In memory of Dr. Casimir 'Casey' Firlit

This tree was recently planted in Lucas Park in memory of Dr. Casimir ‘Casey’ Firlit, a fellow downtown resident and one who dedicated his life to helping children with complex problems become healthy and happy. This tree, located opposite the new playground, will provide shade from the afternoon sun and will stand as a symbol of his life long commitment to serving and protecting children.

To read more about Dr. Firlit and his life's work click here.

Freeride World Tour Chamonix 13'

This past week I competed in the second stop of the FWT13 in Chamonix, France. I can't explain how amazing this place is, so please make an effort to get here and experience Cham for yourself. I hope the pics can give you a pretty clear vision.

The flight was long and getting used to the time change has been challenging. I have not slept much the entire trip due to severe jet lag. It's nothing fresh air in the Alps can't remedy:) I arrived on the 24th of January with my sister Kristen who has joined me on this journey. We met up with the other athletes at Hotel Alpina, where we stayed during the event. It's always exciting to hang with the competition family. Our relationships really grow into a family environment. Friends looking out for each other, eating together, dealing with the stress of competition together. It's hard enough to be away from home for long periods of time, but if your in great company, it's easier not to get home sick. We are sharing moments that we'll never forget.

Sun Rise Comp Day

Let's get back on track here... Contest day was confirmed for the 26th. I had visual inspection the day before the event. It was a little challenging since there were few options. It was a much smaller venue then I have seen used by the Freeride World Tour, but it was really fun and challenging. It made for some beautiful lines. When you know your going to be the 60th plus person on the face you really have to get creative to try and ensure you have a few fresh turns.

That night we had a bib draw ceremony. It seems freeriding gets much more support and respect in Europe. There were hundreds of spectators, flashing lights, DJ's, and the infamous Swatch dancers. Following the ceremony we had an autograph signing which was pretty funny and embarrassing for me. But there was a huge line of people who genuinely wanted our autographs. Crazy right!

Production down town Chamonix

The day of the event I got on the tram at 7am for early load. Ladies didn't need to be up top as early as the men, but I had to catch the sunrise. It was well worth skipping a couple more hours of sleep. The peaks here jet strait up thousands of feet into the sky. The land is vast and very enchanting. Much like Revelstoke, I was captivated by the whole production of getting the event off, from helicopters, hundreds of spectators, cameras, and hectic energy. It was a blast to watch the men rip the face up. My run was quickly approaching so I started off to hike to the top of the venue. It was steep yet the foot placements where strong. The only time the hike got difficult was when the heli was just 30 or 40ft. above my head spackling me with ice. It did bring an intense element to the hike which helped relieve some of the stress of my upcoming run.

I had a fun line picked out, with multiple drops and some steep aspects. When it came time to ride my line, I had some unfortunate trouble. I was looking for a boundary flag after my first air, which would have lined me up for the next hit. I could not find it right away and got nervous. With this little moment of confusion I hit this silly wind lip which threw me down on the ground. My mind was screaming "Noooooo!", but my body got up and continued on. The next section I rode was much steeper and icier then I anticipated, so again I had to adjust my run accordingly. I knew I could ride better and was not very happy with my run. At the bottom, right off the bat, they have a camera in your face to watch your response to the score. I am pretty embarrassed because I could not hide my unhappiness. I hope anyone watching can forgive me for having a bad attitude. It's really important to maintain a good attitude whether you win or loose.
I ended up finishing 4th, which is fine, but I know I can do better. Some money from winnings wouldn't hurt either.:)

Laura Dewey came away with the win. She rode fast and fluid, stomping her line. It was pretty inspiring considering she had a hell of a time making it to Chamonix. From a car accident just a day before she left,  canceled flights, and even lost baggage, she managed to maintain composure and came away with the win! Rock Star!

The rest of my trip has been so fun, from more epic days on the snow to cruising the town. The food here is just incredible. GMO food is illegal here so we have been enjoying the taste of real food. It seems the French don't mess around with food, for it's always presented in a beautiful fashion. Espresso, decadent desserts, savory meats, fresh-picked everything... I am truly in heaven! For those of you who know me very well, you know how excited I get over great food.

Today is a down day. It rained top to bottom and then froze. I will get to explore the city and pick up a couple things to bring home for family. I am also hoping to make it to some museums, for the history here is captivating.

I will have more pictures to come. Thanks for reading and hope life is blessing you with fabulous adventures as well!

2013.7 Painting on paper

Demolition Series 
Lucas Dillon
420 x 297 mm 16.5 x 11.7 in 
Mixed media on  220gsm paper

Our 3rd Neighbors' Night Out

We are very excited to announce that Mosaic will be hosting our 3rd Neighbors' Night Out on Tuesday April 23rd from 6pm-8pm.  25% of all sales will benefit Friends of Lucas Park.


Yesterday I stopped by Benedict Radcliffe's studio as he was finishing up another one of his awesome car pieces. 

