It’s that time again… the very first day in a brand-new year.
One of the cool things about having a blog is that it makes it REALLY easy to look back on major, and not-so-major, events.
I had to laugh when I read my pal Fuzzy’s annual re-cap and saw that she said “…it often feels like I never go anywhere and I never do anything…” She does a lot of fun stuff. I found it funny because I feel that way often, too. And I also did a lot in 2014. I didn’t ride my motorcycle nearly as much as I’d hoped to, but I got around.
As much as I appreciate being able to work from home, I think it makes me feel like I never go anywhere. On a day-to-day basis, my scenery doesn’t change much. Not that I’m complaining. I just want y’all to understand where that “I never go anywhere” feeling comes from.
For me, 2014 was an interesting year. More ups than downs, fortunately, but some of the downs were pretty low. Fuzzy and I really are kindred spirits in many ways. She said something else that rang true for me, too… “Much of 2014 was spent learning lessons about dealing with people and dealing with myself.”
Some of those lessons were harder than others, but I learned. I know I am not perfect. I try to be a good person, I do. (Of course, “good” is relative.) I can’t make everyone happy. Honesty is not always the best policy. People are complex creatures. I just need to live my life the best way I know how, for better or worse.
Anyway… here’s my look-back at 2014.
There were a few things I said I’d be doing that actually happened.
1. Hubby, Mike, and I took his Mom out to Washington State to visit Amy and her family (February).
2. Eric, our youngest kid, and his wife moved to Spain. But not until the end of September.
3. Hubby and I enjoyed another visit to Europe with our friends (September).
There were some things I’d hoped to do, but didn’t. Like get out on my bike more. Perhaps 2015 will be my year.
And there was a LOT of stuff I didn’t anticipate or plan. I hope you enjoy the re-cap.
We suffered a broken pipe at the WV Place. It was an oogy mess. Really.
It could have been much worse. It was sheer luck that Hubby discovered the break when he did.
The place actually cleaned up much better than we’d expected. There was only one broken pipe and it was really easy for Hubby to fix. Also, the contractor we found to do the major, labor-intensive repairs, eventually did a great job. It just took him a while to get around to doing the work (weather was the biggest factor).
On the whole, February was a quiet month.
On a smaller scale, there was this cool lace-making demonstration at The Empty Nest.
We slid quietly into and through March.
First was the not-so-eventful trashcan redesign.
Then there was the visit with my girlfriends, Carol and Tracey. We’ve known each other for close to 40 years. The older I get, the more I appreciate these gals.
Friends are the family you choose. Good ones are worth keeping. It takes effort, though. There have been ups and downs over the years, of course, as we all lead different lives and have grown into people with very different interests. But our hearts will always be connected. We live in separate states, have widely varied responsibilities, schedules, hobbies, etc., but we make sure we stay connected.
Speaking of connected, my friend Brad came for a visit at the end of March. We’ve been friends since high school. We are both horrible at keeping in touch, but that connection runs deep and will always be there. I hope we are able to get together again soon.
I had a very nice surprise in April when my employer invited me down to Texas for a sales meeting. I hadn’t been back to Texas since joining the company in January of 2012. I’d never had a chance to explore much, so I stayed a few extra days and moseyed around the state a bit. It was lots of fun. It helped chase away those winter blues, too.
Post and picture links are provided below, if you’re interested:
- Day 1: Friday in Austin — BLOG POST
- Day 2: Saturday, Austin to Port Aransas — BLOG POST | Flickr pics
- Day 3: Sunday, In and Around Port Aransas — BLOG POST | Flickr pics
- Day 4: Monday, Port Aransas to Austin, then Home — BLOG POST | Flickr pics
- Bonus – Sunset Captures in Port Aransas
The biggest event in May was Hubby’s unveiling of Grandfather’s Clock. If you haven’t seen that post yet, you should take a look. It’s all about the clock that talented Hubby of mine built completely from scratch, using black walnut harvested by his grandfather. There are lots of pics, too.
