Monday, January 19, 2015

Holidays Together! Part III

New Years

Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas AND New Years together? No way. Way.  Drew had New Years Eve and New Years Day off.  We had plans to xc ski and watch the torch parade at Alta ski resort, but the temperature was between 0 and 20 degrees F up in the mountains, so we bagged that idea and rallied some friends for a drink at the new bar/restaurant at 9th and 9th and then dinner at Mazza restaurant.

 It was New Year's Eve, after all.

 Yummy cauliflower something.

A good meal/time.

Drew and I stopped by our neighbor's house after we got home.  Good thing we were within walking distance so I could stumble home later! We were asleep before midnight.

Extended Holiday

January 2 is close enough to the New Year to call a holiday so we took a joint day off to get up to Park City to snowshoe around some cool areas.

Not an actual holiday, but we'll count it

Our friend Andy was celebrating his 40th birthday on Jan 4 so he and wife Rhonda stayed at the condo in Vegas to enjoy some slightly warmer weather.  Drew and I joined them for a day to help celebrate with mtbs on dirt and, later, all-you-can-eat sushi.

 My Christmas present from Drew - Giro winter riding boots. So toasty.

So Good We Go Back for More

Back to Salt Lake for me and all over the place for Drew for a few days of work.  The air quality was deteriorating rapidly so when the loads on the planes looked light I bombed back to Vegas for about 24 hours for some more dirt, this time for short-sleeve riding out at Bootleg canyon.

Snow's Still Good so Live It Up

So here we are in mid January with a pretty nasty streak of poor air quality in the Salt Lake Valley but crystal clear skies in Park City and the mountains. We've been getting out either solo,

Me xc skiing at White Pine Nordic Center

with old Navy buddies...

 Drew in Lambs Canyon with Murph

  Artsy iPhone pic by Drew

The snuggle-y blanket of "fog" in the valley below is our nasty smog layer

or together snowshoeing up Mineral Fork of Big Cottonwood Canyon.

 Snow on structure!

 Water crossing. You can't do this here in April.

Another artsy iPhone pic by Drew

So now we both go back to work in earnest and end our happy holiday run.  It was sublime to be able to spend so many special days with Drew over the past month or more.  I'll try to remember that when he is traveling for work and bike racing in the next few weeks.  At least I'll have time to get more blog posts done.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Holidays Together! Part II (Christmas)

This would be our first Christmas with just the two of us together at home ever in the 10 year history of us.  When I was growing up the youngest of seven kids, Christmastime was, of course, huge.  It wasn't all about lots of presents, although we had our fair share, it was about family time together eating, playing games, playing cards, going to church.  Drew's family, although smaller, also put an emphasis on family time.

Drew is an airline pilot. He flies a lot. He likes to chose when he flies for pleasure.  He tries to chose the easiest and cheapest time for us to fly to see family. That time is not Christmas!  This year, although he had a few days off around Christmas, we chose to focus on our immediate local family - that is, us, the cats, and the bikes.

Christmas Prep

Because we were going to be home, we decorated the house in a big way for the first time in 8 years.

Our tree wasn't tall enough to use Drew's full height advantage for the #1 task.

All done. I love our little tree!

Looks pretty at night too.

So the house was decorated, but there were the usual holiday hassles,

The post office was a zoo!

And holiday baking

 All to get ready to have a quiet Christmas at home.

Christmas Eve

We rode our mountain bikes on Thanksgiving, so why not on Christmas Eve!  Utah had not seen appreciable snow since November so we bundled up and rode from our house on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail.  We were not the only friends out there.

 Ran into Sally and Karl doing the same thing.

As you can see in the previous photo, the weather had been moderately warm for Dec 24, but not sunny.  All that cloud cover paid off when the sun sunk to the horizon. We were treated with the most amazing sunset imaginable.

 Note the Christmas lights on the house in the center of the photo. So special.

 The short days of winter drove us home to a very quiet dinner.  I think we may have had some sort of veggie patties again, which might be becoming a tradition.

White Christmas Day

Those clouds from Christmas Eve held snow. Lots of snow.  After a cozy Christmas morning opening gifts from family and friends far and wide while sipping espressos by the fire,

we ventured out into a couple of feet of NEW FRESH POWDER!  During our first couple of years together, before home additions and winter bike races starting hogging our time, we snowshoe'd a lot.  With the beautiful fresh new snow, we decided to relive those early days and headed up the mountain to Lamb's Canyon. 