Check Ben's Website

2013! Are we all still here?

2013 has begun!  I am quite behind in maintaining this blog, but the letters keep rolling in and rolling out.  One of my "resolutions" this year is to keep the mail current, to respond timely, and to write more meaningful letters.  This will be a challenge, but I am ready for it!

This month has been incredibly stressful.  The talking heads in the corporate world have been telling us to shape up, and it's really put a dampener on my day to day work.  The last two days in particular have been very very stressful, with lots of shouting and even tears at one point by my superiors.  We are all fighting right now, some to keep our jobs, and some to keep the peace, so it's a bit much right now.

Outside of work, I have been so exhausted when I get home that I have done very little aside from some writing.  I have wanted to give myself a little gift, a very nice journal (with fountain pen friendly ink), very soon.  I haven't found one that I like just yet.  I need a place to vent without rambling too much to my pen pals and friends. Do any of you have any suggestions?

The only other thing I have to report is that we are looking for some winter weather to come through tomorrow.  With the chance that I might have a day off of work, I very well could be all caught up with my mail!  When the weather outside is frightful, I say stay in and correspond!


 Over the last few weeks I have been working on a private project designing and creating the floor design for a new office space in east London. The project has now been completed but here are two images taken at the beginning of the painting process.


"Black and white Handed"
H 28" X  W 28" 
Acrylic, emulsion and charcoal on canvas.


2013.2 Belfast



 Today is the last day of GalleriesGoldstein at the GoodHood workshop, as take down of Ken Sortais exhibition is completed. It has been a great year with a lot of amazing shows. Here is a small selection of images from Ken and Petro's exhibitions. Further more here is an old picture of Merv Dog to keep everyone happy.

1st Stop of the Freeride World Tour: Revelstoke

What a fabulous week! My adventure here in Revelstoke is coming to a close. FWT is such an positive event all around.
The people associated are very amazing from event coordinators, athletes, to media, and especially the Revelstoke community. The community embraced the tour athletes with open arms. Providing discounts all over town, donating lodging, and my favorite was a complementary massage session from a passionate therapist.

 At Wildflower Wellness my therapist, Merissa, catered to every need and some. From hot-cold therapy, Thai stretching, healing stones strategically placed to stimulate my own healing, a soothing mask on my back to take away all my aches and pains, and to top it off let me take home the sesame bags which she used with compressions. 
Merissa is the real deal. Has studied multiple modalities thoroughly to ensure a true therapeutic experience for her clients. She is a true healer and I felt 100% for my run in the contest the following day.
Thanks Merissa!

Revelstoke is a beautiful little town. Trains cruising by constantly, brick buildings, and the ski town vibe. I can't say enough about the mountain. The terrain was breath taking. Huge peaks, with faces littered with fun lines. It's not what us Californians are used to. Sustained steeps for several thousand feet.  My endurance was truly tested. It was the perfect start in preparations for the remaining Freeride Tour stops. 

It snowed from the day of arrival on the 4th until the 10th. This made for some epic pow shredding. My legs where toast at one point and I started to get anxiety about possibly being over worked. Thats when that massage came in and healed me. I took the day off before the contest, which was finally scheduled for the 11th. This was an absolutely unforgettable day for me. 

I  loaded the gondola at 7:30, and enjoyed a ride up in solitude. Said a little prayer for the coming event and enjoyed the sunrise. The air was so cold something like -20 c. The snow was glittering, one of my favorite things for sure! Girls love shinning things:)

The venue was a solid hour hike. I set off to the viewing spot where spectating and judging would take place. Just athletes and event organizers where around when I first arrived. It felt unreal having helicopters flying around. Bombs going off, finishing avalanche control work. The helicopter helped in the control work by fanning the Mac Daddy face, which would release slough slides. Pretty unreal to watch.

This face was insane! It looked like perfect pow, but because of the steep pitch, the fresh snow quickly sloughed off to a firm, but edgeable base. The snowboard men set it off with a bang throwing down dynamic lines. Of course the male skiers put on the best show, sending huge cliffs with fluidity which I can't really describe with words. Josh skied strong and fluid up top. He hit this insane air which sent him at least 40ft. He had some trouble on the landing but didn't get injured. Check out the POV footage from his run bellow. By the time female snowboarders where up, the fog started to creep in  and the shadows from the surrounding faces had cast. The female skiers had it even worse for it almost looked like they were skiing in the dark.

I dropped in second for female snowboarders. When I first looked down this face I was shocked at the true angle of the top 1,000ft.  It almost took all my anxiety of the contest away, cause I knew I was about to ride the most exposed line of my life. I rode very conservatively on the top but maintained fluidity. When I came to my bottom air I had a huge hesitation. I did not expect such a hairy take off. Because I didn't have the necessary speed to pop up, like I should have. I landed unbalanced and butt checked on my landing. The ride out was great, fresh pow turns to help calm the nerves.

