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Here we are at the end of a very busy 2012!
Starting with late 2011, I was blessed to take a trip to Florida at Christmas, 2011. I spent most of the time with my parents in Lakeland, Florida. But closeby their location in Lakeland is the new LEGOLAND park in Winter Park Florida. My friend Jalane from Hollywood, FL (near Ft. Lauderdale) came up for a couple of days with her 2 little boys (5 and 2) and we were able to enjoy LegoLand as well as Disney in Orlando. Here are some photos from that magical time with Jalane and her boys.
My next event was a golf outing at Hampton golf club with my friends on April 6th, 2012. We took a couple of photos to remember this day, which was a complete BLAST (our first golf outing of the year!).
As we prepared for the upcoming Baseball season and the FINAL SEASON of Chipper Jones for the Atlanta Braves. Needless to say, eveyone in Atlanta was in awe as Chipper had a truly memorable last year with the Braves. Some of his great moments were (1) hitting game-winning HR in extra innings to win 15-13 game over Phillies, (2) going 5-5 for the first time ever in a game, (3) Hitting another walk-off HR against the Phillies. The Braves did lose the first Wild Card playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals, but had a wonderful season that we will all remember for a long time. The Braves have asked me to play 3rd base next season while they search for a new 3rd baseman, so I'll be working that around my schedule with Marriott! (of course I said yes!)
In May, my friends Jose & Alexandra and their kids both celebrated Communion on May 26th. We were all invited to a reception at the Salazar house that afternoon. It was extremely HOT but much fun and great to see everyone!
My BIG vacation this year came in June, 2012 when I went home to Oregon for almost 2 weeks. Most times I go to Oregon, I just kind of hang out with friends in Salem, Corvallis and not do too much. I always try to go to the Oregon Coast for a day or two and a night or two. Love to sit on the rocks and watch/listen to the waves, have a nice dinner at a nice restaurant. This year, however was very special. I was able to spend almost my entire vacation at the Oregon Coast! I spent my first 2 days in Salem, golfing with my BFF Ron, but then I headed right over to the coast.
My other BFF Pam and I spent a lot of time doing fun stuff. First we went to the TREE to TREE adventure park to both experience our first zip lines. Exhausting but we both loved it, especially the Zip Line part of the day. We then hiked to the top of Energy Hill and then we took a hike out to the end of Cape Lookout. 5 miles to the end of the trail and back, I know Pam's done it many times, but this was my first time, so I was happy to get it done. The weather was beautiful. Then Pam and I camped at Cape Lookout that night and sat on the beach to watch sunset! This is the first time I've camped since I was about 17, so I couldn't believe it. Pitched tents, built a campfire, had SMORES, it was amazing. Perfect night, 60 degrees, no wind, quiet, I can't believe how great I slept!
The next day we traveled up the coast, stopping in Tillamook for the Cheese Factory and spent a day in Astoria. I had never been to Astoria, so Pam and I went to the Maritime Museum, rode the trolley, had lunch at the Wet Dog Cafe, went up to Astoria Column (clouds rolled in, darn!), then we headed back down to Seaside to meet up with my Mom and Stepdad Steve to spend time at the WorldMark timeshare in Seaside. Again, nice walks and sunshine. Pam left the next day to head back to work in Salem, but the parents and I went over to PDX to pick up my nephew/godson Noah (12 yo) who was flying in for a few days from Indianapolis to spend time with us. We picked him up at PDX and went back over to Seaside for a couple of days. Did touristy stuff in Seaside and Astoria. First we went to the Lewis & Clark memorial, this was very informative and interesting. We then went up to Astoria and took "Tour of Astoria", had lunch at WetDog Cafe again and then we visitied Astoria Column! This time, the weather was awesome.......
Noah stayed for a few days but I flew back to Atlanta. OREGON PHOTOS
I came back to Atlanta for a "working summer". Momentus day on 8/5/12 when my Impala (I've had it for 8 years) turned 100,000 miles!
