If I had to choose a word for 2011, I think it would be "family," which makes me happy. We spent most of our time off island with various family members and that's just how I like it! January started out with a trip to New Jersey to help my mom after she had surgery. She had a couple of rough weeks but was soon back to her active and busy self and we found plenty to laugh about, despite the circumstances. We all have a warped sense of humor so were able to find the fun in an extended hospital stay, barf buckets, tubes down the nose and a tummy full of staples. It was also the first time I'd been with all of my siblings in quite awhile. My youngest brother Bill and I are shown above with Mom.
My brother Joe came in from Wyoming
My sister Kathi was there from San Antonio and we managed to go sledding with our nieces without breaking a hip. I think we are too old for this
but we gave it our best shot!
My sister in law Patty was a huge help and is always there for Mom. We appreciate her very much. Not to mention the fact that she has four of the sweetest kids around--Becca, Billy, Alex, and Abby. It was lots of fun hanging out with them.
February brought the annual Polar Bear Walk/Run, which I completed (as a walker, not a runner!) with my friends Tammy, Sonia and Melanie. We thought we needed it after a fondue party the night before.
Part of March and April took us off island for vacation in California. We spent some time in San Francisco, one of our favorite cities, and explored Napa and Sonoma.
We stopped in on Rich's sister Vesta. She and Rich went through a bunch of stuff in the garage and we enjoyed looking at old photos and keepsakes.
Then to Mariposa to visit Rich's stepkids William, Hannah and Sara (and kids)
and met up with Vesta again while seeing Rich's cousins Mary Ethel and Roger.
We also saw my niece Ellie at Santa Clara U., our friend Keils in the Napa Valley, Poindexter-McHan cousins Susan and Kris in Los Altos, and Rich's stepdaughter Heather and her family in Nevada, plus stopovers in Lake Tahoe and Vegas. Whew! Oh, yeah, I was also super happy to chance upon a Graham Nash/David Crosby concert in San Francisco! They were fabulous!
In May, we found the wild horses and watched the hills start turning green. Rich won prizes for these two photos (and one more!) in his company's annual photo contest later in the year.
June brought a little bit of excitement with a city wide tsunami evacuation. Since we live on a hill in UniSea housing, most of UniSea evacuated to our yard and higher. Luckily, nothing happened and everyone soon went home.
In late June and July, we traveled to New Jersey for a week in Ocean City. My mom's 80th birthday was in January but we celebrated with a big bash "down the shore" with lots of family and friends.
The grandkids had a blast on the beach!
Ally and Elle
Here's Mom with all of her kids, all of our spouses except my sister's husband, all of my mom's grandkids and great-grandkids. Wow! With the additional aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, we filled 6 houses at the shore and had close to 100 people in and out during the week. It was a blast!
After a week at the shore, Rich and I rented a car and took a little road trip to Arlington National Cemetery and through Pennsylvania. We spent a couple of nights at a B&B and took a hike at Bushkill Falls.
After driving back to my mom's, I was thrilled to see one of my all time favorite bands, U2, in Philly before heading home. Another awesome vacation!
In August we enjoyed nice weather, couple of hikes, and making jams and preserves.
September brought me to Anchorage for a work conference, which gave me an excuse to go to Texas and pop in on the kids and grandkids for a couple of weeks.
I got to babysit Emery while her parents were at work and had fun with all of them in Amarillo,
then to Abilene to spend time with Ally and Aidan, their parents and some good friends, Karen, Sherri and Jim
and to Dallas to keep Elle and Beck while their parents went on a 10th anniversary trip to Mexico.
You know I love my Gigi time with all the sweeties!
In October, we organized our own little "Occupy" event to show solidarity with the rest of the world. I miss my activist days!
November was vacation time again--yes, we do travel a lot, don't we? First to Maui for a week of sunshine and relaxation--so nice!
Then to southern California for Jane's first RV adventure--I started out skeptical but ended up having a good time. :) One of the highlights was a stay in Joshua Tree National Park, where we enjoyed hiking, exploring and watching some rock climbers. This was the only trip this year when we did not see any family but we did reconnect with some of Rich's old friends, Dain and Crystal, and had great fun with them.
We got back home in December, just in time for Rich to get super busy with all the holiday parties and banquets at the hotel. Meanwhile, I hanging out with friends for a holiday dinner where Andrea gave all of us "Occupy the Bering Sea" hoodies. Her stepmom had given her one for her bday in June and we were all envious. :)
We've been busy at work and had a quiet Christmas at home. It's a cliche but I do feel that the time just races by and I can hardly believe another year is done. It's amazing to me that I have been in Unalaska for 7 and a half years!
Love this little snow family created by someone in UniSea housing!
Thankfully, 2011 has been much more calm and peaceful than 2010. Emery has had clear scans all year and is doing great. Nothing could be better than that! Baby Beck turned one year old, Emery turned 2, Elle is almost 4, Ally is almost 5 and Aidan is almost 9. They are the sweetest kids in the world and I miss them every day. I think I would have liked living in the time when everyone stayed in the same town with their extended family instead of being scattered to the four winds. :) But we are fortunate to get to visit fairly often and that will have to do till we can retire!
All in all, we've had a very good year and are grateful for our circumstances when we know that many are struggling. I hope that 2012 will bring positive changes to our country and relief to those who are having difficulties. My wish, as always, is for more peace and love in the world.