Season’s greetings, my friends! I can’t believe that another year has flown by and I hope this finds you healthy and happy.
This is my favorite time of the year. This Christmas, we’re staying home and making our own Christmas feast. As you recall, last year, we were getting ready to go on a Caribbean cruise with Gretel, Tammy, and Betty (“Mom”). It was a blast!
If you read my blog or if we’re friends on Facebook, you probably already know much of what I’m going to tell you. If not, here goes…
In January, Ray and I went back to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga in concert for the third time. While she’s a freak, she’s an incredible entertainer. That show was one of her last concerts before she had to cancel the rest of the tour to have hip surgery. Luckily, she’s healthy again.
After spending the last two months of 2012 and the first two months of 2013 being a “stay-at-home dad” thanks to unemployment, things changed in February.
Ray had a conference in Kansas City, Missouri, and I went along for the ride. What else did I have to do? 🙂 On the way, he had a quick meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, so I was on my own and I had lunch at a Chinese buffet (you know that I love my buffets). That day, my fortune said, “success will be yours at home and in business in the next month”.
Sure enough, one week later, I was hired as the morning meteorologist at the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities and I was back on the air at the beginning of March. It’s already been ten months! While it’s tough getting up at 1 a.m. five days a week with very little sleep, I’m surviving.
In addition to Lady Gaga, there were other concerts this year: ‘70s international superstar Helen Reddy (“I Am Woman”), ‘80s heartthrob Rick Springfield (“Jessie’s Girl”), Ke$ha & Pitbull, and the ‘80s band, Depeche Mode.
In August, Ray and I went to Cancun to get away and soak in the sun on a sandy Caribbean beach.
But, the big trip of the year came in late October. To celebrate his 50th birthday, Ray chose a cruise on the Danube River in southern Europe.
We flew to Zurich, Switzerland, for 24 hours and the city was absolutely stunning with Lake Zurich and the Alps.
From there we flew to Hungary and were bussed to Bratislava, Slovakia (another amazing city) where we boarded the “MS Sound of Music” for a 6-day cruise. We made several stops in Austria, including Vienna, and several stops in Germany. It was such an incredible time.
Next year, I turn 50 and I’m already planning out my “once in a lifetime trip” to celebrate.
Outside of work, traveling, and concerts, life at home is fantastic.
Ray and I are coming up on five years together. He’s still the planning and economic development director for the City of Moline.
Gretel is growing up so fast. She’s now in the 7th grade and she’s now a junior high cheerleader!
My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities and working as a server at a local restaurant. While she misses her granddaughters, I think she’s happy being here with us.
So, to wrap up the year, we planned a quick drive down to my old stomping grounds in western Kentucky to eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s, and to visit Nashville for the Reba McEntire exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.
While in Nashville, the trip also consisted of a 3-day Christmas celebration including Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas dinner and show, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, a General Jackson lunch cruise on the Cumberland River, a night at the Opry at the Ryman, and a stay at the historic Opryland Hotel amongst two million twinkling Christmas lights.
You only live once and I plan on doing that! I can’t wait to hear back from you about this past year and what you have planned next year.
And, I’ll close this the way I’ve signed my Christmas cards for the past twenty years, “May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas”.