Tilden Park – Jewel Lake Loop

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Calliope and I went on a short hike in Tilden Regional Park this afternoon. I was up in Tahoe for most of the weekend, so it was nice to get some Dad and daughter time. Plus Mikey really appreciates some time to himself especially when he has been on duty for most of the weekend.

We did a short loop starting at the parking lot for Little Farm. We headed down Lower Packrat Trail. Not more than five minutes in, Calliope suddenly got totally scared; so scared, that she was having trouble telling me when she was scared of. After some calming words from Dad we continued on. As far as I could tell at the time, something in the bushes/branches spooked her. A little while down the trail, we came across a father and son coming up the trail. The dad was very excited to tell us about a bee hive in the trees just around the next bend. We thanked him for the heads up and continue, only to have Calliope freak out again within a few steps. It turned out that she is still a bit freaked out by the bee sting from our last major hike back in the fall. After calming her down again, we finally made it to the bee hive which is way way up in the tree and she was ok looking at it; she even made a bzzzz sound. 🙂 This pattern of getting spooked continued to happen a few more times. In reality, I think she was equating any flying insect (fly, gnat, etc) with a bee. So I began stopping every time I saw a flying insect; we would sneak up on it and looked at it really close and I would explain what it was (emphasizing how it wasn’t a bee). Eventually she got past the freak outs.

We finally make it to Jewel Lake which was very picturesque today; there were a lot of people on the trail but it seems to clear out once we hit the lake. After our snack, we set off to finish off the loop along the Sylvian Trail. This allowed for a bit of elevation climb and a longer loop. We had not taken more than 10 steps away from the lake, when the first of many pee breaks occurred. And of course, we are nowhere near an outhouse. Calliope had been sucking down water (nearly a quarter liter) during the entire first leg of the hike (she loves her backpack with integrated hydration pack). It felt that we had to find a pee spot about every 15-20 minutes on the way back. Dad was a bit over it by the time we got back to the car. I need to figure out some what of distracting her from the water as we are hiking; I was very happy that she was hydrated, but this was a bit much.

We finished up our hike at the Little Farm. Most of the animals were in the barn for the night since we got there a bit late. However, the cows were out and we met a very nice boy who shared his celery with Calliope to feed the cows. We also said hi to the rabbits, the goats and got to pet the sheep.

It was a beautiful day in Tilden, and I love that I got to spend some good quality time with my daughter after being away for a few days.

Total Distance: 2.55 mi
Total Time: 02:32:20
Moving Time: 01:19:22
Average Speed: 1.0 mph
Average Moving Speed: 1.9 mph
Max Speed: 5.8 mph
Min Elevation: 472.44 ft
Max Elevation: 774.28 ft
Elevation Gain: 301.84 ft
Recorded: 3/17/13, 15:16:25 PDT

Word of the day

Discipline. I don’t have a lot of it. Its the reason I have never been able to work out for longer than three weeks at a time with any consistency. Well, that and the fact that gyms make me extremely uncomfortable due to my own vanity. That and the fact that I am petrified some straight guy will see me stealing a glance at their perfectly shaped …. fill in the blank, I’m sure whatever you put in that spot will work just fine. Its not that I stare, but I’m male and like most males, gay or straight, I like to look. And it can be dangerous for little ol me… so I just don’t put myself in that position. Moving on… Michael has loads of discipline. When he puts his mind to it, he can start running on any given day, even if its been a year and half since he last ran. Then he is solid for years at a time. Its why he was able to participate in five (i think maybe six) Aids Rides from SF to LA. Wow, that is truly amazing. And I have no idea where he gets it from. I admire and envy it all in one fell swoop. I wonder if it has anything to do with his parents and how he was raised. Or even better yet, did they decide from the beginning to instill discipline into his core being? How do you do that? I would replicate it if I could. Sure, everyone needs love and support as a child from their parents growing up, but if you can instill discipline, you are doing them a great service. In this world today, its one of the things that will keep you going. And it makes me wonder if private schools with their uniforms and strict ways has this affect on kids. Dear Calliope, please learn discipline from your Dad. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Daddy.

