As of late…

Things have been a bit busy, crazy, hectic, ridiculous…

I have been home for only 22 days since the 10th of April…and I’ve taken 7 different trips…most for work, 1 to Salt Lake to see Liam and Rory’s new restaurant, and 1 to Savannah, GA for a wedding.  It has been hectic, but also very good.  I’m really loving my job, teaching Wilderness Medicine Courses.  The locations have been fun, the people I work with have been great and the work is constantly challenging and the students are inspiring!  My travel is not done yet…in fact, tomorrow I’m headed for the Bay area to teach a re-certification course, and then lead a backpacking trip for Big City Mountaineers in Yosemite!

Here are some moments from the last couple months!

I worked a 10 day course in San Francisco.

It’s hard to complain when this is what your office looks like!

While I’m gone, Woody texts me photos of our ridiculous dog! (Who sleeps like this!?!)

I had an extra day and drove around exploring…Golden Gate Park, Sutro Baths, China Beach, and Ocean Beach!

I had some beautiful weather!

Cleo found a peacock in our neighbor’s yard.

I taught two courses in Portland…

Some rain, some sun, very pretty!

Super fun to see Avery & Eloise and spend some time with Ciaran and Kate!  Looking forward to my next course in the area!

Judy and Laura came for a visit…we packed in quite a bit into two days!  LACMA!

Woody’s favorite piece of art…

We took a quick weekend trip to Salt Lake City to see for ourselves, Liam, Rory and Andrew’s new venture, Avenues Proper.  I am so proud of my brothers!  From an inkling of an idea a ways back…to an open and functioning restaurant and brewery – amazing!

Looking forward to my next trip!

We managed to make it up to Heber to see the horses!

And of course, we watched as much Game of Thrones as we possibly could and played a lot of Excite Truck – a special request of Liam!

Neither of us had seen Utah’s new Museum of Natural History.

Call me impressed!

The views are gorgeous!

A trip to Salt Lake would not be complete without a stop here…

and of course the Mole Sampler!

Back to southern California…and I headed to Lake Cachuma to teach a weekend course.  It’s halfway between Santa Barbara and Los Olivos!

I squeezed in a pre-birthday dinner with this lady!  Love her…and love me some chicken and waffles (Liam – your version is better!).

Next, we were off to Savannah, GA for the wedding of our friends Jon & Sara.

Saw some thunderhead’s building up over the middle of the country.

Explored the moss-covered trees and parks in the historic district!

Spotted a mode of transportation that NEEDS to be in my future.  I’ll be driving the scooter and Woody will ride shotgun!

Lots of fun catching up with friends from Harvard!

And ogling the crazy super-yachts and sailboats docked on the river!

These two are so cute and so in love…and they share the same birthday…Valentine’s Day.  I think I just threw up in my mouth.  Just kidding…I love ’em!

The ceremony was perfect and the basil gimlets were delightful!

On our flight home, Woody sat across the aisle from Ernie Hudson – one of the original Ghostbusters!  This is my stealthy photo!

Flying back from Savannah was the start of too much time in airports…which included Savannah, Houston, LAX, Burbank, SFO and Chico…all within 24 hours.  SFO is where I spent 13 unplanned hours…after multiple flight delays and a cancelation…I finally arrived at my hotel in Chico at 3:15 am.

Don’t worry I managed to get almost 3 hours of sleep before I was up again and getting ready to teach 30 students for 10 days straight!

My co-instructor and I made a point to go on the Brewery tour at Sierra Nevada.

They have an impressive facility, which they’ve built over the years!

They have (one of?) the largest privately owned solar arrays in the country…and plenty of sun!

The tour ended with a tasting, many of the beers I had not tried before!

Then there was more teaching.  We employ very creative teaching techniques…here, my co-instructor Liam is acting out a patient with cardiac issues as I run through a patient assessment!

Also…it was hot!  (did I mention this?)  It was REALLY hot!

Also, really beautiful!

I arrived home…for 5 hours…and found some presents waiting for me!!!

Love the clutch!  Thanks Giselle!

And then I opened the clutch to find this…

“For those of you wondering where my beard went: fret not it is still around, just not on my face. Liz has it.”

-Mark Fischer via Facebook

Home for a couple hours…and then I was off to drive north of Malibu, where I taught a weekend WFA course at a camp near Leo Carillo State Beach.  I was making a phone call and turned around to see this little guy.  Actually, he wasn’t so little!

