Man About Menifee: As We're Reminded, It's All About Survival

By David Baker

Like most of Menifee on Wednesday afternoon, my family members found themselves without power, thrown back in time to the preindustrial era for several hours.

They were cut off from news reports and the Internet. My wife called me at work, I was able to find some information out about it online, and power was restored for us by about 5 p.m.

All this got me thinking; many of my articles this month have centered on being prepared. How prepared are local families in the event of a longer term emergency? Say in the event of an earthquake outage that lasts for a day or two?

Just to be clear, I am not encouraging everybody to build a survivalist compound in their backyard. I’m just encouraging normal, responsible preparedness, and I have to admit that right now, our family is woefully unprepared. So I went to to learn more about a disaster supply kit.

Item number one on the list was water. This made a repeat appearance from a previous article. The rule, just like hiking, is a MINIMUM supply of one gallon of water per person per day. Some ways to quickly get water in an emergency if you do not have a stash are to fill a bathtub, or even from the toilet tank (I said tank, not bowl, so quit making that face).

Right after water comes food -- a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Choose foods your family can and will eat and remember any special dietary needs. Avoid foods that make you thirsty by choosing things such as salt free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content (don’t forget the can opener).

You also should have a battery-powered or hand crank radio, a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and a flashlight, with extra batteries for all of the above.

First aid kits are a good rule on so many levels. For more details on what can be found in a well-stocked first aid kit, click here.

A whistle should be in your emergency supplies to signal for help. Remember, the universal SOS signal with a whistle is three sharp blasts. Also consider dust masks for potential air contaminants, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to “shelter in place,” or as some would say, hunker down and wait it out.

Any parent can tell you that baby wipes are one of man’s greatest inventions, and they aren’t just for tushies anymore. These, with some garbage bags and ties to take care of “waste situations,” will be incredibly useful.

A simple set of tools that is portable will come in handy, especially a wrench to turn off utilities.

Local maps, cell phones with chargers, inverter or a solar charger will help you communicate your position if you need to. For these and many more suggestions, click here. Remember, being prepared isn’t about scaring anyone, it’s about taking care of your family.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments here for him or email him at

Menifee Mom: Do Your Dog a Favor And Head to the Park

By Jane Walker

Recently the hubs, our daughter and I have been taking our Archer boy to some local dog parks. He’s definitely at that age where constant socialization is necessary, and he’s a Siberian husky, which equals ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF ENERGY.

We’re talking Energizer Bunny energy.

Nearly every evening, we pack up the kid, the dog and ourselves and trek on out to whichever of the three dogs parks we want to visit. Each one is a little different, regarding what kinds of dogs you’ll find, along with what kinds of owners.

Redhawk Community Park in Temecula is very nice. There are two different areas:  One for medium and large dog breeds and one for teeny-tiny-mini doggies. There’s a lot of lush, green grass to run around in, which means plenty of exercise to be had. Plus, there is a kiddies’ park in the same vicinity, so after Archer is wiped out, our daughter can burn off some energy. Check and check.

The other reason I’m fond of this dog park (even though it’s not in Menifee) is the diverse bunch of dogs you’ll find on any given day. The most unusual by far was a gorgeous (almost) pure white Great Dane with blue-red eyes whose name was Powder. He was so stoic and massive, and just hung around keeping an eye on things. His owners were the complete opposite; very friendly, lively and more than welcome to strike up a conversation.

The next park is in Murrieta, off  Torrey Pines Road. I happened across this park because I wanted a place where Archer wasn’t going to leave covered in mud (which happens at the Menifee dog park all too often).

It’s a hard-packed surface, in both the small dog area and the medium/large dog area. They have just installed a canopy and one more table for sitting. There has been a leakage issue with the fountain in the medium/large dog area, but they are fixing this flaw right now.

A handful of agility obstacles are great fun to work on training with your pup, and a red fire hydrant sets the tone of “classic dog park”.

Now, our local dog park, located on Murrieta Road. Oh, how I wish it was green year round. Because of a leak in the drainage system, they’ve shut off the sprinkler system, so instead of lush green landscaping, you get one big dirt and dust pit (or mud, when the drains have flooded portions of the flat ground).

