Thursday, July 05, 2007

Robaldo v Rooney. You decide.

I'll bet the Coventry School Boys are regretting not signing this amazing footballer! What's Rooney got that my Rob hasn't--besides good looks, of course.

Rooney's Nike Ad

Robaldo's Nike Ad Remake

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Big long sausage

Do you ever do this--put your finger tips together so they make a straight line. Hold them out in front of your face and then look at the horizon line behind them so your fingers are slightly out of focus. Can you see a sausage link connecting them? Rob can. In fact, last Sunday, when we met up with Shelly and Aliyar he shared an even more interesting story.

Earlier that day he had been taking a shower. You may not know this but Rob always sits down in the shower. And then stays there for ages. On this particular morning, he was practicing the finger sausage trick in the shower. Then, with both legs out in front of him, he realized if he looked just beyond his toes letting his legs go slightly out of focus, it appeared there was a big long sausage running the entire length of his legs. I can't say why Rob wanted to tell this story in public but I can tell you, there is no better audience for this kind of thing than Shelly and Aliyar.

"Shaliyar" live in Spain and we haven't seen them since our wedding two years ago (where Shelly did an amazing rendition of "There's no earthy way of knowing" from the original Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.) And we had never met their nine month old daughter, Violet, who is a gorgeous little thing.

Five things I love about Shelly and Aliyar:
1. Whenever we see them, it's as if no time has passed at all. We just seem to pick up where we left off and we always have fun.
2. They make us laugh and, perhaps more importantly, they laugh at our jokes.
3. They have a really great friend, Norm, who lives in SF. For some reason, we only get together with him when Shelly and Aliyar are in town but we always enjoy seeing him when we get to.
4. Aliyar can recite line after line after line of Alan Partridge, Black Adder and numerous other English comedies. Even better, he doesn't get tired of us when we're doing the same.
5. Shelly reads our blog!

Love you guys, it was great to see you!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

26 point 2

I tell you what, this year has felt like a marathon. More specifically,it's felt like the final 1/2 mile in a marathon. The part of the race where you feel like you're too close to give up but too far to feel inspired and driven. The feeling of lead in your shoes and a couch on your back and the thought that shortly, you'll have reached the finish line and a great sense of accomplishment will begin to replace the tiredness in your body.

Not being one for metaphors (was that even one?) on Friday I turned it into a reality. Meaning that in October, I will be running the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. Not only did I register for the marathon, but I also registered for The
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training®--the world's largest endurance sports training program. TNT provides training to, among other things, run marathons. They also raise money to find a cure for Leukemia and Lymphoma.

As many of you know, Rob and I have a close friend that was diagnosed with a rare form of non-hodgkins lymphoma earlier this year. Through her, I witnessed the miracle of modern medicine and am happy to say that today, six months later, she is in remission. Sadly, we have two very close friends each of whom has a brother who was diagnosed with cancer. One is currently putting up one hell of a fight and we are hoping for his recovery. The other passed away a week ago and we attended his funeral over the weekend.

I hope my participation in this Team In Training and my fundraising might make a small difference in the lives of people who are battling cancer and in the lives of the people who care for and love them. I hope I have even half the strength of these three people while I am running that race.

If you would like to support me in my endeavor, you can do so here:

Kari's TNT Page

If you want me to run in honor of your friend or loved one, I would be happy to.

And, of course, if you want to go on a run with me in the next couple of months, by all means send me an email!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Drake powders his nose

Two days into it and no injuries to report. This is very good news! Especially considering neither Drake nor I have any experience skiing powder and that's about all there is up here on this mountain. At times, we are cutting through powder that comes above our knees making it incredibly difficult to do anything other than steer straight ahead and hope for the best.

We treated yesterday as our day to get warmed up on the mountain and agreed we would stick to intermediate trails only. This meant no trips to the peak of the mountain where all the trails are black diamond. We fared pretty well but the powder saps the energy out of your legs pretty quickly, and one fall in the powder for Drake took the rest of his energy.

But Carl called us last night and instilled extreme confidence in us! Spewing out motivational speak like "it's only a mountain" and "go slowly" and "there's nothing you can't do" and "just remember, lean into the mountain" and "don't be afraid to go off trail." We were empowered! There was nothing we couldn't do. Bring it on!
And so we hit the trails this morning brimming with absolute confidence. Two runs on the old familiar trails and we were ready to conquer the mountain. So up the Cornice Express we went. Who cares the storm has moved in. Who cares it snowed another few feet last night. We had Carl's spirit guiding. For a little way, anyhow.

