I saw the Winter Carnival Torchlight Parade in St. Paul for the first time, despite living in the city for a total of 13 years. It was, as promised, filled with fire!
|Fire and lights make us feel like winter isn't so dark and depressing.|
In sad news my last remaining grandparent passed away in February, but it wasn't altogether too sad. Her last 6 months were rough. I'm thankful that she had 91.5 pretty solid years before that.
For the first time in several years, the ice on Lake Superior was good enough for the ice caves at the Apostle Islands to be accessible! So of course I selected a weekend when the winchill was -30ºF to make the 5-mile roundtrip trek to the caves. It was definitely worth it.
|Behold the cold vastness of a frozen Lake Superior.|
|White-knuckle driving at its finest.|
In super tragic news (what was it with winter 2014??), my friend Jenn died suddenly and unexpectedly in March. I made a trip out to North Carolina for her memorial in April, enjoying a Reese's Peanut Butter egg on the beach in Hatteras Village at sunset.
|This was, appropriately enough, the topic of our last conversation.|
During that same trip to NC, I took the opportunity to visit the college I was attending as a distance student for the first time!
|It's an obelisk. That's how you know it's important.|
While in Raleigh, I became acquainted with what is possibly the most delightful food that I have ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth. Vegan Chicken and Waffles from Fiction Kitchen. Don't let the lack of meat, eggs, and dairy scare you off. It was a culinary masterpiece. I'm totally a chicken and waffles convert now. I get it.
|What sorcery is this??|
I also saw ALL the Outer Banks lighthouses, because lighthouses are cool.
|Yes, they still make them.|
|First flight, just as the state quarter promises!|
Because I could, I drove 7 hours from the Outer Banks to meet up with some friends in SC and eat everything waffle-y and play CAH. Worth every minute of driving! Bonus: they live near Congaree National Park, so I was able to check another park off my list!
|The most beautiful swampland!|
I participated in the MS150 for the 7th time this year. Or, rather, the MS37, as that's when I fell and sprained my ankle and was out for the remainder of the ride.
|But the tape-job was super impressive!|
|Is it possible for this place to get prettier? Because it keeps getting prettier!|
|Worth it. Would hobble up dunes again.|
There was some bizarre summer flooding of the Mississippi River.
|Apparently the bike path is now for fishing!|
|Minnehaha Falls was in rare form due to the flooding!|
|This cannot possibly be a real place.|
By September, I met my ankle-recovery-goal and was able to ride my bike in the Minneapolis Bike Tour! 36 miles!
Perhaps the most exciting thing that happened for me this year is that I finally (FINALLY!) graduated with my masters in materials science and engineering after 5 years.
|Hear that, school? NO MORE OF YOU!|
After the end of the semester, I went all out with Christmas-y Christmas stuff, so it was convenient that, the evening after I took my final exam, the Candian-Pacific Holiday Train stopped in St. Paul for the first time!
It's been a big year. A busy year. A lot to be thankful for this year. But for now, I kind of feel like this.
|This is mostly what Sydney did this year.|