Open Christmas Letter – 2013


Every year, I send a Christmas Letter with my annual Christmas Cards.  Since I sucked so bad at getting them out this year, here is an open christmas letter to all of you:




Happy Holidays!!

Christmas time is here.  Time to deck the halls, spread good cheer, raise a glass with loved ones, and of course look back at the year that was (without trying make it sound like the sad pathetic mess that reminiscing and alcohol can bring out of the best of us).  As I have for the last 10-plus years, I sat down to try to summarize the year for all of you in a way that makes my life sound more interesting that it is, and this year was no different.  In the way I have typically done, I have waited to nearly the last minute to do this.  As usual, not only do I threaten to summarize 12 months with a jumble of words so mixed up it looks like a scrabble game between drunks, I haven’t had the time to bounce my bad jokes off of random strangers to see if they work.  So let’s get to it then!!

2013 became the first full year living in Anchorage, Alaska for me.  In other words, I have survived all four seasons in Alaska (Rain, Freezing Rain, Snow, and Mosquito).  Now that I have been here for a while, I have fallen into that groove of putting a life together here.  All those things that makes daily life commonplace dropped into place.  I have a good group of friends, I have the shortest distance home from work mapped out, and I no longer get lost when trying to find a good cup of coffee.  I’m a year-and-a-half into my career at BP Exploration – Alaska, and for some strange reason they haven’t fired me for incompetence yet.  The job is definitely different than I am used to, and different than what I expected.  Gone are the days of flying across the country and over the pond to meet with suppliers to make change – instead I spend my work days sitting at my desk trying to convince that our team won’t screw stuff up any worse.  I did travel for work, though only 10 days in the Lower 48 in Atlanta & Houston – and nearly a month on the North Slope where our operations are at.  So I am more of a homebody these days.

In fact, I stayed up in Alaska for the first half of the year.  The first trip south was for the 50th Anniversary reunion of the Colt’s Drum Corp.  It was the first time back to visit some of those people for nearly 25 years, and spend time talking about the old days & seeing what’s become of everyone.  I also made a quick trip to of all places Lebanon, Ohio to get back into my band judging gig.  Add in a trip to Wisconsin for my annual Thanksgiving pilgrimage, it was a year quite limited in travelling “abroad”.  I am leaving in less than 24 hours for a week in Hawaii, which counts as a 2013 accomplishment but you know what travel is like – I may spend the week in the Anchorage airport.

So I didn’t travel much, but that’s okay.  Alaska is a destination for many people, so I made it mine too.  I took the time to travel around a bit, see different places here.  That included a couple trips to Seward, a run to Homer, drives up to Talkeetna (home of the world famous Talkeetna Mayor: Stubbs the Cat), and wherever I felt.  I did some hiking, not much, but some.  And after three failures finally did some camping on Labor Day … and came to the conclusion that I had to buy an RV (a 1978 Mobile Traveler that is nicknamed “Strugglebus”).  This includes a couple “staycations” that included when the Glerums came up from Virginia with a long plan of things to do, and a far less planned out visit by my parents, brother, and nephew later in the summer.

During the non-touristy months, I took up a new hobby – Curling.  That’s that weird Olympic sport with sliding granite rocks across ice while weridos sweep in front of it until it stops on a target that kinda means something but kinda doesn’t.  I belong to the Anchorage Curling Club which I equivalent to being a part of a bowling league – except replace the greasy polyester wearing jerks with Canadians.  Seriously, though, the game is fun to play but the people are the best part.  The folks I play with are some of the best I’ve met up here, and not because we Curling is a drinking game … though it does make some of them more interesting.

With all I have done in 2013, one of the best parts about it is that I didn’t do it alone.  Each step I took here in Alaska came with a little four footed fuzzball at my side.  My pup, Auggie (aka Auggie the Doggie, Auggers, Pooper, Pooper Dooper, or as he probably think’s he’s named “Leave It”) now is starting to approach a year and a half and settled into that dog/daddy relationship with me.  He still remains the social, friendly, photogenic part of the household I never was – and now he does it without having to wee on the carpet.  Just so you have a nice gift for the holidays, the backside is a bunch of pictures of Auggie, just because that’s better than any socks or underwear I would normally give you for Christmas.

So, that’s about all I want to say about 2013.  If you want to hear more, you can follow me on my highly successful blog “The Bear Feed” about my life in Alaska (successful meaning, someone once suggested that they actually read it).  It is more detailed about my 2013, and can give you a hint about my 2014 better than this word jumble can probably do.  You can find it at:

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Mitch & Auggie


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