Happy New Year! I sure hope 2012 will be much better than 2011. The year was full of ups and downs but overall it was a good year. I can't complain really, nothing catastrophic happened to us. Thankfully we didn't lose our jobs or had any major problems.
We started 2011 in Europe. We traveled to Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria and Slovakia. We started out in Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland and Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The snow capped mountains were amazing and the cities were very quaint! Next we traveled to Munich and enjoyed ringing in the New Year in Marienplatz, the main square. There are no laws on fireworks and everybody was shooting them off. These weren’t the small dinky sparklers; these were the ones that are illegal here. It was like a war zone but very cool. Early the next morning we jumped on the train to Salzburg, Austria. Of course we had to do the Sound of Music tour; no trip to Salzburg is complete without it. Eric really enjoyed it, when we got near the end of the tour his remark was we hadn’t heard two songs on the soundtrack yet. Eric was more interested in the tour than me. We wrapped up our trip in Vienna and Bratislava (Slovakia).
May was busy with a friend’s wedding, a nephew’s graduation from high school and my graduation from St. Catherine’s University with a second degree in accounting. To celebrate my accomplishment I took mom and Grace and Bev on a trip to the Gulf Coast. We stopped to visit Elvis at Graceland, ventured down to the Big Easy of New Orleans, donated to the Katrina recovering casinos in Biloxi, MS, relaxed in the sun and sand on the beaches of Orange Beach, AL and wandered onto a naval base in Pensacola, FL. After a nice visit with Eric’s Uncle Dennis and Aunt Bev in Tuskegee, we started our return trip but we didn’t make it very far, Montgomery, AL to be exact. Long story short Mom’s minivan was no match for a dump truck. Fortunately nobody got hurt. We were able to fly home and we didn’t have to drive all that way back so there is your silver lining.
In June, Mary Linda came to visit from Texas. She brought her mom, her aunt and Sky, the Husky, along for the ride. We traveled up the North Shore of Lake Superior, hiking at the various state parks along the way. As always, the waterfalls were beautiful. We intended to camp but it was too cold, even from me.
Allista, our niece from Nevada, came to visit us for a couple weeks in June and July. We took her to all the sites around here: the Minnesota Zoo, a Twins game, Canterbury (horse track), many trips to Valleyfair (amusement park) and a week in Rapid City. She mastered the Wii and actually beat a game that we couldn’t beat. I think she had fun.
The first weekend of August was a bit stressful. At 3:30am Sunday morning Eric said he had to go to the ER. Thankfully there is an ER/Hospital in Shakopee. Long story short he was suffering from gallstones, inflamed gallbladder and pancreatitis. They admitted him into the hospital and he had emergency surgery. The surgery went well but unfortunately, some of the pesky gallstones escaped so he had to be hospitalized for a few days until they could get them out.
August brought another Sts. Peter and Paul Fall Festival and my 15 year class reunion too. Also in August, we went to Chicago for a quick weekend. We called it the 2 Museums, 2 Towers & 2 Games in 2 Days trip. We took in all the sites of the Windy City and got to attend baseball games at Wrigley Field and U.S Cellular.
In September, we went on our annual trip over Labor Day. This time we visited the Mid-Atlantic States. We nicknamed the trip the Hurricane Irene tour because a week before the trip, Hurricane Irene ripped through the area. We took Mom along for the ride. We started with a visit to Fort Delaware, a civil war prison camp, next we went to Atlantic City, NJ. We drove and ferried down the coast to Ocean City, MD. The weather was rainy both days so we couldn't enjoy the beach, but one day we drove to Baltimore for an Orioles day game. It was fun; the stadium was empty so we got to sit real close and the rain held off for the whole game. Next we drove down to the Outer banks of North Carolina. Hurricane Irene really wrecked havoc on the area. We couldn't get down to Cape Hatteras which was a huge disappointment. The trip ended with a 7 hour delay at the airport because of a mechanical problem with the plane. Even with all the troubles and disagreeable weather, the trip was good.
Eric celebrated his sixth year with Centerpoint Energy. He also spent the summer keeping the soccer kids (and moms) in line. I celebrated my 11 year anniversary at Ameriprise Financial in June. Swirl is eight now and just as spry as ever, sitting in the window intimidating the birds. He enjoyed “growling” at all the trick-or-treaters.