The second best day of the year
Happy and Joyous Solstice Everyone!
This is the day, particularly as cyclists, we celebrate ~ because this is the day we begin to turn to the light and can allow ourselves to start dreaming again of gravel rides to come.
A Solstice ‘hej hej’ (hello!) feels right to us this year; for all of you who we are unable to send cards to, for all of you who were here for our Solstice Letters when äventyr was a bicycle bag company, for all of you who just need a little spark of light in your day today.
This is always a special time of year to us, as it is a time of reflection on the previous year, and looking forward to the next year to come. Analyzing what we liked about 2023 and what we would like to do better. Honestly it was kind of a crappy year for us on both personal and professional levels. As we worked to heal our minds and bodies from a trying winter with the Crash Pad, we also spent far too much time working and not enough time doing special things together. We realized this week that it also feels like the first time since the pandemic that we can start dreaming and scheming again, not only about the New Year ~ but the future. We are tired, very tired, and we look forward to a lot of rest and relaxation.
As I type this, Kurt and the dogs have just left for the Crash Pad for the first time since Thanksgiving. Either work or weather has not allowed us to make it back up, and I remain home for work. For a close family like ours, we dislike being apart. And as I watch everything that matters to me leave together in a red Jeep, my heart knows there is nothing like home (and for me that is wherever Kurt, Inge, and Solrig are). The silence makes me feel very alone, something I have been trying to figure out how to feel less of as I get older. Perhaps it is all those days spent by myself traveling places for work so many years ago, I enjoy the aloneness less and less. And in a sense, that is why I am here; trying to knit us all together ~ even if loosely.
Kurt and the dogs are keeping all fingers and toes crossed that tomorrow the electrical team arrives to finish the final work to allow us to schedule the inspection. They have also been having a great time wandering in our woods, seeing all the stars, and are being cautious of all the wolves barking nearby. Tomorrow our family will be reunited, hunkering in for end-of-year celebrations with our small little group, heading back up to the Crash Pad for a few days creating new traditions and memories (and hopefully doing final prep work before the rough-in inspection). We for sure will be having many hearty happy hour conversations by the glowing wood stove, and begin charting our course for the New Year.
Reflecting on the last year, so much has changed for us.
A year ago today, we closed äventyr bicycle bags.
A year ago today, I relaunched äventyr here on Substack to be our new shared ‘home’ and to be a place to continue to build community.
A year ago today, this is what it looked like at the Crash Pad:
A year ago Christmas week, we were checked in to the Holiday Inn in Hayward so we could attempt to get some work done on the Crash Pad ~ it felt like we were very far away from being able to stay in it. We were stressed and tired.
After the gravel cycling season ended for me and the winter vibe started rolling around again at the Crash Pad this year, I will be honest ~ it was hard for both of us. I in particular just had this feeling of wanting it to all go away. My mental space about the Crash Pad was not in a good place after such a difficult year and I have needed some time away to recover.
And the next story I will be working on, “The Time of Despair” is likely going to be the hardest one of them all. But I have found that story telling has indirectly become healing. I know once I get done writing and editing, it will be easier to put one of the toughest times in our lives, and in our relationship, behind me.
Although not all Crash Pad stresses will ever be gone, they do feel like they have gone down. I definitely feel that once we get the final electrical work completed and the rough-in inspection done, there will be many, many better days ahead.
If you have had a difficult year of your own, may you find solace and healing in reflection and use this dark time to turn towards the light and rebuild.
From our Crash Pad to yours ~ Happy Solstice! ~DeAnn, Kurt, Inge, and Solrig
For those of you gifting during this time, even if to yourself, I thought I would share just a few of our favorite things as cyclists and Crash Pad dwellers…
Chilly Dogs. Inge has been wearing a Chilly Dogs coat since 2013 (she came home to us in December 2012!). This year we purchased new Harbour Slicker coats for both Inge and Solrig in orange (for all the hunting seasons in the vicinity of the Crash Pad), and a bit more light-weight as we want to use them during slush and mud seasons, on chilly (but not super cold) days, and when it rains to keep their bellies dry (LOVE the full belly coverage on these coats). Inge has been LOVING her new orange coat, Solrig tolerated his (barely) [German Shepherd deep chests are so hard to fit well].
Love Real Food. We have been using this cookbook since 2018. As cyclists and as GenXers learning to adjust our food intake, this cookbook is exactly what we needed. Get one for yourself, and someone on your list. We specifially value the attention to balanced meals (protein, grains, vegetables, etc.) that are so important to us as aging athletes.
Manduka Pro Yoga Mat. This was a big splurge for both of us, they are the best of the best. We keep these at the Crash Pad and look forward to using them more in the years to come. I got the Pro for the extra thickness on the cement floors at the Crash Pad, and because Kurt is over 6 feet tall, he got the Long option. We started doing Yoga with Adriene together in 2020 and haven’t looked back. We take Adriene (and Benji) with us everywhere we go.
Agatsu Kettlebells. The 10 KG is a great place to start if you are starting to “Lift Heavy Sh*t” (and at time of writing they were on sale). I have one at home, and keep one at the Crash Pad for my virtual classes with The Fix (who recommended Canadian friends Agatsu to me). The right bell makes ALL the difference. I will be talking more about what I do with these in an upcoming GenX Notes in 2024. Suffice it to say I am going to be adding the 12 KG in 2024.
Whiskey/Bourbon for the Whiskey/Bourbon hater (me). I NEVER used to like Whiskey/Bourbon until I started drinking Japanese Highballs with Japanese Whiskey. But Japanese whiskey is expensive, and not local. We recommend Røknar (D) and J Henry (Kurt) + these glasses (which years ago we bought only two of, maybe you can split a set with someone to get the cost down).
Coasters to put down said highballs on. I met Anniken through my day job and found these on her Etsy site. We customized them for the Crash Pad and are so happy with them. Always happy to support someone local!
Headlamp of choice. Because it is DARK in the woods, especially when you only have 3 working lightbulbs inside.
This was all off-the-cuff, I think I may have to make this an annual tradition!
Well friends, the time has come for me to focus on the wind down, so I will sign off for 2023 and look forward to seeing you here in 2024!
Thanks for reading and watching äventyr.cc, and supporting my mental health and creativity! ~DeAnn
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