We stood over the lip of that trail, looking down the steep, powdery slope and I knew, now was the time to act cool in front of Drake. No big deal. Just go slow, right? So Drake headed off first, gliding through the powder like nobody's business. And there was me behind, toes curled under, trying to grip the snow, as if it helped. And then, the powder bit, and Drake fell over sideways. Not a problem. Just get up again and try and fetch that ski pole that he dropped 6 feet uphill from him. Only trouble is, getting oneself upright in four feet of powder is a superhuman feat. While he focused on pulling himself upright, I sidestepped up the hill to fetch his pole. 20 minutes later, we were all intact, ready to proceed down the mountain, but boy, were we tired. Another 300 feet and I look up to see Drake face first in the side of a snowbank and all the people skiing around him shouting "are you all right???!!" It's never a good sign when other people are asking that. It's a clear indication that the wipeout was bad enough that you might not be all right. Luckily, Drake was fine. He had powdered his nose BIGTIME, heard his kneecap pop and cracked his goggles landing face first, but otherwise he was ok. And once again, he pulled himself up. This time, he was pretty worn out and we decided to stop at the lodge for a drink and a rest. He planned to go back to the condo, but I convinced him one more run would be well worth it. Good to end on a high note. And so we went back to old faithful, and had a lovely last run before Drake headed in for the day.

And I soldiered on, determined to "get my money's worth." What I ask you, is this: at what point to you know whether or not you got your money's worth? I went to the back of the mountain, dragged my way through more powder and got windwhipped on more chairlifts, always colder when you're on your own. Eventually, my legs began trembling and then I realized, maybe now I've gotten my money's worth. So I headed for home, and the hot tub, and the continuation of the Dr. Who marathon (that we began last night.) What a great day!

Tomorrow, we hit the trails for as long as we like before heading back to Oakland. With any luck, 88 will be open and the drive home will be an easy four hours.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Spikes and Spiders

My word, what a day. I thought coming up to Tahoe was supposed to be fun. Drake and I packed the car this morning and left the house at 10 am which I thought was pretty good time. We wanted to make it to Kirkwood around 4:00 pm. I checked all the websites that said Hwy 88 East was open so everything was all set up for success. First stop: Saturn dealership for some chains.

I remember when I bought the car they warned me that "regular" chains would not fit the saturn wheels. Whether or not that's true, I don't care to know anymore. I went to the dealer thinking I would buy some chains and be on my way. Little did I know the "spikes and spiders" as they call them would a) cost a fortune and b) need to be installed. I was super irriated thinking every minute counts when we're trying to beat the road closures.

From the dealership, we went to the ATM, got a cup of coffee and some bagels and were on the road but by now it was 11:49. Still, not too late, right? I called both the Kirkwood conditions line and the Caltrans line to find out the roads were still open and so, headed east. 100 miles later, we were at the base of 88 East, ready to head up over the pass--only 60 miles to go. Just to be safe, I called the Caltrans road conditions line again--only to find out the ROAD WAS CLOSED due to avalanche.

Drake and I, well not Drake, were left to decide whether to chance it over 88 E. and hope the road would open, or to head up to Sacramento and over Hwy 50, which was still open. Because the road was closed due to avalanche warnings, I figured it was a safer bet to go around, which was going to add another 150 miles to our trip.

By now it was chucking it down with rain but I was still hoping for the best. All the way up Hwy 50 it was pouring rain and I couldn't see any cars in front or behind me. I started to get nervous that I was the only one crazy enough to try and head over the pass in the storm. But when we got to the chain checkpoint, there were stacks of cars, some of them even regular little cars, like me. I slapped on the "Spikes and Spiders" and man, was it ever quick. That was worth $30 bucks, at least (the cost to have someone else put your chains on for you!) Then we headed the rest of the way over the pass--at 20 MPH. At times I had to stop completely due to lack of visibility. Eventually we made it over and I picked up the turnoff toward Kirkwood. There were fewer and fewer cars at this point and the clock had just gone 4:30. We had about 60 hours of daylight left but, to be honest, I wasn't sure what I preferred, dusk or dark.