Don’t get me wrong, we still love this site because of the sheer freedom the dogs have and the eclectic array of dogs and owners (boy, you sure can learn a lot about a person’s life over the course of two hours while your dogs are chasing each other!). We just wish that the drainage system was overhauled so there was less mud, and definitely some areas for grass.

There is plenty of seating, in the form of old, donated lawn chairs. However, there is no shade, so be cautious at what time you head over. 
The bush and brush is quite dry as well, and during the summer we’ve been warned you have to watch out for rattlers. Definitely something any dog owner, or parent, does not want to deal with. We do keep returning for the sheer closeness to our home, and because we’ve met some pretty amazing folks here.

Just the other day, we met “Dee”, who had her hands full with four large, energetic dogs. For a woman who was in her 60’s, she was a brave, kind soul. We even helped her retrieve two of her pups who ran off when she was trying to get them in her truck. She was forever grateful, and an appreciation of one another was instantly formed.

The dog parks are so much more than just getting your pup some exercise. It’s a chance to step out of your daily routine, meet new people each time, and fall in love with so many other dogs! Get out this weekend and surprise yourself in the delight that dog parks can bring to you and your family. Your pup will thank you, trust me.

Jane Walker is a Menifee resident, a wife and mother of a 2-year-old girl. Every Thursday, she shares her experiences as a Menifee mom. Jane welcomes your comments here.

Man About Menifee: Here's A Great Opportunity for Runners

By David Baker

Usually, if people see me running, they know to look behind me because they are likely to see a Grizzly Bear or Zombie Horde right behind me. In other words, I don’t run too much. I like to get out and I like to enjoy the fresh air, but I prefer to take the more scenic approach.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of folks out there who do, and to them I say, congratulations.

My first “-athon” was when I was in high school. I participated through my church in the 24-Hour Relay for Life, which benefitted cancer research. It consisted of a bunch of teams camping out in the local track field and each member taking turns running a quarter mile for charity. To be honest, I don’t really remember how I did or who ran the farthest. I think my decision to participate was more related to the fact that I got to stay out all night, rather than the charitable benefits. I was pretty exhausted by the end, but it was worth it.

When we moved to Menifee, we got the opportunity to participate in the Menifee Annual 5K Run/Walk benefitting the Veteran’s Memorial Fund by passing out water and snack to runners who participated. It was a fun way to spend some time with my family and help give back to the community.

If running is your thing, then you’ll like to know that registration just opened for the Menifee 2nd Annual Half Marathon and 5K benefitting the Menifee United Way. The race will be held May 19 at the Mt. San Jacinto Junior College Menifee Campus at 7:30 a.m. Race day registration starts at 6 a.m. but if you pre-register before May 1, there is a discount.

Racers in the Half Marathon will start at the corner of Antelope and La Piedra Roads, run south, turn back at Scott Road, and head east on Garbani. From there they will head north on Briggs, do a loop on Holland and head back the way they came. The bottom line is that it will be a scenic rural course and the likelihood of seeing a jack rabbit or two will be high.

Everybody has their own way of participating. If you can’t or don’t want to run, then I would suggest finding out if the promoters need help setting up, tearing down, or passing out water. Bring the kids down and get them into it. It’s never too early to teach them that charity starts at home.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments here for him or email him at

Menifee Mom: Let's Remember What We're Grateful For

By Jane Walker

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.”

-- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

This week I chose to write of gratitude, while thinking of the recent devastating events that happened at the Boston Marathon and how many lives were lost, or forever damaged without a moment's notice.

I felt compelled to bring it back to an inner-most feeling that we all have, yet one that seems to escape us and get lost in the daily hustle and bustle of life.

Every morning when you wake up, what are you thinking? What are you feeling? Like most (me included!), I’m thinking about what the day ahead looks like. How many activities do we have going on? Does the day include grocery shopping? What time are we going to the dog park with Archer? Can I fit in a 3-mile run, or perhaps a 6-miler?

