If 2013 was a life-changing year, then 2014 was the aftermath. 2014 was the year of taking stock and moving forward.
I spent much of the first third of the year, dealing with my aunt's estate. This was emotional and stressful. It was my first experience with selling a house. Luckily, Dan found an amazing team of relators (Team Kociela with First Team in Tustin), who took care of everything and made the process as painless as possible. The house sold fast and for well above asking. My aunt and uncle had bought their house before I was born and it was very hard for me to let go of a home that held so many happy memories. Luckily, a nice family with a new baby bought it and at the risk of sounding sappy, I hope that they fill it with love and wonderful memories of their own. I especially hope that they have epic pool parties!
After selling my first home, I turned around and had my first experience buying a home. Dan and I are now proud owners of a house in Big Bear Lake. We have spent many weekends enjoying our mountain retreat and we have already made friendships with several locals. We are starting to feel like part of the community.
I spent about four months working as a professional dog walker. Unfortunately, the company that I worked for, folded. However, during the short amount of time that I worked, I got to know two of the sweetest dogs around, a Golden Retriever Puppy named Busy and an energetic Labradoodle named Milo. My stint as a dog walker nearly turned me from a cat to a dog person. Nearly.
In 2014, we bought a Jeep Wrangler and took up a new hobby, Jeeping. We attended the Big Bear Jeep Jamboree and Big Bear Forest Fest. It's amazing how many trails are in our new backyard. We learned the real definition of JEEP ( Just. Empty. Every. Pocket.), as we got the bug to modify it, until it looked nothing like it did when we purchased it. We are looking forward to more events and modifications in the new year.
Between heading to Big Bear and our other travels, it felt like we were never home in 2014. We spent fifteen days, over four separate trips in Las Vegas, which included Jeeping in the Valley of Fire for the first time. Beautiful! We did a weekend in Chicago and we spent our first anniversary in Lake Tahoe, a place neither of us had visited previously. Our summer trip to Europe included three weeks in England and a little over a week in Sweden. It was great to finally see the country where my stepchildren live and to see their home/school/city. I ate Reindeer for the first time. Rudolph is delicious!
Life was filled up with other things, so I didn't go to as many plays, concerts or movies as I typically do. I did manage to see Josh Ritter, The Airborne Toxic Event and Britney Spears. The first two were phenomenal and the third was much better than I had anticipated. I finally got to see a touring production of The Book of Mormon. Hilarious!
I read fifty-two books and discovered both Booksparks and Netgalley.
I've finished five writing classes towards my Fiction Certificate at UCLA Extension. More exciting than the actually classes, is I've made progress on a novel idea that I've been contemplating for years. 2014 has been creatively, very productive.
2014 started off a mess, but the maelstrom has subsided and I'm entering 2015 calm and focused. I look forward to 2015!