Post-Christmas Vacation 
Sunday, January 10, 2010, 02:42 PM
Posted by Administrator
The day after Christmas, Paul and I drove out to Worcester for the annual MHC holiday gathering at Susan and Jen's. It was a small group this year, but we had a great time catching up.

Next up was six nights at my parents' ski house in North Conway, New Hampshire. For me, this part of Christmas vacation is the most relaxing time of my entire year. Family and friends come and go over the course of the week, and the house, which sleeps 14, always seems to be full of good conversation, good food and good times.

We read. We hit the outlets for the post-Christmas sales. We napped.

We played Wii and board games.

We played with the little ones.

And we skied! While most of the others are downhill skiers, Paul and I prefer cross-country. Some days, we used trails practically outside the doorstep. One day, we drove into Jackson to the Nordic center.

And Paul took me on my first snow hike up Hurricane Mountain Road, which he then skied down. The snow was fantastic and so beautiful!

Finally, we celebrated the New Year with a delicious Italian feast of Eggplant Parmesan courtesy of my step-brother Jimmy.

Here we are, our final photo of 2009. All in all, a very fine year. Best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2010!

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Merry Christmas 2009 
Saturday, January 9, 2010, 08:44 PM
Posted by Administrator
The proof:

My sister's family staying overnight at my parents' means that I get to witness the magic of Santa Claus. It's like being a kid again. Except that they left milk for Santa while we used to leave bourbon. "To warm him up," is what they told us.

There was a flurry of gift-opening on Christmas morning. Hannah loved her new CD player and was rockin' out in no time.

Emily was overjoyed with her new dolls.

CJ was not the least bit impressed with Santa's offerings, but had a blast with one of the old standbys. Although not new, it was very clean as Becky had to take it apart and wash it the previous evening after CJ dumped the tray of stuffed mushroom down the tubes.

And Jon showed his enthusiasm for the Patriots while enjoying Christmas breakfast.

By late morning, we were loaded into cars and headed to Aunt Cathy's for a wonderful Christmas meal and the much-anticipated annual Pictionary game. I also had way too much fun playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with the kids. Love that game!

Then, it was back in the cars to visit the Curtin side of the family, especially Nana who is holding her own at age 96.

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Happy Holidays! 
Saturday, January 9, 2010, 09:50 AM
Posted by Administrator
Despite living 2,500 miles away, I have yet to miss a Christmas with the family. And so, on December 23, Paul and I endured a 5-hour flight and a whole day of travel which took us to my parents' house in Stratham, New Hampshire which, as always, was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

The next day, we managed to squeeze in a Christmas Eve morning run (in brisk 30-degree temperatures) followed by a Wii lesson from Hannah.

Then the whirlwind of family, food and presents started. With 18 people for dinner, it was a festive evening!

More to come...
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A Quick Status Update 
Sunday, December 20, 2009, 09:14 PM
Posted by Administrator
Half Marathon Training
On track with 41 days to go! Of course, I leave on Wednesday for nine days in cold, snowy New England. I'm not sure how the plan will hold up in the face of inclement weather and family parties, but the fact that it requires running only 3 days a week definitely works in my favor.

I spent a large part of the weekend making 4 dozen chocolate truffles. Mmmm... I learned a lot - the next batch should be quicker.

One day of work left in 2009 - WOO HOO!

Still putting a smile on my face every day and keeping me warm every night. You may notice a fourth furkid in the photo - this is Otto, a holiday visitor.

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No. AZ Road Trip Day 8 – Sedona to Tucson 
Monday, December 7, 2009, 09:28 PM
Posted by Administrator
This was it - our final day of our Northern Arizona adventure! To make the most of it, we awoke early to catch the sunrise from Airport Mesa. As you can see, we weren't the only ones with this idea.

We had planned to hit the road right after breakfast, but had enjoyed our previous night's dinner at Chocola Tree so much that we decided to stick around for another meal. To kill time until their 11:00 opening, we browsed some art galleries and then stumbled upon a store seemingly made just for Paul - an olive oil store! That's right, an entire store dedicated to olive oils of various origins and flavors. Sampling was encouraged and Paul was happy to oblige.

We found our Chocola Tree lunch to be well-worth our delayed departure. We enjoyed Carrot Ginger Soup, Thankful Potato Soup, Bruschetta and Pecan Pie, along with some fun samples our server whipped up. We were the only patrons and I think he was bored.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip! Northern Arizona is a beautiful part of the world and, while it is chilly in November, exploring it in the off-season allowed us to avoid the crowds. I could not have asked for a better vacation or a better travel partner. Or should I say, pardner?

You can see more of Paul's wonderful photos from this trip on his website.
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