Wednesday, January 14, 2015

saying goodbye to 2014

2014 was full of ups and downs (and some pretty big downs at that), so it has been quite a learning experience for both of us. I was ready to say good riddance and move on to 2015 until I started working on this and realized that despite the tough moments, 2014, overall, was still a really exciting year full of new and positive experiences. In no particular order, here are 2014's key events. 

1) In February Pat had to leave for NBA All Star in New Orleans, and I decided to meet him at the end of his trip so that we could spend a few days together exploring the area. It was definitely a unique adventure. Though still a large city, this was my first experience with anything in the South so there was a big leap in terms of the culture from what I am used to. I loved taking in the history of the city as well as the old architecture and trying out some new dishes, like fried catfish prepared several different ways and alligator cheesecake (yes, you heard that right). Sandwiches at Butcher and late night visits to Cafe DuMonde for beignets and coffee with chicory were also a definite highlight, along with the famed music scene on Frenchman Street and throughout the Quarter. One thing that shocked me about NOLA (aside from the prices) was the fact that everything, I mean everything, came fried or sautéed, including the vegetables. I was in dire need of some fresh water and a salad by the time we got home. All in all the trip was a great experience, and I hope to return some day. (Parts I, II, and III)

[[ jackson's square. travel buddies. lafayette cemetery no. 1. big branches and spanish moss in audubon park. beautiful southern homes in the garden district. the dirty and stormy mississippi in person. ]] 

2) In June, me and Pat met his dad and stepmom in Walla Walla, Washington for a long weekend of wine tasting throughout the region. The wine was amazing and we had a great time exploring the area (pretty thoroughly I might add despite the overwhelming amount of tasting rooms and vineyards to choose from). By far my favorite stop was to K Vintners (Charles Smith) for both the wines and the aesthetic of their brand. On the last day we decided to take off a little early and make a pit stop in Hood River, which is quickly becoming one of our new favorite places. We also enjoyed some delicious meals throughout the trip, and still have a fully stocked wine fridge. (Parts I, II, and III)

[[ vine after vine. k, our favorite stop. grape vines up close. multitasking. in the middle of nowhere and loving it. taking a break in a beautiful garden. ]]

3) Work this year has been insane both with new projects we have taken on and travel for both me and Pat. While he went to New Orleans (twice - for NBA All Star, and Wrestlemania), Phoenix, Vancouver BC (for Heritage Classic) and Portland (for the MLS All Star Game), I went to Telluride Colorado twice for a new hotel property we picked up this year. Though the workload has been pretty overwhelming for me over the past few months, the trips to Colorado were amazing. Telluride is such a unique small town in a beautiful area completely surrounded by mountains. We went toward the end of the summer season, as well as in the fall as the leaves were beginning to change colors (golden season they call it) and both times the landscape was drastically different. I would love to visit in the winter when everything is covered in snow, and am definitely bringing Pat with me next time! (I have not sat down to do these posts quite yet, but hope to get to them very soon since I took a ton of great pictures).

[[ looking down at telluride. mountain village. pandora mine on my solo hike. at the top of imogene pass looking in to utah. taking it all in on our morning adventure. the gondola never gets old. ]]  

4) We spent most of 2014 really settling in to our new life in Bend, which also included a lot more local hikes and adventures. We went to Smith and the Obsidian Flow with my family, took several more tips up Pilot Butte, revisited Tumalo Falls, hiked Black Butte for the first time and explored the Metolius River with the Dinans, visited Bachelor and Wikiup Reservoir in the summer, and more... Man I love it here.

[[ having a black butte on black butte. black butte trail summit. the metolius at wizard falls fish hatchery. tumalo falls. surprise snow at the obsidian flow. smith rock. taking it all in. from the summit of pilot butte. family at the top of misery ridge. watching the sunrise over bend. wikkiup reservoir with the pups. our first big snow together in bend! 