More teaching!

I got back Sunday…cumpled into bed exhausted and spent Monday putting my life back together as my time at home is short once again.  Monday night we put my latest birthday present from Woody, a baking steel (kind of like a pizza stone but made of pure steel) to the test and had two delicious pizzas!

Tuesday was a blur…and this morning, WOody and I were up before 5 am to get him to the airport with his Watermaster raft and all his fishing gear for a week of fishing near the Henry’s fork of the Snake river.

I returned home after a stop for some coffee and took Cleo for her morning walk.

June Gloom has set in full force…but who can complain when your trees shower the sidewalks with purple flowers!

Back on the road tomorrow…home at the end of June with hopefully some more photos and an adventure or two to share!

Happy Summer!


Onto another year…

Okay…so I’m 31.  According to my brother, this qualifies as being in my ‘mid-thirties’.  This all happened in the midst of the craziness of the end of May – May 21st to be exact.  We had a lot going on.  But we managed to squeeze in a celebration or two – thanks to some really great friends.

Jennie brought me breakfast – homemade sausage and mushroom mini-quiches.  (no pictures – they were too delicious!)

I was treated to lunch by my office at this place and was basically queen for a day.  It was lovely.

Anna and Rhea biked over and visited me at work and brought me homemade scones.  (can you tell there is a theme…? delicious treats)

I also enjoyed some (very) frozen ice cream cake – flaming ice cream cake in fact.

I also received some very fun things…

a slackline…(see upcoming post)

A new work bag made entirely out of recycled fishing waders…I can actually see some old patches where people tried to make repairs before throwing in the towel and purchased new waders – and it’s completely waterproof…so I have no excuse now to not ride my bike all year-long.

And finally, I was lucky enough to be taken out to dinner by my friend Jen…

Thanks for all the birthday love, phone calls, goodies, and cards.  I have great friends and family!

366 days ago…

Avery Mellon Connelly was born.  My niece and a little bundle of cuteness…so in honor of her first birthday, February 28 – here are some photos from my visit to see her in May 2009 and a wedding in TX in June.

She loves story time!

Mom and baby!

Visiting Dad at work!

She loves bath time!

What…?  What are you lookin’ at?

Happy Birthday Avery!


Aunt Lizzie

Woody’s Birthday!

Woody’s Birthday – technically on February 4th….but really who celebrates their birthday on the actual day anymore?  Just kidding…in all seriousness, Woody found out a few weeks beforehand that he would have all day meetings with people from Chevron, not on February 3rd or February 5th…but on February 4th.  And when I say, all day, I mean starting with a breakfast meeting, right straight on through lunch, past happy hour and during any time period that you would consider to be the dinner hour, only to arrive home just after 10 pm.  Needless to say, we did not celebrate his birthday on the 4th.  Did you know you can do that?  Just move your birthday?  Well, you can.  I learned this early on in life, as Ciaran could clearly not have any kind of a birthday pool party in December in Utah…so…you just move your birthday.  I worked the following weekend, so we finally decided on celebrating W’s birthday on Saturday, February 13th.

We started with breakfast at Elements Cafe in Pasadena – new to both of us and chosen for the ‘Duck Sausage Breakfast Burrito’ – which I figured would make it into W’s top choices for the meal.

It’s rough when your birthday is in February, typically a month filled with cold and snow and darkness, and you’re able to sit outside at a cafe in lovely 70’ish degree weather…real rough!

Coffee was tasty and the menu enticing.

Normally, I would not be pleased with Woody’s behavior of checking his phone, looking for cool images of motorcycles…but after all…it was his birthday, so I allowed it…just this once.

The long-awaited – Duck Sausage Breakfast Burrito with a tomatillo salsa.

I ordered (and I realize I made a misstep here) the polenta with scrambled eggs and crispy prosciutto with Parmesan.  It was okay, flavors were complimentary…but the texture and overall appearance of the dish left something to be desired.  I think I was picturing crispy polenta wedges with Scrambled eggs draped over the top…as a cook, I would never place a mushy yellow ingredient as the base of the dish and then pile on top of it…another yellow, soft-textured component.  And the portion was enormous.  I should have had the ebelskivers.  These wrong decisions happen when I haven’t quite made up my mind but the waiter appears and wants my decision right that very moment and I say words…but I don’t actually mean them.

I think I would go back and give this place another chance, it seems genuine and like they are really trying but haven’t quite worked out all the kinks yet.

