Two Different Ways to Spend January 1, 2014

21 01 2014

I can’t really tell you a lot about this next adventure.  Truthfully, when Nathan said, ‘do you want to go hike up that mountain to the flag pole?  It’s about a 5 hour return trip,’ I thought to myself…..I could go on a hike and start this New Year off right by hiking on January 1st OR I could enjoy the last day of Arizona sunshine and soak up some sun while I’m reading a book in the backyard…… Tough choice, kind of….but not really.

So, I opted to spend a day reading in the sun and getting tan lines on January 1, 2014.

Nathan and Jonathan went hiking up this:

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There’s not exactly a path – just old waterfall trails where they had to scale up large boulders and skid down slippery shale rocks.  But the views were worth it.

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Every year a group of Hillcrest Bay folks take on the challenge of the hike and put a new flag up.  I have to say, seeing the flag whipping in the wind from down below, it looks a lot more professional than the reality of the flag pole from the top.  They hadn’t gotten to the 2014 trip yet…

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They almost made it through unscathed.  But then came the attack of the prickly pear.

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It took them 4 hours to climb up and walk a round-about way back down.  In that time, I read a book, ate Christmas leftovers and soaked up the sun to get a shade or two darker.  Who had the better day?

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Fire & Ice

1 01 2013

There’s just something about twinkly lights at night that changes the whole atmosphere.   Whistler Village during the day, covered in a layer of fresh powder with buildings rimmed with icicles, beautiful in a pristine and untouchable way.

Whistler Village at night, complete with moonlight reflecting off the snow, colourful lights twinkling between the branches and a combination of fire and ice that just seems to work?

Magical.

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Olympic Plaza at Night

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Whistler’s Fire & Ice show at Whistler Village’s Skier’s Plaza.  Every Sunday night (Dec. – Mar.) the fire dancers congregate, the Ring of Fire is erected and a few crazy skiers and snowboarders barrel down the mountain to jump through that Ring of Fire, to everyone’s delight.

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Whistler!

31 12 2012

Sometimes I forget about the magical atmosphere of a Winter Wonderland.  The past few years we’ve done a pretty good job at avoiding snow.  Last year we spent the majority of December in California beach hopping and for a brief moment, looking for snow at Big Bear (which never appeared), and settled into a wet winter in Seattle.  

This year we took a trek out to Whistler.  Despite growing up in Vancouver Island and spending years in Vancouver, I have never gone to Whistler in the Winter.  And there’s just something about being in a mountain/ski village that says “Welcome to Winter”, “Merry Christmas” and also, “Why not have a drink, or two, or three…..you’re on holiday right?”

Whistler

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Since Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, there have been a couple additions.  Both in Whistler Village and at the top of Whistler Mountain.

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Olympic Rings at Whistler Olympic Plaza

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Olympic Rings at Whistler Mountain Peak

Cold noses, cute hats, and good ol’ Canadian Ceasars, fun times were had in Whistler.  Despite the fact that we were neither skiers nor snowboarders, we put in a good effort with a few good snowball fights.  I believe the lesson here was, don’t challenge a Canadian to a snowball fight….especially if you’re from Texas and don’t know what to do with snow (Jonathan!).   We took the gondola to the Tube Park and spent a couple hours night tubing with christmas carols blaring and perfect snowflakes falling around us.  And completed our winter weekend with a Peak 2 Peak Gondola ride, making the 30 minute ride up to the Whistler Mountain Peak, and trying to stay out of everyone’s way as we took the next gondola ride to the Blackcomb Peak and then back to Whistler and down to the village.

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Peak 2 Peak Gondola Ride

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Blackcomb

We experienced a ton of fresh snow, but the snow clouds cleared for our drive down the mountain and we were treated to some amazing views.

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Loved experiencing a true snowy Winter Weekend, although my coordination may be better suited for a summer climate, but overall, it just felt good to be back in Canada!

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True Canadian Spirit!





Better Late Than Never…

9 01 2011

Merry Christmas!

