Home sweet home

As you may have noticed, I took a vacation from blogging during the last few weeks. I didn’t mean to, exactly, but I was much busier than expected and decided that spending time with my family and friends was more important than recording it immediately on the computer. (Hence my simultaneous near-total absence from Facebook.) Anyway, I should get some more catch-up posts like this one done over the next few days. They’re probably be heavy on the photos and light on text.

View of the Wasatch Mountains from the Shoreline Trail - mountain biking with Dad, Todd, and cousin Nolan. (I say with...they left without telling me and I was trying to find them by going backwards.)
View of the Wasatch Mountains from the Shoreline Trail on December 20th – mountain biking with Dad, Todd, and cousin Nolan. (I say “with”…they left without telling me and I was trying to find them by going backwards on our normal route.) Depressingly little snow on the ground.

Yeah, there wasn’t much snow in Utah when I got back on the 19th. On the plus side, my arrival coincided with the two-day period when my dad’s brother Bill, Aunt Cathy, and two out of three cousins (one got sick and was left behind with other relatives to avoid spreading it to Grandma) were visiting. It was really nice seeing them for the first time in quite a while and singing Christmas carols together.

The lack of snow meant that the Wasatch Citizen Series ski race planned for that Saturday (the 20th) was postponed until the next weekend, so we went mountain biking (and Christmas shopping) instead. We did manage to get out cross-country skiing every day I was in town except for that first weekend and the Tuesday before I left (when we went alpine skiing instead).

Zach and me with the chocolate buckwheat cake from Christmas Eve dinner (I made the cake; Zach made the stencil). Photo credit: Mom.
Zach and me with the chocolate buckwheat cake from Christmas Eve dinner (I made the cake; Zach made the stencil). Photo credit: Mom.
I think the stencil is as impressive as the cake!
I think the stencil is as impressive as the cake!

Mom made one of my favorite meals (one I pretty much always request when I’m home in the winter), a bouillabaisse-like soup with crab and shrimp, for Christmas Eve dinner. I contributed some spelt focaccia to got with it and chocolate buckwheat cake for dessert.

A present from Mother Nature: a nice, big snowstorm starting in the wee hours of Christmas Eve and continuing all through the day.
A present from Mother Nature: a nice, big snowstorm starting in the wee hours of Christmas Eve and continuing all through the day.
Stockings for everybody (Grandma's fell down).
Stockings for everybody (Grandma’s fell down).
I tried to make Grandma's pecan cinnamon rolls, one of my favorite Christmas morning treats...but I'm afraid I messed them up a bit (the topping is supposed to caramelize on the bottom of the pan, which then gets flipped over).
I tried to make Grandma’s pecan cinnamon rolls, one of my favorite Christmas morning treats…but I’m afraid I messed them up a bit (the topping is supposed to caramelize on the bottom of the pan, which then gets flipped over).
Still snowing later on Christmas morning.
Still snowing later on Christmas morning.
Grandma
Grandma skims a book while we get set up for opening presents.

Much of my busy-ness at home came from cross-country skiing nearly every day and helping with unusually elaborate meals, just for fun. I also got some reading in (I highly recommend Andy Weir’s The Martian, by the way…I may post a more thorough review later on) and played a lot of games (Coup, Love Letter, Avalon, and Lords of Waterdeep) with both high school friends and family.

Mom and I with our bronze medals from the first Wasatch Citizen Series race, a chilly classic sprint (preliminary race, then final heats for all competitors) at Soldier Hollow. Photo credit: Todd.
Mom and I with our bronze medals from the first Wasatch Citizen Series race, a chilly classic sprint (preliminary race, then final heats for all competitors) at Soldier Hollow. Photo credit: Todd.

It was great catching up with some of the Utah Nordic skiing community at the SoHo race, and I even managed to get some nice Salomon gloves in the raffle! (My third place was out of 3 in the women’s open division, but I wasn’t too far back and the field was pretty good, so I feel okay about the race…especially since I haven’t exactly been training for skiing).

Bundled up at the top of the Great Western lift at Brighton for a very cold day of alpine skiing (it was -1 degree F when we got to the car at the end). Photo credit: Mom.
Bundled up at the top of the Great Western lift at Brighton for a very cold day of alpine skiing (it was -1 degree F when we got to the car at the end). Photo credit: Mom.
Zach wouldn't stay still long enough while making spelt gnocchi for me to get a decent picture. They were pretty time-consuming, but an interesting treat.
Zach wouldn’t stay still long enough while making spelt gnocchi for me to get a decent picture. They were pretty time-consuming, but an interesting treat for a post-skiing dinner.
My last dinner at home: delicious spelt-crust pizza!
My last dinner at home: delicious spelt-crust pizza!

Next post: Tour de Ski races in Oberstdorf!

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