Almost every piece of my brain is accompanied by thoughts of what has to get done in this short
amount of time, so it’s easy to forget gratitude.

Be grateful for your health, for the food and beverages you might have in your fridge. For the
clothing you have in your closet or dresser. For the frozen yogurt you pick up on a hot day. For
the husband and/or wife who work long hours, to provide all of these things for their family.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our stresses and worries that we miss our children making up new games or songs to sing. We miss being able to see the pure joy on their faces when they’ve learned a new phrase, or how to count to 10. I know, because I’ve been there.

For me, yoga has been a practice that really helps me balance my life and innermost feelings.
I have sporadically practiced yoga since the age of 19, and I have recently re-awakened the joy and gratitude I feel when yoga is a part of my weekly routine.

Yoga helps me to quiet my mind (because like most parents, it rumbles and whizzes 24 hours a day!). I focus on my breathing, zero in on any tension or stress I may be carrying around, and learn to release it. Yoga helps me to be in the moment and bring everything that is most important back into my perspective.

Today during my morning class, I thought about how fortunate I am to stay at home with my 2-year old daughter while my husband works crazy hours in a high-stress environment to provide for us. How thankful I am that we’re all in relatively good health.

I took a long moment to be grateful that even though we’ve had numerous struggles and financial hardships, we always, always find some way to rise above. I credit this to so many people who are in my life that have been in similar predicaments -- family members, friends, acquaintances. Yet despite the hardships they’ve faced, they stay strong and positive. They don’t let these situations shake their spirit. Their tenacity and drive is what keeps them moving forward, with hearts full of gratitude.

Why live your life any other way? We all know how short it can be, or how sudden things can change. Change is the only consistent thing in this world.

Take a small portion of your day, whether it is upon waking up or at the end of the day -- or even
in the car as you’re out running errands -- and take the time to be grateful. Take the time to say thank

you. Make an effort to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Send a text message,
an email or make a quick phone call.

Want for nothing. Do not spend endless hours striving for perfection. Perfection is sitting right
in front of you. As my late grandmother said to her children, and they passed down to my generation; “Everyone is perfect in their own way.”

When you make gratitude a part of your daily life, you end up lighter, a little happier and you know that no matter what may happen during the day, you’ve said your thanks and you can smile at that. You can smile at the imperfections in your life and embrace every crazy, stressful moment a little easier.

Yes, my daughter can drive me bonkers with her constant high energy. However, I know this
means she’s healthy, active and simply can find so much joy in life! I sure learn a lot from her.
My 5-month-old husky puppy is pretty much the same high-energy as my daughter, and after a
long romp at the dog park, he’s the best cuddle bug ever (aside from my husband, of course).

These simple joys, these small fleeting moments, are what make my life whole. They make days
spent being tired or slightly stressed full with so much happiness and laughter. And for that, I
am forever grateful.

To Boston, and everyone else affected by the recent events, my heart goes out to all of you. May you find peace and a quiet strength to carry you through this tragedy. As a runner myself and a part of Mom’s RUN This Town, we will keep running for Boston and the lives forever changed that day -- and we will keep running for each other.

Jane Walker is a Menifee resident, a wife and mother of a 2-year-old girl. Every Thursday, she shares her experiences as a Menifee mom. Jane welcomes your comments here.

Observations, Questions and Tips About Life: April 17

Featuring Bill Rhoads

Each week, Sun City resident Bill Rhoads shares with us some of his "tips about life." Bill keeps a written record of "tips" that come to mind and has a strong motivation to share them with others. His purpose in doing so is to stimulate his own thinking and to stir some ideas into the pot of life. He believes in God and the Golden Rule.

Love has no sense of nor desire for domination.

When you’re in pain
It’s hard to feel the pain of others.

Only a fool argues with a fool.
Honesty is the least we owe
And the most we can give.

