Photo Hunt:: Looking Down

Last year the kids visited Paris for the first time. They got a real kick going all the way up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was my first time to the top as well; when I visited as a teenager, my sister and I could only afford to take the elevator to the 2nd floor. It was an amazing experience to be able to look down over all of Paris.

I wonder what adventures are in store for us this summer?

This post and photos were inspired by the Photo Hunt theme of the week: Looking Down. Feel free to leave links to your own Photo Hunt entries below.

Better-For-You Egg Salad

I love egg salad, but now that I'm hell-bent on achieving goal #1 on my 40x40 list, I'm trying to be more aware of what I put into my body. So I bought some low-fat mayonnaise to add to my egg salad today.

But as I was taking the ingredients out of the fridge, a tub of hummus caught my eye, and I thought, why not?

Road Trip!

Today Alfie left on his motorcycle for Salt Lake City. He'll be covering roughly 1600 miles (800 miles each way) across three states (California, Nevada, Utah) over the course of five days (three days to get there, two days to get back). He's staying two days in Salt Lake City to watch the FIM Superbike World Championship -- one of the top three motorcycle racing series in the world -- at Miller Motorsports Park. Along the way, he'll be breaking the land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats, tasting baccalao and other Basque food at Winnemucca, and trying his luck (oops, it's not luck, it's skill) at the poker tables in Reno.

Forty before Forty

Judgement Day has come and gone, and we're all still here, so it looks like there's a good chance I'll live to see my fortieth year, exactly one year from today.

Wow, forty. I've been so busy living that my third decade has just flown by! I'm not too happy with some of the things that have happened to me during this period (like my feet growing a whole size, like they weren't huge enough already, or developing a pesky medical condition that has my internal thermostat constantly going haywire), but on the whole it has been a great decade, and I feel lucky to have done so many things. Here are some that I'm proudest of:

Taking Mommy Brain to a New Low

As many of you know, I'm terribly absentminded. I've left milk on the top of our van, put cereal in the fridge, dumped checks in the trash and flushed car keys down the toilet. But my mommy brain may have reached a new low last week, when I left my father-in-law out in the streets of San Francisco.

100 Bottles of Beer, 100 Naked Men and other strange sights at Bay to Breakers

Bay to Breakers is as much a part of San Francisco as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Gay Pride Parade and Ghirardelli chocolates. This is my 6th (or is it 7th?) time to run it, and I was so happy I was able to participate in the 100th race. Despite all the health hiccups I encountered in preparing for it, I knew I'd manage to finish it somehow ( thanks to 3Po's amazing fortune-telling abilities) and I'm pretty happy with my finish time (I haven't checked my official time yet, but with my ultra-precise method of checking my phone at the start and finish lines, I clocked myself at about 1:21). Update: my official finish time was 1:21:31.

But Bay to Breakers isn't about about lap times or finish times; heck, it isn't even about the running. It's about the spirit of fun and festivity that surrounds you, and all the zanies you meet along the way.

To celebrate B2B's 100th year, here (in no particular order) are 100 of the wild and wacky characters I encountered while running the 100th Bay to Breakers:

Photo Hunt: Missing

This is our family holiday photo from 2005. My mother loved it, but she always felt sad looking at it because one of our family members was not able to be with us for the holidays and is missing from the photo.

So I Photoshopped that family member in. Can you spot him or her? My mom was delighted with the the doctored photo and proceded to display it proudly along with the more accurate versions of our various family holiday photos. Hey, she loves having the family all together, in virtual reality or IRL.

This post and photos were inspired by the Photo Hunt theme of the week: Missing. Feel free to leave links to your own Photo Hunt entries below.

A Bittersweet Mother's Day

I found out five minutes ago that a friend lost her battle with cancer. She was a single parent with three children, ages 15, 13 and 7. Her youngest was Jammy's classmate. She passed away last night, the day after Mother's Day.

I will always remember her as one of the most cheerful people I've met, always smiling and always ready to greet me with a hug. Health issues aside, she was one of those women you would look at and marvel, I don't know how she does it. Looking back, I'm thinking I know how she did it -- her kids gave her the strength. I think she hung on for as long as she could, for them. Her two older children were so mature and well-behaved, keeping their apartment immaculately tidy and politely thanking us whenever we dropped off a dinner for them. Her youngest always greets me with a smile when I pass her in the hallways, just like her mother. She raised them well.

