy when I see Olivia these days. A year ago we were all in such a different space. I remember making her button to wear on my sash for DC walk. We all sent our prayers for her recovery and man is she ever showing me something. She runs, and giggles and hugs me and calls me Mrs Youngling (in an Olivia voice).

I have loved walking with the boys too. This walk I got to have a long one on one with Jack. He is a smart cookie. I believe he could be a great linguist. Joe has had my ear on a number of walks and loves to talk about trains. His birthday is around the corner...... The Purchase kids are my surrogate grand kids.

The next day I went on what was to be an 8 mile walk but I ended up walking 11. Then yesterday it was a walk to and from the office for another 7. This week we are supposed to walk our last long walk before the 3 day at 18 and follow that up with an 8 mile walk. It's almost here and I am trying my best to be ready.

STILL time to donate. I have fallen to #4 in the rankings (don't cry for me that is pretty good). This year I will fall short of my goal although I still have until San Diego to get there. I have raised $12,500 between the two walks. I would need another $4500 to reach my goal of $17,000. If you would like to donate, please do.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 2 - Pt San Pedro

Yesterday was the last day of the back to back. (Longest training walks of the year.) It took some maneuvering but we found a way for Leslie and the kids to do half the walk with us. We shuttled her car to China Camp, while Patty sat with the kids, and all started out from Glenn's office for the walk out. It is along a busy but pretty road, so the walk is not stress free with three kids and a stroller. Patty and I are so impressed with Leslie and Rob's kids. They are bright, terribly cute, very well behaved and we can certainly see why. Leslie has helped them be that way.

We all, each of us on our team are strong strong women. Heck I guess like attracts like. Each of us have our own way of attacking this walk and training and even clothing choices. 

Patty's daughter Claire and our daughter Katie were best of friends when they were growing up. This is how I got to know Patty. She is one of a kind! When her daughter Claire was out visiting they went shopping for walking clothes and Claire decided her Mother should go PINK! I was delighted to see her embrace the PINK in her pink leggings and top. I told her that Glenn would not have trouble finding us with that color!

When I think about this 3 day I will be remembering a stroller and three kids.
And Leslie doing a pretty good job at doing it all.

 Yesterday was Leslie's Birthday. When we stopped at the market to pick up our picnic things I picked up a cupcake and a candle (and matches) and surprised her with the cupcake at China Camp.

 Patty helped the boys pick out stones for skipping on the beach.

 I combed the beach for some shells or....

 Patty looked for beach glass

Leslie told the kids they couldn't take the crabs home because they had to fulfill their destiny or turning into sand. So I told them I would take their pictures to remember them.

 Beach time over, Leslie and the kids headed back to Mill Valley via the Purchase van. Patty and I turned around and headed back to Glenn's office down Pt. San Pedro Road.

When we got back to San Rafael went had our icy beers in Pinky's Pizza Place.

DONE! In all I walked 35 miles. Now it is time to focus on getting stronger, packing, preparing for the 3 day in every other way. The training although not done completely is completely manageable regarding my time. It will feel like a vacation.

Time flies by.

Training at it's peak

It wasn't easy. The hardest part may have been scheduling and trust me that this year seems to be the hardest part. Leslie has three kids, a husband who is a Doctor who is often on call, Patty had her mother who she tends to in Maryland and I have had a very robust year as far as business goes. So initially when planning the longest back to back of the training season we knew Saturday would be out (the dinner for Barbara was that night). Sunday was calendared, Rob was on call it all started to be quite complicated. There was disagreement about what the "true" mileage was of the planned route. Finally I made my announcement "I am walking from the Larkspur Ferry to the SF Ferry and you can meet he there at 7 or meet me at the Shoreline Office Center in Mill Valley at 9." Leslie was still trying to figure out how to piece the day together and do at least part of it eventually deciding it was just too much to juggle. Patty went to church in the am and met me at Shoreline.

The first few (6.49 miles) was beautiful. The fog wasn't laying low in Larkspur when I first left. It hung on the surrounding hills and mountain, running down the bay. So the air was cool but not cold as the sun cast long shadows on the wakening day.

As I walked along past the site of what will be our opening ceremonies the shore birds took advantage of the quiet still waters to feed and float... I love this one little pond in the marsh near there. This is the only place I see white Pelicans.

