not wasted

Nothing brings me more pleasure that the the sweet, unaffected laughter of any of my circus clowns. It’s so bright and so pure. Something so perfect I sometimes want to catch and keep forever with me; which is why I am always so very happy when I capture a moment like this.

In spite of the heat and the dry, dusty wind that has caused my allergies to flare up in such a way that is nothing but miserable, it still was a wonderful weekend because through swollen, red, itchy, tear-filled eyes I enjoyed the laughter shared with my family and their friends.

As for today, I have Benadryl and Motrin and so much laughter in the images that I collected.

I’m good.

A day without laughter is a day wasted. ~ Charlie Chaplin

too tall and other squad adventures

The perfect time to get away from the dusty triple digit temps that is the Central Valley is right now.

And in Santa Clara at California’s Great America, today was practically sweater weather. Kidding. But it was literally 20 degrees cooler than Manteca. So sorry work for not taking that call to come in and work extra.

This guy was literally counting down the days until we could play at California’s Great America.

So was Abby

And Abby’s BFF, Maci.

It was a great day enjoying all the food, all the drinks and all the rides in the park, courtesy of Bill’s company. Bonus, Daniel was more than tall enough to ride any ride of his choosing.

Well, almost any ride of his choosing.

One disappointment in a day filled with adventure for this squad?

We’ll take it!

aca-family time

When your family circus is mostly grown and mostly out from under The Big Top and have lives, you sometimes need to plan family outings in advance.

Literally.

Don’t judge.

Pitch Perfect is on the list of movies the whole family enjoys watching together so much they will literally drop everything to watch together; a list that includes Mean Girls, Bring It On, Easy A.

Yes, chick flicks.

Again, don’t judge.

Yes, Bill’s favorite movies too. So seven months ago we made plans because a birthday celebration, a wedding anniversary celebration and, even better, the darling husband return to good health after a deadly heart attack.

The Pitch is back!

Aca-awesome!

Wait!

Where’s Abby?

Bay to Breakers because when most of your circus act is grown and mostly out from under The Big Top and have lives, their lives sometimes still get in the way of family plans made months in advance.

Whatever, Abby!

We still have Mean Girls.

play it again: that’s what friends are for

originally published May 8, 2012 and because right now, my girl, Tracey is rocking her final marathon. If you’re reading this go tweet encouragement and congratulations right now to her because I said so and because she is seriously kick-asstastic and family.

You gotta love social media. Yes, I know some days you can’t help but hate it…the drama, the “vague-booking”, the time suck. But some days you just have to love social media. The last couple of days I have loved it.

My friend, Tracey, was running her very first marathon back home in Pittsburgh. She trained well for it and, thanks to Facebook, I was able to follow her in her training all along the way. I was so excited for her…her very first marathon!!! I was also a little nervous for her too…a worrisome foot injury late in her training schedule and the typical race-eve freak out…I couldn’t help but be worried a little…it’s what I do. More than anything, I wanted to be there…to cheer for her at the start, along the route and at the finish…because I know how much fun it can be…but more importantly, because Tracey is my friend and I wanted to be there just as I have felt like I have been throughout her training that she has shared. I set my alarm to remind me while at work early, early Sunday morning, west coast time, to send out a shout out wishing her luck and I began to follow her posted split times as well as #PittsburghMarathon live tweet updates.

Okay, fine. It wasn’t like I was there but then again it was…kind of sort of.

It was then on my Instagram feed I saw my friend Kim had posted an amazing shot of one of the elite runners running past her. It was a great capture indeed…air under the guy’s feet as if he was running through the air rather than on the pavement…you know, like us

mere mortals who try to run. I KNOW that it had to be exciting as I once got to see running greatness run past me…in the opposite direction…while running in the San Jose Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Excited I messaged Kim and told her how Tracey was running in the same event and just might be running by her soon…okay, later…still Tracey was headed her way! Kim messaged me back asking, “How can I spot her? I’m at mile 16. Would love to cheer her on.” Kim and I send back and forth messages with me trying to describe Tracey and then I send her a screen shot of Tracey with her running bib. An hour later I receive another message, “We just saw Tracey! I think we gave her a nice boost at mile 16!“, followed by, “Wish I could have lined up a few more folks to cheer for her.

