April 24: Birthdays

We know several people who share today as a birthday: Darren Gadd in NC & his nephew, Elijah Rector, Aja McVaney in TX, and Kelli Ramsay in WV at the moment but from San Clemente, CA. Happy Birthday from coast to coast!

April 21: Spring Snow in Bass Lake again

April 17: Mighty San Joaquin River

We floated the San Joaquin with friends, Jamie and John. What a great afternoon!

April 15: Jim aka "Gym" Smith's birthday among other things

April 12: Orange County, CA

A teen girl band plays at the OC Youth Expo and it reminded us of our friend, Jess Richmond, a teen band member back in her younger days. We love her song "flexible fabric, bandaid!" and wish we could have seen her on stage too.

April 10: Lao in SoCal

Our waitress, Buffy, in Pasadena speaks both Lao and Thai. I can't remember which one she said that she finally spoke in the video but I believe it is Lao. She was a great sport. Filatore asked for water in a clean glass (emphasis on "clean") because Ginger had asked for water with "no ice". We cracked up when she brought glasses of water and the one she gave to Filatore had lipstick on it! She blushed but laughed right along with us.
She forgot to say hi to all of you out in blog world but we didn't have the heart to ask her to do a 2nd take. Speaking of "take 2", there are several previous videos that have mistakes and one of these days we'll post an outtake reel.

April 9: Newport Beach overlooking Balboa Island

Bill and Chris Welch are old friends from our first go-round in Oakhurst. They now live in Huntington Beach and we miss not having them in Oakhurst. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner sitting upstairs and outside over looking the bay. Bill was our pastor and one of our funniest memories PN (pre-Navy) includes him. I will not throw him under the bus right away but maybe we will share the parfait story one day (if this generates at least 10 comments).
Also, Filatore would like to publicly apologize for attempting to disengage Bill's watch alarm at 9pm only to learn that it now goes off at 9:05, 9:10, 9:15, 9:20, 9:25, 9:30 and 9:35!

April 8: Pasadena, CA

We stopped to have dinner with Mel, an old housemate and co-worker and a really good friend. We really love Mel but we have to throw her under the bus for getting the date wrong. Way to go Mel.

Before dinner we stopped in to meet Mel at her place of work, a local coffee shop attached to the Pasadena Library. After dinner there was a little detective work by Filatore.

April 7: Arizona visits Bass Lake

This video speaks for itself. Watch to the very end for a 15 second (or maybe more) giggle. Thanks Nicola...enjoyed your visit!

April 4: Moses' 12th Birthday

Moses, the great orange hunter, is still in NC with her grandparents. Ginger will be traveling back east in May/June and will bring our little girl back to California, her home state. She turns 12 today and I would venture a guess that she might be the most well traveled cat alive.
Happy Birthday Moses!

April 2: Spring Thanksgiving on Good Friday in Nova Scotia

Good Friday was a spectacular Thanksgiving celebration full of food, laughter, games, pies, and friends.

Farkle or Ten Thousand was a new game for Filatore. It was definitely energetic.
A farkle highlight:

Is Denise a little too excited & nervous or what?

April 1: Fresno, CA concert

Eight or nine bands played in Fresno. Many we had never even heard of. Ginger went with friends from Nova Scotia (aka a piece of land between Coarsegold and Madera, CA) went to see David Crowder Band and they were great. Ginger really hoped he would be signing autographs but not on this trip...but hopefully one day she will get to meet him. (Ginger's friend, Stacey in FL, would have flipped her lid if that video had been attained.)
The guys below of Fee were good and it was nice to meet them. Filatore wishes Matt a very happy birthday!

March 31a: Dinner with great friends at a great place

Tony is not thinking that the cars driving by are giving Christel much respect as she's trying to say hi to blog world.

please see March 31b below

March 31b: Dinner with great friends at a great place

Tony is such a funny guy and here is the new "son" he acquired:

If any police or firefighter in Fresno sees this and recognizes Shane, please comment so Filatore and friends and family can enjoy in his having to buy everyone ice cream. Filatore is a big lover of ice cream and hopes those in Fresno get a scoop because of this!

March 28: Welcome Back Party at Dan & Holly's

One of the many reasons we love California and especially the Bass Lake/Oakhurst area: WONDERFUL FRIENDS.
Almost every year since we left CA in '04 we have come back to visit and I believe almost every time we've also had a big get together at the Rogers. Thanks to all who came out to "welcome us back" and all those who have loved us through the years.

