Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Letter 2017

Titusville Florida in January - checking on mom and dad 
 It is time for the annual Christmas letter, a recap of the year, for those who have been following along, and an update for those who have not followed along.  

First I would like to wish you and yours a Joyous Christmas and a Secure and Happy New Year!  If you celebrate other holidays, Happy Holidays, rest assured that even if my greetings don't identify your holidays, my heart is in the right place in wishing you and yours well.  

As I suspected it would be, 2017 was a rough year for us.  We have made it through, from diversity comes wisdom.  I was back and forth to Florida about a dozen times.  Mom's long difficult struggle ended in late February.  I hope no one ever has as difficult of an end as she did.  Dad was weakened by cancer, breathing and cardiac issues, but remained in control and moving about on his own.  He had two bad falls in late July and was gone within a week. I was the one who found him - not breathing - still - quiet - at peace - an experience that changed me in ways I have yet to understand.  His struggle was relatively short, and ended as he said he wanted.  

I completed my 9th year at work.  I finished a huge research project, that I was starting to suspect would never end (honestly I was in over my head on that project - in the end I committed to the best project I could do - and not a perfect one.) I spoke at conferences in Boston and Huntington Beach, California.  I attended meetings in Chicago, and Newport, Rhode Island.  

I stopped in Arizona on my way to California, for a couple of days of personal vacation.  That and a long weekend in Cleveland with Jay's family were as close to a vacation as I had this year.  I traveled a lot, 37 airline flights, over 50 hours in the air, and 50 hotel nights, but little of it was for pleasure.

My two brothers remain in central Florida, my sister and brother in law moved to Michigan.  I was in Michigan a couple of times this fall for memorial services.  I will likely go back again, there are people I want to reconnect with and things I want to see.  

The future looks bright.  J has signed an early retirement contract and will be done teaching in a year.  With that we will have a house to sell in Kentucky this year.  And two homes to consolidate into one.  The plan is to move what we want and turn the rest over to an estate liquidator, it worked for mom and dad's house.  My work has become a bit more complicated, with my major project now only being 40% of my time, and a basket full of other projects filling the other 60%.  I love the work, but juggling multiple projects is more complicated than managing one. 

So that is the update from the casa Travel Penguin. We will see what 2018 brings.  

An air-boat ride in February, while waiting for mom to die 

Native Floridians enjoying the winter sun 

J petting the sheep at Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill Kentucky - Presidents Days weekend.  I had spent the week before in Florida waiting for mom to die, flew home, went to Kentucky for the weekend, flew back to DC, and mom died that night - back to Florida the next morning. 

I need to remember I live and work in a Spectacular World Capital 

This is what I saw of Boston, rain and fog most of the time I was there. 

Standing on Glass, 100+ stories up at the Willis Tower in Chicago 

Newport Rhode Island in late May 

West Side Market in Cleveland in early July 

30 flights on American Airlines - I finally made Gold Status 

Back in Florida again and again 

A couple of days in the Dessert in November recharged my soul 

Dinner with great friends overlooking the Pacific in November  

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