With only 13 miles left to go, I encountered a Caltrans snowplow blocking the road, which immediately concerned me. But Tom, the driver, came over and said not to worry, they were pulling a car out of the snowbank up ahead and as soon as it was out, he would be heading up the pass and I could follow him. How cool is that? I felt extremely relieved at that point, even though the visibility was still very poor. Only trouble was, the tow trucks move even slower than the cars. So now, instead of 20 MPH, we were down to 10 MPH. and the light was fading fast. Then Tom pulled over and got out and told me I was a very lucky person to be following him (like he had to tell me that!) At which point, he walked behind my car and closed the gate telling me I was the last car that would be allowed on the road tonight. Holy Mackeral! I think I would have completely cried if I had gone all that distance and not gotten to our final destination. But we did--it only took 7 hours and 260 miles. I'm still trying to get circulation into my fingers after driving white knuckled for so many hours.
I think the storm may continue into tomorrow but Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to be beautiful so let's all hope for the best!

Drake at the checkpoint where we put on the chains

Drake and Tom--our Caltrans hero

Ahhhh, finally at home in our lodging.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Move over Rudy, Drake's in town

That's right folks--Drake's back in his "hometown!"
He arrived on Sunday morning after his original flight was cancelled Saturday and Rob and I took him out around town. Our first stop, "Can't Fail Cafe." Does breakfast get any better than this? Before we could even order our food, Drake had bought the t-shirt and put it on in the bathroom. Talk about Superman.

Next we headed off to Telegraph Avenue to shop for music and, what else, t-shirts

Nothing more fitting than to buy a hemp necklace from an old hippie dude.

And to try your luck out as a street vendor/performer. A little more practice and he could have started to earn money towards our ski trip.

A delicious burrito from Cactus and a photo op with one of our favorite cashiers there--we have no idea what his real name but we call him Chris Kattan. And finally, some sleep. Tomorrow we head up to Kirkwood for a few days of skiing. F-U-N!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Protect Your Nuts

It's been a long time since I posted anything nutty so here you go.

We recently visted Neville and Loralee (before Warren was born--Congratulations N&L!) at their new spot in Fairfield. In addition to giving us a nice meal and torturing me with some spicy Doritos that I couldn't stop eating, they also sent us home with a bag of walnuts fresh off their tree. Anyone who knows me, surely knows I don't like walnuts so how Rob thought he would go through a whole bag on his own, is anyone's guess. When we got home that night, we left the bag of walnuts on the porch.

Later that week, upon returning from work, Rob found a parade of squirrels going up and down our back steps and hauling away walnuts. Thinking this was far more enjoyable than cracking them open to eat on his own, he decided to bring the bag indoors and slowly ration the walnuts to the squirrels over time. How cute.

The fun reached it's maximum this weekend when Rob heard an unfamiliar scratch at the door. He opened the door to find a squirrel gnawing away at it--shards of wood scattered about. (Let's hope our landlord doesn't read our blog.) Rob then moved the bag down a few steps while he finished up a phone call with his mum and dad. The squirrel was not deterred.

As soon as Rob hung up, we knew we had to move the bag away from our porch. So we put it the one place we wouldn't mind the squirrels hanging around--the neighbors house. You know, the ones who let their dog crap all over the yard and then never clean it up. Trouble was, the squirrel hadn't figured out where the bag had gone and kept returning to our porch to find it. While he was sniffing around and I was filming the action, I suddenly realize our back door was open. About the same time he realized the same thing. Rob, who was on the ground, had the brilliant idea of throwing a tennis ball in the house to move the squirrel in the opposite direction. How could he have anticipated the squirrel would chase the tennis ball into the house? We don't have very stringent gender roles in our house but chasing rabid varmints out of our house is definitely a man's job. So I went after it (just kidding--Rob did!)

The squirrel bolted all the way through the house, into our bedroom and then sprung onto the blinds. I was not into this scene one bit so I went back outside, all the while imagining the squirrel springing onto my head or something horrible. Soon Rob comes to the back door with a broom in hand and says--"here he comes"--before tossing I-boys squirrel toy at me. Without time to think, I completely FREAK OUT! That's the kind of joke you love--except when it's played on you.

Rob finally got the squirrel out of the house. Only 7 walnuts remain.
And Rob's birthday gift from Peter and Agna couldn't have been more timely.