It's been a crazy year. And I've simply run out of time. So this year's "Holiday card" is traveling to you via the Internet, instead of the mailbox.
We began 2007 doing what's become a tradition for us. We whale-watch. We volunteer to hike out to Cape Lookout on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, and greet the people who come out to see the Gray Whale migration. The weather's always pretty heinous. And we love every moment of windy, rainy, Oregon goodness. It's a great way to begin a new year, and we'd love for you to join us one of these New Year's weekends.
Gregg and I traveled to Moab, Utah during Spring Break this year, for the wedding of some friends of ours. Gregg has fond memories of Moab, and had spent some time mountain biking there years ago, but I'd never really been. It was a perfect opportunity to go out with a group of friends. Share the cost of a vacation rental to use as home base for everybody, and share stories in the evenings when we'd all gotten back from our adventures. We took a lot of photos, and I recently wrote up a post about the trip.
I finally went whitewater rafting again this year! I can't remember how long it had been. Naturally I chose that particular day to get sick, so I didn't enjoy the experience as much as I would have otherwise. But despite being a little under the weather I had a fantastic time. And I even though Gregg protests that he doesn't like doing anything in the water, he had a great time too. Thanks to Michelle, our friend and rafting guide, for inviting us on this trip!
We had the opportunity to host several Couchsurfers this year, and have enjoyed the experience thoroughly. We've been a little busy, so haven't always had the opportunity to spend time with our guests, but we've loved getting to know more travelers. We did get to spend a little more time with a German couple, and took them out mountain biking, and then to a barbecue with some friends of ours. I think we completely wore them out, but I hope it was a little memorable and fun.
We also got to see Loren & Yvette again, in for a quick visit from Melbourne. Fingers crossed ... we'll be seeing them again in November in New Zealand! (Lots of variables there, and things seem to keep cropping up ... but fingers are still crossed).
DaVinci Days was fantastic again this year. As always, my favorite events are centered around the kinetic sculptures. We also got to see Pink Martini this year. I have lots of their CDs, and never listen to them. But I loved hearing them in person. And we were lucky, lucky dogs to run into a local mountain bike friend and his group, who had extra room on their blanket for us. We were running much, much too late to actually have gotten a seat on the ground on our own.
In September I finally succumbed to my need to travel, and my desire to reconnect with old friends. I took a "working vacation" out to Denver. Gregg couldn't take time off, and the office in Denver (and my ability to work from home) gave me the flexibility to get out of town while still being "in the office". My posts on the trip (part I, part II, and part III) read a lot like a "to-do" list, but it was a lot of fun. I really miss my friends in the Denver office, including the friends who are no longer in the Denver office. And to all of those friends ... get your tails out to Oregon some time. We'd love to show you around.
At the end of my "working vacation" I flew out to Vegas with Gregg for Interbike. LOVED IT!!! This was the first time we had a chance to go to the outdoor demo, and it was absolutely fantastic. The one day of riding demo mountain bikes was absolutely, hands down, the highlight of the trip. Another highlight was meeting up with Chip and Andrea, who'd flown in from Denver for the same weekend.
A low-light of this trip, so to speak, was my neck/shoulder injury. It was severely unpleasant and knocked me out for a couple of days in Vegas (and several subsequent days back in Corvallis). It was one of a couple of incidents that helped me to determine my goals for 2008. Less work on the brain, more work on the body. I'm going to defer studying for exams for a year, and instead spend that time doing physical therapy and otherwise training and working toward fitness goals. That exam will come back around again, but I think this was life literally kicking me in the butt and telling me to re-prioritize.
Cyclocross season rolled around again in September, and Gregg did really well. During 'Cross season he was racing every Sunday, playing bike polo every Tuesday night, and aside from his short commute to work not riding his bike at all. It amazes me how strong he is without doing any training. Gregg didn't write many posts of his race experiences, but he did write up a couple of posts on his MySpace page. I'm really awful about taking photos of Gregg ... I get all distracted cheering for him. But here are a few photos taken by friends ... the "best of Gregg's Cross Crusade season" collection:
I think Gregg's new found love of bike polo may have eclipsed his love of 'cross. It's a nighttime event though, and we've had some trouble getting good photos. But I can tell you that he's built three bikes (that I know of) for bike polo ... both for him to ride, and to share with anybody else he can get to play. He's built several mallets, and he's picked up balls and cones. If you want to come around some time, he'd be happy to set you up with the equipment and set up a practice game. He loves, loves, loves it.
Well enough of the small potatoes. Here's the really big news.
We bought a new place!
We spent quite about six weeks of evenings and weekends fixing it up ... removing the wood stove and patching up the hole in the wall and roof (not personally, of course), scraping the popcorn texture of the ceiling and repainting the ceiling, primering over the sharpie marker in the bathroom, and a couple of coats of primer and paint everywhere else, replacing (updating) almost all of the light fixtures, replacing the dishwasher. It was a lot of work.
It's not our dream home, but we're not paying rent anymore. And that rocks!! I still don't have after photos, because we're still not done. But we'll never really be done, so it's time ... the photo gallery embedded in the linked post will have "after" photos of the interior by the end of this weekend. I promise.
So that's the wrap-up of 2007 for the Rouses. It's been quite a busy year, and with any luck next year will hold many more happy surprises.
We hope you're all enjoying the holidays, and we'd love to hear the details.
Have a fantastic 2008!!