Another year, more roads to discover...
Early in the month, on the 6th of Jan.
Some contemplation on the year that preceded.
A hike in late January, where we heard either Bigfoot or a mountain lion...
Much of the winter months we spent above the clouds.
...Or on wooded trails, weather permitting...
Barring either option, we just went down to our local beach and explored.
With March came a few signs of life...
Especially along the coast of Limantour Beach on a cloudy day...
Mount Burdell was alive with activity...
Red Tail Hawk.
About a week after the Mount Burdell Hike, something wonderful happened in Southern California. We packed our bags and drove the long 7 hour drive to witness the arrival of a new niece, Keira Baker.
Photo taken 03/15/2013: Our wonderful niece, Keira Isabelle Baker
Hey Kian! What's it like having a new little sister?
Hearts of gathered adults: Melted.
While down in Southern California, We also visited with a couple of sassy bitches...
So much sass.
Then we visited a wildlife sanctuary and saw some wild Southern California Giraffes in their natural habitat...
Chillin' in the Southern California wildlife reserve...
We ended the day soaking up the sun at the local beaches...
I kid. Everyone knows the best wildlife sanctuary in Southern California is actually in my mom's backyard.
Soon after I got back, Rebecca visited and we snuck into the Conservatory of Flowers because of ...reasons.
That'll teach you to charge us that ridiculous $5.00 surcharge, National Trust for Historic Preservation!
...The reasons being, it turns out, that Rebecca is actually Batman Villain Poison Ivy.
Ha! I knew it! Unexplained Photoshoot time!
Sudden Smoke Machine!
The best part of April is that in the middle of the month, on Tax day, Mike and I celebrate our anniversary. This year marked the eighth year since we first met in person in Boulder, CO on that fateful, amazing weekend...
We decided that this would be a great year to fly back to Boulder and visit everyone there. Little did we know of the blustery Spring snowstorm we were about to head right into...
Granted, it wasn't quite that bad in Boulder when we first got there - The Flatirons had only a light dusting and it took a drive into the mountains to really get into the white-out.
Naturally, we drove straight into the mountains.
Mike giving a "Mission Accomplished!" thumbs up in Silverthorne. I didn't have the heart to tell him we had another 2 hours to go - right through the treacherous Rabbit Ears Pass...
Ah well, at least it makes the scenery uniquely beautiful...
That is, when you can see it. ...Or see five feet in front of you, even.
Fortunately, we eventually made it into Steamboat Springs. Steamboat was experiencing a mild snowstorm - mild in the sense that it only took Mike about 2 hours to shovel the car out of the snow and clear the driveway to get back out again.
We hung out with Gabe and Tari for a bit.
And Gabe's cats: Señora Chubbalard (I think that was her name...) and Khan (not pictured because he mostly hid)
Though the weather prohibited us from doing too much in Steamboat, we did get a grand tour of the town from Gabe and Tari...
Yampa River, Steamboat Springs, CO.
Not pictured: The awesome natural hot springs in Strawberry that Mike and I took a shuttle to get to.
Mental Picture: Snow-covered Aspens and Pines reaching up the mountain on all sides, a path leading down to three (mostly) natural dark pools of water with differing degrees of heat, and various people casually bathing in each.
It was heavenly, especially after our drive to get out to the area.
After driving back to Boulder and checking in with Patti and Steve, we were on the road again - this time to Ft. Collins.
It was snowing rather consistently by the time we got there. Naturally, this called for some bright, cheery robins outside the window and a (delicious) hearty Puerto Rican meal made by Rebecca and Mike Aponte while jazz played on the ol' Victrola.
Fort Collins Robins: No F**ks Given.
Fort Collin Cousins: No F**ks Given.
Fort Collins involved a wonderful and surreal night that unfolded as a series of odd events. We met Rebecca's college buddies and then found ourselves helping some dude push his car out of the snow. After this, we hung out at a bar and laughed heartily at the fact that only a select few of us knew pop culture references from the 80's and 90's (because we are old, is why). The walk home from the bar involved a lonely owl and a lonelier old man at a bus stop claiming to be suffering from a heart attack as he took another drag on his cigarette. It was pretty freezing out and there was a 90% probability he'd freeze to death if we just walked on, so we called an ambulance and waited.
Then Mike and I drove back to Boulder and finally spent time alone at our hotel suite in the old Boulderado.
Of course, we also visited old friends and went on a hike, because nothing stops us from hiking.
Snow? What Snow?
When we got back to San Francisco, time fast-forwarded very quickly to late Spring. We took a trip to the Point Reyes Elk Reserve, and found ourselves in unparalleled beauty. Again.
That's right, girrrl. You know I be checkin' you out in your sexy spring coat. And your sexy strands of grass hangin' from that mouth. Mmmhhmmm.
In June, we found a secret trail in Bolinas that takes you through an incredibly diverse landscape. It was such a cool trail that we went again later, taking Mom and Randy on it when they visited.
Can you spot the difference?
Near the end of the month was Pride Weekend. Mike and I decided to finally drag ourselves out of our apartment to go to the LGBT social event, as we've skipped the Pride parade for years and it had been only just that morning that some drag queens came to our apartment, threatening to revoke our official cards and guilting us about "not being soldiers for the Agenda" or something.
Anyhow, the parade was okay. Really corporate. There was a Kaiser float and an EA Games float and a Bank of America float. I guess if corporations are in fact, people - they can also be 'pretty gay'.
The highlight of the parade for me (besides the sheer positive mood of the gay youth float and the parents and children of LGBT crowd) was seeing my old coworker and friend CC Sheldon and her Hedwig Posse, promoting their wonderfully awesome show that Mike and I had the fortune to experience.
