Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome, 2014

I confess that I was happy to see the end of 2013. It was not the best year of my life, but it was certainly full of opportunities to learn and grow.

We celebrated Christmas with our family/extended family/friends at our house - about 30 of us - sharing appetizers and dessert. The over-17 crowd played "Cards Against Humanity" after all of the young ones had gone home, and we gathered around a bonfire on the beach when it was dark and very late.
Welcoming friends and family into our home is one of my favorite things to do, and this year, we had the pleasure of having Andrea and Mike spend the night here. Next morning, we made pancakes for breakfast and invited friends to join us. It was a great way to keep the Christmas spirit going.

It's especially fun when David brings his friends from college home to join us. We hosted dinner on New Year's Eve before the young men took off to meet friends in Seattle. After New Year's, we packed the car and headed up to Whistler, B.C. with my brother, sister-in-law and nephew for four days of cold-weather fun. I'm not a skier, but I have grown to love visiting Whistler.
View of Blackcomb mountain from the condo
We rent a condominium which has three or four bedrooms, depending upon the size of our crowd, and the skiers have a blast. I hike or walk through the lowlands and soak up the quiet. We go out for dinner, play games (more "Cards Against Humanity"), talk, watch movies and just enjoy being together. It's a special treat to spend time with our nephew, Phil, who lives in California.
View between Blackcomb & Whistler mountains
My job is to drive everyone to and from the mountain each day. Sometimes this involves four trips, but I don't mind at all; I get to drive my SIL's snazzy car (even though I'm not a car aficionado, and only drive at about 25 MPH in the village - it's still fun).

David asked me to ride the gondola up and meet them for lunch on the mountain on their last skiing day; the lift tickets are pricey, but I was delighted that he asked, so I went to the base of Whistler mountain and rode the gondola to mid-mountain, where the huge day-lodge offers all kinds of lunch options. It was gorgeous, and I loved the holiday atmosphere. There were people of every age, from tiny toddlers to folks past retirement age, and from everywhere you can imagine - Whistler attracts an international crowd.

Everyone is in such a good mood at a ski resort - everyone except Gregg, who was mad at me for insisting (after years of respectful, polite asking) that he finally buy and wear a ski helmet. But we got over that little hurdle, and all is well.
View from the lodge, mid-mountain
There is a gondola which travels from Whistler mountain to Blackcomb mountain over a deep valley. It is a breathtaking ride, and totally worth the price of the ticket. I had never ridden the Peak-to-Peak before, so David took time away from skiing to ride over and back with me. What a nice guy!
View from the Peak-to-Peak gondola - Fitzsimmons Creek, between Whistler & Blackcomb peaks
We enjoyed excellent meals in restaurants, both casual and casual-elegant.
At the Rim Rock Cafe
At the Whistler Brew House
The day after we returned, I went to the University of Washington's Medical School and spoke on a panel to 2nd-year students about family-centered care. I had the privilege to serve on another panel two days later, focusing on health-care providers' grief. It is challenging and invigorating work, but I am happy to do it.

Now, I'm shredding old papers and getting my house in order. 2014 is off to a happy beginning for us, and I hope the same is true for you!


ChiTown Girl said...

Wow, David looks like a MAN with that new facial hair! He's so very handsome!!

Glad to hear you enjoyed your holidays :)


Elizabeth said...

I've missed you, Karen, and I'm glad to be caught up. I'm also glad that you talked sense into your son and that he is wearing a helmet.

Karen Gerstenberger said...

Thank you, Elizabeth - it's good to be back. By the way, it was Gregg (husband) who didn't wear a helmet - David always has worn one (thank goodness)!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I'm so sorry that 2013 was a bad year for you….but hey, lets put that behind us. 2014 is looking great from this post!!! I love all the traveling and family time that you get to enjoy; what a gift. And you are a 'speaking' queen these days. SO proud of you my friend!!!!!
Oh, and if you didn't love Gregg and David so much, you'd not care about a helmet. SO there BOYS!!! :)
Happy 2014!