This year the Christmas celebrations started in NYC and we bounced around like ping pong balls between all of the tourists taking photos of themselves in the Forever 21 interactive billboard in Times Square (us included) and staring in awe of the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza.  But, amidst all of the holiday craziness we found a corner of peaceful holiday cheer…set up under the Manhattan Bridge.

And with 20 mile/hour winds the Brooklyn Bridge Park was deserted, which gave us a great opportunity to take in the skyline sights.

The “Christmas Day” holiday cheer found us in Stamford, Connecticut.  One brightly lit Christmas tree, two Canadian cats on a catnip high, three rounds of Christmas mimosas (for some), 4 hours of turkey baking, 5 (slightly burnt) decorated gingerbread men…..6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (and beyond) colourfully wrapped christmas presents.

It was a full house of Christmas family cheer.  And of course Christmas isn’t complete without a little friendly competition and trash talking, which we took every opportunity to partake in during our first ever Christmas BAKE OFF and JUST DANCE 2 DANCE OFF. Let the record show that I wowed the judges with my chocolate chip cookies but we all got our butts kicked by an 11 year old at Just Dance 2 – although what the girls lost in points, we made up for in style!





A Christmas Miracle

31 12 2009

We spent Christmas in Parker, Arizona aka my place of ultimate tranquility.  

Every day something random would occupy all of our attention.  One day it was toy helicopters (the family seriously doubts my flying ability, I believe the words ‘kamikaze pilot’ were mentioned once or twice).   Another day we focused on all of the Christmas presents that have been given in the past, and the phrase, ‘It’s the thought that counts’ became the token phrase of the day. 

On one specific day I looked out the window and saw something fluttering on the ground – I thought it was a leaf.  Until I looked closer, and then I freaked out, ‘hummingbird down!  hummingbird down!’  There was a hummingbird flailing on the ground under the feeder.  It looked like his wing was broken, sprained or dislocated.  We brought him inside and did what any other helpful person would do – we took pictures of him. 

Nathan was ready to “end it”.  You know what I mean.   Before we could resort to that, we took him to the front yard near the rosemary bushes and left him while we went for a walk.  When I got back, the feeder had been brought down to him and he had been placed on it.  Although done with the best of intentions, there was no way he could feed where he was placed.  So, being the lover of hummingbirds that he is, Nathan’s dad went out to help our little friend out.  He moved him to a better position, and with a quick drink of the feeder, all of a sudden the hummingbird took flight.  It’s a Christmas Miracle!  For the rest of the day all we heard was, ‘These hands have healing powers!’





Dressed for the Holidays

10 12 2009

Dressed up for the holiday season, New York City was decked out in all of its glittery refinement during my visit last week.   The annual Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting took place on Wednesday, December 2nd, and although I didn’t watch the lighting itself (because it was pouring down rain) I did catch a glimpse of it as I drove past at 11pm that same evening.  Surprise, surprise – the streets were still bustling with people.  

It was a treat to experience New York during the holiday season and as I should have expected; the city definitely dressed to impress.  I couldn’t help but notice that not only does the city string lights on the trees that line the streets, but every single branch and twig of these trees is lighted up so it does in fact look like a tree made of lights, rather than a tree with lights on it. 

Even though I’ve been to New York more times than I can count during the past year, it seems like every time I go the city renews itself in my eyes.  There are so many different neighbourhoods to explore with such different vibes.  This trip was all about Chelsea (The Meatpacking District) and Tribeca.  We made our ritual jaunt back to Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in Tribeca to visit our favourite bartender, Ralph.   We couldn’t stay away from the wine, or the thick slabs of Canadian Bacon, and ended up back there for lunch a few days later.   As we explored The Meatpacking District, and watched the drunken revelry that ensues each weekend, we found a tiny little restaurant (just steps away from our friend’s apt) called Pad Thai (www.padthaibox.com).  In this little restaurant on 8th ave & W 16th street we found a tasty little treat of homemade coconut ice cream with sticky rice.  This treat was so tasty with its blend of flavours and textures that we ordered a second one as soon as we finished the first.  Talk about gluttony.