Goodbye 2014

2014.

Wow. You sort of kicked my butt all over in awesome ways and some pretty horrible moments.

January:

Spent sometime in the Yuma area and visited Los Algodones, Mexico. Hiked Signal Peak which wound up being one of my favorite hikes of the year. Competed in Columbia Sportswear’s #omnigamesand won.

Season 4 at Deer Valley Press Conference

February:

February was all about Arizona adventures. We spent some time exploring the Sierra Anchas which definitely a highlight.

Parker Creek Canyon

March:

March included some more exploring of Northern Arizona and New Mexico. We wandered through some beautiful places.

April:

April was all about JORDAN. I mean, how lucky am I?

Beth in Jordan

Photo: M. Going, Columbia

May:

May was a month of upheaval. We started out in California but ended up being in Oregon. Rolling with the punches was the name of the game.

Seed Tree

June:

I got to run in Rainier To Ruston again this time with a three person team instead of our usual four person one! I (sort of) learned to ride a motorcycle. I also was a bridesmaid in Stacia and Andrea’s wedding.

Stacia's Wedding

Amanda Summerlin Photography

July:

I did some hiking in Oregon but most importantly, I got to move back to Ridgway, Colorado.

Colorful Colorado

August:

August started out on such a high of being a new Colorado resident and heading off for lots of fun at Outdoor Retailer. The stoke continued with a fantastic trip back exploring Utah and Colorado with Sprocket. I added to my list of Colorado County Highpoints with Montrose County’s Castle Rock. The month ended with a mix of excitement about my new job and the heartbreak of ending my marriage with Forrest.

Cliffs near Storm King

September:

Although September was a tough month, it was epic enough that it qualified for a wrap-up of its own. I floated the Gunnison with friends and Sprocket. I climbed Wilson Peak (a 14er and San Miguel County Highpoint), Uncomphagre Peak (a 14er, Colorado’s 6th highest mountain, and Hindsale County Highpoint), Mt. Lamborn (Delta County Highpoint), and Leon Peak (Mesa County Highpoint). I bought a lot in Ridgway and celebrated with Sprocket. “I Am #omniten” debuted on YouTube.

Trail selfie

October:

Kristin came to visit and we hiked Courthouse Mountain and visited Telluride. #damselNOTindistress was in full swing. I drove to Joe’s Valley to go bouldering with Josh, Andy, and Steve.

 Courthouse summit selfie

November:

November had a lot more #damselNOTindistress-ing. I finally climbed Precipice Peak. I saw Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell in concert at the Wright Opera House. Had a lovely snowy afternoon walk on Piñon Mesa. I traveled to Connecticut for Lucy and Franz’s wedding.

Late afternoon. Early winter.

December:

I got my first Christmas tree in three years! It was so much fun to make cookies, decorate a bit, and send out Christmas cards.

Bailey's Christmas Bow

Bring it 2015. I’m so excited for my best year yet.

Christmas In Tacoma

When my mom picked me up from the bus station, we headed over to my grandma’s where we helped her make final preparations for the Christmas Eve festivities. After a flurry of table leaf adding, chair moving, Christmas dish unearthing, and rullepolse eating, Mom and I headed home for a Christmas Eve Eve dinner. I pretty much ate yams and stuffing (known in our house as “dressing” to the confusion of my brother-in-law).

Funny faces with Aunty Beth

Middle Nephew was unsure of what to think of gjetost cheese. His dad basically made this exact face as did Littlest Nephew (but he warmed up more quickly and I didn’t get a photo!).

Not so sure about gjetost

Christmas Eve morning I took over my dad’s “run all over Tacoma and procure all the seafood” duties. I even got to snap a selfie with this massive inflatable crab. What seafood store would be complete without one?

