Archive | August, 2012

Off to London…

22 Aug

Sylvia arrived last night around 8:00 PM, after quite an exciting weekend adventure. After she climbed Mt. Whitney last September, she was told (can’t remember who told her) that people who climb Mt. Whitney also climb (or have climbed) to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite.  So, I went online and found a photo of the last 400 feet to the top of Half Dome…  see below:

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The last 400 feet to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

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She took one look at that photo and said “no way…. not me, buster.”  But, since she enjoys a physical challenge, after thinking about it and talking to a few people, she signed on.  The Mt. Whitney team leader, John Adler, had a spot open and offered it to her.  So, she did her preparation. One of the things we did was to drop a 40 foot, 1.5″ manila rope down our bank at the back of the property. Very steep.  So she let herself down the 40 feet, and then pulled herself up… worked up to ten repetitions in one go — equal to a 400 foot trek.  So, between her general fitness level and this climbing exercise, she was ready for those last 400 feet of the climb.

Team leader John Adler (who has climbed Mt. Whitney fifteen times and also Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania) hired two professional guides to make sure everyone on his team was comfortable with the attempt. And, as expected, everything went very smoothly — no problems and great weather.

One of the guys on the team had a very fancy camera and took some excellent photos, but I don’t have those yet.  But, I do have three that were taken with a cellphone camera by another one of the team members…

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On the way up…

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One of the professional guides as Sylvia’s backup

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On the way down…

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There you have it… another successful adventure completed.
She left for London about six hours ago — she’ll spend three weeks with our daughter Pauline and her family.  She’ll also be visiting with her three sisters – they’re going to meet somewhere and then take a train up to the Brussels area and visit with relatives there.

Meantime, Steve and I are working on the house — painting and general repair work.

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All for now

 

brez

 

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Half Dome today and London on Tuesday…

19 Aug

Sylvia and her niece Sandra are currently camping out with other members of the John Adler team at the base of Half  Dome. They will get a wake-up call at 2:30 AM and then take off for the summit after having a bite to eat and some tea.  There’s a 20% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, so they need to get up and back by early afternoon.

The last four hundred feet is almost straight up — with steps and cables to assist the climb.  John Adler hired a professional guide for this event in order to make it as safe as possible. The guides climb this rock for a living, so they know exactly what they’re doing.  If there’s even a hint of weather problems, the climb cancels.

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Here’s an image of the pathway to the top:

The route to the summit of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California

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Then, take off  Monday morning – back to Escondido by early evening.  Hit the sack and up early Tuesday morning to pack her bags for London — plane leaves at 8:00 PM.  She’ll stay with Pauline and family for three weeks. Back to Escondido on September 13th and then get some exercise in for the Mt. Whitney trip on the 28th (her second time for that one). Then relax in October (her 72nd birthday is on the 9th) and then a 100-mile bike ride scheduled for November and then a short triathlon in December.

How can she do all this at her age?  She loves to exercise and enjoys the challenges — ride a bike a hundred miles? … sure.  Run a marathon? … no problem.  Swim six to seven miles a week? — she loves to swim.  Climb Half Dome and Mt. Whitney?  Can do.

She’s a “miracle mom”… delivered and raised five children (I helped a little) and made sure they were working for their spending money — no handouts (we didn’t have it to hand out anyway). They all got themselves through school and college, mostly due to her encouragement and ability to motivate.  She was a group leader with Bible Study Fellowship for eight years — she loved that ministry.  She’s a reader … has read all the classics and many popular novels (she prefers the English mystery writers).  She’s an excellent photographer — has a great eye for composition and lighting.  As you can tell… I’m her number one fan.

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What else is new?  I have a new video on YouTube — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmkRww8rClo

And, the website is almost done. I’m leaving for New York on Saturday and will spend ten days with Johnny and family. One of the projects will be to finish and launch the new website, complete with downloadable videos of various jazz exercises.

While I’m there, I’m planning to attend two workshops conducted by Barry Harris (http://www.barryharris.com/) — one of the last of the great jazz piano players of the 30s, 40s and onward.  Still teaching and playing gigs … at 82.  In fact, he’s in London right now doing some workshops and playing (http://www.barryharris.com/PDFs/London_August_Workshop_2012.pdf).

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I went to Victorville last week to visit with a couple Route 66 guys — there was a 4-day trade show and convention there. I’m trying to get a sense of what I should do with this Route 66 postcard art print business.  I can see now that it won’t be a business in the sense that I can make any money with this thing.  The market is too small and the percentage of people who may have an interest in these prints is even smaller.  So, I’m not going to push that one any longer.  It’s a hobby — it’s fun… I enjoy taking the old images into Photoshop and making some changes.  It’s a hobby — not a business.

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The focus for now will be on the jazz piano instruction business.  I have over 52,000 views for my two jazz piano exercise videos, so that number represents significant interest in what I have to offer.  So, I’ll just stick with that business… here’s the new website home page:

Home page for new jazz piano instruction business

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How about favorite cars?  What’s yours?  Mine’s below…

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My favorite car — 55 Chevy 2-dr V-8 with post – and Traction Masters installed

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What are Traction Masters?  check it out… http://www.tractionmaster.com/

Maybe someday in the future I can get one of these — they only run about $25,000 these days.
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Update:  got a call from Sylvia at the top of Half Dome — she made it…   it was a “mountain top experience” for her…!

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All for now…

brez

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