Golden Gate Bridge

Living in San Francisco and hiking the hills

San Francisco is, without a doubt, the city of misfits. Eccentrics of every variety are not only welcome here, but are the norm. It’s hard to be shocked in San Francisco by anything. And the social lines drawn elsewhere in the world simply aren’t relevant here.

It’s hard to tell who’s homeless or just prefers not to shower daily. Or to tell whether the clown on the bus is on her way to work, or truly believes she’s a clown. The clinically insane, sadly living on the streets, are often more intellectually engaged than I am, mumbling (or raving) about world leaders, environmental degredation and social injustice in an incoherent way that actually makes sense if you really listen and forget the pre-conceived rules of the world as we know it.

I’ve seen a guy in a business suit driving a BMW with a green parrot on his shoulder (a dot-com pirate?) and a guy riding a bicycle on the interstate (yes, in a lane, not on the side) while talking on a cell phone and waving at the honking cars. Large objects are also a common sight on the freeways, from mattresses, to dressers to the best I’ve seen: A toilet seat. Why can’t people just tie these things down?

Everyone hates politicians, but loves to talk politics. And even in the heart of arguably the nation’s most liberal city, there are conservative religious preachers and Republican propogandists with megaphones.

It seems every time I go anywhere in the city I see something else that makes me think ‘if only I had caught that on video!’ The misfit moments pass by almost daily.

But I haven’t returned to this blog to just post about my favorite SF moments (though I hope to start chronicalling those here as well). My comeback is more importantly as a place to share my out-of-breath climbs and fundraising frustrations (and successes;-) as I embark on my latest personal adventure: Hiking the Grand Canyon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The program, Hike for Discovery, raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So while I’ll be training over the next few months, I’ll also be raising money to find a cure for blood cancers and support those in their battles with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.
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My college roommate and good friend Noah Levine was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease not long after we graduated from Ohio University. The diagnosis didn’t seem fair or even possible for someone so young. I was impressed and inspired by his resilience and positive attitude as he went through treatment. And I am happy to say that he is cancer-free today. But not everyone is as lucky as Noah. Every ten minutes, another child or adult is expected to die of blood cancers – that’s 151 people each day, or six people every hour. We need to find a cure.

That’s why I’m participating in the program — to help find a cure for blood cancers, which affect more than 712,000 Americans today. Every dollar donated is tax deductible, and 75% of the money goes directly toward research and patient services.

I will be carrying Noah’s name and positive attitude with me as I hike the canyon the weekend of May 12. But I know I am not the only person with a loved one whose life has been touched or taken by blood cancers. If you have someone you would like me to honor on the hike, please let me know. I will carry their names in my backpack.

You can donate online at: Or if you would rather write a check, let me know and I can pass along details on how to do that. Thanks in advance for any support you can give, every little bit helps.

And stay tuned for the fun stuff – the hiking and training stories and photos.