Other than that, there were dudes in various states of undress in some floats. Too many men shave everything, I don't get it.
CC and company, promoting Hedwig and the Angry Inch. A really awesome show.
The clouds came back into the city, obscuring everything. We went back out and played above the clouds.
I love to go places where the road is an insignificant thread, weaving together the cross-stitch of the variegated landscape.
[Inspirational Message, Bible Quote X:Y]
Mom and Randy came up to visit in the summer and on the Bolinas Hike Redux, we joined hands and sang a magical enchantment, which whisked us away to a spooky forest. This all really happened. I have the pictures to prove it.
An ancient and possibly evil spell is invoked..."Kum-ba-ya, Kum-ba-ya, Oh Lord of Darkness, Kum-ba-ya"
*Slow focus on object symbolizing "Ancient Evil"...*
Finally, after months of wandering, we arrived at our enigmatic destination, the Wishing Tree...
Unfortunately, our voices couldn't be heard through the thick fog that surrounded us.
Unexpectedly, Mom pulled out her magical wand.
A bubble wand, naturally.
Almost instantly, sunlight broke through the misty canopy.
Now that the forest had returned to its natural mystical state, we took our leave.
A week after Mom and Randy left, Mike and I stumbled across some coyotes. They eyed us warily, and later one of them howled.
Perhaps it was thanking us? We will never know.
*Cue mysterious music*
The end of July saw us go to Seattle to sight-see and play video games. And see people dressed up as video games.
Hmmm...I'm going to go with Mortal Kombat. Right? Mortal Kombat?
September came -- and with it, kittens.
My aunts Marianne and Cece came down to visit, and Cece brought kittens she obtained through some shady black market dealings involving Silk Road. Or maybe it was the ASPCA....
One of those, anyhow.
How can you say no to this?
Seriously, look away and your wife will turn into a pillar of salt.
Later in September, Mike's mom Grace came out from Florida to visit and my own mother came back around to visit because she can't seem to get enough of us. We went out and hiked again, as usual. And drank lots of really good wine.
They look so good, you'd almost want to pluck a whole bunch off the vine about 100 feet away from a guard, then eat them surreptitiously from under a napkin as you drive right by said guard, and finally store the seeds in your purse to grow later. Not that anyone would go through the trouble to do THAT, now would they?
Slummin' it at Ocean Beach
Oh yeah, and after the mommas left, we had a really wonderful picnic on Limantour Beach, on what we generally refer to as a "Farallones Day" because you can clearly see the Farallon Islands off the coast. Especially way out on the peninsula.
The weather was warm and only mildly windy for that part of the peninsula.
Speaking of the Farallon Islands, Mike and I went out to the islands again in early October. It was our fourth trip out there, and the roughest and weirdly quietest one yet.
Admittedly, for much of the way out there I slept because we both OD'ed on Bonine and the incredibly choppy water lulled us both to sleep pretty easily.
However, the islands themselves were incredibly still, not full of the usual activity we've seen on every other trip we've gone on. There were a few seals all along the rocky shore, but they were pretty much inert. The whole thing was kind of a wash.
The shark divers on the Super Fish were having worse luck, considering the exorbitant fees they paid to dive in a shark cave and only witness murky depths.
If you squint your eyes, you can see the random dispersal of seals/sea lions. Normally, there'd be much more activity, including Great Whites hunting the seals, giant tornadoes of seagulls hanging around the fresh kills, and ...well anything, really.
Let's zoom in and check in with our correspondents on the Superfish...
The face of disappointment...and...Elijah Wood?!?
I'll give you three guesses on what we spent the rest of our weekends in October doing.
If you guessed "Lying around on the couch, playing with our iPads like spoiled first-worlders and complaining about how we've wasted most of the day"...
You're halfway correct!
The rest of the answer is hiking.
Oh yeah, and then one day we were walking around our local Clement Street and there were llamas.
This picture is sinister and confusing.
So far, this month has mostly involved making weird ice cream for Mike.
Step 1: Gather and cut about 1/3rd pound of strawberries...
Step 2: Candy a bunch of Kalamata olives...
And Voila! Strawberry and Olive Ice Cream! (Cake not included. Void where prohibited.)
Oh yeah, and we've done some hiking, too. I guess.
In case these pictures paint a ...uh, picture in which Mike and I seem to have all of the free time in the world to go wander everywhere, I should also mention that "real life" happened during this year too. I volunteered 12 hours a week for a full elementary school year to be a Teacher's Aide at Jefferson Elementary school while also working part time at the Olive Garden and taking classes at CCSF. I also wrote a few articles about upcoming video games at Destructoid.com (Google: "Casey Baker Video Games" - Click first link. ;p ) during this time.
Then I quit that whole scene and enrolled in 17 credits this semester for the final push to transfer to State. I've also worked as the main Fiction editor of City College's own Forum Literary Magazine, and I can't wait until our issue comes out this December. It's going to be beautiful. I also have a story (and possibly some photos snuck in there) in the upcoming issue. Yay.
Meanwhile, Mike has been juggling so many things, not the least of them being his job. He got an awesome promotion and has taken on a lot of responsibility. Mike has also been planning all kinds of trips for us to visit his family, and has taken on extra cleaning duty for the nights that I'm in class or otherwise going insane with homework stresses. For this I could not ever be appreciative enough.
This has been a good year. The only negatives of this year have been the reminder of age that has visited me in the form of Sciatica in my left leg, back pains for Mike that come and go, and general "We're getting older" health issues that Mike and I face from time to time.
But those are to be expected. Everything else is just gravy.
Until next year, kids! :D :D :D