Directly after my run I got to enjoy watching the bottom of Shannon Yates winning run. The heli came down and picked us four athletes up. Because of the fog we got to fly around for a bit, which was a huge highlight. 
I was stoked to find that I had finished 4th overall, which proved that it was a challenge to shred this terrain for everyone. Only the top ladies maintained clean runs. Huge congrats to Shannon Yates for putting down another winning run! If you don't know her already please look her up and become a fan:)
Next stop Tahoe and then off to Chamonix, France!

Enjoy the pics:)

Check out this new(er) blog!

Please welcome my dear friend, Jillian, to the CI-mama blogosphere! Both her husband and her son are implanted, and she has a lot of great things to write about. Check out her blog!

called in sick.

i have this lingering cold.
going on 3 weeks now.

it's not bad enough to keep me down. just bad enough to be annoying. waking up to it again this morning was making me feel a little crazy-lady. so with my mom's texted permission to "hold still" - i climbed back into my pajamas after a hot bath. pulled on a pair of andrey's comfiest socks and cozied up on the couch to finish this book.

after making the decision to call in a "sick day" - it's been the most peaceful morning and is shaping into the most perfect little afternoon. with the surprise of a little sunshine outside for some stir-crazy boys and a batch of baked oatmeal for lunch.

i got this pretty little apron for christmas. it was on the top of my wish list and i plan to tie it around my waist later today and try my hand at these chicken pot pies. comfort food at it's best. my house full of boys will gather up around the kitchen table with the happy addition of my brother, jeffrey and his good conversation.

i can already imagine climbing into my snuggly bed this evening.
after a cuppa warm lemon-honey tea. and the last few chapters of my book.
well rested.
time well spent.
cold kicked. 

Improving in Climbing

Everyone wants to improve, to excel at their passion.

I dream of free climbing enormous walls. For the past ten years I’ve worked towards these goals.

My early climbing focused on getting up walls in Yosemite.  Ascents of Washington’s Column, the Leaning Tower, Half Dome, and El Cap all came together quickly.  Aid climbing involved a bit of gear and a lot of tenacity.  By purchasing the former and easily supplying the latter, I learned to dial my systems.  With my aid climbing skills in place, I focused on improving my free climbing enough to make free ascents.  My early climbing improved quickly.
Double Rainbow over Jailhouse- What does it mean?
I learned to crack climb, to clip bolts, and then to redpoint hard traditional lines using a combination of the two skills.  Improving my climbing skills slowed while my goals expanded.

The theme of improvement runs through the climbing community. Everyone wants to climb their best.  Alex Honnold voiced identical concerns.  When I asked if he had any clues on improvement, he laughed in response, saying, “I wish. I’ve been worrying about the same thing. I've basically been climbing 13+ for a decade.”
Cosmic Debris
Hitting plateaus presents an inevitable challenge in climbing. What can be done to break through? Train harder, remain positive, get motivated… Cedar Wright’s suggested something totally different. “I do have some advice on how to improve at climbing... move to Boulder... The water here makes you stronger.”  My attempt to move to Boulder stopped when my Saturn Station wagon aborted mission at Fruita Colorado. I returned my Saturn to California’s orbit.   Boulder water scares me but perhaps the mountain folks are clued into some tips towards improvement. 

For some, breaking through plateaus takes time.  Beth Rodden addressed the challenges of improving at climbing.  “I think it's just best to take it as it comes and be psyched with little victories and not let the other things get you down.”  The gains in climbing definitely shrink but slow and steady optimism helps through the slough.
Working Public Mayhem photo by the person with the huge watermark

For others, it’s about finding the correct motivation.  “There are many ways to improve on climbing, like training, weight loss,” said Randy Leavitt. “But I think the most important thing is motivation. I had lots of it because I loved doing new routes…. I found that I was more inspired to try hard and raise my game when new routes were involved.”
Clay Usinger on a boulder problem Stanley, Kenny, Clay and I put up behind Camp 4 this December Last of the Miwok v6
Luis “Lucho” Rivera added a similar note, ”I don’t really train, i just go climbing and try to have fun. What inspires me more than anything is new routing.”
Finding new routes in winter provides a challenge. Winter presents short days and poor weather in Yosemite, a hard time for first ascents.  Since my Yosemite season started this fall, I have struggled with climbing harder.  I track my ascents on an 8a score card, which is slowly thinning. In November, I came close to sending Cosmic Debris.  Bad weather shut me down.  Through December, I worked on bouldering harder and climbing at Jailhouse. I’ve had few successes this winter.  Still, in some small ways I must be improving. 
Walking out from Jailhouse
A few more days of Jailhouse and then I’m heading to Hueco for a couple weeks.  I’m hoping to send something before I leave, to find some sort of improvement in my climbing.

I like climbing.  I really like climbing well.  I do the former all the time.  It’s about making the latter happen all the time as well.  Then, I’ll be exceling at my passion and meeting some of my dreams.