Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

View from the Peak to Peak Gondola, Whistler, B.C.

Happy New Year!

We spent Christmas Eve with my family at my parents' house. It was wonderful to see our nephew, Phil, who now lives in San Francisco, as well as my brother, Jim, and sister-in-law Caroline.

Christmas morning was spent here at home, and in the afternoon, we drove to Gregg's brother's house, to celebrate with the Gerstenbergers and our extended family. My parents joined us there, as they are always included in the Gerstenberger Christmas celebrations.

I love being part of a large family.

We got to visit and catch up with sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. It was wonderful to be together. We thought of those who weren't there, particularly Katie and Signe. I pray that they are together, celebrating with the many Kvinslands who have also gone ahead, including Auntie Bernice and Grandma K.

The day after Christmas, we left for a brief vacation in Whistler, B.C. with my brother and sister-in-law. We rented a condo near the base of Blackcomb Mountain. Gregg, David, Jim and Caroline are all skiers. Three of them are AVID skiers.
I have never been on skis in my life.

At the age of 50, I was talked into taking a lesson.

Here I am at the base of Whistler Mountain with David and Gregg, just before I joined my class.

Here is my class after lunch, on the deck of the Whistler Mountain Roundhouse. Our instructor, Elisabeth, is at left. She was awesome. In the class were two young ladies from Germany, who are both au pairs for American families. Two of the students were immigrants to Canada from South Africa. One student was from China, and the other was from Ohio. It was a very nice group of people, and we went from not knowing how to put on our skis to riding up the "magic carpet," skiing down the gentle slope, and linking turns. It was a great day! (Hint: I'm the shortest one in the photo)

It was so much fun that I decided to go ahead and take a second lesson the next day. This was the class, Level 2, after lunch on the same deck at the Roundhouse. Fortunately, the sweet German girls were in my class again; they made it more fun, and encouraged me. In this class, there were two Australians and the rest were Americans, from as far away as Florida.

On the second day, we reviewed some aspects of the first lesson, and then took it up a notch:  to the chair lift. This was a big advancement, from not knowing how to buckle my rented ski boots! And the second day was icy, so it was much harder to feel in control. I learned how to fall, and how to get up. I learned how much "muscle" simply stopping can take, when you are having trouble holding an edge. I learned that I don't like going fast yet, and that I will not want to ski in icy conditions, unless I have much more skill and experience.

The second day was much harder and less fun than the first, but looking back, I have a sense of accomplishment for trying, and for getting as far along as I did. The teaching was excellent, and the groups of students couldn't have been nicer. Everyone we met at Whistler seemed happy to be there, employees and guests alike. It's an amazingly beautiful place. I think the Olympians are going to have a blast there!

Gregg, David and Caroline, about to start down the "Symphony Express."

Jim, ready to go.

Caroline on the Gondola.

David on the Peak-to-Peak Gondola.

Trees in the village at night.

We had a delightful dinner at a French restaurant. Thanks, Kappa & Grandma!

Just before we headed home, I caught a flu-bug, and have spent most of the past couple of days in bed. I'm sorry to say that New Year's Eve was spent on the couch, watching "The Tudors," instead of partying with our friends. Gregg stayed home with me, and David went to the party without us. Today I am starting to feel better, but missing another party, so as not to infect anyone else.

I hope you had a Happy New Year's celebration, and wish you a healthy and Happy New Year!


Busy Bee Suz said...

I am so happy that you guys had a nice family vacation. I am PROUD and envious of your skiing instruction and for JUST trying it. I always said I wanted to learn...but now, i am afraid of breaking a hip. :)
Sorry you are not feeling good and have missed some fun times. The 'bugs' always come at the wrong times!!!!
Take care...hugs to you and Happy New year to you and your wonderful family.

Renee said...

Oh Karen, we got your package yesterday. I love it and the pictures of you are my favourite. It is on my fridge with Elizabeth's family picture.

These look wonderful and you are brave. Way to go.

Jacquie knows that I will be giving her the book tomorrow and she is quite looking forward to bringing her mind somewhere else.

I love you Karen.

Happy New Year.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Karen said...

You ARE a daring girl! Good for you for starting the new year by trying something new. Very impressive.

We have wonderful memories of Christmas 2006 in Whistler, when our little world was still right. We will cherish them forever. Sounds like you made some very special memories, too.

Wishing you a very special new year of comfort, joy and peace. Thank you for your friendship this past year. It has meant a lot to me.

AnnDeO said...

Yay for Karen! That is how I felt trying surfing when I was in Oregon this past summer. Now you must come to Utah for the 'greatest snow on earth' It is fluffy white with a good grip because of the lake effect; rarely icy. We would have so much fun. Happy New Year I hope you are feeling better.

ChiTown Girl said...

I am SO impressed with you!! I only attempted to ski once, in high school. It was actually a band trip (see, we did SOME stuff that wasn't geeky!) and I only went because my "boyfriend" (who was in band, but also on the football team - can you say hunk?!) wanted to go. I was never so miserable in my life! I thought I was going to die, and never made it off the bunny slope!

I hope you feel better soon. Happy New Year to you and the gang!

Elizabeth said...

Way to go, Karen! I have not been on skis since I was fifteen years old, and I'm not 46. I was hoping to never, ever go on skis but now I'm wondering...

Happy New Year to you!

Anonymous said...

I'm proud of how brave you are, for trying something new, like SKIING! Im happy that you had so much fun on the first day, and that there were such nice people to experience the days with :) (you looked so cute in your ski gear!!) I've only been skiing a couple times- It's VERY flat in Ohio, but from what I remember is certainly isn't easy!

Happy New Year, Karen :) Hope you're all happy, and back to 100% health very soon!

Kay said...

Good for you. I would be petrified to try to ski. And look at you... you did it! I'm so proud of you! : )

Sounds like you had a delightful time over your getaway. Love it. Hate that you ended up with the flu. So sad that you missed out on some fun. Hope you feel better soon!

Renee said...

Are you feeling better yet dear friend.

Love Renee xoxo

Daisy said...

You're a brave one, Karen! It's definitely always gonna be the bunny slopes for me. (I'm 50, too.)

I've been to Whistler but it was during the summer.