Monday, August 30, 2010

My Kid is Bad at Sports and Other Lies

Honestly, the things people will do to win stuff! There I was, minding my own business, enjoying the music of Green River Ordinance (the warm-up band for the warm-up band for the Goo Goo Dolls) at the Greek Theatre last night, when one of the band members said something about "we're giving away this guitar" and "send us a tweet and you could win."  So I figured, there's not that many people here yet, how many could possibly be tweeting?  Turned on my phone, looked up @GRO on twitter and found mucho tweets on the page, all saying something lame like "guitar, please" or "will bake brownies for guitar" or "entry for Greek contest" yada yada -- you get the idea.  In between songs, one band member mentioned that they'd been together for 10 years and started playing in high school.   Then he said something about all of them being bad at sports so their parents bought them guitars.  So, I promptly tweeted to @GRO "You guys rock! My kid is bad at sports & needs a guitar!"

Switchfoot was up next, and as they rocked the Greek Theatre, I periodically looked at my phone to see if a response had come in.  Nothing. Huh. Guess I wasn't more clever than all these people after all.  Intermission, then the Goo Goo Dolls are on - the reason we are here in the first place.   Nikki and I conspired to buy the tickets for her daddy's Father's Day gift, then she managed to land a job this summer serving at weddings for the same caterer that services the Greek, so she got us on a VIP list for the hospitality suite.  The Goo Goo Dolls did a great show - and thankfully performed "Better Days" ...which they somehow forgot to do two years ago when they were here...

Meanwhile, no incoming tweets for @tamiromani saying she had won a guitar for her bad-at-sports kid! The next time I checked, my battery had died a final death for the night and the phone had completely given up the ghost.  At 10:30 we were heading for the car and on our way home shortly after that.

Thinking I should probably charge the phone before heading upstairs to bed, I plugged it in and let it power up.  Little noises, little twitter icons - what's this?

"@GRO > @tamiromani:  you win! Come to merch after the goos"

Whaaaaaaaat?

So I start replying things like "phone died..... missed your tweet....any way to redeem?"

Those of you who know me well, are probably guessing (correctly) that if I don't hear back in the next two minutes I am getting in the car and driving 23 miles one way back to the Greek Theatre to get my guitar!

So, I grabbed one of my bad-at-sports kids, hopped in his Scion, and hightailed it back up the 210 to the 134 to the 5 to Los Feliz Blvd. to the right-turn-at-the-big-fountain (hey, I'm a landmark girl, not a street names girl) until I was stopped by the LAPD officer saddled with the job of keeping people out of Griffith Park after its 10pm closing time.

"But officer, I won a guitar by tweeting the band during the concert and I just want to see if they are still there and I can get it and....." With a roll of his eyes (I guess he decided that I wasn't heading up the hill to vandalize the observatory) he let me through.  Now, I'm a woman on a mission.

Can I just say that those Roadies are super-efficient?  Concert over at 10:30, we arrive at 11:54 and the buses are idling and ready to pull out, the last of the equipment is being loaded in the semi-trucks and they are almost ready to ROLL!  Of course, I go to the gate anyway, and the Security Gal (I use the term very loosely, as she was sitting on a bench, winding hair strands around her finger to stay awake), suggested I go in the office to find out about the guitar.  Which, of course, I did.

The 6 people or so getting ready to leave the office at midnight after a VERY long day and trying to decide where to eat on the way home, listened to my story and stared blankly at me.  "Well, I hope you didn't come too far..." When I told them my city, faces blank, they said "where?"  It's clear to me that most people who live in L.A. do not EVER travel east of Pasadena.  If they can help it.  Ditto for me going west of Pasadena, but at least I know what order the cities fly by me on the freeway.  Anyway, the lady with the biggest desk offered to go backstage to "merch" to see if they left the guitar for me.  They didn't.  So, she then offered to contact them next week to see what could be done about getting it to me.  Over and above the call, I say.

I'll let you know what happens....

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The REAL Bridge to Nowhere is not in Alaska!


