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We had plenty of cold weather for our holidays, but hardly any new snow. That didn't dampen our festivities in the least, and we still enjoyed a ski trip to Blacktail Mountain.
When Kathi's mother visited in August, she took a scenic drive to some Cascade peaks via the Columbia River Gorge, staying at the rustic lodges, hiking throughlofty fields of flowers, and scrambling along rocky stream beds.
In July, the family gathered on Swan Lake for a week of feasting and festivity. During this time, we celebrated birthdays for Christine, Bill, Don, and Dave, along with a 50th wedding anniversary for Dave and Lorna. This was the first time some of us had seen each other since the Missouri River trip in 2000, so it was quite the extravaganza. Each major branch of the family took turns hosting a dinner, and there were ongoing activities, to keep everyone occupied and mingling, including a hike along the trail dedicated to a family friend. We sorely missed the presence of those unable to attend, Ryan Holliday and the Van Steenwyks, but knew they were with us in spirit if not as the personal target of various pranks.
Mike and Kathi traveled to San Francisco over the extended Valentine's Day/PresidentsDay weekend to visit Randy and Lorna and check out Randy's conveniently locatedapartment. We braved the storms for a (literal) whirlwind tour of theBay Area. We rearranged our schedule quite a bit due to weather,to spend more time indoors at the Legion of Honor and the Conservatoryin Golden Gate Park, but we still braved a deluge in Muir Woods anda soggy drive up the Marin county coastline. We also enjoyed the Farmer'sMarket at the Ferry Building (visible from Randy's apartment), the usualGhirardelli's chocolate fix, Valentine's Day dinner at Castagnola's, watching the parrots from Telegraph Hill fly around the park next to Randy's apartment, and staring incredulously at the annual Valentine's Day downtown mass pillowfight.
By the way, we would not object if the state of Californiaoffered to compensate us for ending their long drought. You're welcome.
Kathi and Sierra thought we were really lucky to get a week of snow before we left for Florida. But after we flew out the REAL snow hit, so in retrospect this was just a tease for what we'd be missing. (Mike would like to reiterate that he did not "miss" the snow.) Before the snows arrived,Sierra helped neighbor Jim pick out his new cows and stock their barn area with hay. The vegetarian in the family thus set the stage for next year's steaks....
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