Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Auld Lang Syne 2014

Yes, it's the final day of 2014 and that generally requires some type of personal reflection of "the year that was"; however, I received a Christmas letter from a colleague and friend that really pared down the "review process" of reflection. I am going to attempt to complete my final entry of 2014 using the "thumbs up/thumbs down" process that she used in her Christmas letter. I thought it was genius to make something that can become SO complicated into some SO simple.
So, here are my personal "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" moments of 2014. I'll review the year month by month so as not to group all of the "thumbs up" stuff together and then lump all of the "thumbs down" stuff together because life is always a mixture of both.

01-04-14: Mark & I attended the "Dobbs Family Reunion" which is an annual event that reminds me of my connection to my Native American relatives. Although no one knew it at the time, this was the last reunion my cousin Shorty Dobbs would attend.

01-05-14: The Packers lose to the 49ers 23-20 in a play off game. Hopes of another trip to the Super Bowl are dashed.

01-06-14, 01-07-14, 01-28-14: Public schools are closed due to the significant sub-zero temperatures. This never happened when I was in school. We walked uphill in both directions to make it to school because schools didn't close due to freezing temperatures. We were lucky if recess was held indoors in these types of low temperatures.

01-23-14: My parents celebrate their 43rd wedding anniversary.  That's a long time to spend with another person. Go Rog & Shirl!

02-06-14: I have a phone interview with a sort of "outward bound" camp for at-risk adolescents located in Hawaii.  Unfortunately I would have to add a thumbs-down image because the phone interview never amounted to the in-person interview which would have been held in Hawaii, all expenses paid by the organization.

02-14-14 - 02-16-14: I spent the weekend at my sister's house with her family to facilitate a Pre-Marriage Workshop on 02-15-14 in Eau Claire. I got to spend time with my nieces, my sister and her common-law husband (if Wisconsin recognized such a relationship, which it does not) as well as their puppy Pearl and the "Dynamic Duo" her two cats, Snicks and Doobs.

02-22-14: My parents and I travel to Eau Claire to celebrate my sister's 40th birthday at a local golf clubhouse which had really awesome cupcakes instead of a cake. I bought my sister another charm to add to her bracelet from Tiffany's and her friends were going insane when they saw that "little blue box" on the gift table, expecting it to be an engagement ring from her boyfriend. I guess they would add a thumbs-down because it wasn't an engagement ring, but she seemed happy enough with the charm.
This same weekend Mark flew out to Denver to attend the wedding of his younger brother Bob to a wonderful woman, Irene.

03-03-14: My mom turns 65 (hello Medicare!) and Apollo turns 4!

04-05-14: We celebrated my mom's 65th birthday without her because she wasn't feeling well, but we had a great time!

04-25-14: Dad retires after 37 years at JJ Keller & Associates. He was hired in the summer of 1976 (before Chad was even born) as an Accounting Supervisor and retired as the Vice-President of Finance/CFO. I took my dad out for lunch on his final day of work and just as we sat down at the table, he handed me a dog-eared file folder and said, "I found this when cleaning out my desk today and thought you might want it." The folder contained every college report card, Dean's List acknowledgment, graduation and Dean's List announcements from the Post Crescent, and transcripts from my undergrad and graduate school programs. After paying for our lunch, when I got back to my office, I looked through the folder and began crying because my dad had been keeping track of my academic career since 1991, twenty years of accomplishments which is a gift I never expected to receive - and those are the best gifts to receive.

05-14-14: I celebrate my 43rd birthday and my second cousin Sammy celebrates his 5th birthday. It's so cool to share a birthday with a family member!

05-24-14 - 05-26-14: Memorial Day Weekend which in the Krause family translates to "grave-hopping"! We (my two maternal aunts, my sister, Ben & the girls, my three female maternal cousins, and myself) go to the cemeteries where our much loved ancestors are buried and clean off their graves and place summer flowers near their headstones in tribute to their lives; we truly celebrate them in memory. Once these tasks are completed, we stop at a local bar in Red River and then go out to eat in Shawano. We've been doing this for well over a decade and the group members have changed over the years; my Grandma Krause no longer goes along because all of the walking is too difficult for her; my great-aunt Shirley no longer attends because she's in a long term care facility due to Alzheimer's disease; and my great aunt Kootchie had passed on. The absolute BEST part of the weekend is when Grandma Krause fries eggs in a cast iron skillet in the bacon grease that she cooked up moments earlier. We all call it the "heart attack breakfast" but it's the BEST part of summer and something I look forward to every year.

06-01-14: Brayden's 5th birthday party: Our grandson Brayden turned 5 on 05-24-14 and we all celebrated at a birthday party on June 1st at a local park.

06-08-14 - 06-11-14: I attended a three-day training in Eau Claire and stayed at my sister and her family's house. The training was intense, but spending time with the girls & Pearl (the dog) and the Dynamic Duo (the cats) was awesome! This is me getting some lovin's from Pearl.

06-27-14 - 06-29-14: One of my best friends in the world whom I've known since junior high gets married to a really amazing guy on 06-28-14. The ceremony was beautiful, the dinner was amazing and the reception music totally rocked!

This is a photo of me & Mark at the wedding. I had complete strangers taking my picture because of my fascinator!

07-08-14: I had finally grown my hair long enough to donate to Locks of Love. The following photos are the before and after. I donated 13" of hair and my stylist cut off an additional 12" to style it!


08-01-14: Dad participates in an Old Glory Honor Flight as a Vietnam veteran on the final Friday of EAA. It was an amazing experience for him and for me & Mark who were there to greet him when he arrived home and finally got the welcome home he deserved 40+ years ago.
Dad returns from his Honor Flight to Washington D.C.

09-02-14: I begin working at Rawhide two days a week through a contracted position with LSS. In a very short time I realize I love working with the staff and the residents who become my clients.

09-30-14: Mark & I celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary.

11-27-14: Thanksgiving wasn't so great this year as no one came to eat the feast I had prepared. This is the dessert they missed out on!

12-27-14: We celebrate Christmas at Mom & Dad's after I'd been sick with an upper respiratory "thing" from 12-22 through 12-26.

 The Porath family Christmas photo 12-27-14.

So that brings me to today, December 31, 2014. By totaling the thumbs-up and the thumbs-down, it's easy to see that despite the challenges and setbacks of 2014, the majority of events fall into the thumbs-up category. I guess, actually I know, you can't really complain about that!

Happy New Year's to you and yours. May the best of 2014 be the worst of 2015! I say, "BRING IT!" :-)

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