2009 Year in Review
The following is the 2009 Newsletter that is enclosed with my Christmas cards for out of town family and friends or in town family and friends who don’t get to hear all this stuff throughout the year. A lot of it has been highlighted on the blog, so I guess you could consider this a 2009 blog year in review. Enjoy!
Dear Family and Friends,
WOW! Is it the end of 2009 already? I think I stuffed as much as I could into this year, but I still can’t believe it’s almost over. In January, a friend of mine won the ESPN Zone Ultimate Couch Potato Contest after sitting in a recliner at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore watching nothing but sports for over 70 hours. As a result, the Fox morning show invited her (and a guest – me) to New York City to appear on their show for an interview. It was only a 24 hour visit, but we packed as much into that day as we could including getting to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree before they took it down. ESPN Zone invites previous winners back the next year to compete, again, so knowing her, she’ll score another trip to NYC in just a few weeks. Also in January, our country inaugurated a new President. My parents, though never planning to go to the Inauguration, which participating in becomes part of my job every four years, planned to visit me during the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. But as luck (or agony as they might tell you) would have it, I was able to get tickets for them to attend the Inauguration. It was their first one, and despite the freezing temperatures, they survived and enjoyed being there for history in the making.
In the spring, the North Carolina men’s basketball team won their sixth national championship. It was a championship that mom and I (and a good bit of the country) had been expecting and waiting for the last four years. As part of their championship victory lap, they were invited to the White House to be congratulated by President Obama. Through a little courage and a “the worst they can say is no” thought process, I garnered an invitation to the event myself. It was so much fun, and it marked the 2nd time I have been to the White House, both times for congratulatory events to sports teams. Mom, dad, Andy, Janet, and Lincoln traveled to North Carolina during spring break. It was Lincoln’s first trip to North Carolina where he got to meet Andy’s godmother, play with our cousin Louann’s farm animals, and meet several family members who had heard and seen everything about him. I’m certain that will not be his last trip to the Tar Heel State.
In the summer, my annual work conference took me to Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, you read that right…I voluntarily attended a conference…in Phoenix…in July! It was miserably hot while I was there. Even the weathermen on the news admitted it was well above normal temperatures for the area. But, I enjoyed it as best I could. I got to tour both the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks stadiums. I think at this point I’m on a mission to see as many stadiums in my lifetime as I can. Instead of returning to DC from Phoenix, I flew to North Carolina for mom’s family reunion (Readling side). It was so great to see so many people that I hadn’t seen in years. We had a great time, great food, great stories, and great laughter. During our time in North Carolina, we stopped to see the new National Championship trophy in Chapel Hill. I swear seeing those new trophies never gets old even though they all look the same. There’s always a different story for each of them.
In September, Lincoln turned two years old and we celebrated with a huge pool party! We even had to coax the birthday boy out of the pool to have cake and open presents. He really does love the water and would stay in there forever if you’d let him. Lincoln also started a music class called Tots and Tunes at the Patel Conservatory at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. I got to attend his first class with him and one over Thanksgiving as well. It’s quite an adorable little class with singing, dancing, and playing instruments. He seems to really enjoy it. Also in September, dad flew up to visit me in DC, and I took him to the Tampa Bay Rays/Baltimore Orioles game for his birthday. We had a really great time despite waiting for and finally giving up on the peanut guy to come back around. I ended up just going to the stand to get them myself because what’s a baseball game without peanuts. Oh…and the Rays WON! At the end of September, I flew to Alabama to visit my best friend, Angela. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple years, so we were long overdue for some quality time. While there, we went to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama/Arkansas football game. We were blessed to get tickets in one of the new luxury boxes at the stadium thanks to my dear friends Duane and Suzanne Cunningham. It was fantastic to get to see them and catch up during the little time that we had. Watching the game from the box was an incredible experience, especially since it was raining that day. We also got to catch up with Angela and my boss from our college days, Dr. Heggem. He’s always been one of our favorite people, so getting to see him and his family was so much fun. My time in Alabama was too, too short, but I was the most relaxed I’d been in a really long time. It just felt like I was home. I miss that place terribly and hope to visit when I have more time to sit and talk with everyone.
This December I’m actually going home to Florida for Christmas for the first time since 2003. I am really excited. After winning their 22nd SEC Championship game, my alma mater, Alabama will play for what we all hope will be its 13th National Championship in football on January 7th in Pasadena, California. This season has been stressful to say the least with a few too many heart stopping games, but I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I’m beyond thrilled with how the team has persevered and fought until the last seconds ticked off the clock. This is the team I always dreamed of when I was in college watching some of the worst seasons in Alabama history. Our coach, Nick Saban, has proven his worth in every way imaginable and our players have made me so, so proud…on and off the field. Oh…and my Indianapolis Colts aren’t doing too shabby, either…12-0 as of this writing.
In other developments this year, Andy accepted a new job as the Director of Basketball Operations for the women’s basketball program at the University of South Florida. He’s really enjoying working with the program and recently returned from a tournament in California during the Thanksgiving holidays. They won the tournament and the additional scheduled game vs. UC Irvine outside the tournament. The west coast was kind to them. Their record is currently 6-2. Go Lady Bulls! Janet continues to teach at Tomlin Middle School in Plant City and has added Drama Club advisor to her list of duties. Also, she joined the Krewe of Agustina de Aragon, which is an organization in the Tampa area that does various charitable events throughout the year and honors the discovery of the Tampa area by the Spaniards. As for mom and dad, they continue to enjoy retirement and being grandparents. I think they could spend 24 hours a day with Lincoln and never grow tired of it. They spent a lot of time with him at Busch Gardens as Lincoln still gets free admission and Busch Gardens has an annual pass for them. Lincoln now thinks that every time Mimi and Pa come to visit that he’s going to Busch Gardens, and he’s usually correct!
Well, I think that’s about it, and really…wasn’t that enough! I can’t believe we’re already entering our second decade of 21st century, but if this first decade was any indication, I can’t wait to see what the second has waiting for us. I hope you all have safe and happy holiday seasons. Hug the ones you love, and tell them how much they mean to you. Until next year, stay safe, and remember to laugh, think, and cry every day…it makes for a full day.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,