Saturday, December 31, 2011

End-of-year roundup

2011 has definitely been a year of adventure and surprises. The hands-down coolest and most unexpected thing was learning to scuba dive, and deploying my new skills in the waters of Honduras. The most shocking/saddest thing is a tie in three parts, is all about death, and that's enough said about that for this post.

 Slot canyon hike in New Mexico
I traveled a lot - to New Mexico with friends, Los Angeles, Florida, Honduras, Greece (yes, on miles), Portland, Ashland, and Yosemite (my sixth visit in five years - go me!).
 Yosemite - August 2011
I didn't hike too much this year: once in New Mexico, once in wine country, and a couple of hikes while at Yosemite (I'm detecting a high altitude trend!). I sort-of camped (as in, slept in a tent on the ground, but didn't hike or have a fire) at a bluegrass weekend event. The garden is limping along still.

Regular events:
- Lunch group wrapped up this year, after a four-year run (April 2007 til about June 2011). It was nice, and taught me a lot about cooking, but I don't know if I want to resume or not. I'm leaning toward not.
- My wine group is going semi-strong. I think it started in June 2008 and I can't honestly say I've absorbed much wine knowledge, but I've gotten to make some super fun desserts and other food offerings, and have had the experience of hosting a couple of times, so that's lovely.
- I still greatly enjoy participating in pub hunts and longer-form treasure hunts on a regular basis!
- This summer's Ashland trip was the fifth and continues to be a pleasure; my December Portland visit marked the 16th version of a cookie party there!

It's easy to forget I ever learned to scuba dive, and already my fledgling skills have shriveled to the point I'd probably want to take a refresher before diving much - but whenever I really think about it and recall the experience, I SO want another tropical diving vacation!
See? I look good in tropical splendor
I also went to cheese school a few times, learned how to process and filter beeswax, joined SFMOMA and got some culture, and got in another round of sea chanties. I almost-completely gutted and re-populated my bedroom. I infused some booze. I started to really get into bluegrass and am looking forward to volunteering at 2012's SFBOT for the fourth year.

And oh yeah, I turned 40. Honestly, with everything else going on it didn't seem like that big a deal! I was so grateful my Toronto friend made the trip to celebrate, and a local friend hosted a barbecue (featuring my favorite dish that she makes, and some killer sliders her hubby made!) (also featuring a hi-LAR-ious hot flash fan and other Turning Forty decorations!).

What's missing?
So, what didn't I do this year? I didn't volunteer too much - aside from a few gigs at February's SFBOT I don't think I did any. My friend/neighbor and I didn't do a BBQ series this year and I got asked about it a few times. I didn't host people at my place very often - I hosted a dinner in February, and a pre-concert get-together in December, and had guests stay a few nights, but that's really it.

So for 2012 I shall: volunteer more (already set to volunteer at The Crucible in January, and plan to do SFBOT in February); host people at my place more; have a few more BBQs in the warm weather months.

Monday, December 12, 2011


One of my favorite December traditions is an annual party I attend in Portland. It started as a cookie decorating party in 1996, and we've held some version of it every year since, making 2011's the 16th! That's mind boggling.

Counting me, seven of the adults in the picture have been there since the beginning. I've been to six weddings of people in this picture, helped name one of the kids, and got to meet one of the babies on the day of her birth! I feel super lucky to have this richness in my life. Hurrah for holiday traditions!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


December, at last and so soon. It's been quite a year, but I won't get too cocky just yet - there are still 24 days left!
I always have a little trouble with photos for my winter month selections - I'm a traditionalist and think the pictures should at least be winterish even if I don't see that kind of weather much. Add in a desire for a Christmaslike December shot and it's tricky!

This month's picture is the very last of my New Zealand shots. I took it in a cemetery in Rotorua, in the tiny village of Ohinemutu.