March 27: Ann & Colin get married at Summit Adventure

Filatore did a little research and though there have been a few receptions at Summit's Basecamp, this was the first wedding to take place on the grounds. Congratulations to Ann & Colin who met at Summit

March 26: The Forks at Bass Lake

The Forks (http://www.theforksresort.com/index.html) opened for the 2010 season TODAY! We were Poppy's very first customer this year and the burgers are just as we remembered...served on grilled sourdough bread! Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

If anyone can comment with the correct spelling of Poppy's full name, you will be in a drawing for a free Forks burger.

Also, today is a double feature because the one you will see below was unplanned and completely shocking as Sarah, a complete vegetarian for about 5 years who only recently added a little meat (though not beef) into her diet became unpredictable. All others dining with her partook in a burger meal. Sarah, on the other hand ordered french fries and a shake until...

Love the last line, "It's pretty good...other than the beef part!"

March 25: Switzerland by way of Fresno, CA

All the way from Basel, Switzerland, Ginger and Spinner's newest cuz, Eric, is visiting his mom in Fresno, CA!

Good to see you again, Eric!

March 24: Brodie Rogers from the ridge between Oakhurst and Coarsegold, CA

Poor Brodie has 6 more days as a cone head...although Holly pointed out that he looks a little like the Pixar animated light. So true especially when he eats and the edge of the cone sits on the floor! What a sweet pup and a good sport too!

March 23: Bass Lake Post Office

March 21: Jones girls on their grandparent's dock, BL, CA

Emilie and Josie Jones on camera while their older brother, Noah, canoes behind them.

March 20: Celebrating the arrival of Spring with Graham

Graham, a co-worker of Filatore, welcomes SPRING between the lupines!

March 19: El Portal, CA and Hite Cove wildflowers

After the video, check out the pictures below!!!

http://www.yosemitehikes.com/not-yosemite/hite-cove/wildflowers.htm lists all the flowers that can be seen on Hite Cove. However, some will come later and hopefully we'll get some shots of those to share too!

Below see glorious Poppies, Fiddleneck, Blue Dicks standing tall in the field of Poppies and Bird's Eye, Foothill Sunburst, and a Shooting Star (lower right)!

March 18: Seattle visits Bass Lake

Bass Lake is a vacation spot for many. Most visitors play at the lake between Memorial Day and Labor Day. However, others like today's feature, come to visit friends, family, and girlfriends. Ben is dating one of our house mates, Lily.

March 17: St Patty's is the Grand Opening of the Pines Bakery

Jamie, Ginger, and Spinner tried to be the first customers of the grand opening of the Pines Bakery under new ownership. They were so excited that they arrived at 8am only to be told that the grand opening time was 9am. Needless to say, we were not the first but we were the THIRD!! Meet Jean, new owner, and new friend who I expect we will pay a visit to a lot this year! When you come visit we will take you by too!

March 16: Missing Moses

Most of Filatore's family has made it to Bass Lake, CA. There were four who left CA six years ago. One decided he liked his grandparents better and you met him on January 29??? Ginger, who finally made it 2.5 weeks ago and then there is the Great Orange Hunter, Moses. She is hanging with Ricky, Ginger's father, in Matthew, NC until June.
When we first started thinking of buying our first house many years ago, Spinner thought it would be great to live on the south side. He also thought it would be great to take a boat across the lake to work each day. Back then, Moses went to work with us everyday and Spinner thought it would be great to dress the Great Orange Hunter in a rain slicker to make the journey twice each day. Luckily, Ginger interrupted that dream and Moses was most thankful. Now we are back again looking at houses and the dream (or at least the card) is alive again.

March 15: Nova Scotia and FAT, CA

We love the Ides of March and it's two fold:

First, Ginger was invited to Michael Jones' birthday dinner in some portion of CA that Denise, his wife, started referring to Nova Scotia (she even has a NS sticker on her car) because it is so far away from EVERYTHING. However, they do have beautiful Irish looking hills in their backyard (for the moment) and beautiful sunsets...and even an adult teeter totter.

Next, the Ides brought us together again. Spinner arrived at the Fresno Air Terminal (FAT) late, late on the Ides. Due to the time (11pm PST), change in time zone, flying to or sitting in four different airports for 22 hours and the fact that he had spent the last two weeks in a Spanish speaking culture (Ecuador), Spinner was slightly confused on which greeting he should give...

