I feel like I’m on a winning streak lately. I should probably head to Nevada or something, huh?

Wait. I’m in Nevada! Hmm…

I suppose it feels like I’ve been winning because, well, I’ve been winning. First there was my company’s fantasy football league. Immediately following the draft in September, you are graded on your picks. I did not fare very well; as a matter of fact, I was projected to lose every single game and finish dead last.

Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 3.57.22 PM

Err…yeah. That was my plan all along, outsmarting the competition! Actually, as much as I’d love to take credit for being all stealthy like that, it was not my plan at all. I just basically made poor decisions. The above ever-so-helpful proclamation of doom and gloom hardly instilled confidence in my season, but this year instead of sitting back and hoping for the best, I decided to work at putting together the best team I could every week. In the process I turned into a full-blown fantasy football nerd – watching the waiver wire, adding and dropping players, making substitutions, reading the experts’ picks – and put together a winning season. I coasted through the playoffs and felt vindicated when this happened.

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It doesn’t hurt that I should end up about $200 richer. I guess Christmas didn’t end on the 25th, after all!

Just when that dust had begun to settle and the excitement died down, along came the judging for the office holiday decoration competition. As you may recall, my team and I went a little overboard and turned our work area into a festive Christmas wonderland. And we’re 1/3 Jewish! The judging took place on Wednesday, and we came in first place! But our victory was hardly a landslide: we won by a single vote. Which is funny, because beforehand I had been torn over whether or not to vote for my own display. Glad I overcame my  moral objections and listened to my team. Now we get to share an iTunes gift card. The prize doesn’t even matter so much as the recognition for our hard work. We’re already planning next year’s display. How can we possibly top ourselves? The answer is simple: cardboard walls and cutout windows.

OK, maybe “simple” isn’t the right word.

I am writing this post from Ely, by the way. We left Wednesday afternoon and arrived here around 3:30 on Thursday after spending the night in Nampa, Idaho. Our drive was incredibly scenic – there was snow on the ground the whole way once we hit the Columbia Gorge. And it’s cold as hell, too. How cold, you ask? This cold.

Ely Cold

That was the temperature at midnight. It was even colder first thing this morning. When I lived in South Dakota we had subzero temperatures, but that was 30 years ago. It was so cold I had to skip that walk I’d been planning this morning.

Screenshot 2016-01-01 10.05.10

New Year’s Eve was a blast. Sure beats last year, when I “celebrated” all by myself in a hospital bed. We visited with friends for an hour, then drove to Tara’s grandparents’ house for dinner. Came back to her dad’s place and spent the rest of the night there, drinking and talking and laughing. It was too damn cold to go outside, anyway. Today we’re celebrating her grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary with an open house/pot luck. There’s a turkey in the oven currently (yay! heat!) and there will be lots more food. I’ve been tasked with making guacamole, and Tara is doing deviled eggs. I’m pretty sure nobody will be going hungry today. We’ll probably leave Saturday afternoon, spend the night in Boise, and return home on Sunday. It’ll be nice to enjoy the balmy 35 degrees in Vancouver, WA.

By the way, I broke down and bought the new camera I mentioned in my last post. It’s a Nikon DSLR and I’m really impressed with the photos so far. Here are a couple.



And some (candid/not-so-candid) shots from last night. Happy 2016!




13 thoughts on “Winning

  1. Happy new year!

    But what is that white stuff at the bottom of all of your pictures. You obviously have a defective camera.

    It was in the mid-upper 70s in my neck of the woods nearly all of December. I’ve almost forgotten what winter looks like.


    1. Wait ’til you hear about our dicey drive home! We got caught in a surprise snowstorm and were lucky to get back only two hours behind schedule. Pretty dicey drive! Hope you get some cooler weather so it actually feels like winter!


  2. “The judging took place on Wednesday, and we came in first place! But our victory was hardly a landslide: we won by a single vote.”

    YAHOOOOO…Mark, I KNEW your team was going to win! BRAVO!

    And a HUGE congrats on getting the new camera! AWESOME photos! And of course, I am insanely jealous of all that SNOW! But I will say, at least it got colder here within the past couple of days. In fact, I spent the whole day outside, enjoying the COLD.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, buddy!

    And have a great rest of your weekend!


  3. Congratulations on all your victories. I came in second and third in my two fantasy leagues. I work from home so I had no chance to win an office holiday decoration award, although I gave my wife many hints that she should give me something.


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