Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

Well its the end of another year, and I had the pleasure of spending some quality time during the last of it down in Southern California with Kelley, Leona, Wilbur and Dudley. Between the fact there is no snow in tahoe, unbelievably cheap fares with Southwest Airlines, and the many attractions of San Diego County,it's been easy to contrive reasons for popping down to visit. In case some of you aren't familiar with the area Kelley is living in during the winter to pursue her therapy at Project Walk, it is very close to a number of high quality beach destinations including San Onefre, Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Solano Beach.

These last three are charming little beachside communities, cute and laid back (at least in the winter). I have been getting very into stand-up paddle surfing lately , so have scoped out the breaks, camping, and SUP rental shops, and there are some GREAT options. Julie Munger and I visited with Kelley in early December and had some great fun on some small waves, and great weather. We also met a parapalegic rock star named Jeremy in the parking lot. We got there when he was done, so didn't see him surf, but watching him scoot himself up the beach 200 plus feet unassisted to his car was inspiring on its own.

Julie and I also had a some quality time with Kelley. Her nerve pain is still a constant and sometime brutal fact of life. But she had a blessed reprieve for a little while during our visit, and we spent almost 3 hours paddling and hanging out on the beach in the Carslbad Lagoon. Some great bird watching, and I was amazed at how strong Kelley paddled. She went pretty hard for almost 1.5 hours. The next day after I left Julie took Kelley to REINS, a non-profit facility that enables disabled individuals to horse back ride. Julie got her signed up in the program, so hopefully she will able to do that soon, its less than an .5 hour from her house. Having spent the last few months around my partner Lisa's new horse, I have been reminded how calming and grounding being around these beautiful animals can be.

Then I went back down the week before Xmas with my friend Jennifer Yates in her Dolphin Camper, and our doggies to camp for a few days at San Elijo state beach in Encinitas. This campground was great, and just had to trot down the stairs to get to the surf break. Kelleys nerve pain was more intense during this visit, so we didn't get out paddling, but we did do several visits to the beach. I read recently that some scientists believe that very good things happen in our brains when we stare out over large view scapes that go on for ever, similar to meditation. Explains the calming experience of staring out over the ocean. We also had an awesome virtual surfing session, when it was a little to big for me to go out one day. Watching the big boys get the big rides, in between getting crushed, was very exhilarating, even from the safety of our beach blanket.

Kelley also brought her beefy tri-bike chair set up, so she could easily wheel on the firm low tide beach. We did some quality dog walking at the off-leash Dog Beach in Solano. This place is amazing, every kind of pure breed and mixed breed dog you can imagine, and all having fun. We didn't see one fight which was amazing, since there was literally 100 dogs there at any one time.

Kelley is hanging strong, but the nerve pain is still often crushing. She is going through some transition in her meds, which is proving to be a little ugly. Hopefully at the other side of that there will be some better relief. As after all my visits with Kelley, I am left frustrated and sad at this condition that she is in, but always inspired by her determination, courage, and ability to seize the good moments when she is graced with them.

So into the NewYear we go, with our struggles and our hope.... , I am raising my glass to more days at the Beach.....Sue

1 comment:

Heather Brooks Freer said...

Hey Kelley! Happy New Year! The update by Sue was great, and I am amazed (but not surprised) at the strong, enormous-hearted people who surround you.
I hope 2012 is a breakthrough year for you, that the nerve pain abates as your mobility increases.
We think of you often, and you inspire me daily.
Sending a gigantic hug from all of us at Camp Freer in Lotus.