26 February 2007

Down Comes the Tree

Alas, after gracing our great room for the last three months, our Christmas tree was dismantled this weekend. We held out for as long as we could, but we couldn't deny the inevitable any longer. The tree wasn't taking water anymore, but the final straw was when one of the strings of lights on the tree stopped working last weekend. You know your tree has been up too long when a brand new string of lights burns out before you take the tree down. Either that, or the lights were cheap. (Probably the latter.) And yes, we still turned the lights on.

Since he happened to be visiting, Leif gave us a hand with the disassembly. We decided to cut off the lower (wider) branches before taking it out of the room, to make it easier to navigate down the hall and out the front door. When the tree was freshly cut, it was very pliable and easy to manage. Now, however, we were worried about leaving a trail of needles and branches leading all the way out the door.

By the time we got the tree out the door, it was getting late, it was raining, and we were getting tired. So we left the tree in pieces on our front steps. It would be another week before we were home during daylight hours to finish the job. And while the tree may now be gone, it is not forgotten; we'll get to enjoy it again next winter when it helps to heat our house.

- Mike (& Corinne)

25 February 2007

More Snow! More Snowboarding!

Boy, what a difference a week can make! It had been getting pretty warm around here recently, and we were beginning to worry that our snowboarding season would be cut short. Thankfully, over the last week Mother Nature cooperated and provided us with a plethora of snow, both on the mountain and at home. The snow depth at the base of Mt Hood Meadows has gone from 6' to 11' in the past week. Not too shabby!

I guess we're getting more confident on the mountain now, too; this is the second week in a row in which we not only packed and carried our lunch on our back, but we also brought our camera up and weren't constantly worried about crushing it.

- Mike (& Corinne)

17 February 2007

Oysters on the Half-pipe

Tara and Jason, who are now officially members of our "Frequent Visitors Club", were down from Seattle visiting this weekend. And as always, we had a great time with them.

This trip revolved around two activities: cooking/eating, and snowboarding/skiing. We even managed to combine the two by picnicking on salami sandwiches halfway down the mountain! I don't think I've ever had them taste better than right in the middle of a day of snowboarding. The weather was perfectly clear on the mountain, as you can see. From above the tree-line, you could see for miles, including nice views of Mt Jefferson and the Three Sisters to the South. The warmth also softened the snow, which makes it a bit slower (good for all of us beginners!)

One of the reasons we keep allowing Tara and Jason to come back is that they always bring such great food with them. This time, they brought wine, French cheese, and raw oysters. Tara is such an oyster fan that for her birthday, Jason gave her the gift of her own personal oyster shucker. We took advantage of those skills ourselves and had oysters on the half-shell as a key component of our brunch. Corinne also made a batch of Cardamom Rolls, a slight modification of our beloved Cinnamon Rolls recipe. It turns out that we made so many dishes with some of Jason's favorite ingredients - cardamom, ricotta, Dutch babies - that Tara accused Corinne of trying to steal him from her!

A word of warning: if you look closely at Jason's left hand, you can see what can happen to a careless oyster shucker. Don't say we didn't warn you.

- Mike (& Corinne)

12 February 2007

The Triumvirate Falls

You won't find too many posts about work on this blog; it's much more fun to pretend that we don't have to work. This post, however, is the exception.

There aren't many opportunities in life to work at the same company as your spouse and brother (in-law), so we were all pretty excited when Corinne, Leif and myself were all hired by Insitu back in 2004. At the time we were hired, between the three of us we comprised almost 10% of the company! (Presently we only make up 1.5% - one of the downsides of growth).

But alas, that triumvirate is coming to an end. For a variety of reasons, Leif has decided to move on from Insitu at the end of this month. He has, however, decided that he likes this area so much that he's not going to move. So in the end, we may end up seeing him more than we did when we worked at the same company. Funny how that goes.

Wish him luck!

- Mike (& Corinne (& Leif))