Oh yeah, Kim is good people. She even came to my aid during BlogHer 11 with a dose of Tylenol…yes, it was part of her calling card but it helped me out and how can one ever forget that…oh, and I enjoyed sitting with her and sharing during a session or two. Even better, thanks to social media, I get to enjoy Kim’s company a lot and get to remind myself of the wonderful things that I miss about back home in Pittsburgh and that which makes Pittsburgh Someplace Special. Some pretty good people live there…like Tracey…like Kim.

It was after the race that I saw a posting on her Facebook wall from Tracey:

I’m home, icing every part of my body, reflecting on the day. A marathon isn’t fun or easy but parts of it did rock…My teammates, friends, fellow athletes! Laura Scarborough Setting up a surprise cheering section from 3000 miles away! The band at mile 9.29 playing Take the Skin Heads Bowling! Getting hosed down by a hot fireman in E Liberty! Knowing my Dad was with me every step of the way! My coaches Phil Thompson & Drew McCabe crossing the finish line with me! Best running partner Kathie O’Donnell finishing the last mile together!

Reading that made me cry…cry happy tears because although we can’t be face to face every day and we can’t just hop in a car and drive on over to be there for one another, I have some pretty amazing friends out there and thanks to the interwebs and a whole lot of social media I know that we can and are there for each other to support and encourage each other…to cry together…to pray together…to laugh together…tell me how and where to bury a body, you know, if I had to…to just be there for each other. It’s a small circle still it is a circle that has expanded my world in a way that I could never imagine…even when I am feeling alone here in Manteca. I have some pretty awesome friends…friends like Tracey, like Ann, like Kim, like Kari, like Kale, like Jenn, like Bill…I am so lucky…even if you all aren’t physically just around the corner.

Love you Tracey! Love you Kim! I hope that someday I can hook you two up…perhaps while taking in a game at PNC Park.

And one more time, congratulations Tracey!!! I am thrilled and honored to have cheered you on this weekend. You. Are. Awesome.

final marathon

When accomplishing something pretty amazing, most everyone can name at least one person who inspired them. When it comes to running and who inspires me two people immediately come to mind. There’s Kari, whom I hold personally responsible for the fact that I do run no matter how slow I go; and there is Tracey, a high school classmate and dear friend who remains my touchstone and connection to my “back home“…and because she pretty much adopted me into the Baker clan, my sister. Tracey can and will run in almost any crazy condition and considering the winter that was this past winter, I know she did while training for this year’s Pittsburgh Marathon. It’s kind of hard to whine about your running conditions in the Central Valley California when your friend is talking about ice and snow and freezing rain and freaking wind chill factors when sharing her running updates on Facebook.

Then there is the fact that she looks so damn good while running and looking like she is having a great time.

Apologies, Tracey, for snagging this picture from your Facebook wall. I couldn’t help myself because, yes, you look so damn good and like you are having fun. I would be the runner soaked in sweat with sweat drying so I look like a salt lick…a salt lick with a beet red face which would likely scare you and any spectators. I blame the ginger gene for the red face.

But look at her!

I’m inspired to run right now; except for the fact that it is nearing midnight and the Big Top is slumbering.

I received a text from Tracey early Friday morning that made me smile and cry sad and happy tears. This Sunday in Pittsburgh will be Tracey’s last marathon.

No, not her last run.

Thank goodness!

But, for so many reasons, it will be her last 26.2 mile race. And I was sad. Then she told me how she has read and re-read this particular blog post…and then the tears were happy tears filled with so much love.  I’ll be at work, again, but I am looking forward to following my dear friend and running crush via text alerts as she rocks this marathon in the ‘burgh. If I had the power and influence, I would make sure that all the hot firemen were all along the route cheering her on. I don’t have that influence and power…alas.

But I will be cheering my dear friend on 3,000 miles away in spirit, in my heart and via text messages because that’s what friends are for.

You’ve got this girlfriend!