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Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's Good in the Hood!

I'd been itching to get up on the mountain since mid-November, when the snow started falling.  After a couple of failed weekend attempts, due to bad weather (high winds), I was dying to get my skiing fix.  Last Friday, the planets aligned and I got my chance! 



Friday was a sunny, clear, cold day.  It had been really cold in Portland, so I was worried that it might be a cold day for skiing up on the mountain.  But I packed my warmest gear, and a thermos of hot tea, and hit the road!  I made good time getting up to the mountain.  The views at White River Sno-Park were so nice, that I took the time to stop and to take a couple of photos.  The photo above is of Mt. Hood and the snow-covered White River.




Here's a close up of Mt. Hood.  It's nice to see the mountain with some snow, but it still needs a little bit more.



I pulled into Mt. Hood Meadows parking lot, and there was hardly anyone there.  I donned all my gear, grabbed my telemark skis, and hit the lifts.  Although the temperature was cold, the sunshine helped give the allusion of warmth and I wasn't freezing.  Trying to do tele-turns helped warm me up quick!

On a sunny day, Meadows has the best views from its higher lifts.  Above is an example of the great views.  You can see Mt. Jefferson and some of the other Cascade peaks against the sky.




They had the Cascade lift open.  It is the higest lift at Meadows, and it is often closed in the winter due to high winds and low visibility.  I felt like it was my lucky day -- no crowds, bluebird day, and the Cascade was open!



Here's what the main run down from the Cascade lift looks like.  Some nice moderate cruiser runs.  Meadows had many of the runs nicely groomed.  If it's a powder day, I stay off the groom, but since it was my first day out this season, and the off-piste was pretty icy, I stayed on the groomers all day.



Sadly, Heather Canyon was not open.  I didn't look like they had enough snow yet, and what was there looked pretty icy.  I'll ski Heather on a powder day, but when the snow is Cascade concrete I stay away!



Here's a view down into Heather Canyon.  It is a beautiful  (but steep!) place to ski into.



I skied down Shooting Star Ridge, which is an excellent cruising run.  It is a very good place to practice tele-turns (and parallel turns too).  About this time, my legs were complaining.  It was time to head back to my car for lunch, and change into my alpine skis.  After telemarking all morning, alpine skiing seemed like a piece of cake!



I had so much fun on Friday, but boy did I feel it on Saturday!  However, my friend Kim wanted to take her kids up on Sunday and invited me to come along.  I'm never one to miss an opportunity to ski, so I downed some Motrin and was back on the slopes Sunday morning.  The mountain had received an inch of so of snow overnight (although the snow phone claimed it was 4 inches!).  The trees were all snow-covered and looked beautiful.



Here's my good friend and long-time ski buddy Kim.  She was bundled up because the wind was blowing hard and it was really, really cold!  It was colder on Sunday than it was Friday.  The white cloud that is over the top of Mt. Hood is due to blowing snow on the upper reaches of the mountain.



I'm so bundled up, I'm almost unrecognizable!  Boy it was a cold day!



Here's a cool view of the snow blowing over the top of the mountain.  

The day before, three climbers got lost up on Mt. Hood, and throughout the day Sunday we watched a couple of helicopters and an airplane circling the mountain searching for the climbers.  One climber's body was found, but the other two have not been located yet.   What a tragedy.

Even with the somber news of the climbers, I still enjoyed my ski weekend on the Hood.  I had two bluebird days, and skied until my legs said "enough!"  It was a good way to begin the year.  Here's hoping for another good ski season.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thanksgiving

We had a quiet relaxing Thanksgiving weekend at our home.  Denise came home from college on Wednesday night accompanied by her new pets --- two guinea pigs and a bunny!  The guinea pigs are her roommate's animals, but the bunny is Denise's. 

I spent Thanksgiving morning running in a "turkey trot" race at the zoo.  It started pouring rain the minute the race started, and didn't let up until I'd crossed the finish line.   We ran down a big hill, and then turned around and ran back up it.  I earned my pumpkin pie that day!  We finished the race by running through the zoo, which was interesting (I've never run through a zoo before!) but I was cold and wet and ready to be done.  It seemed like the finish line would never come.




But I got home, dried off, and warmed up.  Then it was time to stick the turkey in the oven.  Once the turkey was close to being done, Denise and I sprang into action, making the side dishes.  Here is Denise making the stuffing (we cheat and make Stove-Top!).  As you can see, she is just thrilled to have her mother taking photos.




Here's Roger getting ready to carve the turkey.  Dinner was great, and we all ate way too much.  But hours later, we all thought we had to have a piece of pie (and then my stomach hurt for awhile!)




