Monday, 27 December 2010

A time for reflection

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and are looking forward to a joyous New Year.  While my Christmas was wonderful, the week leading up to it was bitter sweet.  A very dear friend of mine lost his battle with alcoholism and the ravages it has on the human body.  It was a harsh reminder to take better care of one's self.  My heart aches for my friends in Florida who were also close to him.   As we often do at this time of year i have been reflecting on the past. This year has been sweet and sorrowful.  A year full of transformation, starting with my engagement in January during my first ski trip.   The next big change in my life, moving myself and six cats to the UK.  In all the transfer went really well if you don't count the fact that the British Airways World Cargo sub contractors at Philadelphia airport forgot to put the first 5 on the plane.  In the end, everyone made it to England safe and soundly. Our next trip to America included my 20 year high school reunion and the wedding of a very good friend.  We spent some time in Florida visiting friends and some of the animals I worked with when I lived there.  We stayed in southwest Florida for several days getting our wedding plans in motion.  It was also the last time I saw Brett, I am thankful I had the opportunity to spend some time with him before his passing.  I had a slightly extended stay in the States while I waited for my engagement visa to come through, but I returned to the UK about two weeks after my fiancĂ©. Our time in the Uk was filled with travel, friends, and family.  In all, we visited Edinbourough and Glasgow, Scotland; the Snowdonia region of Wales; Coventry, Stone henge, Bath, Blackpool, New Castle, Berwick upon Tweed, Sea houses, Farnese Islands, Holy Island, Eastbourne, Brighton, and I am sure many more areas of England.  I am very thankful for my opportunity to take in as much of this country as possible.   Our next trip to the states was to be monumental, we had the most beautiful wedding despite the several snags along the way.  We had a fabulous time in Sanibel and Miami.  We capped this trip off with my husbands second real American Thanksgiving. The glorious Florida weather made the snow and cold a bit more bearable upon our return to England.  The weather did help put everyone in the Christmas spirit as our house became a winter wonderland.  We had some close friends and family over in Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  The day after Christmas (Boxing Day) we went to Fountains Abbey and were fortunate enough to catch the Carol service.  My wonderful husband has given us much to look forward to in 2011, a Western Mediterranean cruise with a focus on Italy!  We are both very excited and I have been doing research on our ports of call to make sure we get the most out of our visit. This post is dedicated to:      Michael Brett Stone      Bill Meier       Charlie Houllis      Jeff Peters And all others we lost in 2010.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Married Life

Wow, what a whirlwind! Shortly after my last blog entry, I went back to the States. Spent a couple of days at my parents house picking stuff up for our DIY Beach Wedding in Florida. All the planning and emailing would finally be over and I could enjoy my beach party. It went perfectly! Steel drummer played the right songs... weather was GORGEOUS, and we even had a small pod of dolphins swim by and join in. They must have heard my processional song from the Little Mermaid! My photographer and officiant were fabulous, my flowers were the perfect colors. We even had a classic Camaro, similar to the one my Dad drove, there for pictures. The cake was picture perfect and my caterer was awesome as well. He was also from Pittsburgh and took care of us like family. I don't know how we got so lucky finding everyone and having it come together so well. I can say as much as I would love to hang out and see my friends and family and stay by the beach, I am glad the planning is over! In all I spent nearly 3 weeks in the Sunshine State. We spent time on the East and West coasts. We enjoyed quiet Gulf Coast Island life, and high paced Miami South Beach. We know which we prefer and where we would like to live as opposed to visit. It was just what I needed to face the winter in the UK. My first FULL winter in the UK, I am not sure if I could face it after my winter in PA last year...