March 13: Oakhurst, CA

We first got to know Sarah when she lived and worked in Yosemite with our friend, Julie Miller (who you will see in less than a week). Now, she is married to a co-worker of Filatore. Both boys were out of town and the girls had dinner...

March 11: Survivor Party At Smith's on Summit Rd

Spnr and Jim have been watching Survivor on Thursday nights. While Spnr is in Ecuador, Ginger got invited in his place.
As side note, Amy, Jim's wife said that she overheard Jim talking to Tiger, the cat, late one night after Ginger had visited. He was saying something along the lines of "Tiger, I am not Ginger. I am not going to pet you all night. Tiger, you have been spoiled!" Hmmmmmm...video seems to show that Jim gives just as much attention to Tiger!

March 7: El Cid

A favorite Filatore restaurant/gathering spot in Oakhurst, CA. If you come to visit we must go! (BTW, can you tell there was a little extra prodding by a couple people to get an extra mention of their specific name vs. just Spnr and Ginger's friends?) I can't imagine who that was!!!

March 5: Fresno visits Bass Lake, CA

March 2: Bass Lake, CA

Filatore (aka Spinner) left EARLY this morning for 2 weeks in Ecuador so the videos resume. This one with a house-mate until we find a more permanent place to call home!

February 27-March 2

Here is a little snip-it of Ginger's cross country journey. Since Filatore and Ginger reunited for the first time in almost 2 months, a break in the normal video blog was halted for a short time. More to come in March!

February 26: Las Vegas, NV

This is not the normal Filatore daily video but we hope you enjoy our little glimpse of Vegas.

February 25: Vail, Colorado

Subie (our Subaru Outback) made some less than normal noises every once in a while and the steering wheel would 'shake' so much that 2 hands were required. We decided to have it checked out and glad we did. Our friend, Autumn, gave us the name of "Jungle" the traveling mechanic. Jungle said he would love to help us but he had family in town and was skiing with them all day. But Jungle referred us to Ledfoot Linda's. Needless to say with those 2 names we were a little nervous and curious. LL's was awesome though. They drove us into the village of Vail so we could get breakfast while they worked on Subie. Not only that but when they knew that we were traveling across country, they fit us in and had us on the road before lunch! Shout out to Ledfoot Linda's!!

February 24: Colorado

Ginger and Spinner (aka Filatore) reunited in Denver, CO and made their way to Edwards, CO (very near Vail) to visit with another Summit friend, Autumn Glynn Outslay, and her husband Mike and 1 year old daughter Anastasia!
And a very happy birthday shout out to Ginger's mom, Juanita, who turned the big 6-0 today!!! We love you, Mom!

February 22: St Louis, MO

Met up with an old Summit pal and his wife (who I had never met) and realized that we had not seen each other in almost 10 years! Whoa, time flies.

February 21: St Louis, MO

Traveling across country afforded the joy of seeing some friends that I haven't seen in a while. Mel Palm is one of them!

February 20: Josh Barber birthday!!

A little break from the daily

February 19: Kalamazoo, MI puppet show

February 18: Mt Hermon CA resident in Grand Rapids, MI

February 17: Grand Rapids, MI (but filmed on the 19th)

Jenny Echols and I have not seen each other since 1993 in Boone, NC at Appalachian State Univ. We had a lot of catching up to do! We met for Indian food at 6pm and did not even look at our watch until 11pm...and we thought it was only 9pm or so. Whew! GOOD TIMES!!! Thanks Jenny for an awesome evening!

February 16: Grandville, MI

Dana Barber's Dad, Darryl, a faithful Filatore follower

February 15: Spring Arbor, MI

February 14: Kalamazoo, MI

February 13: Shore of Lake Michigan

I am loving visiting with friends along this cross country drive! I've known Dana for 10 years! Thanks for taking me to the shore to see the "iceberg dunes."

February 12: Bluffton, OH

February 10 & 11: Snowed in in Perrysville, OH & Cedarville, OH

Snow Day in Perrysville, OH

Ben Radley at a camp fair in Cedarville, OH

February 9: Philippi, West (by God) Virginia

Second year in a row to see baby lambs. LOVE IT!

