New Year

Resolutions: Read (or listen to) 40 books and start swimming laps again.

2015 was better than 2014. In 2015, Matthew and I bought a beautiful house in Colorado on the side of a canyon. I got a job promotion, and traveled to some amazing places, such as Prague (for the third time) and Singapore (for the first). Bad things happened too, of course. We got word that Squishface the Cat is not long for this world. And holidays & birthdays were hard this year, it being the second round of them without my Mom. Overall nothing that life doesn’t usually throw at us: loss, death, adventure, elation… Struggling to feel that you have some control in this world, and then in the end (once again) just accepting that you don’t. Not really.

Three trips this year stand out as truly epic. That’s more than usual, for sure.

One: I traveled to Prague for a work conference, and had a wonderful time there. Then decided to tack on 3 days of personal travel in the medieval village of Český Krumlov. The day after the conference landed on the anniversary of my Mom’s passing, and I just didn’t want to be sitting on a plane crammed next to strangers. I wanted to be alone, have some silence, some beauty, and some reflection time. During my 3 days in Krumlov, I strolled by the river, walked the castle grounds, went to art museums, and saw a chamber music concert in the ancient hall attached to my old hotel. It was perfect.

Jesuite Hall concert room & view of my hotel from the outside

 

Two: Carrie and I had the brilliant idea of going to visit Carol & Matthew in Portland for a few days. It was damn amazing. We had the epic vegan food day of my life complete with vegan cheese shop, vegan ice cream, a stop at the Multnomah Whiskey Library, and finally a ridiculously legendary many-course dinner that was universally hailed as ‘the best meal of our lives’ (at Farm Spirit). We also met one of my own personal heroes, vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz, at that same dinner and then chatted with her again the next day when we ran into her at Herbivore Clothing. We saw a feminist art show, and went to Powell’s (of course), and played Munchkin Loot Letter, and ate homemade Gorby bread and breakfast pizza, and got the best polaroid shot taken of us outside brunch (thanks, Leila!). It was just a magnificent trip.

 

 

Three: The road trip through Alaska. Maria and I were scheduled to travel to Fairbanks, Alaska for a conference in October. We made a plan to arrive early in Anchorage, drive through Denali National Park, and end up in Fairbanks just in time for the meeting. It was amazing! We ended up driving the wrong way the first night, which was a random accident with wonderful consequences, as we got to see the seacoast south of Anchorage – some of the prettiest territory I’ve ever laid eyes on. We saw a bald eagle, sunset over a crystal blue lake, mountain goats AND sheep through some nice guide’s zoom scope, and managed to narrowly avoid a snow/ice storm that would have prevented us from going north the first night anyway. The second day we did turn north, drove past Denali in all its glory, and ended at the Denali Dome House bed and breakfast. We visited Denali, did some hiking through lots of snow and met the sled dogs of the park. We went to the 49th State Brewery and saw the Christopher McCandless bus replica used in the Into the Wild movie. The last day we drove a somewhat harrowing five hours through a developing rain/ice storm to finally drop down into Fairbanks by the evening. It was a nice trip full of just the right amount of adventure and improvisation.

CIMG5608

 

 

Overall, I count 2015 as a resounding success. 2016 will have lots to live up to, but it might just squeak ahead. After all, this year will have: hiking Machu Picchu in Peru with friends, work travel to Switzerland, South Africa, and Istanbul, the beginning of renovations on the house (that we finally own!), and lots of other plans and adventures; with (I’m certain) many surprises, both good and bad, along the way.

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