Thursday, January 2, 2014

Recapping 2013 and Welcoming 2014

You know, I think that may be the first time I’ve typed “2014.”  At least I remembered to use the correct numbers!

Our New Year’s Eve was quiet this year.  In years past, we have gone to a bar in the late afternoon/early evening for an hour or two.  Dave really enjoys the atmosphere on Hogmanay (Scottish term for New Year’s Eve), as that is just what one does in Scotland on that day/evening.  We talked about doing so this year, but it snowed during the day off and on and was darn cold, so we opted to keep our party selves at home.  It was fun and companionable.  We were awake at midnight but not upright, having tucked under the covers a bit before the new year crept in.

2013 Recap

2013 was a blessedly quiet year on the health and natural disaster fronts.  I am so very grateful for that.  My annual follow-up CT scan in March was clear for any recurrence of 2012’s cancer.  Yay!  For the first time in a few years, neither of us even had a cold in the past 12 months!  No hurricanes or nasty Winter storms threatened us.  We certainly enjoyed a reprieve in 2013. 

Well, we did have about a week of single-digit temperatures in January.  We are parked across a parking lot from the Musconetcong River, and it froze as did our propane tanks, fridge and waste tank valves.  These were inconveniences compared to the hurricanes and Superstorm Sandy in previous years.

We had two divine holidays to Cape May on the New Jersey shore – a week during May and a week in October -  renting the same beach house each time.  Weighing the expense of new tires for the 5th wheel, fuel, campground fees, etc., it was more economical to just rent the beach house I found listed online.  It is a private beach and dogs are allowed, so Maggie had her first experience of frolicking on a beach!  Like folks who live in a sticks-n-bricks home, it was nice to get away to a different environment.  These getaways truly recharged our batteries.


Dolphin Watch in Cape May.  Behind me is the beach and bay.

Earlier in the year, I became a volunteer member of the local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and underwent several weeks of training.  The class search-and-rescue drill was held here at the mill and it was quite an experience.  No one “died” or had any issues for real, and our instructors were quite pleased with our performance as a team.  I received invaluable training in search-and-rescue techniques, fire suppression, disaster preparedness, incident command structure, stress management, etc.  I am honored to be part of such a wonderful team.  Good folks around here.

Crazy.  Last year I was knocked flat with cancer and this year I was putting out fires (in training) and crawling around blind in smoky areas looking for “victims.”

I am so blessed!



Suited up and ready to enter mill


Searching (crawling) for “victims” with my buddy, me in the lead.  The instructors had a smoke machine going to give us a more realistic experience.

After a few short-term assignments on oDesk, I landed a long-term part-time data-entry position in June which continues today.  It brings in a few bucks for “mad money,” rig repairs/maintenance and helping the savings account feel better.  I enjoy my co-workers, communicating via Skype, teleconferences and email.  The work itself is enough to keep my brain ticking over a bit but not stressful.  I’ve had offers of more demanding administrative work, but for now am keeping the stress level at bay by declining those. 

Keeping with that trend of minimizing stress and simplifying my life, I decided not to renew my AHA CPR instructor certification.  While I enjoy the actual teaching, the hassle of traveling (in New Jersey) just was too much.  I’m much more relaxed focusing on my life with Dave and Maggie, our work here, my oDesk assignments and things like gardening that enhance my contentment. 

I planted flowers and a few veggies again this year, including corn for the first time.  The flowers did great, but the veggies were a bust for the most part. 

Corn 07192013

It looked good, but that was about it.  Never really matured.

1994 Chevy Suburban IPPE Work Truck

The company brought us a new-to-us company truck in August!

The office trailer got a makeover this year with new carpet throughout, new flooring in the restroom and new toilet!  Whoohoo!  It really spiffed up our workplace.  We continue to enjoy our work here and, even with the harsh conditions in Winter, we are grateful for our situation.  We did get a couple of offers in campground management back in Texas in 2013 but, after serious consideration, turned ‘em down.  We’re staying put.  We’ve got a good deal here.

Like millions of other Americans, we struggled with health insurance issues related to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  We are fortunate to have so far avoided participation in government-sponsored health insurance, being able to remain insured in the private sector.  We’ll see what happens later this year. 

Seems like the Fall and holidays rolled around so quickly.  We were treated again to lovely autumn colors, albeit not quite as vibrant as last year due to less rain than in 2012.

Autumn Colors

Not bad, though, eh?

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve were spent quietly at home.  I prepared holiday dinners for us; I love my spacious kitchen! 

Our annual social outing was attending the company holiday luncheon in December. 

At IPPE Holiday Lunch 12202013


We got dressed up and spent a delightful afternoon filled with yummy food, laughter and fellowship. 

We started playing chess again during our October beach holiday and that has become a weekend evening “thing” with us again.  Chess is such a fascinating game!  Dave taught me in Scotland back in 2005; he’s really quite good.  I do manage to win a game now and then.  He’s absolutely killer with his knights.

I closed down my prior blog, which had been ongoing since 2010, due to personal reasons.  After a brief hiatus, I found myself drawn back to blogging and here we are!

Right now it’s snowing (again) with a current accumulation of just over 3” and we’re nowhere close to being done for the night.  I follow Severe NJ Weather on Facebook.  JC is bang on with his forecasts and typically straightforward and not silly.  Tonight, however, he was playful in saying this storm has a potential of 30% “holy crap” and 5% of “dude, where’s my car??” snowfall.  Hahaha!  New Jersey went under a state of emergency this evening.  Oops . . . there goes another plow/salt truck by on the county road in front of the mill.  Earlier an 18-wheeler made the turn to go up the mountain on the county road but decided against it and was reversing back.  Good move, dude. 

Thanks for visiting and taking a look back at my 2013.  A very Happy New Year to you and yours!  Ready for 2014?  I am!  Bring it on!

Thanks for stopping by!






1 comment:

  1. Cutting back on activities and jobs to reduce stress is a good idea. And time at the beach is the ultimate stress reducer. Happy 2014.


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