Sunday, January 1, 2017

Goodbye 2016

   Vacation started at 2:00 P.M. Christmas Eve. We didn't go anywhere. We had no plans. We had 9 days to be at home and do whatever we felt like doing.  We spent Christmas Eve with family at my brothers house.. It was loud, chaotic, and just a ton of fun. On Christmas Day  we had a quiet morning with our daughter and then Mandy and I went for a hike in the snow near Mt. St. Helens. 
We hiked the perimeter trail of Coldwater Lake. It was just the two of us and it was a wonderful way to spend Christmas together. The lake itself was formed during the eruption in 1980. It is a place of rare and natural beauty. Except for the hiking trails created by the forest service, the entire monument is untouched by humans.  There are stiff fines for stepping off the trail even if it is only a few feet. 
    Monday was a day of rest. We slept in until 9:00a.m. , made coffee, had breakfast, and stayed in our pajamas most of the day. Our daughter gave me star wars pajamas for Christmas. I was happy to wear them as long as possible.
   Tuesday, Amanda and I left the house early and headed up the mountain with snowmobiles in tow. Old man weather had dumped a foot of snow the previous night . We cut fresh trails through the powder as we climbed higher and higher up the mountain roads.
It was absolutely stunning to be at the top of the hill gazing down at the valley below. We went riding every day over the next 3 days. Each day we rode through fresh snow that had fallen the night before. 
   Thursday night we put the sleds away. We planned a different kind of winter activity for the following day.
   Friday morning I arose at the butt crack of dawn, made coffee , and started cooking breakfast. I woke the girls at 5:30. Soon after, we loaded up the truck and headed south to Mt. Hood for a day on the ski slopes. I haven't skied much in the last 10 years. When I was in my teens and early 20's I went skiing several times a year. I use to be pretty good. That was a long time ago. I must admit I was a little apprehensive as I locked into the binding and headed for the ski lift but it was all for not. Two minutes into my first run of the day it all came back to me. I crashed a couple of times. Nothing serious! The only difference was the struggle it took to get back up. Finally, I just clicked out my bindings and stood up. Why fight it?  By the end of the day I was flying down the mountain like I was a kid again.
It was an awesome day. The weather was perfect. It snowed lightly throughout the day. Occasionally the clouds would clear revealing an Ice Blue Sky. As the sun set I rode the lift to the top of the hill. Mt. Hood glowed pink in the setting sun. Spectacular. 
                        Happy New Year!!
   New Year's Eve was Quiet. Amanda and I had drinks beside the fire as we watched the ball drop in Time Square. Our Pekingese was the most festive of the three of us. We talked about resolutions and the highs and lows of the previous year. It was a peaceful evening.
   After midnight we watched SNL and waited for our daughter to get home from her date. We stayed awake until 2 which is about 4 hours past our bedtime. 
   Today we awoke to a new year ripe with possibilities. The ground was bare and wet. In the two hours that passed since we got up, 6 inches of snow has fallen. The world is beautiful.
   It is 2017 and my last day of vacation. I am dreading my return to work but I am happy my health is still good enough that I can work.  I rarely think about cancer. It has been 10 years and 7 months since my diagnosis. We continue to live life every day in spite of cancer. Life is a blessing.
We  will continue to treasure this wonderful gift. We will continue doing our best to never waste a moment. 2017 is a mystery. It's secrets will take a year to be revealed. No matter what a given day has in store for us, we will live it to the very best of our ability. Todd