Happy Holidays from Salida, Colorado.

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Here's what we've been up to in 2008:

Our first winter in our home in Salida was wonderful.  The mountain views are incredible covered in snow!  Just outside our neighborhood are some pastures for cows and horses, but this year we had a herd of about two dozen pronghorn antelope move in for the winter.  We also took a short trip to Lyons, CO to visit one of our favorite breweries, Oskar Blues.  Lyons is just outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, so we took a side trip into the park and did a little snowshoeing around Bear Lake.  We took several local moonlight snowshoe hikes with friends.  The full moon on the snow gives off the most beautiful light!  Our home brewers club took a trip to Leadville, about an hour up the road.  Leadville sits at 10,000 feet and had a lot more snow than Salida did.  Of course, we did a little beer drinking and a little snowshoeing there too.  For more snow fun, Andrew joined the Monarch Mountain Town Challenge, a ski racing challenge that made him get out and ski once a week.  Teresa also took a snowshoe trip to a Forest Service hut with some friends for a fun overnight trip.

The 26 foot 1972 Holiday Rambler travel trailer we lived in when we first moved to the area went to a new home.  We sold it to a guy who was going to live in it while he built his new home (hum, sound familiar?)

In the spring, we headed south to visit some friends who own a house here in Salida, but are teachers on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona.  We had quite the cultural experience visiting friends of theirs on First, Second and Third Mesas.  On our way back to Colorado, we took a couple of side trips to El Malpais, the site of an ancient volcano in New Mexico and a trip into Chaco Culture National Historic Park, the location of the largest concentration of the most well preserved Native American pueblos in the country.  

We joined our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in Ca˝on City again this year.  We joined Javernick Farms, a third generation, ten-acre farm about an hour west of Salida.  We spent a day on the farm planting peppers and getting in touch with where our food comes from.  For us city folks, it's a fun experience.  Our CSA provided us with a basket full of fresh veggies every week during the growing season.  We ate plenty of fresh organic foods all summer long and had plenty to share with friends. 

Along with computer drafting work, Teresa has also become the station coordinator at our local, community radio station, KHEN 106.9fm. The mascot is a chicken (hen, actually).  During our biggest summer event, FIBArk, a huge whitewater festival in Salida, Teresa dressed up in the chicken costume and walked around in the FIBArk Parade!  It was fun, but hot.  It had to be over 100 degrees in that suit.  

Andrew's parents come to visit and we did a few trips out hiking around the area.  We went up to St. Elmo, the best preserved ghost town in Colorado and did a short hike.  We also took a trip up to Cottonwood Pass for some beautiful views.

We did a little rafting and biking over the summer, too.  Our friend Bill took us on the Arkansas River's "The Milk Run" into Salida, and Andrew went on a more serious raft trip on "The Numbers" with some other friends.  We also discovered the area is a biker's paradise, and enjoyed a number of incredible mountain and road rides.  We have recently discovered a network of hiking trails behind our neighborhood as well.

We volunteered to help with a couple of local fun runs and races, and with the Salida Omnium, a pretty big bike race.  We also bought a 1972 VW Super Beetle and had it converted to all electric.  It works ok, but it's still a $400 car and needs lots of work and TLC.  We also are now the proud owners of two electric bike conversions!

In August we had an outrageous trip including both ends of the country.  It started out with a trip to south Florida for Teresa's family reunion in Ft. Myers.  It was good to see the family again, even though the heat and humidity were awful.  We took a quick side to Boca Raton to have lunch with Andrew's Grandma Rose.  We then headed up to Tampa where we flew out to Anchorage, Alaska.  We had a long layover in Denver (where we started) where we exchanged our carry-on luggage of sandals and shorts for one filled with gloves and hats.  We continued on to Anchorage, crossing five time zones and making it a long 22 hour day.  We met Andrew's parents, Jack and Ellen there and drove up into Denali National Park.  We saw lots of wildlife and even saw the top of Mt Denali!  It's said that fewer than 20% of all visitors see the top of the mountain!  We met Andrew's brother Todd and his girlfriend Meghan in Anchorage a couple days later and boarded a cruise ship heading down the Alaskan coast.  It was fun, but very different experience from our first Alaskan trip.

Later in the fall, we took a trip to Crested Butte to see some Georgia friends in the band, Dubconscious.  After the show in CB, we took a beautiful drive over Kebbler Pass with the Aspens turning all the colors of fall.  We visited Jack and Ellen in their home in Edwards before heading back to Salida.  

In October Teresa once again found herself in KHEN's chicken suit at the KHEN Annual Halloween Bash.  Of course, Andrew went as Colonel Sanders, "I Love Chicken!".  We saw so many of our friends that we didn't even recognize, the costumes were so good.

For Thanksgiving, we took a trip back to Atlanta to visit friends and family.  While we were there, Todd, "popped the question" to Meghan and they are now engaged!  They are thinking of a fall wedding.  It looks like we'll have another trip back to Atlanta in October!  We saw lots of friends while in Atlanta that we haven't seen in a while and many of them have children now.  How times change!

Work-wise, Andrew contracted with Nexidia throughout the 2008, but given current economic conditions, his future with Nexidia is unclear.  The good news is that he has also become involved with a number of other business ventures.  The "Dangerous Collective," a full service advertising agency, is engaging in various business ventures.  In addition, Andrew plans to partner with another local IT guy to launch a full-service IT business for Salida.  Stay tuned for more information on both of these ventures!

It's beginning to snow here in Salida and we are getting ready for ski season.  Our Holiday plans this year will be to stay in our new home and enjoy our life in Paradise!

May the Universe smile on all of you with Peace and Happiness!

Teresa, Andrew, and Simon

What a long strange trip it's been...
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You are watching/listening to Elf Yourself (Country style) followed by The Night Before Christmas (unknown artist) followed by Jill Sobule's Merry Christmas From the Family