Thursday, December 29, 2005

The 2005 Christmas letter

Well now that Christmas is past for another year and all my Christmas cards have been mailed and received by now, I decided I'd post my annual Christmas letter in my blog for everyone to read. I know I didn't send it in all my cards and I know that some cards that were supposed to get one I forgot it. oops! Or worse, I think I forgot the actual CARD in stuffing all those envelopes! Big oops! Last year I forgot to sign a bunch of them. And one of those unsigned ones was to my own sister! LOL Anyhow, here is the 2005 Christmas letter, in its entirety, but minus the pretty paper I used....

Hello everyone and Happy Holidays to you all! What a year this has been for me… some good, some bad, and some in between.

The Bad…

There was a lot of that this year but I just hang tough and get through it all. It all started last Christmas when I came home. A couple days after I got to PA, I get a phone call my car was stolen! Yes, stolen. It was recovered just two days after being reported stolen and in one piece, for the most part. My CD player was stolen, the stereo ruined, and all my personal belongings in the car were gone. So though I give kudos to the police for recovering it so quickly, insurance only covered the stereo so I had to replace everything else on my own.

When I came home in April, the bad luck continued. This time my apartment was broken in to and burglarized! The police did squat, wouldn’t even take fingerprints, so no resolution to this incident, making me lose faith in the police… but not in myself. Over $13000 worth of things were stolen, mostly jewelry. This was the worst thing to happen all year. The feeling of knowing your home and private belongings were invaded is terrible, one I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Six months later, I finally settled the claim with the insurance company, not getting nearly the value’s worth of everything taken, but at least I got something. So then began the process of replacing everything that was taken. I’m still paranoid now about going away for more then a couple days, taking extra care to make sure I have plenty of people keeping an eye on things.

As frustrating and upsetting and this all was, I’ve tried to not let it get me down and keep on truckin’.

The In-Between…

I’ve had to struggle a lot this year, financially and emotionally but I’m doing just fine. I decided it was time to try to get in shape and lose those pounds I’ve gained since moving here. I started Body for Life, a 12 week program, this summer and set my goals for myself. I made it 10 weeks in to the program before vacations interfered and the program died out for me. I didn’t lose much weight, but I did surprisingly well on the exercise portion of the program, and felt a lot better physically and got something out of it at least. Now, I’ve decided after the holidays (and New Year) I’m going to get back in to it and stick it out. I hope I can complete it this time around and get myself back in to the routine.

I found myself in a new relationship with someone I met down here and things were going great for a while. He moved in with me and we were talking about getting married. But that was not to be, we had some serious issues we couldn’t work out and broke things off. I was crushed over it all, but it was the right choice, though difficult to make. I call this part of the “in-between” experiences this year because I did get something out of it all, even if just hard lessons learned. I’m still dealing with the after-effects of it all and doing a lot of thinking, but I’ll be stronger for it all in the end.

I decided it was time to give up Love Romances, my book review website. I’m still going to continue with my book reviewing since I love it, but I decided it was time to “retire” from the job of owning and managing the website. It takes up too much time and I never have enough time to get things done. It was becoming more of a chore than anything and I don’t enjoy it anymore. So I decided the best thing to do was step down from management responsibilities and go back to doing just the parts I love best – reviewing and interviewing authors. So I made the announcement that after the New Year I would not be the owner anymore, and found two people to replace me for all the “business” stuff.

The Good…

Of course I had to save the best parts for last. There were so many life changing events for family and friends this year, all of which were wonderful. Between family and friends, there were 10 babies born (or there will be as soon as little Tommy Bova is born J), three weddings, one of which was my absolute best friend in the world, and at least two engagements. Talk about a lot happening! We had Dad’s (and Uncle Dave’s) 60th birthday to celebrate, which I was able to make it home for, much to the surprise of everyone, not the least of which was Dad. This year has been great in that I’ll have been able to make it home three times. There was the birthday party in April, Jackie’s wedding AND the family reunion in August, and of course Christmas. I was starting to get worried because of everything that’s happened this year that I’d not be able to come home for the holiday due to not being able to afford it, but Dad is making it happen for me by using some of his gazillion remaining airline miles to bring me home. (Thanks Dad! I know I’ve said that at least 5 times already but here’s one more time. I love you!)

I decided it was time to start going back to Church and I’ve been exploring some in the area to find one I like. I’ve decided non-Denominational is the way to go for me so that’s what I’ve been trying. I found a couple close by that seem pretty good, each with a relatively young community. So now I just have to decide which one I like best and start going regularly again, after several years.

Work is going great. I’m so busy I’m always at least three months behind. But this is a good thing, right? It certainly means job security if nothing else. J My big project right now is beginning a huge recycling program at the Reserve post I work at. Lots of research, interviewing, touring other facilities, and planning but I think it will be great. I started this project in October and I am excited to say we’re planning to start the program with the New Year. This is the biggest undertaking I’ve approached there to date and I’m happy to see my hard work paying off.

Also at work, and at home, I got really involved in Hurricane Relief Efforts. I helped coordinate some efforts, helped get the community (well my apartment complex at least) involved, and I donated a ton of stuff myself.

I added a new member to my “family” here back in July. I fell in love with a part Siamese kitten at the Humane Society and just had to bring him home. He’s now six months old, is absolutely adorable, a real lap kitty, and a holy terror to the other “kids,” especially to poor Aker. (BTW, Amun is the spoiled rotten looking guy front and center on my cards.)

It’s only taken me over two years, but I’ve finally got a good group of friends down here that I get together with regularly. I’ve gotten to be great friends with several people living in my apartment complex and we regularly get together for cook outs and such. We’ve also got a whole long list of group activities we want to do together. Some of those are actually who I spent Thanksgiving with. We had a wonderful community potluck for the holiday, saving any one from having to do all the planning and cooking themselves. Of course I also have my book club that gets together at least twice a month and I’ve made some great friends in there that I see pretty regularly outside of our monthly teas and dinners.

Two and a half years later, am I still loving Texas? You bet! (Gotta love those 70 and 80 degree days we get in the winter.) I still have my moments when I miss Mom and Dad and everyone immensely, especially during those big family events I know I’m missing. I’m still glad I had faith and made the move down here when I had the opportunity. It was most definitely a good move for me, even in light of the bad luck I’ve had this year. I’m still counting my blessings. I have my health and my home. I have my job which is always changing and usually rewarding, my loving family that’s always there for me, even if only in spirit, I have my new friends I’ve made, and I have a New Year to look forward that can only get better!


At 3:40 PM, Blogger Kelley said...

Well I don't know what is up with the goofy font size changes mid-lette. Everything was the same when I typed it, but in sending it got warped somehow.

And the baby tally for 2005 ended up being 12, not 10. One of my coworkers' wife was due to have twins in February. Turns out she ended up giving birth on Monday, 12/26. One baby is 4 lbs, the other 3.5 lbs, talk about tiny!


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