Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday 2009

Dear Friends and Family:

My holiday letter will officially move online this year. I've thought about this for a couple of months and at this point wasn't even sure I'd get a holiday letter done because whether on paper or online, it takes time. I haven't had much time recently. It seems all my time is spent on something, which explains the state of my apartment and unmatched socks. I went to work today with one brown sock on and one blue sock on. I really haven't matched or folded socks all year. I kind of miss matched socks. Maybe next year. Ironically, I own this Pipi Longstocking doll .

Arty and I have had a great year! We bought a new recumbent trike bike and rode it EVERYWHERE! Sadly, I also had to buy a new car to accomodate this bike, a 2009 Honda Fit (b/c is is a hatchback and with the backseat folded down, I can store my bike in my car. My new car is HOT though, she is orange, with a hint of bronze.

On my bike on Angel Island. Took the bike on the Ferry from Tiburon, CA. Tiburon and Sausalito and beautiful!

In the video below, Arty and I are riding our bike. Sometimes Arty runs alongside, and sometimes he sits in the crate on the back. Rarely, he insists on sitting on my lap while I bike, well, rarely I let him do this. He would do it all the time if I let him! During the time of this particular video, we are at Henry Cowell State Park camping with Shared Adventures. Shared adventures provides GREAT activities locally for kids and adults with disabilities. Sometimes I volunteer and help them, and sometime I am a participant taking advantage of what they have to offer.

Some of their activities include: kayaking, camping, sailing, dances, BBQs, gardeing (we went from one raised garden this year to 8 for the next season and they have annual events such as Day on the Beach and Day in the Sky. I flew in a plane at this activity this year. A man arrived with his plane, which only had one extra seat. None of the kids wanted to go by themselves so I went. We flew from Watsonville (home of Martinelli's) to the Santa Cruz boardwalk, a good 20-30 miles, give or take.

The plane I flew in. Arty did not fly.

Sailing with Shared Adventures

Below, we are riding in Sonoma at the REVOLUTION bike ride to raise funds for a program (BORP), which supports people with disabilities in athletic pursuits. ]People of all abilities rode in REVOLUTION, anywhere from 10-miles to 100-miles... and oh my goodness, it was HOT that day, 102 degrees!! We had 286 riders and 63 adaptive cyclists, and the Revolution Ride raised over $230,000 for BORP's programs!

I also spent all summer kayaking. Just ask my friends, "who, Shannon, Shannon who.... oh wait, she doesn't exist on the weekends anymore." I was kind of negligent of many different relationships on the weekends this past summer because I was too busy paddling, biking and traveling CA. After all, with paddling and biking comes traveling.

My kayaking buds, Jacqui and Larriece. We stayed in an old farm house in Mendocine this weekend and paddled in the Pacific and on the Big River.

Look very close, Arty went kayaking on this weekend... Not his favorite activity. This particular weekend, we were kayaking out on the Monterey Bay in open kayaks. I don't kayak in open kayaks much, only when I rent on my own b/c they won't rent a closed kayak to you unless you take their day-long safety class, which I am going to take eventually.

With this traveling, I found myself taking a tour of International Hostels throughout CA. This summer I stayed in the hostels in Point Reyes, San Luis Obispo, Point Reyes, Marin Headlans, Monterey and I started volunteering at the Santa Cruz Hostel. I previously stayed at the Hostel in Sacramento. My dream is to open a hostel in the southeastern desert of CA. Would you believe there aren't any hostels in the fine desert? I mean, come on, doesn't everyone want to visit the Salton Sea and Palm Springs? OK, maybe Palm Springs.

I only recently discovered how inconvenient it is not having a hostel in the desert, since beginning to plan a holiday vacation south with my friend Melissa. Melissa also grew up in PA, around Lancaster, and is about my age. I met her through posting an ad on craigslist for a kayak companion. I was very specific in my ad, stating the companion had to be confident in their own kayaking abilities and such. I was not going to find myself towing another kayak in off the Monterey Bay. She said she was glad I put such guidelines because she has posted ads with less luck!! So we are kayaking, biking, and camping buds! With that, we are planning a trip down south for the day after christmas trough new years. The plan right now is 2 nights in at the Point Loma hostel in San Diego, hitting the San Diego Zoo (taking Arty with us, but he will go to doggy day care for the day and skip the zoo), 3 nights in a rustic cabana in the Anza Borrego Desert, in Julian, CA (where we may freeze at night, but it should be nice duing the day) , and finally 2 nights in someone's maid's quarters in Palm Springs.

Work at UC Santa Cruz is going well. I can't believe this is my third holiday season here... The time has gone by fast. I've become fairly good at navigating the bureaucratic system on campus and just learning to roll with it. On stressful or frustrating days, I simply look out the window and remind myself where I live, seeing the Monterey Bay everyday, with the beach just a few miles away and great culture. The amount of time I spend talking about work in this letter gives you an idea of the priorities in my life now a days. My priority is living life. My new motto this year is: I work in my freetime, which is typically M-F 9am to 5 pm, and some nights and weekends. All of the remaining hours each day are mine!!

I am excited to see this year through to the end and to begin another great year of biking, kayaking, and hanging with friends and Arty (the dog). I will be home in PA (tentative) July 6 - 18.

You know, the thing I like about putting my holiday letter online is that I can update it even after I sent the card. If I had your address, most of you got this cute little card with a dove on it... the dove was mounted to the card... Would you believe that card cost me 20cents extra to mail!! Like 69cents or something. That was probably more expensive then the card itself. Amazing! Note to self and others, do not buy 3D cards, even if it is only slightly 3D.

More pictures:

Arty was a dinosaur for halloween. He is a dino every year. I am not nuts enough to buy him a costume every year. We got this on clearance a couple of years ago.

And I made him put on his reindeer costume for the holiday party at the Diversity Center, in town, recently. Arty and I work on Santa Cruz Pride with the diversity center.

Anna, my friend who lives in Boston, came to visit this summer (just in time for Santa Cruz Pride!). We did our hair especially nice to talk around downtown Santa Cruz.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The beginning of a new life style

A couple of months ago, I traveled up to Berkeley, CA to test drive a few recumbent trikes at BORP. This was the start of many new adventures to come. Greg at BORP gave me the business card for Steve Swartz of baytrailtrikes. Once the quarter ended (thus, a slow down with work), I gave Steve a call to go test drive some of the recumbent trikes he sells.