Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 - Reflections of a Year Gone By

Where did 2011 go? I cannot believe there are only a few days left! When the cashier at Publix told me on my 16th birthday that my life would fly from that point on, she wasn't kidding! That was 1986...suddenly I find myself nearing the end of 2011 (and the end of the world, if you believe the Mayans - lucky for me, that is one thing I do NOT worry about.) Anyway, 2011 was an interesting year. I got to experience a lot of new things and, as usual, I learned a lot. Here are a few of my personal highlights of 2011:

"Photo of the Year"
  • My "baby" turned 12. On the day I write this post, he is exactly one month away from becoming a teenager! That will mean two teenagers in the house (Lord, help me). In all seriousness, though, I love my kids and am so proud of both of them! 
  • Went to FETC in Orlando with Spirit and Bob. Visited Cafe Tu Tu Tango for the first time. (When Bob first told me that he knew of a great tapas restaurant in Orlando, I promptly informed him that I wasn't into that sort of thing (thought he said "topLESS"). I discovered I really like tapas AND sangria. The company was great too!
Me & my siblings on Easter
  • I learned that the third time isn't always a charm. If you REALLY know me, you get it. If you don' don't need to know. Let's just leave it at that.
  •  Had my family all together for Easter! :)
My hidey-hole in Orlando
  • Back to Orlando with Spirit and Bob. Another visit to Cafe Tu Tu Tango. I vaguely remember crawling into a hedge to see if I could fit.
  • Rob and I celebrated 19 years of marriage.
  • Learned that octopi are venomous and don't like to be held. 

  • Visited the Jersey shore for the first time (in spite of the fact that I'm FROM New Jersey). Had an awesome time in beautiful Stone Harbor with the "U Crew." It was great to see where Rob spent his childhood summers. We also visited THE Shore Store and met Danny - the Jersey Shore crew's boss, who was a surprisingly nice, friendly guy.
  • Danny - "The Boss"
  • Visited Philadelphia for the first time, while attending ISTE. I was surprised to see what a cool city it is. I was completely floored by the architecture. 
    • While at the show, I met an amazing Australian teacher named Karin who has "posted" me a couple of surprise packages from Down Under containing fun platypus-themed gifts, because I told her that I love platypi. Gotta love Aussies! :)
    • Rode in a cab (in the U.S.) for the first time with Bob and my boss, John. I cracked up throughout the entire ride (after drinking two Coors Lights on an empty stomach), while trying to hold in the "Cabs Are Here!" that wanted so badly to escape my lips.
    • Tried an authentic Philly cheesesteak in Philly and discovered that I much prefer Flanigan's version, which I can get right here at home.
  • John Taylor responded to my "tweet"! (Mind you, I rarely "tweet")...the first sign of things to come?
  • Got "props" on Facebook from Oceanside Glasstile for loving their products.
Me & the Sweetest of the Peas
  • My daughter turned 15 and got her learner's permit. She is now DRIVING (and very good at it too). She is hoping to get my car when she turns 16 next year. Unless I get a huge raise or win the lottery (both probably have about the same odds), she may be driving a scooter instead. 
  • Our family made the decision to start fostering Golden Retrievers through Golden Rescue South Florida. Our first foster dog Sweet Pea, completely lived up to her name. It was so amazing to see how much love these dogs can bring to our household and how wonderful it is to see them go to good homes with people who adore them.
  • Won Meet & Greet passes and tickets to see Duran Duran! My teenage dream come true. Learned the valuable lesson that fantasy is often much better than reality, but am so thankful for the experience and for reconnecting with my college friend, Tonya! :)
  • Visited New York City for the first time (attending NYSRA) AND got to experience Autumn in the northeast for the first time since I was six years old!
  • Started my blog! (Thank you for reading!)
  • Returned to New Jersey for NJEA. LOVED seeing Autumn in western NJ - so beautiful. Learned many lessons in Atlantic City.
  • Turned 41 - UGH! Getting older really isn't fun - blog post to come in 2012.
  • Welcomed our second foster dog, Marley, a 150-lb SWEET yellow lab, sparking the Dilemma.
  • Alana and I enjoyed a long weekend with my sister and her family up in Southern Georgia and I made some observations about country living.
Marley Bear
  • Watched two potential foster families for Marley come and go before meeting his perfect new mama - Stephanie, thus ending  the Dilemma. (Also got a visit from him in late December! :D )
  • Received a Christmas wish from a woman in India whom I became friends with through my last job. We have never met in person, have barely spoken over the phone, she's on the other side of the world (and Muslim) and she still took the time to wish me and my family a Merry Christmas. I was deeply touched by this gesture of kindness. :)
  • Enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with my family (though I missed my sister a lot). I was especially proud of my kids who graciously accepted what few gifts they got. Made me feel like Rob and I are doing something right after all.
  • Learned that I am WAY more productive at work when it is slow and my boss is on vacation (how ironic is that?) I got so much done these last couple of weeks. It feels GOOD! I can finally take some of the virtual Post-It notes off of my computer desktop!
Throughout 2011, I've met a lot of new friends, reconnected with many old friends (thanks to Facebook), learned many lessons (some valuable, some ironic, and some just plain strange), and most importantly smiled and laughed A LOT!

What's on tap for 2012? Chase becomes a teenager in January, a possible first-time trip to Austin in February, possible first-time trips to Boston and Chicago in the spring, Rob and I celebrate our 20th Anniversary in May, a possible trip to San Diego (one of my favorite cities on Earth) in June, Alana celebrates her Sweet 16 in August and a maybe, just maybe, a man resembling my husband gets elected President in November (LOL!). But, let's face it, only God knows for sure!

Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

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