Twins born sometime in the middle of the night

February 8: The Land, NC (aka NeNe & Pops' Place)

Juanita & Ricky Wilson, Ginger's parents, say goodbye to her as she begins her slow drive across country. Bass Lake, CA or bust!

February 3: Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC

February 2: Jay speaking his best Korean in Charlotte, NC

Later this month Jay will become my brother's brother-in-law. He lived in Korea until age 3 and he tried to tell us he couldn't speak Korean very well. I'll let you be the judge.

February 1: Amos J Silly Cat (aka Flops Like Fish)

Amos didn't take to all the travel that the US Navy required of us over the last 5.5 years. What was originally supposed to be a couple month visit with Spinner parents (see Jan29th)has turned into a permanent situation. We miss him much but he has become attached to his grandparents and even a neighbor so he's a fixture in Shoresbrook neighborhood in Spartanburg, SC

January 31: Lakehouse GIRLS Weekend, SC

January 30: FL girl in SC snow

January 29: Lake Bowen, SC

January 26: From Sophia's bed

January 25: Jewelry Party at "The Land" aka Nene & Pop's place in Stallings, NC

Martha, Juanita, Rena (aka Carol), Joy, Lauren, Vanessa, & Jim (aka Turtle Old Man) www.turtleoldman.com

January 24: Avery's 2nd birthday party, Stallings, NC

January 23: Wendy's in Colonial Heights, VA

January 22: Two for Turkey

Ebru in the morning drinking Turkish coffee

Ebru in the afternoon at the end of a massage by Kelli

January 15: Inside the Trader Joe's Bag

January 14: A Word from Ginger

As many of you know well, Spinner is an introvert. My brother and his wife, Eric & Lauren, gave him him a fLip video recorder for Christmas so Spinner thought it would be a great idea to do something similar to the 36507 project (http://filatore.blogspot.com/2007/01/jan-1-00107.html)where he took a picture a day for the 365 days of 2007. So off he set to video PEOPLE throughout the year. Here is where the first sentence of today's post comes into play. Shortly after Spinner began the new project, his energy & enjoyment of his new project quickly began diminishing. As his wife, I tried to encourage him in the endeavor...mainly because I thought it was pretty fun! :-) Hence, Spnr has now officially turned the project over to me.
Over the next month I will be traveling the east coast from Baltimore to Spartanburg and then working my way across the country so there should be some interesting posts so check back periodically. However, I have a request as well. I am planning to add a little twist to the project:
If you or someone you know speaks another language they may have the opportunity to be highlighted sometime this year. Filatore.blogspot.com will attempt to record as many languages as possible this year. French was the first to make it solely in a foreign language...see January 11th. However, you can also pick up on a little Italian on January 8th. Please let me know if you want your language or a language you speak to be highlighted!

Tim Hansel (1941-2009)

This weekend, Tom Smith (Summit's Executive Director) and I will be traveling to San Diego for Tim Hansel's Memorial Service. Tim Hansel was the original founder of Summit Expedition in the late 60's and early 70's (the date varies, depending on who you talk with). I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to this ordinary man who lived an extraordinary life, impacting countless lives and heavily influencing the idea of "wilderness ministry". (All quotes in italics are Hansel’s own words.)

In 1941, Timothy Jon Hansel was the second of two boys born to Art (an insurance salesman) and Ruth (a beautician) Hansel. Shortly after his birth, the family moved from Minnesota to Seattle, where Hansel lived until he enrolled at Stanford University, having earned a football scholarship to the prestigious California school. Hansel would go on to complete both an undergrad and graduate degree while at Stanford, and after turning down a job offer to coach on the Stanford staff, Hansel took off for New York to work with Young Life. A variety of teaching and coaching jobs followed, intermingled with frequent trips into the wilderness.

"The wilderness is still the finest place to train servant leaders because it is a non-neutral learning environment which demands change, and fosters community, trust, and interdependence. The wilderness encourages wholeness, reminds us of what is true and real and affords us an opportunity like no other to encounter God as He is without distraction." Holy Sweat (1987)

In the 60's, Hansel was teaching Social Studies at a public high school in California, and was growing increasingly disturbed by the lack of motivation and apathy shown by his students. He wondered if a weekend camping trip would help. Amazed at the transformation that occurred, Hansel began to take groups of high school students into the wilderness, at first just for the weekend, but the trips grew longer and longer. His initial forays convinced him of the effectiveness of outdoor, experiential-based education and led to the formation of Summit Expedition, one of the earliest wilderness-based ministries in the United States.

