Carson City woman always celebrates Leap Year birthday
Why: Leap days are needed to keep the calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions around the sun.
Traditions: St. Bridget reportedly told St. Patrick that she was unhappy that women had to wait for men to propose marriage, thus St. Patrick allowed women to propose to men on Feb. 29.
Other places: On the Chinese calendar, an entire leap month is added every three years.
On the big screen: “Leap Year” a romantic comedy came out in 2010. It stars Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. It is about a woman who travels to Ireland to propose to her boyfriend on leap day, when tradition states men must accept a woman’s proposal.
One Carson City native is celebrating her 12th birthday even though she was born in 1968.
Karen Hyatt-Miner was born on the Leap Day in 1968, so she has only had 12 birthdays that actually fell on Feb. 29.
However, that doesn’t stop her from celebrating her big day every year.
“On the off years, I celebrate the whole month of February and the whole month of March,” Hyatt-Miner said. “If you aren’t going to bother to put my day on the calendar, then I’m going to take two months.”
Hyatt-Miner has a long history with Carson City. She was born at the Carson-Tahoe Hospital and her family of 12 lived in a house where the Red’s Old 395 now sits, before it was burned down by an infatuated homeless woman.
“I was one of 10 kids so I was 10 of 10, so I was the baby but the baby in a large family is not a baby,” Hyatt-Miner said. “The baby in the large family has to grow up quick and get smart quick because you have all these kids who are older and smarter than you that you have to connive.”
Because they had such a large family, Hyatt-Miner said there was never any extra money so she started working at the age of five. The Plaza Hotel was close to their home, and Hyatt-Miner worked for the owner helping the maids clean the sheets and make the beds. She also would ride her bike to the Carson Mall and deliver lunches to employees working there for a fee.
“We didn’t get our own allowance and we never had any reason to have money because there wasn’t extra money,” Hyatt-Miner said. “So when I was little, I always had jobs.”
Hyatt-Miner also worked at restaurants and pharmacies and was the Miss Martell girl for Martell Cognac while she was a Carson High Senator.
The Carson native has continued her money-making ventures, combined with her passion for wine, and is now the owner of the Reno wine shop Vino 100. Her love for wine started a number of years ago when she joined a wine tasting group with some friends.
“I am massively in love with wine and I am really passionate about it,” Hyatt-Miner said. “When I was young, I was in a wine tasting group with a local cardiologist and at that time he had a million and a half dollars worth of wine in his wine seller and he was one of only seven master certified sommeliers on the west coast. So I cut my teeth drinking really incredible wines and I was really blessed to be exposed to a lot of incredible high class wines.
“Since then I’ve always gone to wine tastings and listened and have been really fascinated by the process of wine,” Hyatt-Miner added. “Then the first time I walked into a wine store in Reno, I looked around and went ‘I want to own a wine store one day.’ And then 13 years later I did.”
Hyatt-Miner and her husband Gary are celebrating the anniversary of the store’s opening on Feb. 29 also.
“It was really interesting process to start my own business,” Hyatt-Miner said. “It was very challenging in the beginning and taking over someone else’s concept of what would work.”
The two had taken over the business another man and evolved the store to include more than 500 bottles of wine, 30 craft beers and handcrafted martinis and liquor.
Aside from being a wine connoisseur, Hyatt-Miner also enjoys snow shoeing, hiking and is “really good at laying on the beach.” But she also has a secret gift: she can detect paranormal spirits around her.
“I am really in tuned to that feeling when something is around,” Hyatt-Miner said.
When she isn’t running the store, Hyatt-Miner and her husband enjoy traveling, especially for her birthday.
“On the actual birthday I generally wind up in, you are going to be shocked, in wine country,” Hyatt-Miner said.
This year, they decided to venture to Paso Robles, but Hyatt-Miner has been all over the world from Europe to Thailand to Hawaii to St. Thomas.
“It’s a big world out there, you can’t stay here,” Hyatt-Miner said. “just go travel, do it, put it on the schedule.”