Happy 2017! Facebook has been quite diligent in reminding me weekly that the Tales From the Empty Nest page is woefully inactive, so I thought I’d start the year off with a blog post in hopes that I’m a little more consistent over the next 12 months. No promises, but I’m hoping to spend more time writing this year.
2016 was a good year for me. (Any year in which I’m alive and kicking on December 31 counts as a good year.) I have so many blessings for which I’m always grateful: family, health, friends, faith and jobs that allow us to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. Last year, as opposed to big chunks of 2014 and 2015, that roof only had wheels when we went camping.
Looking back and looking ahead, I see lots positives. Here are some of my favorite parts of 2016:
Scott and I celebrated 30 years of love and marriage in August, surrounded by friends and family. We also celebrated our first full year as owners of New Castle Liquors in September. The business continues to grow and prosper, and it’s more fun with a year under our belts.
Our kids are happy and healthy, and that’s the best feeling in the world. Anna is teaching second grade in a high-needs charter school in Aurora and working on her master’s. Andy found his dream job and is restoring classic Mustangs at a shop in Castle Rock. I love that they’re both in Colorado. They’re close enough to each other to get together fairly often and to us to make visits easy on us all. Unless there’s ski traffic or snow, but that’s part of living in this spectacular part of the country.
I was able to visit family in Missouri several times. While the reason was tough to deal with — we cleaned out Mom’s house to put it on the market and moved her from assisted living in Kansas City to a nursing home in St. Louis — spending time with my family was wonderful. I especially enjoyed meeting my two great nephews, Kevin and EJ.
Thanks to a dedicated team of employees, Scott and I were able to travel quite a bit. We enjoyed weekend getaways to Denver, Colorado Springs, Ridgway, Palisade and Grand Lake, plus camping and riding trips to Rabbit Valley, Taylor Park and Marysvale, Utah.
In Marysvale, we explored the Paiute ATV Trail Network for the first time and fell in love with the area. We were adopted by a really nice group of firefighters and policemen and their wives from Las Vegas. They’ve been camping there for years and invited us to join them on their rides. We had so much fun, we all booked campsites together for next fall. The Paiute is the largest ATV trail network in the country, with more than 2,000 miles of RZR-friendly trails.
Volunteering in our community is another of my favorite parts of the year. After selling the house and hitting the road in 2014, then traveling and getting settled in a new house, new town and new business in 2015, my volunteering had been pretty hit and miss. The River Center provides vital services to New Castle, and I’ve enjoyed getting involved and making new friends.
Looking ahead, I think 2017 will bring us much love and happiness. We have a big trip planned to celebrate that 30th anniversary from last fall. I won’t give away too many details, but there’s a beach and a lot of fruity umbrella drinks involved.
I foresee good fortune as well. I bought some Powerball and Mega Millions tickets on New Year’s Eve. Haven’t checked the numbers yet. I’m just assuming that I won and enjoying dreaming about all of the good and the fun things I’ll do with my winnings. I sealed the luck deal this afternoon with a bowl of spicy black-eyed-pea soup.
Sending good thoughts to all of you from the empty nest. Thanks for reading!