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The New Pull-Up Bar!

25 Jan

I’ve been meaning to get a pull-up bar pretty much ever since we bought this place. But I don’t really like the look of door pull-up bars and James was worried they wouldn’t be sturdy enough for him, so our options were pretty limited.

Until I came across the ceiling mounted bar from Gronk Fitness. It’s about as nice-looking as you can expect a piece of exercise equipment to look and it’s mounted into the wood so it’s super sturdy. This is the view sitting in bed and looking up:
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Because we were so sporadic about going to the gym my pull-ups suffered a lot.I’m back down to single pull-ups but as long as I can do one extra pull-up a day I’m slowly improving.

I’m currently up to eight single pull-ups and hopefully next week I’ll be able to get a set of two in and work up from there. Is a set of eight an unrealistic goal for the end of the year? I guess we’ll see!

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Christmas at Mammoth and June

10 Jan

We finally made it to Mammoth for Christmas! Last year our flight kept getting cancelled but this year we managed to get ahead of the storm (we also got upgraded! Yay!)

I always love de-planing at Mammoth. The mountains are so pretty and the air is so cold and crisp. =)
IMG_20161219_162507On James’ birthday his aunt and uncle took us out for a fancy meal which was super nice of them. We had a couple of sunny, not-too-busy days to get our snow legs back before the storm. Plus lots more eating and drinking!

On the day of the storm it was cold, wet, and the visibility was pretty bad.
IMG_20161223_120034Storm days are always my favourite because the snow keeps getting refreshed and hardly anyone is on the mountain, and everyone who is there is so happy! It was definitely the best day of the trip. =)

The weather was pretty cold this time – I wore five layers most days. My gloves are pretty ratty now, so for the next trip I bought a bright pair of mittens so I’m nice and easy to find.
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All the days leading up to Christmas were pretty decent crowd-wise – last year the Christmas to New Year period was awful, so we were pleasantly surprised.

This is James looking majestic on Christmas Day.
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The highlight of the day had to be meeting up with Woolly and a random Santa!
IMG_1116 (2)It was a great way to spend Christmas morning/afternoon – the snow was nice, the sun was out, and everyone was in a good mood.

But then … disaster! As we were walking back from the resort James got paged. =( He spent the rest of the day (4pm-1:30am) on a work emergency. Here he is, looking very depressed with his festive hat and champagne flute.
IMG_20161225_184938Poor thing. =( We were all eating our delicious Christmas dinner and he was in the corner on a conference call with a plate of food.

The next day Ian, James and I headed to June Mountain to escape the Boxing Day crowds. It was busier than the last time we went but not too bad.

This is the view from the resort – gorgeous!IMG_20161226_141636I can’t remember which run I took this photo on – it was a green run that had beautiful views all the way down which made up for the fact that the snow was fairly crappy.
IMG_20161226_140628Last time Ian and I were at June we took the ski-back trail, but there wasn’t enough snow this time so we had to take the chairlift back to the parking lot.

Going down was a very different experience to going up! I was holding my snowboard and had the bar down because if the chairlift suddenly stopped I didn’t want to go tumbling down the mountain.

The most nervewracking part was when I took my phone out for some photos – the board was wedged between me and the bar, and I had a death grip on my phone … which I couldn’t even feel because my hands were so cold.

No regrets!
IMG_20161226_142151Then our last day we spent at Mammoth again, and that was our Christmas holiday! I snowboarded seven out of the eight days we were there, which isn’t bad.

It was great seeing James’ relatives again, and I’m looking forward to our next trip out!

Accidentally Cycling (Part of) Mount Tam

11 Apr

Yesterday James and I went out cycling with our friends. The weather forecast was promising rain but it just ended up being overcast the whole day which was perfect!

There was a flurry of messages that morning discussing whether to change the route or cancel because of the weather. Brian said the cold was worse than the rain and Will said the cold was fine and he was just going to wear a t-shirt and shorts. Brian told me that he messaged Stephan privately and told him not to listen to Will because he was crazy.

Which was true because Will ended up having to buy a jacket on the way to our meeting spot. (When Stephan saw Will’s augmented outfit he smirked and said “nice jacket” haha)

Incidentally Will bought the jacket at Sports Basement, which is where James tried on this cunning helmet:

The original intent was to cycle to Stinson beach via Muir Woods and the Panoramic Highway but due to my shoddy navigation we ended up climbing Mount Tam instead.

James and Stephan shot way ahead of us. I was a little bit faster than Will on the climb but in all fairness he was pretty shaken because he’d crashed his bike at the start of our ride. Brian also looked like he was having a pretty hard time because he has a super heavy bike so sometimes he’d have to get off and walk.

Part of the way up I double checked the route directions and it turned out we were way off-course. Like we shouldn’t have done any of the uphill segments. We waited for Brian to catch up and I was like “Brian you are going to hate me …”

At that point we had to make a decision whether to keep going up to see where the road  went or whether to backtrack and get on the route we’d originally intended. Stephan wanted to keep going because he thought it would be “pathetic” if we only did part of it. James wanted to go back down and do the original route. Eventually we decided to keep going because we thought we were almost there, and James finally agreed.