Northern Fish Co. Inflatable crab

At home, Mom had been busy making kringle (which doesn’t seem to bake well at altitude, I failed at an attempt earlier in the month):

Kringle

I had a snack of rullepolse and Norvegia cheese. I’ve always been all about the rullepolse and gjetost but when my brother-in-law suggested this combination I had to try it. Kevin, this is simply the best:

Rullepolse and Norvegia cheese

Nons’ house for Christmas Eve was full of all the fun traditions. There was plenty of Catch Phrase played and Times to Remember (Um. Hasboro, when you bought Milton Bradley, you were supposed to make an updated version of this for my family. How about a 1965-2014 version? Thank you very much. Love, the Rahm-Lakin-Gillis family.)

Christmas Eve game time

Santa made his annual appearance to the delight of all:

Santa time

Will (Littlest Nephew) wasn’t so sure what to make of the big guy with the beard but Santa brought presents so he warmed up pretty quickly.

Unsure about the present giving bearded man

Santa visit 2014, Christmas Eve

And for good measure, a Christmas Eve selfie:

Christmas Eve Selfie

Christmas morning, my sister and Kevin managed to hustle their boys out of the house before 10am. I was impressed. Clearly there had been promises of more presents on the way though, Junior (Middle Nephew) could hardly wait for coffee to be poured before tearing into this pile of presents. I had lots of help opening gifts this year.

Holy pile of presents

Cheese ball

Planes

Christmas presents

Then it was on to Christmas Day festivities with my dad’s side of the family. Uncle Mo, as always, was an entertaining elf with assistance from Izzy and Emily.

Christmas Elf Uncle Mo

After dinner and presents, we had two tables of 500 going on. I chose to be partners with my sister since I figured she’d give me the least hard time for being out of practice on the strategy. I’m not a card game fan but I love this funky euchre/hearts like game.

500

It was so so much fun to see everyone! I’m so lucky to have big extended families on both my mom and my dad’s side that are so supportive and loving. Thank you everyone for an awesome Christmas!

Seattle Wanderings

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve spent any time in Seattle. I meant to go up and spend time walking around downtown enjoying the holiday season in the stores and Pike Place. Instead, I did a whole bunch of walking. It was awesome:

Lake Union Trail

Fremont: Center of the Universe

Aurora Bridge

Ship Canal

You know how people that just get you make your life? Yeah.

Selfie time

And then when their roommates bring you coffee in bed?

Coffee in bed

The next morning, the walking continued:

Green Lake, Seattle

I met another fabulous internet friends: Mike of Mike Off The Map. We definitely had a conversation that went like this:

B: “Have you heard about the Bells traverse?”
M: “Yeah, I’ve heard it’s pretty sketchy.”
B: “…”
M: “I’m down…let’s do it!”

I love hanging out with people like this. Move to Colorado anytime Mike. Or stay in Seattle and adventure with me whenever I’m here.

Coffee with @MikeOffTheMap

I also think I’m part elf and love love love making Christmas surprises happen. I located rullapolse (Norwegian pressed lamb) and my family has been missing it at Christmas for the last two years. I had to throw in a couple of Norwegian cheeses for the gastronomic pleasure of all (well mostly me) as well. My 88 year-old grandmother let out the MOST gleeful Christmas scream of the year (seriously, beat ALL the kids, hands down). Made my Christmas.

Gjetost and rullepolse.

Ballard Ship Canal Bridge

I kept on with the walking and wandered south from Ballard to downtown to catch the bus back to Tacoma. 12 miles of walking hither and thither + friends + Christmas Elfing = totally successful trip.

Final Christmas Preparations

The Sunday before Christmas, my mom and I headed out to a large sporting goods store to finish most of her Christmas shopping. She did need to head to downtown Tacoma to pick up a few things at a small toy store there for my nephews so I tagged along again. It just so happened to be across the street from The Matador’s Tacoma location. We shared some awesome el pastor enchiladas and I tried this delicious cucumber jalapeno margarita.