A month ago I felt the pain of a mother who had lost her child. Today my heart is aching for three children who have lost their mother. I'm so glad they got to spend Mother's Day with her.


My Treasures

I've never been sappy about homemade gifts and cards, but this year's Mother's Day loot reduced me to a watery puddle. The kids really made a huge effort in making their Mother's Day presents, and everything they wrote on their cards rang with sincerity. Even though I know I'm not the best mom ever, I'm grateful they think I am (at least some of the time).

For Mother's Day, The Pea wrote me this poem:

Photo Hunt: Digital

I know what you're thinking. What the hell does Anna Kournikova have to do with this week's Photo Hunters theme, digital? This happens to be one of the first photos I (or Alfie, I forget who) ever took with a digital camera. This was in July of 2000, and we saw Anna Kournikova compete in the Stanford Bank of the West Classic (she lost). We had just bought a digital camera and were playing with it like little kids. I remember Alfie (or I, I forget who -- no, actually it was Alfie) accidentally erasing all the photos we had taken during a weekend in Santa Cruz because we (no, he) didn't realize the command was "delete all" instead of "delete". I can't remember anything about the photos that were deleted, only that they were the best photos ever. We've never made that same mistake again.

The photo above is 198 kb; at the time we thought it was monstrously large. I don't think they even make digital cameras that shoot photos less than half a megabyte these days. When I look back to those days of film cameras, of developing your photos (and throwing half of them away), of keeping track of the negatives, I'm so glad we have digital film technology today!

Here's a collage of me posing with my current point-and-shoot camera, a Sony Cybershot.

This post and photos were inspired by the Photo Hunt theme of the week: Digital. Feel free to leave links to your own Photo Hunt entries below.

Things I didn't know about the Disney Cruise Line

When I received an invitation to tour the Disney Wonder cruise ship as it docked in San Francisco en route to Vancouver, I was beyond excited. I've always wanted to go on a cruise, but have never gotten the nerve to test my well-documented susceptibility to seasickness and actually book a trip.

The importance of outdoor play

When my twins were little we used to joke about how they needed to be "let out" to run around and get their wiggles out, every single day, rain or shine, as if they were puppies. The day was just not complete until they had a chance to get outside and play. We don't live near a park, so on cold days I was only too happy to open the door and let the boys run out into our gated back yard. I'll never forget the time we realized that a simple latch was no longer enough to keep them in -- at age two, 3Po and Jammy figured out how to ram their Little Tykes car into the gate hard enough to loosen the latch. I only found out about their new little trick when I poked my head out the door and saw them racing down the driveway into the street!

Now that they're older, their need for outdoor play is as strong as ever; if anything, it has intensified.

Click here to keep reading about why I think outdoor play is so important, and to read about Sprite's ongoing effort, Spark Parks, to refresh parks, playgrounds and active spaces across the nation. You can also enter for a chance to win a $100 Shutterfly gift card!

My 1000th post

Oh my gosh! I was about to write a second post about last week's tour of the Disney Wonder when I glanced at my Blogger dashboard and noticed the post count: 999. So this is my 1000th post on Finding Bonggamom! Naturally, I quickly scrapped my Disney Wonder post (don't worry, I'll get back to it) in favor of something more commemorative....

Open giveaways on Bonggamom Finds

Bonggamom Finds

It has been a while since I've plugged my Bonggamom Finds giveaways on this blog, so I wanted to give a shout out and remind everyone that I've got some great prizes up for grabs!

* Post-It Notes, ends May 6
* Mothers Day prize pack, ends May 8
* $10 Target gift card, ends May 12
* Folgers Black Silk prize pack, ends May 15
* Save 2nd Base t-shirts, ends May 18

W.C.s on the High Seas -- Restroom Signs aboard the Disney Wonder

Last week I was invited on a press tour of the Disney Wonder, the Disney cruise ship that's now on the West Coast, sailing on Alaska cruises through September 2011, then sailing south to do Mexican Riviera cruises until December. There was so much to see during our 3-hour tour and I enjoyed it so much, I have to split it up into three or four posts; for now, I'll start with one of the first things I look for during any Disney experience: the restrooms.