If you have thoughts and/or responses to Bill's tips, leave a comment here or send emails with your feedback to

Man About Menifee: When You Set Out on a Hike, Be Prepared

By David Baker

As the world starts slowly spinning toward the sun, more people are emerging from their homes and venturing into the outdoors. People need to be aware, though, that Mother Nature might be fun, but she is also unforgiving. Just look at what happened to Gilligan, and that was supposed to be a three-hour tour.

Already, I've seen at least two news stories regarding hikers who got in over their heads because they were just unprepared. Fortunately, the stories I saw had a fairly happy ending; the hikers were rescued. But if you go hiking in the wilderness without shoes or a shirt (yes, this really happened), I have to wonder what people are thinking sometimes.

There is a reason we have 10 things that every scout everywhere has with him when he steps out the door, whether it is a seven-day backpacking trek or a day hike. These are the Ten Essentials. Notice I said essentials, not optionals, and not for beginners only.

1. A pocketknife: The more variety, the better. Whether it is an old school Swiss Army knife or a good multitool, it can be used for a lot more than whittling wood.

2. First aid kit: I can't begin to stress the importance of first aid. A well-stocked first aid kit (and not a rinky-dink plastic box with three band aids and an aspirin) can be the difference between life and death. Click here for full details.

As an addendum to this I, recommend knowing first aid for the following:

Simple cuts and scrapes
Blisters on the hand and foot
Minor (thermal/heat) burns or scalds (superficial, or first degree)
Bites or stings of insects and ticks
Venomous snakebite
Frostbite and sunburn

3. Extra clothing: The rules here are layers, layers, layers. Remember, it gets cold at night out here in the desert, and night falls pretty quickly. Plus changing out of wet clothes can save you from hypothermia.

4. Rain gear: Goes hand in hand with above. Stay dry.

5. Flashlight: Do I really need to explain that one?

6. Trail food: An interesting tidbit is that our settler ancestors crossing the country in covered wagons consumed an average of 5,000 calories a day (compared to the 2,000 calories most people consume today). Navigating even mild terrain is harder than a walk in the park, and that coupled with the sun will make your strength fade fairly quickly.

7. Water: Again, people always underestimate the power of the sun. The rule is a half gallon of water per person per day MINIMUM. That's assuming you don't spill any or need to wash off a cut. "But Dave, it's just a three-hour tour." That's what the Skipper said, little buddy.

8. Matches/fire starters: Fires can be about more than songs and s'mores. They can keep the cold away, and signal rescuers.

9. Sun protection: There's our old friend the sun again. Sunblock, Chapstick, sunglasses and a hat. Remember the three "S's" Slip (on a pair of shades) Slap (on a hat) and Slop (on plenty of sunscreen/lip balm).

10. Trail maps and compass: Some modern day lists suggest a GPS as an acceptable alternative. Whatever it is, make sure you know how to use it. (No, a cell phone GPS is not the same thing. Cell phones rely on a data connection from a cell tower, which when hiking is pretty easy to lose.)

A few rules for when you are out on the trail:

1. Use the buddy system.
2. Stay on established trails if you can.
3. Make sure you have at least one "seasoned" member of the group.
4. Respect nature; leave no trace. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.
5. Make sure someone back home knows where you're going and when you're SUPPOSED to be back and if your group decides to change plans LET THAT PERSON KNOW.
6. Bring personal medicines like inhalers, EpiPens, insulin, etc.

Remember, these are simply the bare essentials. Anything you add to it is just going make you more prepared. And the more prepared you are, the more fun you'll be able to have.

Besides, a brand new 11-year-old Boy Scout is supposed learn all of this before his first campout. If an 11-year-old can do it, why shouldn't you?

Happy trails.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments here for him or email him at

It's Time to Meet Our New 'Menifee Mom,' Jane Walker

Editors Note: Today we say hello to Jane Walker, our new "Menifee Mom." Sadly, we say goodbye to Michelle Walsh, who has moved out of town, but we welcome Jane, who lives in Menifee with her husband and 2-year-old daughter, Lucy. We look forward to reading about her adventures as a wife, mother and active member of our community.

By Jane Walker

As I sit here, writing out my first article for the Menifee Mom column, I’m dealing with what I’m sure every mom (and caregiver!) has dealt with more than once.

