Although 2012 passed a while ago, I’m finally getting around to doing our year in review.
2012 was a very busy year for us. We started the new year in Rome (last week of December and first week of January). We had a visit from granddaughter Lorelei in January, the day after we returned from Rome. We took her Tracy’s aunt and uncle’s place in San Martin, California and while we were there we went to Ano Neuvo for the Elephant Seal mating season and a guided tour with one of the local rangers.
Lorelei wasn’t overly pleased at first to be out on the coast of California in January, especially not happy when faced with a 20 foot hill of sand that needed to be climbed after the 1/4 mile walk out to the cliffs. By the time we reached the huge sand dune, she was quite loud while vocalizing “I AM NOT HAVING FUN!”
Grandpa and Nonni took pity on her and assisted her up the big sand dune. On the other side a few minutes later we approached our very first elephant seal, a juvenile approximately 5 years old. The guide said from that point forward everyone needed to be quiet as not to disturb the elephant seals in their protected habitat.
Lorelei was immediately silent, but then Nonni noticed she was making a gesture. When asked she replied, “It’s sign for NO FUN!” Lorelei is learning American Sign Language at home as her younger sister has hearing problems. Nonni couldn’t help herself and started laughing hysterically at her quite precocious bi-lingual granddaughter.
While we were in California she also got to check out tide pools with her great aunt, and the Seymour Marine Center.
Then our son, Tyler, returned from a year in Kuwait. He was finally able to meet his daughter, Avery, who was born while he was deployed. He was able to attend her birth via video camera as our daughter Nicole, Ty’s wife, is very tech savvy.
In February, Tracy had the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C. for work. She did manage to sneak in a couple of hours of sightseeing in her two day visit.
As a gift for her mother this year, Tracy and her sisters had their photos taken together. Something they hadn’t done since before their father passed away. Her mom liked the photos so much she decided that she’d like to be in them too, so a reshoot was scheduled and major fun was had by the five of them!
In June, our son Nick graduated from the Northern Nevada Career College with his certification as a pharmacy technician. Then we were off to Amador County for a weekend with friends and wine tasting at the Amador vineyards. Much fun! Kiara had a great time too, the hotel we stayed at was dog friendly as were most of the wineries. At the end of June Tracy retired. Alan would be retiring the following January but there were still many plans to be arranged for retirement outside of the country so Tracy bit the bullet and retired first. [smile]
July came around with the opportunity to spend more time with Tracy’s aunt and uncle, Deb and Gerry, when their house near Cody, WY sold and they needed to move their belongings out while the house was closing. While there they took a few side trips to Lower Mesa Falls in Idaho, Pictograph Caves in Billings, Yellowstone, Louis and Clark Caverns in Montana and Little Big Horn.
By August our house had finally sold. The original buyer who we had been dealing with for nearly 10 months couldn’t get her bank on board with the transaction so we made the decision to re-list the house on July 5. By July 6 our real estate agent had to remove it from the market as it had shown 25 times and we had 6 offers. We selected one of the three cash offers, and later found out that the buyer had bought the property for his brother who had recently become a paraplegic. They had offered on our property because the front walkway could easily be converted to a ramp, the hallways were extra wide and for the open floor plan. Needless to say we felt great that we had selected the right buyer. We closed escrow in early August and never looked back.
Also during this period, we found out that our son, Adam, got engaged to his girlfriend, Elizabeth (Liz). We were completed delighted and were happy to welcome this charming young lady to our family. Oddly enough our oddball mix of eight children isn’t even intimating to our darling new daughter, she’s one of 10!
Later in August our first real upset happened. Tracy sold her car Apollo, the first victim to the relocation plan. It was much harder on her than she expected (Apollo was her dream car) and for the first time since she started driving, found herself without a vehicle.
Thankfully, more time with the aunt and uncle fixed her mood right up. We spent another week with Deb and Gerry and had the opportunity to visit Yosemite, Big Basin and the California Academy of Science, a place we had not been to since their remodel a few years ago.
September rolled around with a lot of pre-consulate work to be done, with a little time out for visiting family.
In October, our niece got married and moved to Oklahoma with her new husband. We are very happy for her! We also visited a good friend, Kelly, at San Jose’s Santana Row and had a wonderful visit catching up with all her latest exploits! Kelly is planning to visit France sometime in 2013 and we are really looking forward to seeing her.
We also headed to Las Vegas with Casey, Nick, Dirk and Trey for the UNR vs. UNLV football game. A tradition in our family! We watched as UNR defeated UNLV for their 8th straight win. Life is good when the Cannon is Blue! We also had the opportunity to hang out with the grandbabies, their Mama (Daddy was working) and their Nana.
While staying at the Stratosphere, we also had the pleasure of being present for Dirk and Trey’s engagement. Dirk proposed at the top of the Stratosphere overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. We are super happy to welcome Trey to our family, he’s a great guy and already loved by everyone including Dirk’s extended family.
Then it was time for our consulate appointment at the Italian Consulate in Los Angeles. Tracy’s sister and her husband and youngest daughter live there and we were able to fit in a visit and dinner with them. Trina graciously offered to drive us to the consulate the following morning and wait at the mall across the street until we were done so we wouldn’t have to take a taxi. The appointment lasted only 15 minutes, then we had to go home and wait until they made a determination regarding our visa.
November rolled around and we had more time with family, Thanksgiving at Deb and Gerry’s then Tracy left for a week for the DeAngelo Girls Annual Vacation. This year it was a cruise to Mexico.
December brought daughter Dallas into town for a last visit before we headed to Europe and we had a great visit with her. Our sons Dirk and Trey also rolled into town to hang out with Dallas so we had the opportunity to visit with all three of them.
By the middle of December we had a major setback. The Italian Consulate denied our visa request. Finding ourselves in completely new territory, we were not at first sure just what to do. But a reassessment of our ultimate goal “to live and travel abroad” brought new ideas and new opportunities.
Early on January 2, we drove the 4 hours to San Francisco, arrived a few hours earlier than our appointment. Wandered through some of the areas we love, had lunch at John’s Grill then headed to the French Consulate. That was a Wednesday. By Friday of that week, our approved visas were in the mail and we picked them up bright and early Monday morning.
So we were set, we had a one-year lease, 2 round-trip tickets and 2 brand new visas, this time for France. Carcassonne to be exact, in the Langedoc-Rousillon region in the south of France.
France apparently wanted a couple of retirees looking for adventure!