Monday, March 16, 2015

To My Mom Part VI: The Road Trip Edition 2.0

Way back in April 2013, my mom and I did a road trip to Los Angeles. I wrote a post about it. Before I share the link to it, a few observations. My mom had cancer at the time, it just wasn't diagnosed yet. I knew she had health issues at the time. She had a hard time getting around. She couldn't walk long distances. I was somewhat upset at her lack of mobility back then. I kept it all internal though. I did not voice my displeasure at having to cater to her needs. We got her diagnosis a little more than 4 months after this trip. I didn't know it at the time, when you read the last sentence you will understand, it was the last road trip we would take together.

Here's the link: LA Adventures

She catered the trip around her friends and family, as always. Her friend number 2 passed away just a few months after our visit. So we made it just in time. I actually think she used taking me to the book fair as her excuse to see her friends. I had no issues being used like that.

I mentioned in my previous post in this To My Mom Series, that my dad had finished a "project". And said I may or may not share here. He gave his permission. So here it is. It's an online memorial. The family was deciding what to do with mom's emails and letters she had written during her cancer "adventure". (she called it an adventure, I'm not kidding) A family friend had put a lot of them together for my dad. My sister saw them and said it's like a book. Mom had written a book via her emails to her support group about her journey with cancer. What can we do with this? So this is what my dad did with it all.

It's a closed link, in that it is not searchable or linked to anything.

www.paravel.com/carol

So here's to my mom who used me (more than once) to see her important people.




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Sunday, March 15, 2015

My Peak Challenge: The Epic Weekend Finale


We must all listen to this, my last song selection from the playlist, while we read. Because if I wrote this, it means I survived and I'm not giant kitty food or lying at the bottom of a ravine.

On Top of The World by Imagine Dragons


Now that it's playing, on with the show.

Saturday: EPIC PI DAY (March 14, 2015) Sadly, I didn't eat any pie.
Super duper ultra thanks to my new friend and fellow My Peak Challenge member, Double L for inviting me to join her on the De Anza Trail on Saturday. I was a bit nervous to say yes. But I'm always a bit nervous when I meet people for the first time. You are awesome. I had a nice time. Next time we should have lunch after in town. I don't know about you, but my tummy was rumbling by the time I got home.

We did a total of 6 miles. We made it to mile marker 3, which is the farthest Double L has ever gone on the trail. So yay! And just in case you don't want your picture on my blog, here are some highlights without your face front and center.



Sunday: Et tu Brute (March 15, 2015)

While the guy who started the #MyPeakChallenge was running the LA Marathon, I was sleeping. I didn't want to get up. I knew there would be no heroic shots at the top of Mt. Willson today. Because I knew I wasn't going to be able to do the hike I wanted. Ms. Certifiable went certifiable and couldn't make it. I was angry. I've been running my ass off for 2 months (literally, my ass has fallen off like 3 times) to get ready for this big day. I was ready. It will have to wait. I decided I couldn't stay mad at Ms. Certifiable, there's no point. Shit happens and you get over it and move on. We will conquer Henry Coe another day. So I decided to make the best of it. Because I went with Double L yesterday to San Juan Batista, today I can do what I had originally planned to do for that day today instead. And that was this: 7-8ish miles up and back down Mt. Madonna. I started in Sprig day-use. Trails included were merry-go-round, loop trail cut-off, upper miller, blue springs, and sprig.
Lupine!!!!
first redwood grove on the way up
looks like the top... but it isn't. more to climb
made it to the miller ruins
at the top, sitting on miller's front steps
that's twisted!
on the way down
on the way down
I don't think people knew how important it was for me to do this this weekend. I don't think I even know. I just had to do... something. And if I had to go by myself, then I had go by myself. Did I join My Peak Challenge to raise money for leukemia and blood cancer research? Eh, honestly, no. I donated a whopping $5 bucks. I needed motivation to get back out there after my mom died. It worked. I'm running again. I have no idea if I lost weight, honestly, that isn't important to me anymore. I don't know what my weight is. But I'm getting muscle definition, I'm getting healthier. I haven't had a soda in 69 days. I think that's a new record. I hate the taste of fast food now. I'm going to keep it up. I just have to decide what my next peak challenge will be. I'm not done yet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Peak Challenge Music: Week 9

 It's the final week in #MyPeakChallenge. So here is the (sort of) last song selection from the playlist. This is about as "girly" as I get when it comes to this particular playlist.

 In Love Again by Rogue Traders

Who are Rogue Traders? They're Australian. I was told about them way back when I was fangirling hard over Moonlight back in 2007. A fellow fan named mini moon, who happens to be Australian, told me about them when I asked her what music was popular/what she liked where she lived. They are no longer a band. Such is life. One of their songs, Voodoo Child from the Here Come the Drums album was in a Dr. Who episode from the 10th Doctor David Tennant era. The episode (New Season 3, episode 12) where John Simm was The Master who heard a constant drumming in his head. Now if you don't know anything or have never watched Dr. Who, we are no longer friends. I'm kidding. No I'm not.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My Peak Challenge Music: Week 8

This list wouldn't be complete without something from Linkin Park.
So here is the song Robot Boy off their A Thousand Suns album.


