I’m a bit behind in posting this year as it’s now already January 8th, 2023, so I’ll start by saying Happy New Year! I hope everyone is doing well, and am sending best wishes to all for a wonderful year in 2023.
Steve (DOS) and I rang in the New Year 2023 quietly at home this year; perhaps the best place to be on NYE. We had a delicious multi-course meal with shrimp cocktail, garden salad, prime rib, and carrot cake dessert. Since my heart surgery last September, I’ve been on a fairly strict low-sodium and Coumadin-careful diet, so we don’t add any seasoning to the meat, extra salt to anything etc. It’s much easier controlling the diet when you’re eating at home rather than going out to eat at a restaurant where everything has added salt. Plus you can eat at your pace without getting entangled with all of the mega-New Year’s Eve crowds.
Anyway we enjoyed our leisurely meal, while we kept the NYE festivities on the TV as background noise and viewing until closer to midnight when we watched the ball drop in Times Square.
Ringing in the new year always causes time for reflection on the previous year as well as hopes and resolutions for the upcoming year ahead. I know at least in my situation, it’s easy to dwell on the bad aspects of the previous year where I had a severe health setback in September on our Alaska cruise that I’m still recovering from, although I am doing so much better now – Praise The Lord!
Indeed there were so many positive things that happened last year prior to my heart surgery, and even good experiences in the midst of the month-long hospitalization and subsequent 3 week post-hospital recovery in a Seattle hotel.
We had a wonderful weekend in January at the Jekyll Island 75th Anniversary Black-Tie Soiree:
Took a cross-country train trip on the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville, CA:
Toured the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in February after our arrival in Emeryville:
Went on 4 cruises between January and June (Emerald Princess, Sky Princess, Caribbean Princess and Island Princess) to destinations of the Caribbean, Panama Canal, and England and Norway (with a week’s pre-cruise in London):
I turned the big 6-0 birthday in August, which we celebrated with my friends Ben and Tom at The Villages in Florida. DOS and I also made our very first batch of Steve’s Malbec at The Corkscrew Wine Bar in the Spanish Springs section of The Villages.
The wine is now ready (actually overdue a couple months but I was in the hospital in Seattle) for bottling, which we will be doing in a couple week’s time. Stay tuned for that – my sister Jenni even made us a fancy wine label to use on the 2 cases of vino we will be bottling!
In September we took the fifth and final cruise of the year, which was the ill-fated Alaska cruise in September on the Grand Princess. Looking back though, we had several good days aboard, including a couple pre-cruise days in Vancouver, Canada, before I was stretchered off the ship to the local hospital in Ketchikan for the start of my two month heart ordeal, ultimately ending up in Seattle.
Steve (DOS) and myself are so grateful for everyone’s prayers as we ended up being airlifted to Bellingham, Washington and later sent to Seattle for nearly two months while I went thru the surgery, recovery, therapy, and for DOS’s caretaker role, even now as we go into the New Year.
We are so thankful and blessed and I honestly don’t think I would be here if it were not for DOS’s love and support and everyone’s prayers, especially during the very depressing post-surgery days of weakness and perceived hopelessness, when I wasn’t able to walk. My prayers were answered, and today I’m up to a mile and a half walking each day which is simply amazing compared to 3 months ago. Here is a current photo taken over Christmas where we spent our holiday at Jekyll Island.
As far as Christmas decorations go, we left our outdoor Christmas lights on at nighttime thru January 6th, as did most of our neighbors, celebrating the 12 days of Christmas and the Epiphany. We actually leave the lights framing the house installed year-round, although we only light them for holidays in their respective colors such as Valentines (red), St. Patrick’s Day (green), July 4th (red/white/blue), Halloween (orange and purple) and of course Christmas (full multi-color changing). DOS did take down all of the lights on the bushes until next Christmas.
DOS and I did resume one of our former post Christmas/New Year’s traditions, which is “After- Christmas sales!”. We used to hunt for the after-Christmas sales right after Christmas when things were marked down 50%, but even more after New Year’s when things were normally reduced to 75% or more! Walmart especially had quite a large inventory left, and DOS got a whole cart-full including a six foot tree, 2 three foot trees, lights, greenery, huge artificial candy canes, wrapping paper etc for $100. I think even the cashier was envious and the people behind us in line, if not slightly annoyed as it took so long to ring everything up!
And surprisingly all of DOS’s purchases fit in the car as well. Of course we did go back to the mall the next day to scout out Dillard’s which had 75% off their over-priced retail ornaments
In the last few years, there hasn’t been the great deals or inventory like it past years, in part because of COVID, but also due to better inventory management, sales forecasting tools, etc, although this year there were some pretty decent items left in inventory, most likely due to inflation and the economy. We like looking for stocking-stuffer things for our December trips to Jekyll Island, Christmas decorations, nice ornaments from department stores that you wouldn’t pay full price for (i.e. $52 vs $13 on sale), LED lights etc. We quit buying candles now that we have several shelves of them from previous years!
On January 3rd, we saw a brief glimpse from our front yard of the Space X Falcon 9 Rocket as it took off from nearby Cape Canaveral, an hour away from our home in the Orlando area. Like in the Space Shuttle launch days, we would watch it “Live” on TV, and then go outside and try to spot it 20 – 30 seconds later, which on a clear day is fairly easy to do.
This new rocket technology is amazing, as we shortly later returned to the TV to watch the rocket boosters landing back at the original launch site! Amazing technology, considering the boosters from the Space Shuttle always splashed down in the ocean and had to be retrieved.
Today, DOS and I went to Church for the first time in months, although we’ve been watching the Sunday services on TV while I’ve been recovering. The uplifting service with Contemporary music band, and the energetic Pastor offered hope and a welcoming presence for the new year in 2023. I especially liked her idea of writing down a “word” on paper, as well as index cards with the “word” on it, placed in strategic places (i.e. kitchen, bedroom, car etc) to remind you of this “word” throughout the year; in effect a simple New Year’s resolution without all of the detailed promises. While the Pastor shared the word “gentle” for herself (she uses a different word each year), I could think of a few words to write down, but I’ll go with “health”, to encompass exercise, worry-free, and relax all in one. Right now my exercise routine is simply walking each day for a mile to mile and a half, but hopefully by February I can start my Cardiac Rehab therapy.
So for now Welcome to the New Year in 2023, and may your laughter be often, your health be excellent and/or manageable, your family and relationships truly loving, your travels many, and you discover something special, even simple, in each and every day. Be thoughtful and kind, forgiving of yourself and others. As for resolutions, remember every day starts a new year, so if you “mess up” on your “word” or resolutions, tomorrow is another day and another year’s measurement in time.
Thanks for reading, and may God Bless You throughout the year!