So we turned the corner, saw how much mountain there was remaining, and as he started cycling James wailed “I don’t want to go anymore! I changed my mind!”

He and Stephan still got there way before the rest of us and sent us smug photos while they waited.
The road got progressively worse and worse and we eventually realised that all the cyclists we saw were on mountain bikes. We asked some bikers for directions and they showed us a fire road we could take to get down the other side.

James: This photo isn’t at the top but the important thing is that it looks like it is.
This is where we actually ended up stopping. You can see there is a fair bit more to go but the it was all gravel and rocks by then.
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James, Stephan and Brian all really enjoyed the descent but the rocks made Will and I really nervous.

The views were so beautiful! Stephan said (and I agree) that the fog really makes it feel more mountainy. By the time we got back onto Panoramic Highway there were a lot more cyclists and we were all more than ready to start heading back.

We had lunch at Napa Burger, which seems to be our thing now. At the start of the day Will always says that he’s sick of Napa Burger but by the time we get to Sausalito he decides that Napa Burger actually sounds pretty good.

The hill heading out of Sausalito felt so brutal, and by the time we got back to Russian Hill we had to walk all the hills. James wheeled both of our bikes and he was still walking faster than me. =(

I looked it up afterwards and there is a route for road cyclists to go up Mount Tam so maybe we’ll try that someday (definitely not anytime soon though). Plus we still need to knock out that Stinson Beach loop!

A Christmas Coastal Trail Hike

19 Jan

This year for Christmas we were supposed to be at Mammoth with James’ family but our flight and replacement flight both got cancelled so we were stuck in San Francisco. Booooo!

Most of our friends were out of town, but luckily a few were going for a hike on Christmas Day so we were able to piggy back on their plans. We all headed up to Rodeo Beach in Marin.
IMG_20151225_135715It was a gorgeous day. We started along the lagoon (which you can see part of in the photo above) and headed to a dirt trail. It wasn’t steep steep but it was a long, unshaded uphill segment and we were pretty impressed by the cyclists that occasionally passed us.

Then we turned onto Wolf Ridge trail, which had beautiful hill views and was quite steep in parts. At what we think was the summit (or at least the turnaround point of the hike) there was some sort of army base with abandoned buildings and great views of the Pacific Ocean.

I saw this structure and said to James “you want to climb that don’t you?”

Of course he did.
IMG_20151225_130117And a rare behind the scenes glance at how the magic happens …
IMG_20151225_130152The rest of the hike was easy and just descending, though James has a bad knee so descents are actually the difficult part for him. I think it must have joined onto another hike because it suddenly got a lot more populated (though that could have been because it was later in the day – on the drive back to San Francisco we saw that outbound traffic was completely snarled).

The second half of the hike had a lot of stuff to explore.  There was this cool artillery thing.
IMG_20151225_134521And a couple of creepy abandoned buildings that I didn’t go into but James did, taking this photo for posterity.
IMG_20151225_131739 (1)And here I am holding everyone up with my wanderings.
IMG_20151225_133826The hike alternated between views of the headlands and, as we came to the end, the Pacific Ocean.
IMG_20151225_140419We spent some time here just chatting, snacking and watching the surfers.

James has long arms so is always on selfie duty.
IMG_20151225_132537And strong legs and core so also on piggyback duty.
IMG_20151225_132653(Why do my teeth look so … golden?)

Then afterwards we had dinner and played games until 3am. It was a really nice day with friends and it totally saved us from having the most depressing Christmas ever. Like seriously, we didn’t even have any food in the house.

Last year we wouldn’t have been able to do something so last minute for Christmas and I feel really fortunate that we made some really great friends in 2015. I still prefer Seattle as a city but I love, love, love our friends here.

Wipeout Run

24 Aug

Last Saturday James and I made the trek down to Santa Clara for the Wipeout Run with a bunch of James’ colleagues. It’s a non-timed run (most people walked) with a bunch of fun obstacles and a little bit of jogging between them. It was supposed to be 5k but it felt like less.

This was the first obstacle. You had to run across a beam and the the red bars at the top would slowly spin around and knock you off.
IMG_20150822_141329The next obstacle was just a wall to climb over – pretty easy and boring. The next one was called Big Balls, so of course I made James stop running to get a photo. IMG_20150822_143329It was fairly difficult – I saw hardly anyone made it all the way and James was the only one in our group who did (I was close though! I fell off on the third ball).

This is his stretch (or as James would probably call it, his “hero move”) for the final platform. IMG_20150822_144723The next one wasn’t so much an obstacle as a bouncy castle. Here is James psyching himself up to tackle it.IMG_20150822_145536And after that was a huge waterslide! IMG_20150822_150948The water was so refreshing after running in the heat (as long as you didn’t look too closely at how dirty it was). Some of us decided to do the waterslide twice – here are James and Josh on their second time around. IMG_20150822_152204Whee! IMG_20150822_152205Right afterwards was another, non-water slide. I think James ended up going on this one three times because the line was super short.IMG_20150822_152727I don’t know what happened between that photo and this next one. IMG_20150822_152726 I wish I’d taken video because those two photos were one right after the other. There is a Missing Link between them that shall forever remain a mystery.

