Travels on the road with Karen
"My, oh my, to live your dream! And not just when you’re sleeping, but every morning when you’re opening your eyes. Then you sit in the dark, write a few words. Then the sun comes up."
Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, September 07, 2007
Traveling Solo with Wise Eyes
After much planning and anticipation, I took my
first-ever solo trip to Europe! The first leg of the trip was spent studying French for 2 weeks in a little village in Loire Valley called Sancerre. It was such an exhilirating experience. Having taken many years of French in school, I found that the language came back quickly. I got really good at telling everyone Je suis etudiante en Francaise, parlez lentement s'il vous plait' (I think it means I am a student of French, please speak slowly...)
season after season. My fellow students and I had a rousing night out (every night actually) to celebrate our new friendship and toast another grand bottle of Sancerre's best offerings! I ate the rice, pasta and bread since I was carbo loading for my race.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Montana in July
I am certain that Montana in the summer is as close to heaven as I've seen so far. I came here to visit my best friend Janis while she spends a month on retreat in her pal Lou's cabin above White Fish Lake. We both reveled in the fresh pine scent, clean mountain air and animal creatures who call this home.
Critters, sweet critters everywhere. They seems completely oblivious to all the humans walking the trails and snapping their photos. We also spotted several big horn sheep on a distant mountain top, a squirrel brother and sister chasing each other through the grassy knoll and what I think was a marmot sunning himself. Could have been a woodchuck....
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Bonnaroo Here We Come!
We really had alot of fun. I had quite a few star sightings (Bob Weir from the Grateful Dead, Ziggy Marley and even Laura Dern with husband Ben Harper). Oh and I had lunch next to Dennis, The Police's sound technician. That is as close to Sting as I managed to get unless you count 10th row center on the field during his Saturday night show!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Maui No Ka Oi
Janis and I have had these plans since August 2006! This is Janis’ first trip here whereas I lost count at 12. My good college friends John and Susan Guard own The Pet Shop in the Maui Mall and have played host to many of my trips here. In fact they met me at the airport and we lunched and then saw Miss Potter at the Cultural Center to pass the time waiting for Janis’ plane to arrive.
We met my dear old friends for lunch in Kula not far from their beautiful home. It was a blast to catch up and relive some of our funny past experiences too.
I paused at the planter as the man in the wheelchair prepared for his snorkeling outing. He pulled himself out of the chair, legs limp, thin yet not quite lifeless. He grabbed the hand pads that would later serve as flippers of sorts.
I watched as he turned away from the ocean, readying his body to drag,
I sat staring in what I hope was a non-obtrusive manner, tears flowing down my cheeks. Awe, gratitude for health and strength in my limbs and inspired by his guts.
I yearned to sit with him surfside, questions not too nosy but shoot, I just wanted to know: How did this happen to you? What is that huge scar on your back from some well-meaning doctor with knife in hand determined to mend that broken spine? Were you sad, pissed off or just plain flabbergasted? What changed that transformed a self-pitying what’s-the-use kind of day into a snorkeling adventure? Instead I probably would have started with the usual tourist-speak:Where are you from, how long are you here for, have you tried the Hula Grill yet?
Would I be as determined as he if my legs were rendered motionless? I hoped I’d determine and persevere my way to the ocean too, under similar circumstances. So focused and strong with intention that my participation in the Ironman Triathlon might even be cause for celebration one day.
Thank you sir. As your lone chair sits under the shady macadamia nut tree, the sandy trail evident and is perfectly memorialized. You may never know how your courage touched this marathoner. The surrender of a lifetime that even a maxed out Visa card couldn’t fix. I am blessed and numbly open with thankful awe.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Big Sur 21 Miler
I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:50AM (anything with a 3 in it is sleepy time in my opinion…). All the race participants – marathoners, 21 mile power walkers, 10 milers alike – prepared to board the bus and take the hour long ride to the start line. The course hugs the California coast with its 2 lane highway introducing us to expansive ocean views, cliffs with neighboring flower fields and fog-filled head winds. The wind did whip and a few fog banks descended but considering that one year it hailed, I found the weather to be quite pleasant.
The Big Sur marathon is rated in the top 10 of the most scenic races in the U.S. Can we add HILLY to that description? Despite the challenging terrain, I found myself enamored with the beauty and enjoyed the camaraderie with my fellow participants. I walked the up-hills, ran the down-hills and stretched my hamstring cramp any time it talked to me J. In addition to the crashing waves and steep craggy shoreline, nature’s animal kingdom abounded. I saw a pack of llamas and herd of sheep, heard boisterous cattle, shrieking quail and neighing horses, even a very resourceful gopher made his way across Pacific Coat Highway. He needn’t have worried, I sure wasn’t running fast enough to trip over him!
Though many marathons have entertainment on the course, Big Sur matched its out-of-the-box reputation with the performers. Reggae bands crooning Bob Marley hits, high school bands up at the crack of dawn playing Hello Dolly renditions, drum corps and even a solo electric keyboardist provided musical power when our legs wanted to quit. Belly dancers were a welcome sight as was the “Hugger” giving service to all who wanted it. I think I may have cried on his shoulder, I can’t quite remember.
At the end of the famous Bixby Bridge, a concert pianist performed and greeted each runner with familiar tunes. “Linus and Lucy” of Charlie Brown Thanksgiving fame was the song I was entertained with. As I huffed passed the pianist. That song put a skip in my step (hey, it was only mile 4 or so…).
I also sang to myself which manages to propel me forward and soothe me all at once. If I can’t remember the words I just make them up. Or I’ll repeat a song over and over (“High Hopes” comes to mind). I guess I am my own little iPod.
My friends Susan and Therese and her boyfriend Randy finished the marathon as I was chowing down on Doles fruit cup and hot soup. We all were a bit blurry-eyed and weary yet so proud and inspired by the accomplishment. I especially felt encouraged with the completion of such a challenging run meant my training for Berlin marathon (Sept. 30) was do-able. I’ll brush up on my Beatles songs by then.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Happy Birthday to Me
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Trip to the Ranch
My dog Callie, a Shepherd, Lab, Cattle-dog mixture really loves our family ranch the very best. It is located in San Diego county, nearest the town of San Ysabel and Julian. Ever heard of Dudley’s bakery? They have the BEST bread ever. Anyway, my Sierra Club pals and I went to the ranch for a weekend of rest, relaxation and Mexican Train! That is an absorbing dominoes game that can take hours to finish. In between eating, taking pictures and hiking, we played. The sunsets are amazing there. Callie likes the hikes the very best. She is a true Cattle dog.