Friday, December 5, 2014

Season's Greetings

We returned this year to the Historic Downtown Sonora Christmas Parade, which is held annually the night after Thanksgiving. This photo was taken at the start of the route near the Red Church. Amber made wreaths with lights for around the llamas necks, and Ediza was a pro walking her llama the whole way. Speaking of pros, thanks to Maggie Beck for the festive photo!

Earlier that week, we spent my birthday exploring Moaning Cavern (which we hadn't done before) and sampling beer at Prospectors Brewing Company (which we have done before). Also that day, my latest L.A. Times travel piece ran: Visiting San Francisco? Say yes to NoPa

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and an incredible New Year ahead!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Fall photos

Here's some of what we've been up to the past month...

A dozen of Ediza's friends slept over for her 8th birthday party. It was an "under the sea" theme with lots of activities, including pin-the-tail-on-the-mermaid. In this pic, they are hitting a pinata (shaped like a whale, of course) in the backyard.

After a tea party breakfast and everyone left, we headed up to Bell Meadow that afternoon to check out the golden aspen grove.

The following weekend we took two llamas up to Camp Tuolumne Trails in Groveland to visit with some special needs campers. Here, Golden is checking out the view. In the background is a new lookout where you can see damage from last year's massive Rim Fire.

The mermaid theme continued for Halloween. Amber's sister made Ediza's costume complete with real sea shells.

We went to a variety of Halloween-themed events, including the festival at Sierra Waldorf School, trick-or-treating at Rocky Hill (which I wrote about) and "Dia de los Muertos" in Murphys. Amber also went to a midnight showing of the "Rocky Horror Picture Show," where she won a costume contest (no pics of that one). My coworker voted for her and didn't even know it was her....that's how good the costume was!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer's last hurrah

My parents came to visit earlier this month and we went everywhere from the mountains of Mammoth Lakes to the skyscrapers of San Francisco. Speaking of Mammoth, here's a link to my new L.A. Times travel piece about our trip there last month — Weekend Escape: Off the trail and into a soft bed in Mammoth Lakes

During their visit, we also checked out the wineries of Murphys, the latest play at the Fallon House Theatre in Columbia and an outdoor movie at the Pinecrest Amphitheater. 

Here are some pics from San Francisco, where we stayed with Airbnb again:

A selfie in front of the "Painted Ladies."
A playground that rivaled those in New Zealand. 
Blondes on the beach. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Hiking to Lake Ediza

We just returned from our annual trek to Ediza's namesake, Lake Ediza. While it was our 8th summer in a row making the hike, it was our first without the llamas (although Ediza did bring Peak, her stuffed toy llama).

Our journey started with a trip over Tioga Pass and a visit to our favorite park at Mono Lake followed by camping at the hot springs near Mammoth Lakes.

The next morning we started our hike, and this photo was taken at the bridge before the climb up to Shadow Lake. (Pepper, the dog Ediza is hugging, belongs to the person taking the picture).

This is what you call backpacker chic

Once we arrived at the lake — in the Ansel Adams Wilderness of the Inyo National Forest — the weather was very dramatic with heavy winds and large, cold raindrops. Ediza took it all in.

The next morning the sun was out and we were off exploring early.

Later we had to spend some quality time in the tent as we were being swarmed by pesky mosquitoes.

We then played in the rushing snowmelt water.

After two nights at Lake Ediza, we started the journey back.

At our new campsite, Ediza — playing the role of a marmot-chipmunk who would only answer to the name "Chubs" — made her home in a downed tree. Amber later joined her.

The next morning we went from eating oatmeal to arriving back in Mammoth, where we indulged in a hotel stay and eating out (including Amber's new favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor called "Chocolate Therapy").

After mastering the real thing, Ediza went up this climbing wall at the ski area.

Before leaving town, we went thrift shopping and caught Mammoth's fun and interactive 4th of July parade.

We also stopped by the Independence Day festivities in Bridgeport before making our way over Sonora Pass, where we helped a motorcyclist who had crashed near the top.

Another adventure complete, we are already looking forward to next year's return. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Table Mountain

This pic was taken a few weeks ago on top of Table Mountain with New Melones Reservoir in the background (you can see the low water level due to the drought). This was actually taken during a picnic/hike field trip with Ediza's class. It also happened to be our wedding anniversary. Thanks to Cecil for capturing the moment. 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Well, this could be the longest I've went between posts. Thought I'd share some pics I took recently at our first-ever yard sale (the eagle balanced on Ediza's fingertip went for 50 cents....or as she would say, "two quarters please"). As it turns out, Ediza is quite the little saleswoman. I like the last photo of the "dressing room," with the mirror reflecting the endless sky. 

Monday, January 20, 2014


 We spent the weekend in Santa Monica and saw the amazing Cirque Du Soleil show "Totem," which recently opened next to the Santa Monica Pier.

My friend (who also ran the Inca Trail Marathon last year) is the show's manager and gave us a tour a few hours before Saturday night's performance. We got to see some of the artists warm up for their superhuman routines. We even got to meet some of the performers as we caught a glimpse into their world.

 The show itself is incredibly creative and entertaining. Highlights for me were the unicycle girls and roller skating Native Americans.

Speaking of roller skating, Ediza hit the beach on her wheels and left us in her dust (in the background, you can see Cirque Du Soleil big-top tent and the pier).

 Ediza just kept going — all the way up a ramp and over the highway headed back. The day before it was so warm that she actually went swimming — in January!

Amber took a break from skating, but she has her roller derby season opener this weekend.
 We used Airbnb again and stayed at a nice apartment within walking distance to the beach and an even  shorter distance to an awesome juice bar.

On our way out of town, we stopped by the L.A. Times Travel Show at the L.A. Convention Center. As we walked by the Travel Smart Stage, the presentation "Home Away from Home: A Different Way to Stay" caught our attention. Ironically, the discussion featured the managing editor for Airbnb.