Matador Tacoma

Matador

We made a few more stops in Tacoma (Northern Fish, Metropolitan Market, Ginko Forest Winery and Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.) before I headed over to a friend’s house to catch up while watching the Seahawks game. I even brought appropriate beverages to cheer on another Hawks win:

12th Man Beer

Sunday Sermon

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live only as you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Neil Gaiman

 

 

 

 

 

 

–Neil Gaiman

Norwegian Christmas Cookies

It’s become an annual tradition in my family for all available children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to go over to my grandmother’s house the weekend before Christmas to help make Norwegian Christmas cookies. All of the cookies are a lot of work but everyone looks forward to them every year.

My middle nephew was all over helping out this year:

Junior making fattigman

Emily had way too much fun making krumkake with Aunty:

Emily and Aunty making krumkake

Nons and Junior

Will even got in on the fun making krumkake:

Beth, Emily, Junior and Will

I made frystekake and finally tried it warm…holy cow this stuff is good! (How do you go wrong with powdered sugar, butter, and almonds?)

Frystekake

Fattigman

Home For The Holiday

I left Ridgway way before sunrise and headed home to Tacoma for Christmas. Airport Starbucks in Denver was totally necessary.

Airport Starbucks

I tried to read my book but kept getting distracted with views out the window…and falling asleep.

Ginger ale and kindle

Plane views

Christmas Preparations

When I was growing up Christmas was one of my favorite times of year. I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas and Christmas time. Both of my parents went out of their way to make sure that my sister and I had the best holiday possible. After celebrating in the desert with Bob and company in 2012 and 2013 I was so ready for a cozy winter Christmas. I’m headed back to Washington on Saturday morning for more traditional fun but Sprocket and I have been doing our best to have A Merry Little Christmas all month long.

We went out and got our Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree 2014

We set up the Dickens’ Village houses and made Christmas cookies.

Dickens Village 2014

I’m even back to wearing Christmas bows in my hair (although it’s not quite as big as the ones I used to wear back in high school). This one came magically on a bottle of Bailey’s:

Bailey's Christmas Bow

With each activity, I found myself remembering so many things. Hanging my grandma’s Christmas ornaments, I remembered our annual tradition of decorating my grandma’s tree. I carefully hung tinsel on the tree and remembered my dad insisting on tinsel while Mom (faintly) protested that we found it all over the house.

Grandma's ornament

I made the candy cane cookies, butter mints, sugar cookies, and pepparkakor (Swedish spice cookies) that I grew up making. I remember spending evening in the kitchen baking and watching Christmas movies. We had quite the queue of movies to work through each December.Miracle on 34th Street (the original, in black and white never colorized), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (both the animated and live action versions), and A Charlie Brown Christmas were just the beginning.

Christmas is most seriously my favorite and I’m savoring it this year.

 

How are you getting in the holiday spirit this year?

Christmas Tree 2014

One of the biggest things on my To Do list after Thanksgiving was to acquire a Christmas Tree. After two years of spending the holiday mobile in the deserts of Arizona, I was really excited to head out with Sprocket “to embrace the frosty majesty of the winter landscape and select that most important of Christmas symbols” in our 4-wheel drive sleigh.

Life is really tough when this is your view leaving town to go find a tree:

Tree adventure!

As I got out of the Jeep, I realized that I had neglected to pack the snowshoes but since we were already at the top of Red Mountain Pass, I opted to deal with posthole-ing to find a tree. Sprocket was unimpressed by my attempt to get a photo of him with the tree and took the opportunity for a rest break:

Cutting Christmas tree

Our tree this year came from almost 11,000′ above sea level and is just a beauty.

Christmas Tree, 11,000'

I feel so lucky that this is how I go about obtaining my Christmas cheer:

Christmas tree on Jeep

Christmas Tree 2014

The 3Up Christmas Tree, 2014:

 

Christmas Tree 2014

Sunday Sermon

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Jawaharlal Nehru

 

 

 

 

 

–Jawaharlal Nehru