Mendocino Bike Sprite Weekend

Thankfully Brent didn't choose a career path in sales, because initially he didn't do a very good job of selling me on a weekend trip to Mendocino with the Mendocino Bike Sprite.  Once he explained the details... staying in an old farmhouse, tour groups for beginner level riders, and meals included, I was all for it!  I was still a little nervous since I imagined I would be one of only a few women in a large group of experienced male riders, but much to my surprise and joy, the group was mostly women... and what a fun, fabulous, and helpful group of ladies they were!  I'll share more photos from our weekend once I get them all edited, but I really just wanted to dedicate a quick post to say what a freaking wonderful time I had!  I learned so much, I pushed myself physically, and I got out of my comfort zone on SO many levels. I'm working on keeping that stick out of my butt all the time... baby steps!  A big THANK YOU to this group for a fabulous weekend, and hopefully many more weekend rides together to come!IMG_8314  

Summer Bucket List

I love that I love summer now... a time I used to dread in Arizona is now my favorite time of year! Being here during the summer reminds me of that indescribable excitement that hung in the air in the last couple weeks of school as a kid. There is just something magical about summer time, and I am so thankful to have that feeling back again! This summer is going to be doubly special because it is the first official, full summer Brent and I will be in California together.

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Here is my 2013 summer bucket list (some uncompleted tasks from 2012 carried over):

  1. Host outdoor movie nights at our cottage - Build a fire, pop some popcorn, and set up the big screen. I would love to make this a bi-monthly event until it's too cold to host it anymore. Brent already called Jurassic Park as the first movie, so now we just need to pick a kick-off weekend.
  2. Explore up the coast - I imagine it only gets prettier as you drive up...
  3. Go camping in Big Basin and/or Big Sur - yes please.
  4. Hike the Skyline-to-the-Sea trail
  5. Bring back Sunday beach bonfires
  6. Birthday on the Boardwalk - again! 
  7. Take a dance class with Brent
  8. Go wine tasting in Carmel
  9. Master a new song on my ukulele 
  10. Read at least the first two books of the Game of Thrones series - I already have a good chunk done of the first, so this shouldn't be difficult.
  11. Send fun summer gift packages to my pen pals
  12. Bike camping... this was obviously Brent's choice when I said I needed one more thing for my list.  We'll see.

Happy Summer! :)

On small moments, fate, and four-leaf clovers

I wonder sometimes about the timing of little moments in life; I wonder if it is all completely random, or if I am meant to encounter certain people and share certain moments with them.  Take this morning for example… on my way to work I went through Scotts Valley to satisfy my Starbucks craving.  As I was getting out of my car, a nice elderly gentleman was passing by and stopped to talk to me. “Good morning there, young lady.  I’d like to ask you a question… have you ever seen a four-leaf clover?”

As he said this he was slowly reaching into his pocket to retrieve something, but my mind had already flowed to memories of my cousin Jamie, and how we used to hunt through the big patch of green clovers in my Auntie Jillayne’s backyard in search of a four-leaf clover.  I don’t know what we thought might happen if we found one, but I don’t think it mattered much.  We were both just the type of girl that could sit for hours quietly searching for something rare and special, having faith that magic and luck do exist somehow in this world.  Needless to say, this sweet man had me in his opening line.

“My name is Doug – that is short for Douglas, you know,” he said, now holding a tiny manila envelope in his aged hands.  He very gingerly pulled a green, dried, and pressed four-leaf clover from inside the envelope.  “I am 92 years old but I feel like I’m 30 and I have had a beautiful life,” he placed it back inside the envelope and handed me the tiny treasure, “and I only give these to give to pretty girls.”   It was then that I noticed the playful sparkle in his glassy, watering eyes… a twinkle that I am sure will remain regardless of time and age.

Is it really possible for my heart to melt for a complete stranger?  I thanked him and just as I wondered who this man was that had made my regular morning ritual so special he said, “You can Google me later – just look up Douglas Turkey Egg.”  I certainly wasn’t going to forget that name.

It turns out he has had a beautiful life, filled with love, luck, and great experiences like acting at a young age in movies with the likes of Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, and John Wayne.  As I read an article about him in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, towards the end it said that he grows these 4-leaf clovers in his backyard and hands them out as his way of sharing the good fortune he’s experienced in his lifetime.

This is a perfect example of the moments I wonder about, moments that seem like small gifts that spark excitement and inspiration inside me.  It was 7am on a regular ol’ Tuesday, I didn’t even have breakfast in my belly yet, and I happened to cross paths with this delightful person who simply wanted to share his joy and enthusiasm for life with me.  Even if I never make sense of the idea of fate around these moments, I can at least say I know am a lucky lady and now I have the four-leaf clover to prove it.

New Year's Day

On New Year's Day, we decided to go out for a quick brunch with Leslie and the boys before we left the city.  We enjoyed a delicious meal at Pier 23 - my breakfast sandwich tasted like heaven... ...and I was super excited when Brent agreed to split a root beer float with me.  He rarely ever agrees to dessert, so I jump on the opportunity when it arises.

After we said our goodbyes we drove across the bridge, headed to the Marin Headlands to take in the view of the Bridge and the city in the distance.

The drive up there was initially very frustrating... I have a very short fuse when I'm behind the wheel and this curvy road up the hillside was packed with annoying touristy-type minivans moving at a snail's pace.  I was ready to pull into the first available spot I saw, but nooooooooo.... Brent wanted to go all the way to the top.  I believe he even used the term "tippy-top", just to send my blood pressure through the roof.  But boy I'll tell you, I need to learn to be more patient and just go along for the ride because Brent was right... it was so worth driving all the way up to the "tippy-top".  The view was breathtaking.  We even braved the freezing cold 20 mph winds and climbed the rest of the way on foot to the top of the hill to take a million pictures.

It was a wonderful way to spend the first day of the new year...  I can't wait to see what else 2013 has in store!

New Year's Eve

For the first time in our 6 years together, Brent and I were finally both off work and able to be together on New Year's Eve.  To top it off, this was the first year Brent was able to join me in San Francisco to celebrate with some of my favorite family members, Jon and Leslie.  I've been telling him for years how fabulous it is to ring in the new year at their house in the city, complete with great company, delicious wine, and fondue for dinner.  Needless to say, I was very excited to finally get to share the experience with him.  It wasn't quite the same without my mom and Kathy who were unable to make it this year, but it was still a really great time!

I always take pictures of the dining room before and after, because I think it's the most obvious indication of the fun had around that table:

I was also on cloud 9 from cute overload between Butkis and the 2 kitty-cats:

As always, a big thank-you to Jon and Leslie for having us in their warm, welcoming home to kick off the New Year in such a fabulous fashion!  Love you so much :)