Feb 7, 2017

San Onofre Bluffs 5K and 12K

On Saturday, January 7, 2017, Ted and I headed up to the San Onofre camp grounds to participate in the San Onofre Bluffs Trail Race. With all of the rain, the course had some re-routing, some mud, and lots of sand which I didn't care for. It was a fun day, but a tough race for me. I felt really good on the first half of the race and was able to keep up my pace, but during the second half I suffered from an upset stomach that resulted in a bathroom detour (hey, it happens to all runners). The sand didn't help my knee at all either. I ended up with a time of 1:31 and 9th out of 20 age group 50-59.

This was the first time I participated in races by RockIt Racing, a newer trail running company. I was really impressed by the organization of the race, and I would definitely participate in another race in their series.  Most of their races are held in Orange County. This race is the furthest south.

Winter Break Reading

Over the winter break, I was able to spend time doing one of the things I love...waking up super early, like four o'clock in the morning while everyone else is sleeping, getting a hot cup of coffee and reading in the peace and quiet. I read a variety of genres, and I enjoyed them all.

First, I caught up on the latest with Stephanie Plum in Turbo Twenty-Three by Janet Evonovich. The books in this series make you laugh out loud!  Even after reading 23 of them, I still can't wait until the next novel comes out. I love following the characters, especially Stephanie and Lula, who are very different from each other and are comical in their own ways.

Next I read the extremely sad and true story of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon who was diagnosed with lung cancer. His writing is excellent, and he really was able to make me think about what is really important in life. I really appreciate books like this that make you stop and be happy with your life because it is so short and everything could change in one day.

Next up on the list is A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, a book that was chosen by our book club. I enjoyed this book because it was about a normal everyday, dysfunctional family, a family that just about everyone could relate to. There is comedy and sadness in the Whitshank family.

Pumpkin Flowers is the extremely sad and true story of Israeli soldiers fighting in an unwinnable conflict. It made me so sad to read about these young men who gave their lives in a place that doesn't even exist any longer while ordinary people like us just go on about our daily lives without thinking twice about men and women fighting for freedom. Books like this make me think twice before complaining about insignificant things and make me thankful, even guilty, for what I have.

Next, I read two more books in the Maggie Hope series. No one would ever guess that Maggie Hope is a Top Secret Spy for Great Britain.  She has close ties to Winston Churchill.  This series is not only fun and easy to read, but also contains some historical fiction. There are six books so far in this new series.  I'm now waiting on the arrival of Book 6, The Queen's Accomplice.

Lastly, you can't go wrong with a John Grisham novel. I've read so many but still have many more to read. If you're looking for a book that has many twists and turns, this is a good one. I started reading this book with preconceived notions about what was going to happen, but it didn't turn out anything like it!

It always feels good to me to immerse myself in a novel and forget about the rest of the world for a while! I also enjoy reading some nonfiction to make me realize how good my life has been.

Jan 5, 2017

Loving Frank

Loving Frank by Nancy Horan is a historical fiction about the true love affair that Frank Lloyd Wright had with Mamah (pronounced May-Ma) Borthwich Cheney. The book started off very slow, and then it got very interesting to read. This is the first book that I ever read in which I despised the characters! Mamah and Frank seemed to me to be very selfish and spoiled. Mamah left her two children to have an affair with Frank who also practically abandoned his family as well. Mamah came to a tragic end when she was murdered by the gardener who then set the house on fire. Frank later went on to have another two or so marriages and is well know for his organic architecture while Mamah is long forgotten.

Jan 2, 2017

Hiking Together

I have created a hiking album for Ted and I that has all of the hikes we have done together, and I will continue to add to it after every hike we do. Here is the link to the album: HIKING TOGETHER.

Precious and Grace

I really enjoy the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. I was perusing books in the library one day and I came across this series. What sparked my attention was a photo of the author on the back of the book because he was wearing a kilt, so of course I had to give this series a try, and I loved it! 

The author of this series is from Scotland, but he had lived in Botswana in Africa as well, which is where this series takes place. Mma Ramotswe (Precious) runs a detective agency along with her assistant Grace Makutsi. The detective agency is located right next to Mma Ramotswe's husband, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni's auto mechanic shop. Each novel has a mystery that is solved with the theme of doing right and good along with light comedy along the way.

Each book in this series is a short afternoon or two read that makes you smile. Precious and Grace is the latest installment in the series that just came out at the end of 2016. I recommend starting at the first book, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and reading them in order to learn more about the characters.

A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove was written by a Swedish author, Fredrik Backman. As I was watching the news the other night, I noticed that it was ranked as number 5 in the list of top books of 2016. I really enjoyed this book and I read it fairly quickly because it was hard to put down and it was comical. 

The main character, Ove, is a recent widower who is a cranky old man. All he wants to do is end his life to be with his wife Sonia, but he is unsuccessful. He ends up finding a new purpose for his life with others and shows that he is a genuine soft-hearted giver.

This book reminds me of the movie Grumpy Old Men. This book was made into a movie with Swedish sub-titles. It only played in a few select theaters, and I never got a chance to see it.

Jan 1, 2017

My Favorite Black & White Photos

Now that my Photography 100 class is over, I'd like to share some of my favorite photos I developed. I really really enjoyed this class, and I can't wait to take the next one through UCSD to enhance my skills and learn more.

This photo was part of my very first assignment of taking pictures of things near and dear. I used a different vantage point to photography my bike.

This photo was taken on the railroad tracks at the San Marcos Civic Center as part of a vantage point assignment.

This picture was also part of a vantage point assignment. Ted had this great idea of me standing on a ladder and taking his picture playing the bagpipes.

This photo was taken at the botanical gardens in Boise, Idaho, using a red filter. This was taken as part of my filter assignment.

Just took this photo for fun.  Getting ready to land in Las Vegas.

Tony warming up before a game.

The Oceanside Pier for a night photography assignment.

This was taken on the Palomar campus as part of night photography. A group of us practiced taking a long exposure of someone walking down the stairs.

I'll continue this post on another day and share more of my favorite black and white photos.