On this second day of the new year I want to share with you some highlights from the past year and some plans for this new year, as well as things for which I am thankful.
We became parents to an adorable little girl in February. Our little bundle of joy is a calico cat named Patches. She readily became a member of our family and filled our hearts with love. Patches turned 1 year old on August 29th.
We didn’t do as much traveling in 2011, as we have in past years. We did, however, enjoy an Easter weekend trip to Virginia, when we visited with our good friends Al and Denise. We made a return trip to Virginia in May, over the Memorial Day weekend. The highlights of that trip included a drive along Skyline Drive and visiting with my cousins, Vernon and Wendy. We met Vernon and Wendy’s 2-week old son during our visit. In addition, during the Labor Day weekend, we traveled to the southern shores of Lake Ontario in New York where we enjoyed walking through the Brown’s Race High Falls Historic Area in Rochester, NY; seeing four lighthouses and visiting the Carousel Park at Olcott Beach. We also visited relatives during this trip. Our cousin, Chris, married Amy in July. The wedding took place in the state of Washington. During the Labor Day weekend, Chris’s parents hosted an East Coast wedding reception for the newly married couple.
The main reason that our travel opportunities were limited was that summer and fall photography opportunities, which included several photo sessions, two bridal showers and four weddings, kept us close to home. In addition, I spent three days taking photographs at a local festival. You may view photographs from each event by visiting my Facebook fan page, Linda Gross Photography. Of the four weddings, two of them were family members who were married.
My stepdaughter, Stacey, married Mike in September. My niece, Emily, married Dan the following month. My middle nephew, Jared, and Sara became engaged in May. We are looking forward to Jared and Sara’s wedding in July this year.
Emily and Dan became parents for the first time on December 26. Our great niece, Elise Marie, arrived at 12:23 PM that day and weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces. She was 18 inches long.
Our great niece, Elise Marie
Stacey and Mike will be giving us our first grandchild in late May or early June this year. Did I say grandchild? I meant to say grandchildren. Stacey is pregnant WITH TWINS.
We met three blogging friends last year. In February we met Gretchen of Gretchen’s Travels, when we attended the Ridgway Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous. In September we met Betsy of Joyful Reflections and George of Senior Moments for dinner at Cracker Barrel in Erie, PA. Betsy and George were on their way back to Tennessee after visiting with family in New York. I would love to visit with Betsy and George, as well as Gretchen, sometime this year. It would be great, too, if the opportunity presents itself to meet other blogging friends.
I begin this new year unemployed, by choice. My last day of work was December 26. The position I left was that of a cashier at a local hardware and garden store. I began work at the store on August 23, 2010. I worked 14 hours a week, spread over a three-day period. I enjoyed my job. The owners of the store are great people to work for. My co-workers were fun to work with. The customers were nice. For those of you who have read my blog for a while, you may recall that I have a torn meniscus in my right knee. The tear is not severe enough to require surgery, but painful nonetheless. I try and control the pain with anti-inflammatory medication and Tylenol. I refuse treatment by injection! Standing for long periods of time was not the best thing for my knee.
I am looking forward to my “retirement”. I doubt that I will stay unemployed for rest of my employable years. I am too young to retire, and besides I won’t see retirement monies for many years to come. There is a local catalog company at which I may seek employment as a seasonal employee at Christmas time. At my current stage in life I seem to be happiest when working for only a few months out of the year.
In the meantime I plan to make good use of my “retirement”. I hope to spend more time with my immediate and extended family, as well as friends; to travel to places old and new; and to continue self-directed learning in all aspects of photography, a hobby of which I am most passionate. My immediate learning experience will be directed towards Lightroom3. I received Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 from Bob for Christmas. I purchased Scott Kelby’s “the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 book for digital photographers” to teach myself how to use Lightroom3.
We hope to do more traveling this year than we did last year. We anticipate spending a week at the Outer Banks in September with our friends, Al and Denise. We hope to attend a few motorcycling events, near and far. I would love to once again visit Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, as well as Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC. It would be great also if we had the time and opportunity to travel south to visit with my aunt and cousins who live in Virginia, Georgia and Florida.
I will end this blog post with a list of things that I am thankful for.
I am thankful that our personal finances are healthy. I am thankful that we have only one loan, the mortgage on our home. We own three motor vehicles (a car, a SUV and a motorcycle), none of which is newer than 2001. I am thankful that all vehicles are in good operating condition.
I am thankful that Bob and I have a happy and healthy marriage. We genuinely like one another, amuse and comfort one another, and enjoy spending time with each other.
I am thankful that we get along with each of our family members.
I am thankful for our friends, old and new.
I am thankful that Bob and I enjoy good health; however, it wouldn’t hurt me to make improvements in this area. I am overweight and have been diagnosed with diabetes. It would improve my well being if this new year included better food choices, weight loss and exercise. Bob went on a low-carbohydrate diet last year and has lost at least 50 pounds. He looks great and feels so much better. Bob plans to continue on the low-carbohydrate diet.
What are your thoughts on this second day of the new year?