It may be a strange choice considering they have many more "rawr" uptempo songs to choose from, but it's because of these lyrics mostly:

You say the weight of the world
Has kept you from letting go
And you think compassion's a flaw
And you'll never let it show
And you're sure you've hurt in a way
That no one will ever know
But someday, the weight of the world
Will give you the strength to go


To My Mom Part V: Music

I was working on making my mom a playlist for her to listen to while she was taking chemo. Once a month, she would have a long chemo session where they would pump in something that would help strengthen her bones. This would usually be an hour to an hour and a half session. So I wanted to make her something that she could listen to while they pumped chemicals into her port.

I never finished it. I only got five songs on it before she passed away. Now don't get offended but I called it "fuck cancer". I wasn't going to label it that when I gave it to her. But it is what it is labeled in my itunes. I was listening to the radio in my car when I heard an old U2 song and I immediately thought, "this would be a perfect song for mom, I need to make her a playlist." Well that one U2 song was the only song on the list for a very long time. I had a hard time finding other songs. What I find as inspiring songs and what I thought my mom would find inspiring songs are two very different things. Somehow I don't thing she would enjoy Rage Against The Machine.

Well, here are the 5 songs I did find:

One Tree Hill by U2

Adiemus by Adiemus

Strawberry Swing by Coldplay

I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz

Strong by London Grammar


On the rare occasions that I was the one driving her to the chemo center, she would listen to one of two cd's that someone had given her. They were religious cd's. (Discovery Singers and Haven Quartet) Many of the songs I remember singing in church. They helped calm her nerves. I knew she was anxious, when she would ask me to turn it up. Sometimes, I'd be in the back jumper seat of the truck while dad was driving her to an appointment that she wanted me to go to as well. I am glad that these cd's gave her comfort. But I had a hard time listening to them. I think at the time, it was because I was angry. Not at her, but at her God. How can she be so faithful and find comfort in a God that allowed this to happen to my mother. How dare he! What did she ever do to deserve this. I didn't understand how through suffering, one finds grace and comfort in God. Well, I still don't, but that wasn't my journey to take. That was mom's.

I suppose this isn't what you thought it would be about when you saw the title. I may do a music part 2 post later about her playing Axel F from Beverly Hills Cop so loud that the cd actually skipped. A CD skipping! That's some decibels.

Well, mom has been gone four months now. I'm still angry. And I still say, Fuck Cancer. Dad finished his "project" tonight. I was reading through it. It was late and shut down the laptop. Got ready for bed, and thought, I need to watch the video we made for the memorial. I had one of the songs we put on it in my head. So I turned it back on, and watched the video. Then I thought, well I can't go to sleep with any of those songs in my head. I need to listen to something else. So then I went into the fuck cancer playlist and thought, I'd just listen to the U2 song. Well, I'm now on the third listen to the 5 song playlist and wrote a post.

This is what happens when you get a song stuck in your head and have to do something about it. Well, me anyway.

Music is very powerful to me. It can bring me out of a funk. It can help me cope with depression. It can motivate me to run farther. Go faster. It can calm my nerves. It can make me angry. It can make me cry. It can make me laugh, smile. Sharing songs here on the blog that have helped me through something or inspired me is important to me. Sharing the music is very much like sharing the words and thoughts that come spilling out of my head here on the blog. It's therapeutic. And somehow, I hope that by doing so also helps whomever reads these. It's why I've been sharing songs off my running playlist these past few months during #MyPeakChallenge.

I've known for a long time now... maybe since my late teens that mom and I were both very sensitive to music and how it affects us emotionally, psychologically, and physically. She needed to sing. She needed to be involved in it. Immerse herself in it. It's why she joined the South Bay Singers. Seeing her up there on that stage and hearing them sing was amazing. It brought me to tears. It was emotional. It was physical. It was beautiful. They were so passionate and powerful. She was in it. She was part of it. I can't really describe it. It was like I was witnessing something normally intangible.

Music just does that.


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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Picture(s) Number 8

The Not So Random Photo Project:  In honor of poppy season and cherry blossoms.


Even in a most desolate harsh environment, you can find peace and beauty. You just have to look. (And have a camera with a macro setting.)

Taken in the spring of 2008-ish, while on the job in the Upper Mojave, near Lancaster, CA.








Thursday, February 26, 2015

My Peak Challenge: Music Week 7

Week 7 belongs to The XX. How is that a band name? And how do you say it? Is is "ex ex" or "ten ten" or "twenty"? Who cares, this is a cool song.

Intro by XX




I think I found this when I was going through my "OMG Twilight" phase. Lord, am I glad that is over. I have the entire album, but don't really like when they actually sing, so the Intro is all I listen to. Perhaps it's time to give it another listen.