My rambunctious 2-year-old is bouncing off the walls; my 4-month-old Siberian Husky is barking loudly, and jumping like a kangaroo; and my husband who has just walked through the door, telling me he needs to use the computer. How in the world am I going to get this article done by the end of the evening, especially when my child will not go to bed?

I’ll have to incorporate the craziness that is my home into my writing. Thank goodness this is “Menifee Mom” and not “How to Have a Quiet and Tranquil Home.”

With that being said, let me introduce myself: Hi, Jane Walker reporting. Originally from Palo Alto, Calif. I transplanted down here in ’07, because of a guy; this guy turned into my husband in ’09, and made me a mom in ’11.

I’m a mom (prerequisite to write this column!). I’m Barre (ballet-type exercise) certified, highly practiced in the format, and will start teaching classes come May. I’m a health and fitness junkie. I love making clean, gourmet meals from scratch. I’m Pescatarian (like a vegetarian, except I eat fish and egg whites).

Photography is a passion and hobby of mine. I’m training for my first half marathon next month, followed by another one in June. I’ve been married for almost four years. I have a huge, blended, extended family that has helped shape who I am and my perspective in this world. I love anything and everything about the ocean. I’m a true tech geek and you can find me researching from the computer on various topics or fixing one of our various electronics.

And I really love writing.

It was not an easy transition, being so far away from my huge, supportive family back in the Bay Area, and I truly didn’t feel like I put roots down until very recently; until I moved out to Menifee.

It’s hard making genuine friends as an adult and finding those people you blend with so well. I struggled with “fitting in” during high school, mainly because I felt different than all of the girls my age. Not one “group” reflected who I was becoming. Flash forward to the present; I worked as a preschool teacher for the first three years I was down here. I made a few lasting friends, but one of our main connections was being a teacher.

After I found out I was pregnant during the summer of 2010, I started working exclusively for a local jewelry artist (corralling 15 kids while I had one growing in my belly wasn’t quite my cup of tea). When I re-discovered my niche in the health and fitness world after my daughter was born, I started yet again on a new journey.

Months had gone by while I struggled to get my fitness instructing talents recognized, and at times I did feel like giving up. The fire inside that keeps pushing me forward, surrounding me with complete positivity and support, was key to keeping me on my path.

A couple of months ago I was referred to the Mom’s Run This Town running group. There I truly started to feel like I found my spot with a group of women (and moms) that have nothing but full support and positivity for one another. We have a healthy dynamic, complete respect for each other, and something rich and deep in common -- running.

We all have various goals, yet we all help each other reach and surpass those goals. We give each other the push (or shove!) when our minds might doubt our abilities. I feel like my life is starting to fall into place as new opportunities arise, stemming from the way this group lifts me up, and the new connections I’ve made. I finally feel as if I’m hitting my stride, figuratively and literally.

Now here I am, column writer for a local news website. Wow. I can’t thank Michelle Walsh enough for entrusting me with this amazing opportunity to connect with moms and parents throughout the community. I will be sure to provide personable stories and information on various topics that stem from my adventures in mommy-hood and my experiences in life. It is definitely not for the faint of heart, yet so far it’s been my most rewarding experience to date.

I commend all of you moms and parents out there for doing your job and doing it well. We shape the future by shaping our little ones each and every day. Make it positive, make it mindful, and most of all, have fun!

A Doug's Life: It's Time to Get Our Eyes Back on the Road

The memories are fresh and the reminders are there -- all too painfully there.

It's been less than a week since Menifee resident Emily Blake was killed in an auto accident on Antelope Road. According to police, Blake's vehicle was struck head-on by a car that had crossed over the center line.

It's been less than a year since Donovan Adams, a recent graduate of Heritage High School, died in an auto accident on McCall Blvd. According to police, a car in which Adams was a passenger lost control and crashed into a light pole on a downhill stretch of pavement at Junipero Road. A memorial cross and flowers remain at the site of the accident.

