Saturday, December 31, 2011

Celebration of 2011

Wow. This year has gone by fast. Seems like yesterday I was moving into a new condo with my two lovely roommates. With the arrival of this new year, I am preparing the big move in February with my best friend who will become my husband come February 4th. Just yesterday, we moved him into the apartment that will be our first home together. Already, I am imagining the breakfasts we will create to kick-start our day, the bagged lunches with a kiss send-off as leaves for work, the intimate dinners going over in great detail the happenings of our day.....

Attempting to get this year off on a good foot (pun intended), I began a major training plan which began with a birthday bash set to get all involved in shape (or at least inspired).

Co-celebrating our birthday which we happily found out lands on the same day, Monica and I invited all of our dear friends to run 'Costco Hill' with us. Working with young children, Monica was inspired to bring along the fire rope from the preschool. It was a serious challenge keeping together on the steep incline, but one we passed with flying colors. Or maybe that was our costumes....

Couldn't forget to 'cut' and share the yummy pink cupcakes waiting for us at the finish line!

We celebrated Leslie's birthday with fine pineapple wine imported from Hawaii. Sweet and refreshing, it was the perfect 'girly' wine for all of us ladies. One bottle was hardly enough! This was a terrific treat I've been gifting all year.

Rita Rose joined the family on February 22nd, the second of my brother's children and first girl in the family since I was born 27 years ago.

She is cute as a button, with an adorable dimple to match her mamma's and such a happy disposition.

Running long mileage on the weekend, I came to discover the delight (and necessity) of Goo. This power pouch of carbohydrates pack a mighty punch of fuel. I felt like super-woman when I would gulp one of these down on the go.

Finally, the day of reckoning came when on the 15th of March I ran my first half-marathon.

My training buddy, Monica, was there to inspire and share in the experience. I finished with around a 10-minute mile split. Not bad for my first time.

The Shamrock'n Half-Marathon's St. Patty's Day theme gave us good reason to dress in our favorite shades of green and shamrock socks.

It was also high-time we celebrated our move to the Manor - a St. Patrick's party drew in friends from all over the area and beyond, including a college friend I hadn't seen since graduation.

Easter provided the opportunity for chocolate hunting. Now who would turn that down? It was a delight watching my nephew spy each and every brightly covered egg hiding in the grass.

Lizzie flew out from Virginia at the end of April to spend a week in California. We packed more into that week than I normally pack into a month. Highlights included taking in ample sea air, jazzy boots made by her aunt, and, of course, many delightful tea times.

As a roommate dropped Lizzie off at the airport, I woke before the sun to catch a bus for my second half-marathon of the year. I left the house well-prepared with my tiny pouch that works like Mary Poppins bag of tricks.

This time Leslie and I decided to tackle the beast. Taking place on one of my favorite trails, the American River Bike Trail, I achieved a PR of 2:05:36.

We hopped in the car after a quick shut-eye to head south for Monica's first full marathon the next day.

With the roadway washed out on Highway 1, they rerouted the race in Big Sur this year as an out-and-back, but she reported breathtaking views the whole way. 

Leslie and I indulged in a pre-race breakfast on the beach and lunch at a quaint French cafe in Carmel.

Girls' Night was a must in May. With our hectic lives and busy schedules, there had hardly been a moment to just relax. With a little dancing, fine food, and hide-and-seek in the dark, it was hard to end the night.

In June, my brother, Caleb, married a wonderful girl, at one time, my roommate. I walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid with her and she will accompany me as I tie the knot next February. The rain couldn't put a damper on their joy-filled day.

A week prior to Caleb's wedding, a friend of mine celebrated his brother's wedding. One evening before it all went down we had a discussion about proper etiquette for asking dates to a wedding if you weren't actually dating anyone. My roommate chimed in with "Well, you should just ask Steve to go with you!" never mind he was the one sitting directly across the table from me. Steve and I looked at each other awkwardly, but, in truth, it was exactly what both of us wanted. Within a week we were dating. I've never been happier about such an awkward moment.

We BBQ'd with Steve's family on the 4th of July in the snow where up in the Sierra Nevadas it had yet to melt. Canoeing on the lake was a viking adventure busting through the ice.

The glories of the Yard House were discovered when one opened nearby. It was always a dilemma selecting from over a hundred beers on tap and their extensive menu that read like a book. We enjoyed many dates there throughout the summer.

Our second annual family vacation to Fort Bragg took place in August. The old farm house was filled with activity from sun-up to sun-down. We took frequent jaunts to the beach, then into town for a libation at the North Coast Brewery. The challenge of meals to fill fifteen was met with flying colors.

August 27th I said 'yes' (well, actually, it was 'of course!') to spending the rest of my life alongside my best friend. We couldn't wait five minutes to share our joy with friends and family.

We took our news up to the cabin over Labor Day weekend where we also celebrated the publication of Steve's book, The Journals of Josiah Fisk, a book based on the journals of his great-great grandfather. We hiked a moutain enjoying lunch at the top with his brother and sister-in-law, Eric and Lindy.

Our days filled with wedding planning, we would take moments and steal away to a coffee shop or the local soda fountain to de-stress and talk of other things for a time. (Absolutely essential for anyone getting married!!)

And Autumn just wouldn't have been complete without a visit to Apple Hill for cider and apple donuts. We savoured every bite.

Foodbuzz sponsored an exciting and delicious festival for their food bloggers in San Francisco. I was able to attend for the first time this November, where I was introduced to many local food producers and networked with food bloggers from around the world.

Turkey Day we took time to reflect on many blessings of the past year and feasted on a cooperative meal. I contributed pies, combining traditional with novel.

Steve's and my family joined together at the end of November to celebrate our engagement. It was a wonderful day allowing them to meet and mingle before the big day. A trough of drinks, a spread of tasty morsels, and even a exhibit of homebrewing by Eric, accompanied the celebration. (Which we just enjoyed over Christmas.)

To get in the Christmas spirit, a trip to the annual Cornish Christmas Festival in Grass Valley was a must. Steve prepared gluhwein for us to carry up the hill, which we sipped to keep warm while munching on pasties. The boys took a moment to enjoy their pipes in the cool, crisp December air.

One of my brothers became very ill in mid-December and was hospitalized, but, thankfully, was able to come home for Christmas. He stayed with Steve to convalesce about a week, during which we enjoyed many meals with great conversation as he regained his strength. One afternoon, he helped me prepare candy cane cookies for Christmas while we watched John Wayne's "The Three Godfathers."

Currently, I sit on the couch at Steve's parents' cabin looking out over a frozen lake, waiting for snow and the beginning of a new year. I look forward to embarking on the adventure of this new year. Many goals of this year were met, many still in progress, a few redefined.

I have begun to write down ideas for this year, including plans for this blog. I was able to reignite my cooking, writing, and styling these past few months. For that, I am so grateful. I'm excited to learn more over this next year about food writing and new cooking/baking techniques. And to share with you, dear readers.

Wishing one and all a very happy and blessed new year!!