I meandered through the empty Village Shopping Center. Well empty except the people steam cleaning the walk ways. Now that is a different kind of obstacle!

Walking at my own pace I felt light and relaxed. I generally walk much slower with other people, which is fine it is a different kind of walk. So on this walk, knowing I had a 9 am meeting time, I walked about 3.4 miles per hour stopping along the way for coffee and to chat about Susan G Komen with a woman on Meadowsweet.

I still had time to take in the scenery as I headed by Horse Hill in Mill Valley.

Correct me if I am wrong but I think these flowers are called Pink Naked Ladies. (No reference to 3 day walkers or is it?)

Edna Maguire torn down... Where will the kids go to school this September?


When I got to the Shoreline Office Center I let Patty know we were going to be walking just the two of us. We headed off to SF ready to OWN the road.

Patty is starting to feel like I do... familiar with this bridge of ours. Its still a climb to get to the bridge itself, but it  is our bridge.

A stop at the Warming Hut for lunch....

Crissy Field

Past Aquatic Park to Ghiradelli Square.

Sonya is a lady who sells jewelery at Ghiradelli Square. She sees me and she says "You like pink!" We have a battle about whether I can pay her or not if I buy something. I really really like this lady. I ended up buying a sweet necklace but she gave me earrings and another necklace. She told me to come back at Christmas time and she will have lots of pink for me.

We asked her to take a picture of us too.

We walked the rest of the way to the ferry. For me it was just shy of 21 miles and that made me happy. The schedule calls for 18 and 15 this week. Knowing I may be a little shy tomorrow I was glad to get it in and relieved to know the mileage will be tapering down as we near the 3 day. These long walks are definitely a commitment of time. Its good it really is only for a few weeks of training that you need this long of a walk.

On the ferry we drank icy beers. The trouble with that was it was on the FAST ferry to Larkspur (30 mins long) 2 beers, 30 mins? It felt like college! Day 1 of 2 down for this longest of the training back to backs!

Dinner for 8

In the past years our Dinner for 8 has been wildly successful. It started with my Foreign Affair (that morphed into dinner for 70) netting us big extra dollars courtesy of my Alain Pinel friends. Then the Cihaks graciously volunteered to spearhead the dinner when Stephanie was a walker in 2010. They also donated their time and talents to the 2011 dinner, which was not cashed in on until this past week.

Our winner of the 2010 and 2011 dinners has been Barbara Major, a Marin Realtor and great supporter of our team. We go to Barbara's lovely Tiburon house and cook in her kitchen to serve her guests.It's aways impressive, the food the quality the professionalism of our little team. In 2010 we envisioned having a little mini part behind closed kitchen doors, but Barbara's kitchen is open to the guests. In 2010, so of the guests came to hang out with us int he kitchen. This year, we snuck out on the patio to grab a bite to eat between courses.

Here are a few pictures of the evening.

 Patty and Leslie
 Patti in her new apron
 Patty, Patti and Glenn
 Chuck, Stephanie, Patti and Patty
Stephanie and the dinner guests.

I think when we are cooking how lucky the guests are. Heck do they even know they have a pretty well known Marin attorney, a former Bank executive, a very well known Marin retail business woman, a Advertising Producer, A doctor and a successful contractor all serving them. Then I think how wonderful that really is and how in the spirit of our walk this is. People unite from all walks of life for a common goal. They bring their talents and their passion to the effort to make the most impact. I am just so blessed to have people around me who are not only willing to come to our little party, but to step up and make a difference themselves.

This next year we are doing 2 dinner parties. One bought at the event will have its own flavor, its own fun since it will be for dear friends Dana and Misako. The second bought by Barbara will be different too. I told the Cihaks they didn't have to spearhead that one again (although Stephanie did offer to help and trust me I HEARD THAT!) I let Barbara know it might entail beans and franks since I would be the lead chef. But count it up people since 2009 and the first dinner this one item will have brought in $7,450 for Team: Are we there yet? that equal 3 people's minimum needed to walk in the 3 day. That is impressive.

I have to thank the Cihaks, Barbara, our friends Dana and Misako and our team members and of course Glenn who all have made this possible.