And two crosses still stand at the side of Lindenberger Road, where Christopher Bishop and Tabitha Kirby died late one night in 2008 when their car flipped over at a curve in the road and struck a large boulder.

These are just a few of the local fatalities involving motor vehicles. It's a sad fact of life, and sad that often our first reaction is to speculate about driver error. Unfortunately, because of our own weaknesses and temptations while behind the wheel of a car, we know all too well what might have caused accidents such as these.

There is no intention to point fingers here. We don't know exactly what caused these accidents; we may never know. But whenever accidents like this are reported, it causes us to wonder. Was alcohol involved? Excessive speed? Was the driver texting or otherwise distracted?

Technology and our own behavior patterns have become so complex these days, there are way too many ways for us to lose focus when driving. Hopefully, most of us have enough sense not to get behind the wheel after we've been drinking, or to drive at dangerously high speeds. But what about the simple act of picking up our cell phone when it rings?

Granted, I'm as tempted as the next guy. I get calls from business contacts all day long. I have three different email accounts linked to my cell phone. Every time my favorite sports teams' game starts or ends, my phone dings. I'm as connected as I allow myself to be.

It's time to change our habits, folks.

In case you didn't know, April has been designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Law enforcement officials are increasing patrols and checkpoints to look for drivers using a cell phone behind the wheel or otherwise distracted. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at any given daylight moment in the U.S., about 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or manipulating electronic devices behind the wheel. According to the NHTSA, 3,300 people were killed in distraction-related crashes in 2011 and another 387,000 were injured.

About a month ago, one of my students at Cal Poly Pomona was killed when he was struck by a car while riding his bike alongside a street on campus. Details of the investigation have not been released, but anyone who has driven that road knows that the site of the accident is a sharp curve on a busy street, requiring maximum attention.

I don't know if texting or other driver distractions were at fault in that accident -- no more than I know what caused any of the tragic accidents described above. But I do know we can reduce the chance of traffic accidents if we put away our cell phones and keep our eyes on the road.

Those of you old enough to remember an age before cell phones should know that we got along fine traveling from point A to point B without being reachable by phone. You'll survive the wait to find out who just texted you or left a voice mail. You can resist the temptation to take a photo on your phone of the goofy guy in the lane next to you.

Join me in pledging to put your cell phone on silent and leaving it someplace where you can't see the screen while driving. If you call, text or email me and don't get an immediate response, assume I'm driving. It's nothing personal.

But it could be a matter of life or death.

Observations, Questions and Tips About Life: April 10

Featuring Bill Rhoads

Each week, Sun City resident Bill Rhoads shares with us some of his "tips about life." Bill keeps a written record of "tips" that come to mind and has a strong motivation to share them with others. His purpose in doing so is to stimulate his own thinking and to stir some ideas into the pot of life. He believes in God and the Golden Rule.

When things come to nothing
Nothing’s the beginning
Of something new.

The truth is:
Truth isn’t.

All of what I want to do and be
Is bubblin’ inside of me.

If you have thoughts and/or responses to Bill's tips, leave a comment here or send emails with your feedback to

Man About Menifee: It's Never Too Late to Become Prepared

By David Baker

Most of us have been in a tight spot from time to time. Hopefully no one is ever put in a true emergency position, but if you are, it's important to be ready for it. Thanks to a certain city program, you can be.

There's a story that goes back more than 100 years to the beginning of Boy Scouting and its founder, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, or BP, as he is referred to in Scouting. The story goes that someone asked him once what the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared" meant. Prepared for what?

"Everything," was his response.

When I was a Boy Scout, one of the merit badges I earned that I remember most vividly was the Emergency Preparedness badge. One of the prerequisites was to earn the First Aid merit badge. On top of that, we had to cover emergency scenarios ranging from a house fire to a nuclear power plant disaster. We covered survival if our vehicle was stranded in the desert or if we found ourselves trapped in a blizzard. Everything.

For full details on the requirements, click here.

Jeremiah is a member of Webelos, or Senior Cub Scouts, getting ready to join Boy Scouts next year. Along with his fiends in the Shark Patrol, he is earning Activity Badges that prepare him for Merit Badges later. They just covered Readyman, which incorporates many of the same concepts.