Having said that, I do have my own way about the world which works. I don’t think it works so well as Michael’s discipline, but my hairbrained emotionally charged way of doing things works pretty well for me. I’ve done alright. I can’t complain. I just wished it were a smoother ride sometimes. Michael seems so calm and steady. From over here inside my head, it looks so lovely.

But when I have to and really put my mind to it, I can do just about anything too. What brings this line of thought? A desire to be healthier in my ways, to take care of myself. Exercise, regularly. Eat better. So that I feel better and can better take care of Calliope… and Michael too when necessary 🙂 Yes, sometimes he needs me to take care of him, in whatever way that might be.

This is me embarking on a new journey, a new way of thinking. Its about embracing a deeper love of myself. Realizing I’m not getting any younger. Knowing that only I can change my habits. You could even view it as a sort of new year resolution. This is all a bit heady me thinks. Just wish me luck as I hopefully start working out soon, exercising more and eating better 🙂 Send me some discipline!!!


Many times I have wanted to braid Calliope’s hair. Usually, she doesn’t sit still long enough for this to happen. But the other day I was exuding patience and made my first real attempt at a french braid. I already posted this on facebook, but I wanted to capture it again here. I can’t help feeling so proud. I’ve done a pony tail with a plain braid before, but never have I done a french braid on her or anyone else. I used to braid my little sister’s hair all the time when we were wee little ones, but again, not french braid. Here are a couple of pictures. It stayed in for a couple hours without getting too messy…



Not a baby anymore

Yes, I know Calliope hasn’t been a baby in ages, but it hit me like a ton of bricks about a week ago. Michael was out of town on business and I had a bad movie night and some wine after Calliope went to bed. Just as I was heading to bed and setting up the baby monitor next to the bed, I realized she looked a bit funny in the monitor. She had her butt in the air and was not covered up at all. I had a parental moment of pure love and thought I should go and cover her up so that she was warm. I quietly slipped into her room and upon seeing her, realized there was no way she was comfortable in that position. I thought maybe if I just picked her up quickly and laid her back down, that would be easy and the right thing to do. Unfortunately, she is not a baby anymore and the quick readjustment I had imagined in my head turned into quite the ordeal. No screaming or crying, but I did wake her more than I intended because she was just too big to maneuver so easily. I did succeed, got her laid down on her back and covered up. She was back asleep by the time I was back in my room. But the realization that she is just that much bigger made me sit there for a moment in bed pondering infinity…

Sickiness Sucks

One of the reasons for my silence of late has been the crud. You’d think I would have had more time lying in bed as much as I did over the last couple of weeks to write something, anything, but I just didn’t have it in me.

And one of the reasons being sick is the worst is because of all the fun one misses. One Saturday in particular, Michael took Calliope to Fairyland with Matt, Rachel and Piper. (I know, how could they possibly go to Fairyland without the biggest fairy ever?!) But I am glad they went because Calliope loves herself some Piper. They are soul mates, or as much soul mates as one can be at this age.

When they got back, I checked my photo stream to see what I missed. I gave Michael specific instructions that coming back without photos was not an option 🙂 Here is one of the cutest pictures I have ever seen, two actually…



Still amazed every day

Wow, has it really been that long since I wrote about Calliope, or anything else for that matter?? Time flies. Well, Calliope is my inspiration for getting back to WordPress. She is my inspiration for a great many of my endeavors. In particular, I remember a day about two weeks ago. It was morning, one of the mornings she doesn’t go to school. The plan was to stay inside and home for the day. School has been great for her, but she could do with a little extra rest here and there. I woke her up as usual, argued with her for several minutes about taking off her pj’s in order to get rid of her wet diaper, and then told her to pick out something to wear. Mind you, I have been hesitant to let her choose. What if she doesn’t match?! Oh my laundry, I couldn’t take it. Really, its an issue for me. But I am letting go, or at least practicing letting go. School is pushing me in that direction anyway. I have a lot less control over some major points in her life these days. Like naps, what and how much she eats, and of course appearance. So on my way out of her room, I say (as if it were the most normal thing in the world, and of little importance) “Make sure it matches! If the pants are pink, the shirt should be pink too.” I know that isn’t sufficient, but I figure its a good place to start. We can talk about plaids and stripes and polkadots later in life. Lets start with the basics. Solids. Of course, there are very few solids in her drawer, so here I am setting my own child up for failure. Probably not the first time, and likely not the last. I continue on and start making breakfast, very proud of myself for “letting go” a little.