There was also a slip’n’slide with some really gross foam at the end. I accidentally got some in my mouth and spent the next few minutes spitting it out.

This next obstacle had two spinning balls that would knock people off the beams and into the water. A couple of people in our team – I think Kelly and one other person – made it but the rest of us fell and Sean lost his glasses in the pool. =( IMG_20150822_154450James did better than I did. I made it like … two steps but he got about halfway. IMG_20150822_154932Then there was one more waterslide and we were done.

Yay team Rage Skippers!IMG_20150822_160927Here James and I are at one of the photo stations afterwards. IMG_20150822_161739Afterwards we went to Red Robin for food. We all massively overate (bottomless fries!) and James ordered a giant onion ring tower.IMG_20150822_181709So yeah, that was our Saturday. It was really fun and the lines weren’t nearly as long as we had anticipated.

I don’t know about the others but James and I were wrecked the next day. We were supposed to go jet skiing with Eliot and Michelle but ended up cancelling and just flopping around the house. Also in between the Wipeout Run, Lake Tahoe and the waterpark we went to last weekend, James has a very strange three-tier tan going on (James: patent pending).

Hiking Around Mount Tamalpais and Lunch at Fish.

28 Apr

Last Sunday we went hiking with Daphne, Chris, Lisa and Cagri. It was a beautiful sunny day – perfect hiking weather, which I’m learning seems to be almost every day here.

The drive up was pretty packed, but I think there were enough different trails that no individual trail was particularly busy. This is us at the start of the hike.

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image from Chris

We intended to do the Rock Creek loop but there were a lot of crossroads and the trail wasn’t well-signed (which was weird because it wasn’t a remote area – at some points we were walking next to cars on the road). I think we managed to stay on the trail for most of it, but we made a wrong turn somewhere in there because we finished much faster than we should have.

Never mind, there were so many hikes in the same area that we just started on another one!

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image from Lisa

We had a peek at the Mountain Theater where they were rehearsing what looked like Peter Pan. The construction was super elaborate and you could see the water from the top seats.
IMG_20150426_110436Then we kept randomly walking. It was a pretty easy hike through meadows and then forest. I preferred the forest parts because we weren’t in the sun as much.
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After the hike we drove to Sausalito for lunch at Fish., a super popular cash-only restaurant. We got there around 1:30pm and there was a massive line.
IMG_20150426_132551It took a long time to get to the front, and the line stayed out the patio gate until around 3pm. At least you could buy drinks while you waited, so everyone got beers and I had a nice refreshing water.

James and I ordered fish and chips and some BBQ oysters. At just under $60 for the two of us it was pretty expensive, especially for a cash-only place!

The food was great though, and the portions were generous. I couldn’t finish mine and had to give James one of my fish and a big handful of chips.
IMG_20150426_142314Stuffed, we went home where I napped until it was time for us to go to Eliot and Michelle’s place to watch Game of Thrones and eat brownies.

It was a pretty busy Sunday but it was nice to get out and explore a bit. =)

Jogging to Glen Park and Billy Goat Hill

6 Oct

On the weekend James and I went to a house inspection near the border of Noe Valley and Glen Park. I checked it out on Google Maps and it was a straight line there so I figured why not jog there.

Reasons Why Not

  • It was like 30C
  • So many hills

This photo flattens the hills a lot but you get the general up and down gist of it. This was at about the halfway mark.

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It was almost so hard that it was fun. It definitely would have been fun if it hadn’t been so hot. James was a superstar and ran the whole thing nonstop (he was waiting for me at the end).

The house that we were inspecting was cool – up a flight of stairs and hidden with no street frontage. This area was a little too residential (and the house will likely end up over our budget), but I still love the idea of secret houses.

Afterwards we went to Billy Goat Park, which has killer views over San Francisco. Apparently there’s normally a swing but someone had cut it down and there was just a rope.

This is James retrieving the rope before we realised it was too short for swinging Tarzan-style.

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I think James maaaybe could have managed it (I had to get on my tippy-toes and could only hold on to the very end of the rope) but he’s scared of heights. At least we had plenty of time to enjoy the view!
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I didn’t have it in me to jog home so we just kind of meandered and admired the different houses. We passed two lemonade stands and a bunch of elaborately decorated houses for Halloween. I can see why Noe Valley and Glen Park are popular with families!

Oh yeah, and the promised update about the Dolores Park condo. As predicted we weren’t the highest offer. I don’t know what it ended up selling for because it’s still pending but apparently we were equal 4th out of 6 (and there was a big gap between us and 3rd place).

James and I are inspecting a rental property in Mountain View on Wednesday so we’ll see how that goes.