31 January 2008

January: Blue Skies and Blahs


January has always seemed like the loooongest month to me. And when I look back at the events of the past month -- well, it stands to reason.

My Califonia holiday seeped over into the new year with blue skies, sunshine, and the wedding of my oldest niece. I like how the photo above shows a trail of nieces from the base of the stairs up to the top, and of course a sweet moment between bride and mother.

My work travel stretched me from west to east, with trainings in Ontario (ahem...Fruitland,Idaho), Bend, Oregon City, and Philomath. Snowy roads, cloudy skies, and definitely winter blahs.

Air miles: 3,496
Road miles: 1,565

All eight Valentine nieces and a couple of extras thrown in for good measure:

girl group

(Mom/grandma is in the left-hand corner)

08 January 2008

Six Pic Saturday: A funny sort of tree

On the last Saturday of December, my parents and I headed off to Joshua Tree National Park. They had been before, but this was my first visit.

bottle tree

First, we stopped at the local farmers market near the park entrance for sustenance. We sampled chinese dates, a wrinkly nub of a fruit that I thought was tasty. I think my parents favored the peanut butter cookies and oro blanco grapefruit a bit more.

chinese dates

We were favored with blue skies and ample sunshine, a combination that many rock climbers decided were prime conditions for scaling some of the larger formations.


The park campgrounds were full with climbers, hikers, and bikers. Winter is a good time to be here. I can't imagine the full heat of summer!

rock trees bike

Need to find your climbing crew? Check the back of the park sign!

climbing partners

Our last stop in the park took us through the Cholla Garden. These spiny little creatures create quite a surreal environment.

spiny aliens

05 January 2008

Winter Respite

Originally uploaded by Katherine H.
My 10-day stint in southern California with family was tremendous fun and filled with relaxation. And although I am glad to be back home, I was sad to leave the warmer weather and sunny skies.

01 January 2008

A Traveling Heart

One year ago I posed this question: What travel adventures will 2007 bring?

2007 was the year I decided that travel should connect me to people…

I ate brownies and tart, lemon Italian ice with my sister in Palm Springs ● I stood on the edge of Lake Louise with the water lapping at my toes while renewing my connection with a college friend ● I enjoyed sun-warmed plums with friends in Salt Lake City ● I went hiking in the Teton Mountains with family, in an area where my mother spent her childhood summers ● I explored neighborhoods in Chicago and joined a bike tour ● I followed the footsteps of my great-grandparents to Ellis Island during my first visit to NYC ●

Twelve months ago, I didn’t know any of those experiences were on my horizon. And similarly with 2008, I have no definite plans or exotic trips in queue. But I have no doubt that whatever unfolds in the year to come will add another dimension to my life -- and that’s the true beauty of travel.