She comes out ten minutes later dressed and I almost fall over with amazement. Did she match you ask?? More or less. The outfit consisted of gray pants and a shirt that had gray, pink and other colors in it, so it was ok. Not perfect. What was perfect was the smile on her face, the confidence, the pride in which she took having accomplished this feat. I actually didn’t notice what she was wearing (in regards to color) til later because I was so proud that she found the various items she needed, and put them on herself. We had a fabulous breakfast that morning.

I apologize, but I can’t seem to find the picture of said outfit. I’m sure I took one…

First day of school! First day of School!

Yes, today was Calliope’s first day of school. Preschool that is. But still, its a big deal. I’ve been preparing for over a week. I think I may have previously mentioned disaster kits, emergency contact sheets and the incessant labeling of all things that might would go with her on any given day to school. Of course, I was the one running around the house this morning shouting First Day of School! First Day of School! being entirely silly and having way too much fun. Its obviously from Finding Nemo. Its not the first scene of the movie, although I always think of it as the first scene. And many times I have thought it should be the first scene. Somehow, my brain blocks out that first scene where mother and all her eggs are eaten by a (what?) … lets just say its a big fish with a lot of teeth. I wonder if Calliope also skips it in her memory of the movie. Its unlikely.

In any case, I was perfectly not calm this morning. I was just too excited to be ho drum. She loves being around other kids and new experiences and new toys. There was no doubt in my mind that she would eat it up like candy, or in her case, like cheese and tomatoes. Little cherry sized tomatoes. I was a little startled with how excited I was though. I never understood why dropping your kid off for the first day of school was such a big deal and why anyone would ever cry or have their emotions run away with them. I mean, Calliope has no problems staying with other people for the day, or even the weekend. We’ve proven that many times over. Sure, if you and your child have separation anxiety or similar, then its a big deal. But we can’t be the only ones who are outgoing and relaxed about Calliope being out in the world without us. But thats not what gets you as you are saying goodbye to your child. Its the overwhelming sense of loss. Loss of having her at home everyday (or thereabouts) to bug you and make you crazy and hug you and make you all warm inside. Its knowing that she is growing up. I can’t really call her a toddler anymore. I feel like we just graduated from baby like two weeks ago. Where did the toddler years go??? Oh, that’s right, they are only toddlers for a year, or two if you stretch the truth.

I did everything I was supposed to in preparation. We made a huge poster with pictures of all her family and friends and fun things she likes to do, We had a book for book week. We had tuition and a schedule request form for next semester. We had additional clothing for when she makes a mess of herself, rain gear and sunscreen. All labeled. So when we got to school, I felt great about dropping her off and all her stuff. The teachers were non-plussed as this is what you are supposed to do. Its normal. So I tried to talk to the teachers about her naps and her potty training and anything else I could think of… It became very clear that I was just hanging around and they didn’t need all my tidbits of information. She would be fine without me, without us. And I knew this, but I didn’t want to leave. But I did. I told Calliope I was leaving, got a very expedient hug and kiss and left the way from which I came. And I was very surprised to have watery eyes. Who is this person who can’t quite see where they are going? I’ve never had problems separating from her! We’ve always been very relaxed and comfortable about this. It took me all day to sort it out in my head and understand the full range of emotions (and I’m pretty sure I still don’t understand all of it).

Michael picked her up from school. When they got home, it was obvious that she was exhausted and very happy. Delirious even. She had not taken a nap, probably because there were so many kids around and its not what she is used to. She only ate her cheese and tomatoes for lunch despite the fact that I gave her avocado, watermelon, egg and cucumber. All things that she loves. Again, I think she was likely distracted. Not to mention they give out pretty big snacks at 9:30 in the morning and 4pm. She is definitely not used to that. We shall see how that plays out in the future. So she basically ate her leftovers from lunch, which was practically a full meal. And then she was in bed by 7pm and asleep ten minutes thereafter. I haven’t heard a peep since 🙂

We’re off tomorrow, and I’m glad. She needs to recuperate from that first day. I have a picture that Michael took with the big camera that I will post at a later date once it is downloaded from said camera. Now, I’m going to sleep, soundly.