Happy Holidays, my friends, it’s my favorite time of the year. I love the sights and sounds, the music, and the fact that I get to catch up with my dear friends.
I hope 2014 was a great year for you, but more importantly, I hope 2015 is even better. May you be blessed with good health, good fortunes, love, and happiness!
It was a fun year for us. I’ll get to that, but first let me update you on our lives.
I’m nearing the end of my two-year contract as the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate here in the Quad Cities. While I love what I do, I’m not sure how much longer I want to get up at 1 a.m. for work five days a week.
Ray is still the Planning and Economic Development Director for the city of Moline. He’s been there nine years and loves what he does. But, were both eyeing his semi-retirement and Gretel’s high school graduation in five years to move to a warmer climate.
Yes, Gretel is now an eighth grader and a teenager! She wants to be a movie director when she grows up.
My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities. She’s been here for three years and while she’s happy, I can definitely see her return to Tennessee to be closer to her two granddaughters one day.
It’s been almost three years since we lost Miss ABBA and we still don’t have a dog. However, I hope that changes in the next year or two — if we travel less. We did quite a bit of traveling this year.
We got away to Las Vegas for a few days this summer and saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in concert.
While there, we also saw two Cirque du Soleil shows, “The Beatles LOVE” and “Michael Jackson ONE”. Both were simply amazing with the theatrics, the acrobatics, and, of course, the fantastic music. I’d highly recommend seeing one of these shows when you’re in Vegas.
Other concerts we enjoyed this year were Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa
Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in Chicago, Illinois
We also saw my favorite ’80s band, Erasure, in Chicago, the next night!
We spent a few days in Branson, Missouri, on a summer vacation trip for Gretel and her friends, Zoe, in June, and I accompanied Ray on a conference to beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, in September. I got to sight see while he worked.
And, then in October, we went on the big vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday!
Yes, the big 5-0! I’ve always wanted to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, and when we were booking the trip, it took us through Paris to sit at the airport for a few hours. We thought, “why not stay a few days since we’re already going to be there?” So, we cut Tel Aviv to four nights and stayed in Paris three nights.
For my birthday, Ray bought a package deal that included a Seine River dinner cruise, a visit to the Eiffel Tower (the view from the top at night was incredible), and a cabaret show at the world-renowned “Moulin Rouge”. Since we were on Paris time, I actally turned 50 sipping champagne as the show girls (and boys) performed at the “Moulin Rouge”!
Paris was incredible, but Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean Sea, was so beautiful and the religious history surrounding the city was mind-blowing.
Old Jaffa, just miles away, is more than 4,000 years old.
And, we had a yard sale this summer and started saving change and a few dollars to go on a holiday cruise to the eastern Caribbean in early December with Tammy and Gretel.
Needless to say, we didn’t buy many presents for each other this Christmas. The trip was the present.
It been an enjoyable year and we’re definitely looking forward to see what 2015 brings!
As you start to take down the holiday decorations and winter sets in, I hope that you’re looking to the new year for bright new adventures, good health, and much happiness.
“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in 2015.