Compared to the events in 2013-2014, 2015 was a calm year. This doesn't mean dull though, plenty happened in 2015.
We kicked off the new year at a pajama party thrown by our friends Brian and Valerie, at their business, the La Dolce Vita Tasting Room in Big Bear. The year started with wine, bongo drums, and intentionally bad beat poetry. A few days later, we turned our house over to our contractor for an extensive remodel. We took the house down to the studs and added rooms. The house was originally slated to be ready for Dan's birthday last July, but due to delays, we have our fingers crossed that it will be finished by this July. Although slow, we are overjoyed with the progress. The house has been a very consuming project, with endless decisions and changes. I can't wait to have it done.
2015 was a year of travel. I spent nine nights in Las Vegas, six in Palm Springs, and three in San Diego. We drove to Utah to visit Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon. International travel took us to England, France, Spain, Gibraltar, Netherlands, and Belgium. Part of that included a two week Mediterranean cruise with my in-laws and step-kids!
I served Jury Duty for three weeks on a civil case in Downtown Los Angeles. Honestly, I was grumpy when I was first picked, but in the end, the process was fascinating. A guy tried to sue a cleaning company at the South Bay Mall, after he ran through the planters in an Ikea parking lot and tripped. He was unsuccessful in his lawsuit.
Dan's father visited in July and we went to see Dame Edna at the Ahmanson Theatre. Hilarious. Dan's parents both visited us in September, and I took them to see The Object Lesson at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. I've never been so surprised and delighted by a live performance. In London, we took the kids to their first big show, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
We went to several concerts; Old 97's, Brad Paisley ( Dan's first time at the Hollywood Bowl), and Sheryl Crow. We saw Eddie Izzard at the Hollywood Bowl and had our second NASCAR Experience.
With the exception of our vacations, I stuck to a workout schedule ( 3 days a week) with my trainer at the gym. The first half of the year, I lost over twenty pounds and was fitter than I've been in years. Vacation eating and my post-vacation- "let's keep the vacation going" mentality caused me to gain back about twelve pounds. I'm still happy though, feeling stronger and healthier than last year. There is a lot of toned muscles happening and I have decent endurance! In August, I began to add pilates into my routine, which is so much fun. I really look forward to the gym on pilates days, especially with the jump board. I feel like I'm in a circus!
I've continued work towards my three year fiction writing certificate through UCLA Extension. This year, I took seven classes, and I will wrap up the program by this coming spring. Although most of my course work focused on the completion and workshopping of my first novel, I also took Intermediate Short Story and Intro to Poetry. The idea of poetry intrigued and scared me, but I rose to the challenge and found a new form of writing to love.
The big news of the year happened around my birthday, when I learned that my novel had been nominated for The James Kirkwood Prize. I had been nominated by novelist Caroline Leavitt, whom with I took Story Structure for the Novel, last winter. I was elated and it was huge boost when I was starting to have doubts about my story. I didn't win, but that's okay, I was just so thrilled to have been picked.
Speaking of books, I read sixty-five this year!
2015 was mostly happy and calm. I'm grateful to have made so many happy memories with friends and family.