Oh, and I shared a video in a separate post., which includes even more images. It’s Mike’s finest woodworking project to date. It’s also one of the reasons we didn’t do much on weekends… he spent MONTHS making that heirloom.
I finally got some motorcycles rides in, too.
The most memorable for me was my long-anticipated yet sorta impromptu meetup with my friend, Rachael (aka FullyGalore). I wrote all about that meeting here. I’ve been following her blog for quite a few years and had been wanting to meet her in person for a long time. We really are kindred spirits. But she lives on Long Island, which isn’t exactly close or easy to get to from Virginia.
Then there was the Piedmont Loop ride with my friend, Dottie.
I compiled a neat little video using some of the footage I captured while riding with Dottie. Watch it if you dare. It made me want to get out and RIDE. Like now. But with temps in the mid-30s and no heated gear, I decided to just finish working on this blog post.
We spent the three-day Memorial Day Weekend sprucing-up the WV Place.
I even managed to squeeze a furniture painting project into the month of May.
The biggest event in June was Meg’s 15th birthday. We don’t usually celebrate our furkids’ birthdays. Heck, we don’t make much fuss over birthdays in general.
But we never thought Meg would make it to her 15th birthday. That’s like 105 in dog years.
Her health had slowly but surely been declining, so we felt that since she’d made it that long, it was a milestone we just HAD to celebrate. She got cake and ice cream in addition to that awesome hat.
Another notable event was my nephew Josh’s high school graduation.
Oh, and our eldest daughter Shannon got her motorcycle license!
We finished of the month in high style with a sorta last-minute trip to Texas. My company celebrated it’s 15th anniversary that month. Since we had a pretty good year, they decided to fly all of the remote employees and their spouses in for the party.
Hubby hadn’t been to Texas since before we were married. He’d spent a lot of time there early in his career since the company he was working for built the Marriott Rivercenter hotel.
Here are the links to posts from that trip:
- Getting to Texas was half of the the adventure
- Hill Country and Fredericksburg, Texas
- Exploring a back road or two
- Big-ass Texas cowboy
- Texas BBQ really can be a religious experience
- Roadside attractions in Texas
- Exploring downtown San Antonio
- San Antonio to Austin and then home
It was a nice bit of goofy fun for us.
It’s funny how things turn out. July started as virtually a blank slate, other than work. But cool stuff can happen unexpectedly.
I FINALLY finished another major furniture makeover. See for yourself.
I squeezed in a brief motorcycle ride AND our Canuck friend Alain stopped in for a visit. We met him back in 2010 when we did our first motorcycle tour in Europe. He was part of the group, and is one of the nicest and smiliest folks you’d ever want to meet. I hope we get to see Alain again soon.
I also enjoyed a morning ride with Dottie, which is when we discovered the Blue Ridge Country Store, which isn’t really a store, but the coolest yard decoration ever.
Finally, closing out the month, I got to ride my bike up to Pennsylvania to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with him.
I did a bit more riding in August, starting with this trip in early August, which is when I found that awesome frog statue.
Both of those places are at the Shenandoah Caverns complex in Quicksburg, Virginia.
I even did a post just about the ride part of that glorius and VERY full day.
In the middle of the month, Hubby and I did a weekend ride. There are several posts about that trip, ’cause we covered a lot of ground:
- The intro post
- Home to Staunton, Virginia (pronounced like Stan Ton)
- The Back of the Dragon (in Virginia, not that other Dragon)
- The road home
That ended up being our very last road trip together on matching motorcycles because shortly afterward, Hubby bought himself a brand new touring motorcycle.
In September, I bought a new point-and-shoot camera.
Then we went on a trip to Europe. It wasn’t quite two weeks long, but we packed a lot of stuff in. I still haven’t finished posting about the trip, but here’s what I have so far. The first six posts were either written while traveling or shortly after we got back to Virginia. I tried to at least keep y’all somewhat updated, but I didn’t have a ton of time what with traveling around, limited Wifi, and spending times with friends we rarely get to see.
- Post #1: We Have Arrived
- Post #2: Whirlwind Tour of Europe’s Most-famous Sites
- Post #3: Brussels… Sneak Peek
- Post #4: Quickie Update (UK and Bruges)
- Post #5: Arrival in Switzerland
- Post #6: Back Home
The posts that follow are more in-depth.