This year provided a huge event as my twin brother Bruce and I turned 50 on 8/26/12. We couldn't get together that day but I was thrown a surprise birthday party on 8/25/12. They say a surprise party most people "know about" and act surprised. This one got me good. I didn't know in any way. Let's just say I "teared up". Guess some of the friends that were there had bets that I would cry. Thank you EVERYONE for coming to my 50th birthday party! Thank you for the wonderful cards and wine! I will never forget that get-together.
My last trip of the year came in September when I went up to New York City for 5 days to meet up with a new friend. Barbie and I met through Facebook (and a friend in Cleveland). We had a great time getting to spend time with each other and doing touristy stuff. She lives in New York so that is awesome. This was about my 4th or 5th visit, so New York doesn't scare me at all. I spent the first day by myself, walked around Times Square, then checked into my first hotel (Marriott Fairfield Times Square) for Sunday night only. Had a really nice room up high with a nice view. Next day I got up early, had my complimentary breakfast and then checked out and took my bags over my 2nd hotel. This 2nd place is the Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen Club in Manhattan (near Grand Central Station). I stayed there in 1991 when I was in the Navy, so that's how I knew about it. Great option for me to save a lot of money since hotel rooms in NYC are insanely expensive. This was just one train ride over to Times Square, even walkable on a nice day. Barbie and I went to 9/11 memorial on Monday, then got on train over to Atlantic City for Monday night/Tuesday morning. Had a wondeful dinner at Caesar's at Midnight...Gambling at the casino went well! Thank you Barbie! Had a great breakfast buffet at Caesar's (included), then we went over to McDonald's for coffee and talked a LOT....We then got back on the train back to NYC in time to have lunch, but then the rain came! We were supposed to go up to Yankee Stadium to see the Yankees play. We were to meet up with my friends Ron & Stephanie from Oregon at the Yankee game, they called us from the stadium to let us know the game was rained out until the next day. Our backup plan then came into effect. We had talked about going to a broadway show in case the baseball game was rained out, so Barbie & I went to Mary Poppins. I absolutely loved it. This play/movie has always meant a lot to me. I remember it was the first MOVIE I ever went to without my parents. 1974 as a 12yo in Michigan, and I stood in line for a long long time to get in. This play was also wonderful because Barbie is a Nanny and she got a big kick out of it. We went out to dinner at Red Lobster before the show. The play was also fun because it is probably one of the only shows on Broadway that parents take their kids to!
The next day Ron & Stephanie did the 9/11 Memorial, while Barbie and I went to the Intrepid Sea & Air Space Museum. This was the absolute highlight of the trip for me. They have a WWII submarine there, the aircraft carrier Intrepid and, most recently, they got the Enterprise Space Shuttle! Needless to say, I took a LOT of photos. Then we quickly headed up to Yankee stadium to catch the makeup game. Theeee YANKEES WIN>>>>>>>>. Then we headed back down to NYC to get the other train up to Flushing for the New York Mets game at the new Citi Field. Also, the first time any of us had been to the new Citi Field since it opened.
Thursday, Barbie had to go back to work but I had the day to myself before I flew back to Atlanta. I had lunch with a buddy from my original submarine (USS Topeka) who I hadn't seen in 20 years. He works 3 blocks from the Soldiers/Sailors/Airmen Club, so just walked over and had a nice lunch with John and talked about life, our submarine days, a lot of stuff. Thanks JOHN! Great to see you. NEW YORK PHOTOS
Flew back to Atlanta to finish out the year at the Courtyard. It's been a wonderful year at the Courtyard, with 2 large Marriott events (GM Experience and Bistro Boot Camp). We've also had GSS success in all departments this year. Looks like we are going to hit all of our goals on Guest Satisfaction. Our Bistro Health Inspections have gone from 91-92-96-100!!!. It's been a great year, can't wait to see what 2013 has in store.
Photos from the remainder of 2012 will be posted on next year's letter around Thanksgiving, 2013.
Until we speak soon,
I wish you and yours the most happiness and love this holiday season and please keep in touch. But to everyone, all the best and please write soon!