Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope everybody is having a wonderful holiday season!
This past year brought me great joy, sadness, love, and perhaps even hardship. It was a year in which I had many “firsts” – my first love; my first heartbreak; my first motorcycle ride; first time eating venison, alligator, frog legs, and crawfish; first time shooting a gun; jogging my first two miles straight; my first over water air flight; my first time snorkeling; my first catamaran ride; and lastly, my first 10K race. Work has been overwhelmingly busy; since September, I have worked an extra 80 hours. This is nice because I know get to use it as comp time, but who knows when I’ll be able to take it! We have awarded our contract to a new vendor this year, so instead of heading to warm, sunny Tucson, Arizona in January/February each year, I will now be heading to Boise, Idaho! Yeah potatoes!
Speaking of travel, I did a lot of it this year:
Two trips to Tucson, Arizona (January and August): On one of these trips I met a minor league baseball player for the Arizona Diamondbacks who is rehabilitating an arm injury. We still keep in touch occasionally. I also stayed an extra day on my trip in August and visited two national parks – even took a run in the desert to help prepare for the Human Race that was held in Austin a couple weeks later! Both the run in the desert and seeing the different wildlife and the Human Race are things I will never forget.
Orlando, Florida: Work brought me to sunny Florida for a conference. My teammate and friend, Rebecca, came along and we found some extra time to hit Universal Studios. I forgot how fun Orlando was!
Atlanta, Georgia: Since the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are located here, I tend to get to go here a lot. I was invited (such a privilege!) to present some findings at a national conference in August. I stayed a few extra days and saw some sites I had not seen before and got to meet a friend of the family (my third cousin’s wife’s sister, got that?).
Roswell, New Mexico: Becky (my sister) did a one month rotation in New Mexico for work, so I took it as an opportunity to get to see her. In one weekend, we went to a casino (we both won!), Carlsbad Caverns, and the White Sands National Monument. Of course we went to the alien museum in Roswell as well! Who would miss that? I also got to experience night life in Roswell – that was a hoot! Lots of cowboys!
Hawaii: A good friend of Becky’s was getting married on the island of Kauai, and she asked me if I wanted to join her in a trip to Hawaii. Of course I went! We spent seven days on Kauai, a small, very nature-based island. We got to hike a canyon, snorkel, and ride on a catamaran around the Na Pali coast. I would like to go back to hike the Na Pali coast next time. After Kauai, we island hopped and went to Honolulu for four days. We went to Sunset Beach, the Dole Plantation, and the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Becky had been to Honolulu before a few years ago for the Pro-Bowl, but since I had never seen Pearl Harbor, she went back with me. I still miss my time in Hawaii!
San Diego, California: We had about five papers accepted for presentations at the largest public health conference, so I ended up going to San Diego to present. I didn’t get a lot of down time while there because I was networking, but since my hotel was a mile from the conference, I got a lot of walking in! They also had a great running path by the bay that I did most mornings.
New Orleans, Louisiana: My ex-boyfriend and I decided to make a long weekend of Veteran’s Day and drive out to New Orleans. We stayed in a cute bed & breakfast a couple miles from Bourbon Street, but right on the Street Car line. The casino took my money; nothing new there! They call Las Vegas the City of Sin, but honestly, I think everybody has that wrong because for me, New Orleans is definitely Sin City. New Orleans was a good trip, but I do have to say, it has definitely not recovered from the hurricanes back in 2005. There are still so many vacant buildings for businesses and apartments. Hurricanes Rita and Katrina definitely left their mark in Louisiana.
With all the traveling I did, I lost focus of a lot of goals in my life in which I am now re-committing to:
1. Continue my weight loss efforts – I lost only about 10 pounds this past year, time to keep moving.
2. Continue to blog about my weight loss efforts and my life.
3. Start volunteering at the homeless shelter (again) and the German Shepherd Rescue Mission.
4. I am finally ready to buy a new car. I’m still driving the first car I ever possessed and have had it since 2001 (it’s a 1997 Geo Prizm).
5. With the economy the way it is, I hope to buy a condo this year.
6. Look at graduate schools in the area and start pursuing my doctorate beginning Spring 2010. I really want to be a professor, so this is something I need to do to get there.
So that sums up my year! I hope you are doing well and I’m wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year! I'll be back full swing in the New Year!