At the lower end of the trail, someone had broken trail in the fresh powder.  About a mile in, we ran into that solo man with no snow shoes.  Crazy! After that, Drew had his work cut out for him breaking trail in ever deeper snow.

 12"-18" of deep powder- that's hard work!

It was a true winter wonderland.

And not flat.

Breaking trail is slow going.  We tried to make it to the ridge line between Lambs and Millcreek Canyons, but we were running out of daylight, and gas, so we turned around about a half mile from the ridge.  It got pretty dark on us, but we were prepared.

We ended the evening with a some sort of tasty vegetarian crock pot concoction. 

Post Christmas

Drew had a few more days off after the 25th so we continued with the quiet home evenings/outdoor theme.  We enjoyed a hike on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail, where three days earlier we had been riding.

Mid-hike phone calls give Lucy a chance to take goofy pictures.

There were movies in the newly completed basement media room with the family,

and tormenting the family with Drew's Christmas present to himself.

Fresh air, cozy times, and entertaining cats together with Drew are three reasons this was the best Christmas I can remember!!

Holidays Together! Part I

Drew is either 1) moving up in seniority and able to hold off the days of his choosing, or 2) sacrificing a lot of good paying work to spend a special day with me.  In reality, this fall and winter he's had a little of both, but the effect has been that we had pretty much all the important holidays off together from Halloween to New Years.  I don't know that that has ever been the case in our 10 years together and I know for certain not since 2007 when he upgraded to captain.  So here is a recap of our holidays.


The tradition of fire pit and tiki torches in costume on the front lawn continued.

You may deduce that we had pretty nice weather on Halloween by my flip flops!


After October comes November and we were thrilled that Drew had Thanksgiving Day off.  We were invited to at least four friends' houses for the whole traditional meal, but since the last Thanksgiving we spent together at home was in 2010 when Drew had an overnight in Salt Lake so he brought the whole Southwest crew he was flying with that day to our house and we put on the whole turkey meal, we decided to forgo the big meal and ride mountain bikes instead!

The trails were mostly dry and temps were mild so we journeyed to Antelope Island State Park.

I love this place for its stark lonely beauty.
 And the bison who roam freely*
Not for its flat-tire producing thorns!

 *They are not tame. We were cautiously this close but the male was not very happy about it.

We had been so excited to be mtbing on Thanksgiving that we really didn't plan for any Thanksgiving dinner.  By late afternoon on our way home, even the fast food joints were closed, so that meant we needed to scrounge up some food at home. But the cupboards were quite bare, so we ended up toasting some months-old homemade black bean burgers I had in the freezer and toasting with beverages other than wine. 
 Now that's a Thanksgiving spread if I've ever seen one.

But all was well since our light dinner allowed us to save room for my pies I had made earlier.

I made pecan and apple to take to our friends Jim and Shelly's house for dessert.  The family crowd at their house devoured them.

One of the better Thanksgivings I can remember!

Pre-Christmas Family Visit

In early December, Drew was able to wiggle his schedule to get most of the time off needed to accompany me to North Dakota to visit my family for a short pre-Christmas visit.

Mom took us and my sister Di who was visiting from Florida out for a fancy dinner at 10 North Main in Minot.  "Fancy" and "dinner" didn't used to go together in Minot before the latest oil boom, but this place had a nice, hip atmosphere and the food was good.

 Minot, while cold, was festive to visit.

Then to the farm.  There were several days of laying around, short walks to view the wide open spaces,

observe ranch life,

and eat family dinners

including a spaghetti feast at my sister's where we got to see the little twins and play games.


But it was soon time to say goodbye to my mom and the rest of the family. 

See, she looks sad to see me go. I am just smiling because I will soon have non-Folgers coffee again. ;-)

This brought us up to the next real holiday after Thanksgiving:


Yes, Drew's birthday!  Unfortunately, he had to go to work on his birthday, so we only got to spend from 5:00 to 6:00 AM awake together.  That pretty much sucked, but with his birthday so close to Christmas, we can't expect to be able to celebrate them together. So instead we celebrated a day early with morning espressos made with our new home-professional espresso maker

presents, a day lounging together, and a holiday party at some friends house.

That does it for the Holidays Together! Part I post.  Next will be Christmas and New Years.