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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Leaving Tahoe

Our sailing friends on Desiderata gave us their luxury cabin for a week while they traveled and all we had to do was play with their cat. Not a bad deal because their cool cabin is about a block from the lake and is surrounded by monster trees. They gave us some good hiking tips and let us use their bikes.

The only downside is at times the temperature is in the low 30's! We've been trying to get used to actually being cold, but the freezing part is asking too much. We did a lot of hiking and a friend from when we used to work at moto came to visit too. One of the hikes we did together had a great panoramic view of Tahoe.

We also hiked through some snow fields, but that alien substance was a bit too cold for our tropical blood.
What is this stuff?

After enjoying "our" vacation home we hung out for a few more days to visit with everyone and we did some more hikes. One of them was up to a nice lake where even Hopper went swimming.
Eagle Lake
Hopper cools down

We also got watch some fun baseball games, went out for dinner and spent a lot of time swapping stories because we haven't seen them for almost two years. While we are still stuck in cruising mode, they have adapted well to modern life again and are having a great time living next to the lake, skiing all winter and hiking the forests in the summer. We even went to the beach together like old times, just no surfing and the water felt refrigerated. Despite their best antics they couldn't sucker us into that ice water.
Come on in! The water's nice!

Now it's time to say goodbye (yet again) and hit the road. We are headed towards a place called Lassen National Park (most of which is still closed due to snow) to see what we can find there.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Trip Through Yosemite

Three days in Yosemite was not nearly enough time. The waterfalls pouring over sheer granite cliffs reminded us of the fjords in Alaska and Northern Canada. There was so much snow that the upper campsites were all closed and Half Dome still didn't have cables installed for climbing.

Because of the limited number of campsites, and the fact that we didn't have reservations, we had to play the daily game of getting on the waitlist at 8am (which meant being in line by 7am)and returning by 3pm for the site assignment. This limited us to about 5 hours of hiking each day, but we always managed to get a site.

The Yosemite Valley is run a bit like Disneyland with lots of crowds and people who don't seem to know how to enjoy the wilderness with their cell phones, mp3 players and all the park services (swimming pool, restaurants, stores, tram rides, etc.) This aside the scenery is fantastic and it is impossible to take a bad photo.

Here's a slide show of our 3 day trip of some of the cool places we hiked/drove.

And a couple of videos:

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Calling Dr. Baicy STAT

My sister Kate has been in school for over two decades. I can't fathom how she did it. Her accomplishment is even more impressive because she completed the college portion all on scholarships. Family members from all over the country as well as from Singapore and Mexico, drove or flew to LA to share in the celebration.

On June 4th, Dr. Kate Baicy, MD PhD graduated from UCLA Med School with a concurrent PhD in Neuroscience. Oh, and we had the additional celebration of her marriage to Michael Tapper, who has been with her since the early days of grad school. They had a simple and private ceremony in Hawaii on May 14th.

For Kate, this is just one break in a long and difficult road. At the end of this week, she will be moving to New York where she will begin the intensive underpaid work as a Resident at NYU, in Obstetrics/Gynecology. She will be working at Bellevue Hospital where she will work a required 80 hours a week for 4 years, in a stressful environment with someone watching and critiquing her every move.

What really brought us to this day was not Kate's graduation but Kate. In her humble and quiet way was hidden a powerful mind and spirit. There were so many ways things could have gone wrong for her, when it was easier to give up, to do something else, to just quit. However she found something she loved and in the process she began to discover herself and her own abilities.

Patients will be lucky to have Dr. Kate Baicy with her string of alphebetic letters behind her name on their side. Lucky not because she has a fancy degree from a highly respected medical school, but because of who she is. She cares, listens and understands, then puts her mind and soul into helping and learning.

She will be working as an OB/GYN in both private and public environments for NYU, the hospital's affiliate university. Bellevue Hospital is the oldest, and one of the largest public hospitals in the country, with a private hospital attached. Kate will see cases from all over the world and learn how to cope with a huge spectrum of problems ranging from language barriers to rare illnesses. Bellevue is also the home of the US's very first maternity ward, so Kate will be at the start of it all.

While I was absent from much of her life, I am so happy we could be here and share this day with her. Enough about!

Kate and her new husband Michael!

An extremely rare collector's item: Kate's Family together! (our dad John, brother Eric, husband Michael, (Kate), her mom Sandy and brother Andrew)

And finally all the siblings together (Eric, Kate, John, Yazmeen, Andrew):

Thursday, June 03, 2010

In LA after AZ and Joshua Tree Park

We spent about a week with our friends Robert and Liz and their family in Phoenix. Where they had the pleasure of helping us after we broke down about a mile from there house! Hopefully the new fuel pump and filter will fix the problem as the old pump was the wrong size and I don't think the fuel filter was ever changed.

Anyway I think we mananged to successfully lower the properity values of most of the neighborhood before we left.

On our way to LA we decided to stop at the Joshua Tree National Park. And we were glad we did. There were very few people there and we felt like the massive park was all ours. We spent the night at Jumbo Rock campground. There were massive boulders around and just us, the animals and our wild kitties. (Can you see the WTM?)

The desert park was in full bloom with lots of flowers and bright colors. I don't know how we got so lucky. There are also several oasises deep in the desert with lots of animals and no one around. If we had more time we probably would have done some of the longer hikes, but we got to see a good portion of the park.