As we draw this year to a close, I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the year that has gone by, while wondering what exciting and interesting things are to come.This year there were many firsts… some of them awesome, and some of them I am glad have been and gone 🙂 …

Firsts have included getting my First Niece, Laura.

Dad and Laura
She’s a beauty, the second child to my brother Keith and his wife Caroline, and little sister to cutie-pie Alasdair. My dad sent me this picture the other day, and it is so cute I thought I’d share.

🙂

Then there was my first Fender Bender back in March which saw my car out of commission for a few weeks, sniff. That did mean I got to drive my First Mustang (a convertible no less) that hubby rented for me for a couple of days, and that was very cool. I didn’t know I was a tomboy racer till I turned the ignition on that puppy and heard the mighty roar of power and excitement that came with it. Yay, lol…

There was also my First Earthquake, a real one, the 5.4 that shook SoCal in July and surprised the life out of everyone in my office who had, like me, never in their life been through one of those before. Having your colleagues disappear under their desks while you wonder what on earth is making the building shudder is, quite frankly, unsettling, alarming, and very cool… after its over of course. Realizing all you can do is hang on and wait till the shaking and shuddering is over makes you feel very helpless and realizing that it’s a rolling earthquake that is just making the building shudder and sway and not fall in on itself is actually rather fun in a twisted kind of way. My First Earthquake Drill some months later, that broke records for being the largest drill in SoCal history wasn’t nearly as much fun because, sitting under a desk chuckling in embarrassment with your colleagues as you “pretend” an earthquake is going on reminded me of being back in school and playing games with my friends. Only, when you’re five years old, those kind of games are fun and when you are *cough*… older… not so much…!

One of the most fun firsts was definitely my First Surfing Lesson, which is the most intensely exhilarating and exhausting thing you can do to yourself.

Kirsten and I, Surf Chicks 🙂
Catching some waves
Victory Grins
Never did I think I could, would, should or imagine surfing in the Pacific Ocean, having the most fun you can ever imagine, and being so exhausted afterwards that your body lies down and can’t get up, but your brain is buzzing with a hyperactive joy that screams Best Vacation EVER!!!!!

Then we have our First Trip to Vegas…

Vegas

…which was an adventure. The old saying “What Happens In Vegas…” is interesting because you really do get the impression anything goes. While being in the heart of The Strip, as its known, its alive and exciting and bustling and even at night it was as hot as the daytime, and the partying atmosphere never ended. Move away from the strip and you see that Vegas is just a desert, a big vast expanse of flat dirt smothered with little shops and houses that are dwarfed by the bright lights and huge hotels crowding the spotlight. Don’t get me wrong, I can understand the thrill of the lights and the games and the never ending party atmosphere, but outside of the shiny noisy bell ringing and tourist hubs, there seems to be something missing… I’m just not entirely sure what that “something” is.

Moving on, there was another exciting first in 2008. And that is our First Pet, Hooch.

Hooch

Now he is the cutest, funniest dog I have ever known, and John and I love him to bits. He’s an American Staffordshire Terrier, a cousin, almost, to the Pit Bull. He’s also a big softie who loves to just cuddle and play, and at the Dog Park where we go, there is this cutie-pie little Spaniel called Ruby who just completely loves him to death, and they play together and he lets her climb all over her and jump on him, and he just loves every single second of it. Though he has been in our family for three weeks, its as though he has always been here. He has John’s strength, gentleness, and determined spirit, and he has my ADHD, and excitement at any new thing and person and dog that comes along. At Christmas, with a whole home full of family, he was a bit overwhelmed, bless him, but he did show his playful stealth side when he – after being told the coffee table was a “no” as it had goodies on it – waited till we were all deep in conversation, then very slowly, without me twigging what he was up to even though I watched him do it, he leaned his head over the edge of the table and very gently, and very smoothly, licked right up a slice of Kirsten’s mom’s yummy Fruit Cake. We were all laughing so hard I think we forgot to tell him off. Sigh, I love our dog :)A few other quick items include:
– First time liking brussel sprouts
Yup, John made them based off a restaurant we visited and they were roasted with shallots, panchetta, and butter. They were so good we ate them all up.

– Second Fender Bender
That’s right. Six months after being Fender Bendered by someone who thought the merge arrow meant pick a car and hit it, thus bending my rear axle and scaring me silly, sniff, six months later I was rear-ended. In all fairness to the person who hit me the second time, she was so terrified I was going to chew her out, she wouldn’t get out of the car for ages. Then I found out she was a teen driver, who had just bashed up her brand new first car and all I could do was give her a hug. Bless 🙂

– Allan’s ship being attacked by Pirates over Thanksgiving

Somali Pirates – picture taken by my brother
The Oceania Nautica was in the news over Thanksgiving after outrunning a couple of brazen skiffs who thought that shooting rifles at a gigantic cruise liner would make it stop and go, sure, come aboard. Nutters!! My poor dad called me at 10.30pm that night with an opening dialogue of “now, there’s nothing wrong, but…”. Thankfully my brother had a great sense of humor about it, and thankfully too everyone was perfectly okay and the nutjob pirates didn’t succeed in their pathetic endeavors.

– First time getting fit, properly
We signed up for training lessons at the gym and I have been working very hard this year on fixing the shoulder I was told forever would never work. Now I can lift a 3lb weight in each hand and actually exercise with it without pain. 5lbs was a bit too much, but that’s okay. We are still on the baby steps. And the advantages to getting in shape…. it makes your butt look great. Who’d have thought?

– First Snow

Let it Snow 🙂

Our friends Jennifer and Austin, and John and I went to Mount Pinos to see some snow and had a totally great time. And while I thought that seeing Malibu Canyon covered in frost was as close as I could ever get to a Californian White Christmas, *this* was so much better.

Me, John, Jennifer and Austin

So there you have it.

2008 has been a pretty wild adventure. And as we draw this year to a close, I can happily say I would not change anything (except maybe the fender benders and the Somali Pirates thing), and I am truly looking forward to everything that 2009 can possibly bring.

Annie

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