Here's Denise with her bunny "Bob"



Another shot of Bob the bunny.  He is a very cute little guy!



Denise with all three of her critters.  Bear was very jealous of the three little guys. We had to keep their cage in a separate room with the door closed.

The weekend went by way too fast, and before we knew it, I was taking Denise and her animals back to school.  But we had more guests for the weekend.  On Sunday, my parents stopped by for a quick visit.  I got to spend the day Monday with them, and Tuesday they headed home to S. Dakota.  I can't believe it, but I did not get any photos of them while they were here!  I guess I was too busy spending time with them and didn't think of it.  Oh well, next time.

So now that Thanksgiving is over, it's time for the madness of Christmas to begin.  Christmas seems to always creep up on me.  One of these days I'll be really organized, and actually get some shopping done before Thanksgiving (well, its a good thought.....)

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Visiting Cody in Missoula

In early November, I made a quick weekend trip to Missoula to visit Cody. Cody had left some things at our house from this summer that he now really needed (like his down comforter - essential for winters in Montana!) So I loaded up the car with everything Roger and I could think of that Cody might need, and headed down the highway bound for Montana!




Cody now has his own apartment in Missoula all to himself. He's very happy to have his own place, and has been enjoying cooking in his kitchen. The first morning I was there, Cody made me a great breakfast. Here he is pulling the muffins out of the oven.




We took a walk into downtown Missoula, so I could visit my favorite coffee (tea) shop. This is a view of the old Missoula train station and the Clark Fork River from the bridge.




And here's another view of the Clark Fork River. It is winter here now - the trees are bare and everything is brown. It was cold out too!



Cody enjoys his hot chocolate on the bridge, while waiting for me to finish taking photos.



Cody made me an apple pie, and made some "mini-pies" with the extra apples and crust.


video

Here's a fun video I took with one of my cameras of Cody making bread. It's a little blurry at first, but it gets better!

We made butternut squash soup and homemade bread for dinner, and it was delicious!

The weekend went by way too fast, and before I knew it I needed to hit the road for home. But it was great to be able to spend some time with my son!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Halloween Trip to Cincinnati

Halloween is just not as fun anymore around our house.  With both our kids gone, we have no excuse to celebrate this holiday.  Lately, our Halloweens consist of waiting for the few kids that come to our door, holding off the dog when they ring the doorbell, and eating a bunch of the candy meant for the trick-or-treaters.  So this year I decided to do something different.  I journeyed to Cincinnati to visit my brother Ron and his family.





My brother and his wife have three boys - Thomas, and twins Nicholas and Christopher.  They totally enjoy Halloween, so I knew I was in for a good time.   When I arrived the boys treated me like a celebrity - all three of them wanted my undivided attention.   Here we are reading one of Thomas's books.





First on the agenda was a trip to the local pumpkin patch to get the boys some pumpkins.  The pumpkin patch was out in the country - very picturesque!  And the weather was really nice that day.  Here Ron's wife Tonya is showing the boys a great specimen. 



The pumpkin patch had all kinds of unusual pumpkins and gourds.  Thomas found a large blue pumpkin.  I'd never seen a blue pumpkin before!





The twins help out by pulling the wagon full of pumpkins to our car.




The leaves were fallin' all over the neighborhood.  The boys had a great time jumping in the leaf piles.




Here's Thomas enjoying a roll in the leaves.




And here's all three boys in a big pile of leaves.




Ron took me on a hike in a nearby county park. The trees were all in full color, and we walked along a stream with some waterfalls.  It was a beautiful place.




Another view of the waterfall with the fall colors.




The twins each found a favorite leaf from the many leaves on the ground.




A leaf for Aunt Linda!




A fine example of the many colorful trees at the park.




Then it was time to carve the pumpkins.  Anyone want a bite?




Ron scoops out the "pumpkin guts" as the boys look on.




The twins are having fun with the "pumpkin guts."




Thomas and Christopher admire their jack-o-lanterns.




Christopher shows off his jack-o-lantern.




The boys are ready to go trick-or-treating.




And they're off!  The boys were so excited to trick-or-treat, they ran from house to house.  Well, they did until their buckets got too heavy from all the candy!  Then they slowed down.




After the boys were done trick-or-treating, it was time to admire the haul!  Thomas is checking out all the goodies he received.





The twins are lining up all of their candies by type.  They thought of the candy more as toys than something to eat.  I'm sure that will change!

It was fun to experience Halloween with little kids again.  I had a great time, and will have to visit someone with young kids again next Halloween!