- Post #7: A closer look at central Brussels
- Post #8: Annelies and Yves’ New House
- Post #9: ToadMama in Bruges (my new favorite European city!)
- Post #10: Canterbury Cathedral (yes, it was amazing)
- Post #11: UK Road Trip
- Post #12: UK Road Trip Continued
- Post #13: Our Visit to Stow-on-the-Wold
- Post #14: Another AMAZING Cathedral… Gloucester
- Post #15: Fine, Relaxed Dining in Switzerland: Raclette
- Post #16: Our Last Day in the UK
- Post #17: A close-up look at Zaffelare, Belgium (Annelies and Yves’ town)
- Post #18: Road Trip to Switzerland
We were a little scared about going, due to Meg’s health, which had been declining even more rapidly since her birthday in June. But she was still hanging in there when we got back.
Then, at the end of the month, Eric, our youngest, and his wife, Kelsey, moved to Spain.
On September 15, I learned that my moto-blogging buddy, Bob, had passed away. It was very sad, and hit me harder than expected, which is why I didn’t do a blog post about it until early November.
That pretty much covers September.
The month started off nicely on Mike’s birthday weekend with a visit from our friends, Kathy and Barry. They came down from Maryland for the day. Kathy and I enjoyed a shop hop/wine tasting event while Mike and Barry went for a motorcycle ride. Sorry, I don’t have any pics to share. Did I mention that my new camera had broken and was at the shop for repairs (under warranty, thankfully).
The following weekend, we took a road trip — two-up! — on Hubby’s new motorcycle. All the way to Niagara Falls, Canada and back.
We also managed to squeeze in some local riding. Together, but on separate bikes this time.
The last weekend in October, when a previously planned trip for me had to be postponed, I did a long, solo ride on Saturday.
It was awesome.
Then, on Sunday, Dottie and I did a much shorter trip into West Virginia.
Things started getting sorta hectic in November.
We lost Meg on November 13. She’d fought the good fight, and was with us much longer than either of us ever expected. When her health had finally deteriorated to the point that I knew she was in pretty much constant pain, I knew it was time.
It was the right thing to do, but it was very, very hard. Even though we’d known for so long that it was coming. We both miss our crazy old girl.
I did travel to Rehoboth, Delaware with another friend from childhood, but haven’t done a post yet.
Meg’s passing, Thanksgiving, and the scattering of Meg’s cremains, among other things, sorta set me reeling.
So the month of November was a bit of a blur.
First, we went to San Diego December 5 through 9 to visit with Shannon for her birthday.
Amy flew down from Washington to join us, so it was a mini-reunion with 66.6% of our offspring.
It was a lovely visit. I haven’t done a post about that trip yet — I was too busy getting ready for Christmas — but captured some cool pics I’d like to share. I’ll do a post one day.
December 15 was a busy day…
Eric and Kelsey came back from Spain. They hope to return in the Spring. I haven’t seen much of them — they were sick, too — but am glad having them back on the same continent.
It was the day of my annual Chickmas gathering with Carol and Tracey. This year it was at Carol’s house in Southern Maryland.
AND it was the day everything we were shipping needed to be boxed, wrapped, and delivered to the post office or UPS store.
On December 17, Shannon flew here from San Diego to join us for Christmas. She was here through December 27.
My Dad and mother-in-law were here for Christmas, too (Dec 23-27). Hubby and I both fell ill with bad colds mid-way through Christmas Day.
The holiday was hectic, but good. We had a very low-key New Years’ Eve — we both needed that! –and I’ve spent quite a few hours today compiling this annual re-cap.
It’s for me, just as much as it is for you. I find l looking back at previous year in review posts is kind of interesting, too.
Here’s my recap of 2013, if you care to take a peek.
So that was 2014. I’m sure I left some things out, and I know I am behind on posting stuff, but I’ll catch up one day.
For now, I wish you, your family, friends, and other loved ones a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous 2015.