Thursday, January 10, 2013

2012 : Beaches, Beans, Baguettes, Bulk Bins and trail-mix!

Happy 2013, you guys! Hope you had a great break over the holidays.

We hosted Gini's family over the Christmas break, parents in law, sister and brother in law, and yes, dog in law :) I was super anxious before the little pup's arrival, it would be the first time a dog would be staying at our house. It turned out to be a riot. It put to rest some of my anxieties about finding activities worth doing with the dog, turns out you never really have time for an organized activity when there are lots of people around, things just happen. We ate, cooked, laughed, watched movies, met extended family.
I hope you got to spend the holidays with your loved ones, also.

Ah yes, why that intriguing post title, you ask? Those terms are metaphors for some of the outstanding memories of 2012. 2012 started out with a little anxiety inducing news on the job front for me. We had to postpone our highly anticipated trip to India because of that news. I ended up finding a great position with a different division within the same company I worked for, so, things have been better. But yes, I cannot forget the upheaval it caused in the first few weeks of the announcement.

Back to the title. Let's tackle it one at a time, I promise to keep it short.

1. Beaches - In Feb 2012, we visited beautiful Big Island in Hawaii with Gini's family. We weren't able to see any lava, but we snorkeled the hell out of that island. We ate weird looking fruits, hiked to see waterfalls, lazed on beaches, and marveled at exotic flowers and plants. It was magical!

2. Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto Tour - April 2012, our 2nd live Coldplay concert. Gini and I are mega-fans and we were awed by this concert. They put up such a rocking show, I can't wait to see them live again. Chris Martin and the band performed non-stop for 3 hours.

3. Baguettes - In June 2012, I went to Paris for work. Yes, Paris! It was the most fun trip I've been on by myself. Paris is everything you imagine it to be: exquisite, charming, rustic, romantic and also stinky, filthy, rude. I survived on wine and cheese the whole time I was there. There were also a lot of croissants, crepes and baguettes, but mostly wine and cheese. The restaurants are very charming, the food is incredible, whatever little I could eat of it was delectable. The desserts were par excellence! I can't wait to visit again with Gini.

4. Trail-mix - July 2012 is the highlight of 2012. After weeks of anticipation over whether our names will be a part of the lottery and months of preparation, Gini and I, along with 4 dear relatives, hiked the tallest mountain in contiguous US, Mt. Whitney. If you are a hiker, you will instantly recognize the name and will know that this is no small feat. Mt. Whitney stands formidable at ~14,500 ft. We got the permit for a backpacking trip, and the ordeal we went through to get to the top is etched in our memories. The monster backpacks, thin air, biting cold, shaking legs on endless switchbacks, nausea inducing heights, we experienced it all. Together, all 6 of us made it to the top, humbled by the summit and the views it had to offer. You always start the hike wanting to conquer the mountain, but inevitably, when you reach the peak, you realize how small you are in the big scheme of things. In the end, it is the mountain that stands tall and you just want to soak in as much as you can, for you know not the next time you can see this much grandeur.

5. Beans - We had a momentous garden year. Bounty of beans, eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and okra. These are the things I am working on: trimming plants, growing potatoes, growing plants from seed, learning to water deep and smart, grow more flowers, learn how to save the produce. I get a C minus for saving the produce I grew. I gave away so many zucchinis, tomatoes, beans, peppers, nothing wrong with that, but I miss the vibrant tomatoes already. I have only some left in the freezer, and it is only January. I didn't save the hot peppers or beans or zucchinis :( This year, I will arm myself with tricks and tips of saving the produce for winter.

6. Yellowstone, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks - In August 2012, we visited these gorgeous places with my parents. Everything is special when you visit with family :) I fell in love with Canyonlands NP, can't wait to go camp there and hike the long trails. Utah is beautiful, I wonder what it would be like to live there.

7. Bulk Bins - This the final point in my recap for 2012. I have mentioned in several posts about our efforts of living a plastic free life. Bea (ZeroWasteHome) and Beth (PlasticFree) continue to inspire me and the goal of living plastic free seems more and more attainable. We have automated most of the processes in our kitchen to the extent that we are about 90% plastic free - not without challenges of course. But Gini and I are extremely conscious about everything we do and buy these days. I must admit it gets easier when you are fully committed to this lifestyle :)

For 2013, we gear up to more adventure in our job fronts, more travel, and lots of time spent with family. I wish and hope for a joyous 2013 for all of you =)

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