0912Ohio Holiday, in brief

2009 Holiday in brief

January 5, 2010

     For the first time in about 6 years, I went home for the Holidays. With
separated parents and a growing extended family, it has been complicated to
make it to all of the 'obligatory' appearances during this time and equally
complicated to apologize for not making when events conflict. I mean, how
does one choose one family over another and more importantly, spending time
isn't just about showing up. Therefore, to avoid the chaos and
complications, I simply avoid that time of year and make my appearance
around Thanksgiving, instead. People are less booked and there's actually
time for me to make rounds.  But, this year, traditions changed and I
wanted to be home for xmas.

     Despite the frigid, snowcast, I spent the most time over this Holiday
Season back in my hometown with family than I have spent in a long, long
time.   It was enough to remind me why I left, why I enjoy being back, and
create just enough pull in me to make it challenging to leave, which
ultimately will leave me with enough desire to want to come back.

    Mike joined me this season and at the last moment, I realized
this was his first Christmas with me in Ohio with my family. This meant it
was a big deal and at that moment I was sad that the tradition had changed. 
He left too soon to experience the full Sniezek Christmas.  Well, this
only means he'll be required at some point to come back. šŸ™‚

    On our way to Ohio, we stopped in Boulder, Co for Mike's
Holiday party. They were having the event at the
St. Julien, which is a classy Hotel
and Spa in downtown Boulder. Mike's company,
Webroot, paid for my
trip there and paid for a 3 night stay at the St. Julien.  I have never
been so pampered. Hospitality alone made me feel like I entered a different
world! I took full advantage of the hot tub, workout room, riding their
bikes around town (actually to Mike's work and back), enjoying a wonderful
massage and my first facial (compliments of Mike!), and enjoying an over
full buffet breakfast (minus the crab, paella, and other shellfish
delectables, much to my chagrin.).  The weather was perfect, not too
cold, mostly sunny but some snow on the ground.  I met many of Mike's
co-workers and had a great time the night of their party. I even lived it up
a little for myself, treating myself to a new Holiday dress with matching
shoes (Dior on sale!).  Except for the bare shoulders that my shawl
covered, I was enjoying my little dress up night (nails painted and all,
which I am happy I don't deal with regularly…what a pain! as I
accidentally jabbed a rail and smudged a nail on my way down the stairwell.) 
I've never been into that sort of thing because it's too much work to up
keep, but doing it for a 'special' occassion seemed worth it. If/when I get
a picture, I'll post one.

    Back in Ohio, Mike and I were lucky to get a hugely reduced
hotel rate at the local Holiday Inn, which is conveniently located near my
sister's place. This made getting around super easy. Had I been thinking,
though, we could have stayed at my grandfather's place now that it's empty
and on the market for sale. But, hindsight let me stay there after Mike
left, which saved me some money and allowed me to afford a rental car for
the remainder of my stay.  The rental car was a Mazda 6 and came in
super handy as the snow storms hit. The car had an anti-slide capability
(presumably turning on all-wheel drive when 'loss of control is detected').
I tried to make it do a donut, but it was difficult, which eased my mind
when driving around town in those conditions.

    While in Ohio I did a lot of family visiting and that was a
lot of fun!  Dogopoly was particulary amusing.  I even had the
opportunity to take my nephews and niece and some cousins to the 'local'
climbing gym (waaay out in east cleveland!). It was great to see the changes
and meet new people and the new owner. I am pscyhed for his plans to create
an island bouldering wall.  I think that would be an awesome use of
some unused space.  It was strange to visit the
Cleveland Rock Gym
after bouldering at The Spot, but
after making friends and climbing there a few more times, I started to get
the idea of how things worked and began enjoying the problems. I was
particularly thrilled to discover how to start this problem on the roof
wall. My first attempt the first day I thought it was set for a tall person
and couldn't figure out how to match hands on the first hold without coming
off the wall. But, my last day there, I tried the problem again and realized
it was this cool double toe hook move! I made really good progress on that
problem after that, but I couldn't link the move to the end so it never
went, but that didn't diminish my enthusiasm for my discovery and progress!

     While another blast of snow hit the area, I was lucky
my flight left on time. A bit of delay in Chicago, but I made it to
Albuquerque, NM and will shortly be back in Seattle. At least here, the sun
is out and the temperatures can be mild if you are moving. I actually did my
first outdoor run in a loooong time just this morning! Running or working
out at 5,000 ft kills me the first few days. My heartrate spikes in the
first 5 minutes and never really comes down…sometimes keeps going up,
which is frustrating but good mental training. I'm looking forward to
acclimating so it's not such a struggle. Then, back to Seattle and get ready
for Nationals!!

About Audrey Sniezek

Audrey Sniezek is a rock climbing athlete and computer software/technology enthusiast.
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