Click here for details.

This got me thinking. What about folks who never were scouts and don't have kids, so they are never exposed to this stuff? Luckily, we have C.E.R.T., or Community Emergency Response Team. They are a group of people overseen by the city who are trained and CERTified to assist emergency responders in a wide variety of situations.

They have a training course coming up that is three days (20 hours) on April 19, 20, and 21. They allow participation of all ages (caution: common sense still applies, don't bring a 3-year-old) but they encouraged Jeremiah to attend and he is not quite 10.

Here is a link to the flier.

I think it would be great to attend. The cost is free, but the value is priceless.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments here for him or email him at

Menifee Mom: 'Mind Over Matter' Works in Different Ways

By Michelle Walsh

Mind over matter…

It’s easy enough to say, easy enough to believe, hard to put into practice.

The mind is a powerful thing; it can fool someone who is prepared into thinking they are not. I found this out the hard way on Oct. 7, 2012.

I had trained for six months to run the Long Beach International Half Marathon. I was ready, I was running 10- and 11-mile runs every weekend, plus shorter runs during the week with ease. Oct. 7, my mind won.

I had anxiety about the race. I kept telling myself, “This is just a weekend run,” but my mind won; it took over my body. I had the worst 13.1-mile run ever! I let my mind make the race a bad experience; I was not even able to celebrate the accomplishment I had achieved. I beat myself up for the race, and for letting my mind take the joy out of what I love.

I see this with my kids. It starts early. My oldest daughter, Kallan, has “beat the clock” sight word challenges in her weekly homework packets. Even though she knows all the words before her, she panics when I start the timer. She stumbles over the words, will stare at ones she knows, slumps her shoulders and refuses to go on. I feel for her. That darn mind, that little voice that doubts our ability. It only grows louder as we get older.

Everything is hard in the beginning. We know this as adults, but we still let our minds beat us up when we don’t succeed the first time. Yet we expect our children to understand when we tell them that you must try something several times before you get it right.

Remember learning how to ride a bike for the first time? That time you wanted to just throw your bike down, cry, and give up? That time you crashed and burned and thought, “I’m never going to get this!”

So how do you find that balance? How do we convince our minds that our bodies are prepared? With the proper training, time, commitment, and dedication, that we CAN do anything we want?

Our bodies are so much more capable than we believe. You must train the mind alongside the body. You must train the mind to stop doubting itself, and the vessel that carries it.

On Feb. 4, I ran the Huntington Beach Half Marathon. I trained, and I was ready mentally this time, but at mile 10, my knees said, “No way.” I finished the race with a diagnosis of “runner’s knee” and a prescription of physical therapy and 6-8 weeks of no running. Every runner’s nightmare is an injury that results in “no running.”

You get up, brush off your knees, and you try again!

On May 5, I will do just that: Brush off my knees and run again. I will run for my children who think I win every race and whom I always say, “YES YOU CAN!” I will run for my husband, who supports my love for this sport. I will run for my sister, who runs with me. I will run because my mind once told me I couldn’t. I will run to prove it wrong.

Michelle Walsh is a Menifee resident, a wife and mother of three young girls. She is a former teacher who enjoys running, exercise, sewing, gardening and socializing. Each week, she shares her experiences as a Menifee mom. Michelle welcomes your comments here.

Observations, Questions and Tips About Life: April 3

Featuring Bill Rhoads

Each week, Sun City resident Bill Rhoads shares with us some of his "tips about life." Bill keeps a written record of "tips" that come to mind and has a strong motivation to share them with others. His purpose in doing so is to stimulate his own thinking and to stir some ideas into the pot of life. He believes in God and the Golden Rule.

It would be ideal to me
To run out of time, money and love

Expectation is like water
Essential in small doses
Devastating in large doses.

Men reflect on or talk about the lessons of history
Best when their bellies are full.

If you have thoughts and/or responses to Bill's tips, leave a comment here or send emails with your feedback to