Christmas 2011 Update

News from the Inland Northwest…

The Spokas family is settling into our new environment quite nicely.

Phil took a job with Intellitechture ( in the fall, hoping the family could all be together again with little or no travel. We love hanging with Dad, it’s been 5 long years without him! It just so happens that Spokane is known for Dad’s three favorite things! 1) There is an abundance of golf courses with gorgeous mountain views in the background, perfect for “business meetings” 2) There is a coffee hut on every corner, no wonder these Spokanians are so happy all the time! 3) The skiing here is incredible, with Mount Spokane just a short drive away. Phil pulled a fast one on us moving out here, but we’re all enjoying it just as much as he is!

Allie (21) decided to adventure out west with us. She left her home in Wicker Park as a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, to explore new opportunities. She is a crew member and sign artist at Spokane’s first Trader Joe’s. She has loved using her art skills in her job, and has met some wonderful people. She celebrated the holidays with a crazy Tacky Christmas Sweater party with crew! She had a blast. Allie has become my best friend and cohort these past few months, helping me put together the apartment and make this challenging, yet thrilling transition a little more easy and fun! Her favorite new past time is hanging at “The Mat”, the local Yoga and Pilate’s shala down the street. She starts back at college here this spring semester.

Emily (20) was just introduced to her new home 3 days ago. It only took her 26 hours to get here by way of Raleigh/Durham NC, Washington DC, San Francisco CA, *layover*, Phoenix AZ, and then finally Spokane WA. Gotta love river fog! Emily is in her sophomore year at UNC studying Music and Psychology as a double major. She is a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, but her closest family is the UNC Loreleis. The premier female a cappella group at UNC, consisting of 16 members, has given her the opportunity to travel as far as the Bahamas, Florida, Atlanta, and DC, and perform for the entire packed Dean Dome basketball arena, not to mention for America’s Got Talent! The Loreleis are working hard to put on their 30th Anniversary concert in the spring, as well as producing yet another incredible CD in which Emily’s solo will be featured!

John (17) was made to be a Northwesterner. Every weekend we are scheduled to hike a new trail, mountain bike, kayak at Lake Ponderay, and pick huckleberries at Mount Spokane. He keeps us exploring our new terrain. He’s got the whole family excited this month for snow-skiing the mountains in Idaho and Washington. Any takers for an outward bound trip with Johnny would be well appreciated! He and Phil took a handgun glass in which John won a cool shirt for the smallest grouping of shots on a target! It must be from all the Xbox 360… All he wants for Christmas is the Ultimate Bear Grylls Survival Knife. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?! He’s doing great at Central Valley High School and is looking forward to Lacrosse season.

Marian (13) is an 8th grader at Evergreen Middle School. She has just completed her volleyball season, and has started gymnastics. She will play tennis this spring. Her favorite part of Spokane is exploring new and unique places to shop; she’s looking forward to our trip to the west side of Washington to visit Seattle. The nostalgia of getting to see her favorite shops such as Lush, Abercrombie, and even Panera will hopefully hold her! Marian is an auditioned member of the Spokane Area Children’s Choir (SACC), where she has met some wonderful kids that have the same interests as her from all around Spokane! We have really enjoyed hearing them sing some incredible repertoire his holiday season. They had the to opportunity to perform with the Spokane Symphony and the Spokane Chamber Choir for a holiday special at the famous Fox theatre in downtown Spokane.

Cathy (49 and holding--)… My favorite gift this year is having our whole family together… it is proof that any place can become your home if you are with the ones you love. My friend Katherine (the phenomenal photographer of the lovely picture on the front of this card) is a recent transplant from Denver. We’ve decided to start a “newbies” club, for all the other new mothers to Spokane in our area. Also be looking out for my new blog called “Midwesterner goes Inland Northwest”, it’s gonna go viral, I tell ya! The American bald eagles migrate through this area each year to feast on the kokanee salmon that are spawning. We’re planning a family hike to see this sight, which we hope will be a new Christmas tradition! Please plan your visit soon, we will keep you very busy!