As it turns out, some days I am able to pull off this morning person thing, especially if I have partners in crime.  Leaving the house at 4:45 a.m. to be at the trailhead by 6:00, 8 of us (including 5 and 7 year old kids plus one labrador retriever) embarked on a 10 mile hike to the Bridge to Nowhere.  This being August, it was a good idea to leave at that time.  It was already in the high 70's by 6 a.m., so you know where it goes from there! Our only salvation from the heat was knowing we would be crossing the San Gabriel river at least 8 times each way (maybe more, it was just too much trouble to count.)  At the first crossing, we attempted to keep our feet dry:

By 11:00, on our way back, our river crossings looked more like this:


And this:
And this:
 









In between, we were treated to a really great hiking experience.  It was long, that's for sure, but the elevation gain was minimal and so was the cardio factor.  Still, my HR monitor managed to show 2,245 calories burned - even though it took almost 7 hours to do it! One foot in front of the other, that's all it takes.  At least I get credit for working out that day.  Well, in TamiLand, I do :)

Along the way, the typical ruggedness of trails in Azusa Canyon treated us to all kinds of visual specialties.  Yes, it was hot and dry - and the occasional cigarette butt on the trail left by the occasional idiot made my blood boil.  Hellooooo?  Can you say fire season?  (yes, that is a real season here in SoCal).



The trail got dicey just a couple of times:


Apparently, there's gold in them thar hills! We saw more than a few prospectors with pans and sluice boxes:

We startled a big horn sheep and it hurried down a hill, across the trail, into a ravine and up the other side in seconds (sorry for the rear view, but it was scurrying up the hill far away from me by the time I saw it.)


Finally, our destination ~ The Bridge to Nowhere ~

Sorry, Sarah Palin, this Bridge to Nowhere was before your time!

Aptly named, this beautiful span of concrete built in 1936 ends at the side of the mountain, and goes nowhere:


According to Wikipedia, the story goes that the bridge was built in anticipation of a road through the mountains that would connect Azusa to Wrightwood.  The bridge was completed in 1936, but in March of 1938 what had been constructed of the road was washed out in "the great flood," and the project was abandoned.  With no cars ever driven across its span, the concrete looks new.  It's a bit spooky to see a bridge some 70+ years old that looks like they finished it last year.  On weekends Bungee America provides the only professionally run bungee jumping operation in California from the bridge.  Although I'd like to go back & witness the fun, you won't see me taking a flying leap off the Bridge to Nowhere anytime soon.  My midlife crisis just isn't that spectacular.

PB & Banana - yum!


















Just as we arrived and sat down to eat our lunches, the sun peeked over the mountain and warmed things up pretty quickly.  The blue-green pools below us looked so inviting, but we were hard-pressed to make it back to the cars by noon so some of us could go to work, drive to San Diego, etc.

Yeah, it's BRIGHT!
Of course, the kids had no problem with 10 miles...






























This being August and all, the hike out was a bit warm, and the shade we had enjoyed on the way in was like the bridge - NOwhere!  I managed to score a killer headache from the heat -- but in spite of that, I would do this hike again.... any takers?

PS: anyone interested in more info, here's a great review of the hike by a REAL hiker:   Modern Hiker/Bridge to Nowhere

I Don't Do Mornings, Do I?

I really do wish I were a morning person.  I do.  Truth is, I don't do mornings.  I find that late at night is my quiet time to get things done.  The house is still. The air is cool.  I am generally alone with my thoughts.  I can write. Or read. Or pray. Or whatever.

And yet, I really do wish I were a morning person.  Especially on those mornings, like today, when I actually get myself up and out of the house for a walk before 8 a.m.  (Yes, I know all you true morning afficianados are laughing your heads off right now... hey, it's a start!  The 6 a.m. walk just isn't in my vocabulary yet.) I admire those people who can get up before dawn and utilize that quiet time for study and prayer, writing, and exercising.  Perhaps some day that will be me.  On days when I actually pull off accomplishing something of substance before 9:00 a.m. I am so happy!  Like today.  Truth be told, my motivation for climbing out of bed on a Saturday morning was to quietly stand back and make sure my son made it to work by 8.  Turns out, I didn't need to do that - he was right on schedule with getting up and out the door.  But I'm awake now, sooooo. 

Walk the dog.. that's it!  I took Woody for his mile (at 12, that's about all he can do), and he was ecstatic!  I enjoyed the coolness of the morning, the way the flowers turn their heads towards the sun, the lady with the hyper dog who spends her walk avoiding any one with another dog, noticing how many people have silly lawn ornaments (that's another post in itself, I think), and listening to worship tunes on my iPod.  Spectacular!  After Woody's mile, I dropped him off and continued on my way for 2 more.  Yes, I think I would like to be a true morning person someday!