One of Tim's first business cards

Apathy is one of the big things to deal with for today’s kids. So we put them in stress situations. We get them up on a three-pitch rock climb. They concentrate entirely upon what they are doing, bringing their awareness up to a peak. There’s no room for apathy…” Hansel, quoted in Backpacker, Summer 1974.

Throughout the 70’s, Summit continued to grow, taking hundreds of students into the wilderness. Although the ministry was impacting many people, finances were always a concern, forcing Hansel to work as many as four jobs at a time. In addition, he married and fathered two children, embarking on the adventure of marriage and fatherhood. As Hansel continued to direct the ever-growing ministry of Summit, his real ministry was about to begin.

Hansel and Peb Jackson--that appears to be the south ridge of Madera Peak in the background

David was halfway across the snowbridge when my crampons balled up. I slipped. Just as I was beginning to stop, my feet went over the edge. The momentum gave gravity just enough of a nudge to cause me to flip upside down.”

Several years after he founded Summit, Hansel and another instructor had completed a climb on North Palisade Peak in the Sierra Nevada. Descending from the glacier in the late afternoon, Hansel’s crampons balled up with snow and caused him to fall into the crevasse, landing heavily on his upper back and neck. Although he got up and hiked the 20 miles to the car, the damage was done. Cracked vertebrae. Crushed discs. Fragments of bone lodged in his neck. The result was chronic, debilitating pain that would be with him for the next 35 years.

An early GoForIt! course

I feel almost dismembered this morning by outrageous pain. It is almost comical to have reached such a ludicrous level of disorder. Me, with my desire to be agile and free, barely able to get up and out of the chair this morning. Teach me to live in new ways, O Lord. Teach me and show me your ways in the midst of this.

The pain was relentless, and would come to define the remainder of Hansel’s life. The lifelong athlete, the champion of backcountry travel, the intrepid mountaineer--he would be forced to leave the ministry he started and loved because of the accident. His boundless energy was now funneled into speaking, and writing. Twelve books would ultimately flow from Hansel’s pen, but he’s most remembered for one—“You Gotta Keep Dancing”, originally published in 1979. Although written by an accomplished mountaineer and outdoorsman, YGKD found the strongest reception among those who might never experience the outdoors—those who were suffering from pain, sorrow and disabilities. Hansel inspired thousands, maybe millions, with his strong message of perseverance, faith, and the option to “choose joy” despite your circumstances. Pain was inevitable, but misery was optional. It was this attitude that continued to inspire people throughout the last years of his life.

I began to realize that it wasn’t my imposed limitations that held me back as much as my perception of those limitations. It wasn’t the pain that was thwarting me as much as it was my attitude towards the pain.

Ginger & I came to Summit in 1998, 19 years after “You Gotta Keep Dancing” was published. When I joined the full-time staff, I was amazed at how many people contacted Summit after reading one of Hansel’s books. Even today, 30+ years after it was published, we continue to receive phone calls and messages from people inspired by Hansel’s message.

Finally, I’ve been in and around the wilderness ministry field for the better part of two decades, and interacted with a large number of organizations that use the adventure-based recreation as a ministry tool. I’m not sure when and where the concept of “wilderness ministry” first emerged, but here’s something I do now: there are numerous organizations that work in the wilderness and many of them were influenced directly or indirectly by Tim Hansel. Many of the founders and leaders of today’s wilderness industry were students or staff that experienced the passion, the vision, and the inspiration of Tim Hansel. I’m lucky to consider myself one of that group.

The Memorial Service will happen Saturday morning in Carlsbad, California.

January 3: Indian Trail, NC

January 2: Valle Crucis, NC

It's 2010....time for a new project.

As many of you know, I traditionally come up with a new project every year. Sometimes this project is something cerebral and academic, like reading or writing a certain book, and sometimes it is just something fun--like my 2007 project to document every day of the year with one photograph. I have several projects for this year, but the one I'm going to share is a high-tech version of the 2007 Photo of the Day project.

For 2010, I'll attempt to get someone new, wherever I am, to say hello on video and post that video online. The person might be someone you know, it might be someone famous, or it might even be you! You never know who might show up. . .

January 1's video is below and yes, I know that it's not straight. I'm still learning how to manipulate these videos.....