Posts Tagged ‘San Jose’

Santa Barbara International Half Marathon – check!

  I can now check this off my list…this completes my 10th marathon this calendar year, and what a beautiful run it was!

I was thinking this morning that by the time I have completed my goal of 12 half marathons in one calendar year I will have traveled to 5 different states to run.

This run was special for many reasons.  I dedicated this run to my dear friend Teresa Thomas who lost her battle to breast cancer nearly a year ago.  She loved Santa Barbara and I was ran I thought of her.  I remembered her spirit and passion for life. 

She was not only an amazing friend but such a wonderful person, we had talked about training and running a run together when I was still living in San Jose, but unfortunately that never happened. 

Teresa was diagnosed with breast cancer just before she turned 50 and passed away at the age of 51.  As I ran the 13.1 miles I could feel her presence cheering me on and pushing me to run strong.  On mile six as I was crossing over a wooden bridge with a creek below I broke down and wept for the loss of my dear friend.  I cried not just for me, but for her grandson that will be born soon, for her other daughter that she won’t get to see graduate from college, for her husband, her sisters and her mother.  She left behind so much.

I am so fortunate that Teresa came into my life.  She touched me deeply and for that I am forever grateful and forever changed. 


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Back to your birthplace…

This weekend I am in my hometown of San Jose, California.  The occasion is to run a half marathon with my daughter and various friends.  This marks my 9th half marathon in this calendar year.  If you are a regular reader you will know my goal is to run 12 in a calendar year…which I should be able to accomplish since I have Santa Barbara, Las Vegas and Los Angeles scheduled to end out my year. 

I have no longer been a resident of  San Jose for just a little over 4 years now.  Yesterday I took a little trip down memory lane by visiting my old elementary school.  I even drove down to my old house and walked the sidewalk that I once used to roller skate on and of course pogo stick.  I saw my favorite sidewalk square where I used to play jacks with my friends.  I saw the corner where I used to hide out and throw rocks at the passing cars.  Even though the landscape is of the neighborhood is almost unrecognizable the memory of the emotions still exist.  The emotions that are tied to the events of my childhood still live in my mind. 

I drove over to Hellyer Park where I played as a kid. I witnessed the creek that I used to catch crawdads in and smelled the tall Eucalyptus trees.  I could picture my younger self wading the creek with my homemade net carefully moving the rocks with an eager eye for a flash of red.  I could almost feel the cool water rushing past me as I listened to the melodious sound of the water floating by. 

San Jose is my birthplace, but it is no longer home to me.  I love the crunch of the leaves under my feet as I walk Courtney through the neighborhoods we used to walk before we moved.  I wonder if she remembers since this too is her birthplace.  I wonder if she remembers the squirrel who used to chatter on the fence for her to come out and play and then for hours they would race back and forth along the fence until the squirrel would tire and climb up in the tree out of her view. 

Memory is a beautiful thing.  I love being back to my birthplace, but I am looking forward to seeing my Palm Trees of my beautiful city of Palm Springs.

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Oh really??

A few weeks ago I was at one of my favorite places to visit…the library.  While I was looking through the book titles this sweet little boy with very good manners approached me and asked if I could help him find a particular book. 

Now if this was the San Jose library where I grew up, I would have had no problem finding exactly what he needed.  But with no librarian in sight I thought how hard can it be to find a children’s book for this little gentleman. 

Well, we searched and searched and I am happy to report that the book he wanted was found!  What I found were so many books that I read as a child!  I was thrilled to see my old favorites on the shelf.  Since I was a small girl reading has always been a passion of mine.  I remember going to the library every Tuesday at 3:30 for the Bookworm Club.  The librarian would give me a stack of books so high that I could barely carry them, but each week I would read every single one.  Finally, the librarian would have to call up the other branches to get more books because I had read every book my branch had. 

I am always excited to go into libraries, especially when I am travelling.  While in Seattle I visited the Bellevue Library and was amazed at its size and beauty.  I love especially to visit little libraries in small country towns. 

I felt good that I had helped this little boy in the library that day, but as I was leaving I looked in the mirror and realized that I think he thought I was the librarian…oh well, I hope he likes the book we found and the other 10 books I gave him to read!

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When Memories Emerge…

As a Memoir teacher I think alot about memories.  I find it fascinating that something can stay hidden in my brain for years and suddenly emerge!  Just the other night I was walking Courtney in the evening and I could hear the boom boom of a bass drum from the high school marching band many miles away.  This sound immediately transported me to the fall of 1978 when I was entering Andrew Hill High School in San Jose.  My sister, Sandy was a senior and had told me how much fun marching band was.  It did look fun going to the football games so I thought I would join it.  The memory that emerged for me was remembering that I couldn’t march and play at the same time.  All I can remember that whole fall of marching band season was counting out my steps and pretending to play my clarinet.  It had been years since I recalled that memory!

Another way to get those memories to emerge out of your subconscious is to visit an antique store.  Sometimes going to visit these shops will bring back so many memories for you.  What are the things you remember about your kitchen growing up or visiting at your grandparents home.  What are the smells you remember?  Take some time this week to stroll down memory lane and see what you can recall.  Use the computer to help you go back in time, there are so many wonderful sites that are standing by ready to share with you and open up those memories for you. 

One last tool is to go through your photos with new eyes.  Don’t just look at the people in the pictures, but look at the cars, houses, clothes.  If you saw the movie, The Help this was a great movie to show you clothes and cars from that era. 

Keep your eyes open, you never know when a new memory will emerge and when it does be sure to capture it!

My big sister, Sandy and me!

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Be a tourist!

I lived most of my life in San Jose, California.  San Jose is probably most famous for the Winchester Mystery House.  As my mom always called it…a tourist trap, so guess what, I never went!  I lived only 45 minutes from San Francisco and do you think I ever visited Alcatraz?  Nope!  So here I am now, almost celebrating my 3rd year of living here in beautiful Palm Springs and I started thinking about what do tourists do that come to our beautiful area.  Ah ha!  Take a ride up on the Palm Springs Tram!  So yesterday, I packed my backpack and headed for the tram, it was a beautiful 93 degrees here in Palm Springs and I heard it is 20-30 degrees cooler up on the top of the mountain.  After dishing out a measley 23.95 (or you could buy a summer pass for only $60.00) I got in line.  This was definitely a tourist attraction as most of the people around me seemed to be speaking another language!  After I finally boarded I was amazed at the beauty of traveling so high above the desert floor and literally watching the world transform around me!  After a short ride to the top the doors opened and I was immediately struck by the smell of the fresh trees.  I hiked all afternoon and yes, I did manage to hug a few trees and yes, I did feel like a tourist.  I told myself that from now on, even if my mom calls something a tourist trap, I wanted to experience it just as a tourist would!  Although, I still probably won’t go to visit the Winchester Mystery House when I am back in San Jose, it is fun to go and be a tourist in your own town, don’t wait for visitors to come, just go out and do it!

Today in your journaling think about ways you can be a tourist in your own town.  What do the tourists like to visit when they come to your neck of the woods?  Have you been a tourist lately?  What is stopping you, go out and do it…and if you get a chance  hug a few trees along the way…

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.

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