5) As usual, there were some pretty great parties in 2014, like celebrating NYE with friends in Bend, Halloween at Colleen's place in Portland, my birthday dinner at Pine Marten Lodge, and most notably our epic Brewfest weekend in celebration of Pat's bday (and mine). :)

[[ nye photobooth fun. brewfest day 1. brewfest day 2 (and the introduction of the mustache glasses). brewfest day 3. pat's bday shirt and new cornhole set. the group. addy macs ice cream for my bday. my first ski lift experience (yes, in the summer). bday dinner at pine marten lodge. halloween at colleens. the dude abides. ]]

6) Me and Pat took a trip to Newport to take our annual Wally the Walrus pick, celebrated our 9th anniversary in town, spent an awesome afternoon shooting our engagement pictures at Smith Rock (I still need to do a full post of these), and started actually planning a wedding. 2015 is going to be a BIG year for us!

[[ our annual visit with wally. my favorite engagement shot at smith rock. ]]

7) While Pat was on a business trip in Canada I got in a car accident on the way to work, when I slipped on some back ice and collided with a large pickup truck pulling a trailer. Thankfully I did everything I could have without panicking, and by the time we connected I was going under 30 mph so no one was injured despite us both pulling a 180 in to the opposite lane. The Subaru itself was not so lucky and was declared totalled. The accident was probably the scariest moment of my life and what made it worst was that I was all alone, in the snow, and had to suck it up and drive on the same back road to get to work the next day. Though I was devastated to have lost our car (the car I learned to drive in even) we did get a lot more money than we expected back from the insurance company and were able to put a nice downpayment on something a little nicer. I now drive around (very carefully or not at all in the ice) in an Audi A4 Avant and love it! Unlike the Sube, the air conditioning and heat works, as well as the speakers, headlights, and windshield wipers, and then of course there is the whole navigation, bluetooth speakers, seat warmers, and the car just being way nicer overall thing... So all in all, it worked out ok (aside from our insurance premium jumping).

[[ rip 2006 subaru impreza hatchback. welcome to the family 2011 audi a4 avant. ]]

8) We got to go to a few concerts this year, though as usual, not as many as I would have liked. In March we met with Brad and saw TOOL at the Rosegarden (I will not call it by its new name). That was a pretty crazy show in terms of the insane amount of people from all over, the light display, and the fact that security was actually trying to stop people from taking pictures (uh, good luck with that), though I have to say that such a large concert felt a bit too impersonal and would not be my first choice in the future. That being said, I am still pumped that we get to check this one off the list. In March me, Pat, and Tony saw Memphis May Fire (again) at a small venue in Portland and I got to go crowd surfing for the first time (and stage dive)! It may have resulted in me getting bashed in the face and walking away with a few battle wounds, but it was still an amazing show. We also posted up across the river and listened to some free Dave Matthews Band in Bend and checked out a few other local shows throughout the year.

[[ memphis may fire. me on stage. jump! crazy visuals at the tool concert. ]]

9) Aside from concerts, I also got to go to my first Timbers game and I got to spectate the MLS All Star Game with Pat, which was actually pretty sweet since we had watched SO much World Cup and I actually knew who the players were (for once).

[[ mls all star game. t.i.m.b.e.r.s. goooaaaalllll. ]]

10) The lowest moment in 2014 was loosing my grandmother who has battled with parkinson's for decades. It is still hard to think of words to say that have not already been said. She was an amazing woman who did so much for her grandchildren, and I am so thankful that I got to spend so much time with her. She truly shaped me in to the person I am today. You can read my full post to her here: Norma Jean.

[[ an old photo, circa 1991? of me and my grandparents at my aunt's wedding. ]]

A few extras to note: Hayden's graduation, meeting Henley for the first time, the Two Bulls Fire, snow, snow, and more snow... I also read a ton of books, and got serious about my fitness goals.

It has been great to look back and put things in perspective once again as we enter a new year full of promise! 2015 is going to be amazing for us.