The rest of the day went like this…

I had big plans…and none of them really worked out…which means, that we ended up heading back to the house, relaxing and playing some Wii, and napping – which is all you really should do after having a gigantic duck sausage burrito or a humongous bowl of polenta for breakfast.  We pulled ourselves together for an early dinner reservation at Palate in Glendale, with a stop at a few dealerships on the way per Woody’s request.

Don’t worry…we’re not purchasing a truck anytime soon, except in Woody’s dream world.  But it’s fun to look and we learned a few things about dealerships in California.

1.  California car dealerships don’t need showrooms…as the weather is generally nice.  You just look at the cars on the lot.

2.  California dealerships and maybe more specifically dealerships in LA don’t carry trucks that are not 2 x 4 (or 4 x 2…I don’t know)…Woody was disappointed with the lack of 4 x 4 trucks.  I told him we could head towards Orange County and find plenty of dealerships with not only 4 x 4 trucks, but probably a few that will jack up the truck for us pre-purchase and add on some quintessential motocross stickers and accessories like truck nuts.

3.  Apparently, car salesmen at California dealerships don’t jump on any living breathing thing that walks through the door…as we wandered through a couple different showroom/sales areas and not a single person even looked up.

Now here’s how I begin to ruin not only Woody’s birthday…but also Valentine’s day…keep reading.  We sit down to a lovely dinner.  We’d been to Palate once before when my parents and sister were in town.  It is a wine store, wine bar and restaurant.  For appetizers, they do ‘potted meats,’ which are essentially rillettes mixed with a few fresh herbs, seasoned and served in a mason jar with super thin bias cut toasted baguette.  They also do amazing house-made pickles of various sorts…cucumber being the boring option although probably the best pickle I’ve ever had.  This place would be worth it just for the potted berkshire pork and a glass of wine…but we didn’t stop there.  We both ordered a starter of sorts (the portions are reasonable) and then an entree.

I ordered a goat cheese gnocchi with lamb cheeks and english peas with herbs, followed by a sea bass with morels and a root vegetable puree.  Woody started with a lamb tartare served appropriately with a raw quail egg cracked on top, and followed that with a pork belly dish that was notable for it’s crisp skin and smoky flavor.  They have a ridiculous cheese menu…but we couldn’t do it.  Too full.  So, we left and headed home.  We did stop for some frozen yogurt at a new place in our neighborhood…and then it was back to the house to release the hound and open some presents.  (Note – I began feeling a little off somewhere between leaving Palate, getting yogurt and arriving home.)

We started turned on the fire place and sat down to enjoy the living room.  Cleo loves it when we sit on the floor…it’s her chance to attack.

Woody had a box from Minnesota, a card from Pop and Barby and a few goodies from me.

Cleo couldn’t wait and pounced giving Woody her present…licks all over his face…so much that his beard smelled like dog breath.

Woody received some cookbooks, a fly-fishing in California book, a wool patagonia top and a ski movie…all things Woody loves!  We then sat down to watch a movie…and this is when I really started feeling ill (no more than an hour after we left Palate).  My stomach felt awful and I was shaky and dizzy and just ill.  I went to bed trying as best I could to not move, as any movement made my stomach churn.  I managed to fall asleep, only to wake up 2 hours later at 11:30…fully knowing that I was about to ‘toss my cookies’.  I was sick, very sick, food poisoning sick.  Cleo was even concerned…why would her humans be kneeling in front of the toilet making bad noises?  And the worst part is…I couldn’t figure out what it was that made me sick – my best guess is the sea bass…but Woody and I shared everything we had eaten that night…and he had more than a few bites of both my dishes and he was perfectly fine…except for grumbles about how a pukey wife kind of ruins a birthday.  I managed to make it back to bed and fall asleep.  I woke feeling okay, and took it easy the next day…but Valentine’s day is not early as fun when you’re not interested in cooking a fun and interesting dinner.  So…that concludes the ‘how I ruined my husband’s birthday and valentine’s day in one bite…of something bad.

So…here is another little something for Woody – a bit of glory for a day of hunting with Cleo this fall.  In November, I was out of town and Woody and Cleo headed to Frazier Mountain to hunt for quail.  He got one and Cleo did what she loves best and brought it back.  Cleo was a little too energetic to sit still for a photo…so the gun and the bird would have to do.

Happy Birthday Woody!

(sorry I puked)