2014 Christmas Letter

Greetings Friends and Family,

2014 was a big year because I turned 40 in March! Wowsers! It was a year of reflection as I tried to figure out how I want the next 40 years of my life to look! To celebrate the big day, I had a get together with some of my favorite gal pals, and Romanita and I took a “This is 40’s” trip to Mexico in May.

40th Birthday Dinner

40th Birthday Dinner

Romanita and I in Mexico

Romanita and I in Mexico

http://latonja.blogspot.com/2014_03_01_archive.html

http://latonja.blogspot.com/2014/06/puerta-vallarta.html

For my yearly “big” trip, I went to Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy with a drive by in Bosnia and Montenegro in October. I had good weather, some rain, and snow one day in the mountains.

Most of the trip was spent in Croatia with nights in Opatija, Split, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb. I found the food to be good, the people to be friendly, and a very laid back and slow culture. Dubrovnik goes down as a place I could live! I spent a few nights in Slovenia in Bled, which was nice and relaxing. I spent the last three nights of vacation in Venice to reflect and write. I like Venice because it is one of the most beautiful places ever. It was just jarring after being so relaxed for so long, so I am removing it from my honeymoon spots, but I still have Lucerne and Santorini! I also met some very lovely women on my trip, two of who actually live in Seattle.

I really liked Dubrovnik. As I said earlier, it’s a place I could live. The water along the Adriatic Sea was just so beautiful. It sparkles, and it gave me peace. It was so magical and beautiful. I also enjoyed time in cities like Pula with its amazing Roman Amphitheater, Split with its great palace, and Zadar with its stunning water views. Zagreb was also pretty amazing, and I would love to go back to do nothing but walk around and look at the beautiful Austrian-empire buildings and people watch in the evening while having snacks in the main square.

Trip Highlights:

  • Journaling in Venice and Dubrovnik. I could sit by the water and journal and people watch all day, especially with the great weather.
  • Spending an evening in Zagreb with the lovely ladies (Sonia, Tammy, Angela, and Roseanne) I met. It was a wonderful evening of great conversation with amazing women. I felt like I had gone on the trip just for that night to spend with kindred spirits in honest and timely conversations about life. It was such an enjoyable evening.
  • Actually spending time with Sonia, Tammy, Angela, and Rosanne throughout the trip was good for my soul. Whether one-on-one, as a group, or subset, I enjoyed my time with them, and they are a big part of my trip memory.
  • I loved walking the loop around Lake Bled and smelling the fires burning from peoples’ fireplaces. It was nice to be in a slow, quiet place and enjoy nature, even if it was a little colder up there.
  • Enjoying a sit down lunch with a random person who ended up sitting down at the same time as me, who shared his chocolate with me.
  • During each trip, I enjoy walking in the old towns and stopping to people watch. Even after all of these years, the old towns continue to be a meeting place for people in the community. I loved my last night in Dubrovnik as a band played 80’s music in the main square and local kids were running around playing hide and go seek. Tears at the memory.
  • I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the very hot priest from Montenegro +_+. Are Orthodox priests allowed to marry? Joking!

Sadly, my pictures are still on my camera. Here is one I downloaded and one that was sent to me.

Angela, Tammy, Rosanne, Sonia, and I in Zagreb

Angela, Tammy, Rosanne, Sonia, and I in Zagreb

Me at the Bled Castle

Me at the Bled Castle

The most exciting thing on the church front was publishing the 50th Edition of the PCC Scroll! I was so excited when we did it. It was a big double-issue, and I felt a lot satisfaction when I hit send on that one. I’m currently working on the January 1 issue. 2015 will be year 14, which is just amazing to me! Wowzers! I still usher. It’s something I am good at and can function in, but it’s not a passion like the Scroll.

My hair is coming along. January 8 will make five years of locking. I said I would have it locked for at least five years! I love it. It’s so low maintenance, which is exactly what I need. People still ask me if it’s “all me” quite a bit, and yes it is. In fact, I was asked that a few days ago.

So I began a fitness journey in January 2014 as my 40th birthday loomed. One of the biggest things for me was making sure I started a regimen I could maintain easily. I began seeing a personal trainer twice a week, which has helped tremendously. I also try to walk during lunch and whenever I can get in some extra steps. In November, I walked my first half marathon. I was very proud when I finished! I am keeping my eyes open for different 5Ks and other half marathons I can participate in. So let me know if you know of any and want to do one with me!

The results? It’s been a little less than a year, and I have dropped some pounds (according to my last morning weigh in 25 pounds, but that number fluctuates). I sleep better, my mood is better, and I feel better. I try to make it less about the pounds and more about my overall health!

Before the race with my two teammates, Steve and Devlin, who ran the race.

Before the race with my two teammates, Steve and Devlin, who ran the race.

At the end with our medals! I walked the marathon with Erin and Candy!

At the end with our medals! I walked the marathon with Erin and Candy!

ttp://latonja.blogspot.com/2014/09/health-journey.html

http://latonja.blogspot.com/2014_11_01_archive.html

I am still working for the Port of Seattle. October 1, 2014, marked my 18th anniversary (included my temp time). I am still amazed how much time has gone by. Changes are afoot as the Seattle and Tacoma ports are forming a Seaport Alliance. I should know more about how that looks in March.

Here is an excerpt from my 2013 Letter:
I have no idea of what 2014 will bring, but I am excited! I haven’t had any big major changes in my life in a while, but I feel like I am ready to shake things up. Everything is the same: same company, same job, same place, same car, etc. I suppose this is good, but it could be time for a new challenge.

As they say, be careful what you ask for because you might just get it. Change is coming on my job. Things have been so stable for so long that it’s interesting to have a shakeup happen. Still not sure how I feel about it.

Oh, and I also took a cooking class this year at Il Fornaio. It was on baking bread, but please don’t ask me to bake any! LOL! My goal is to take other classes like making pizza, sauces, and fresh pasta!

Baking bread with Gaby!

Baking bread with Gaby!

As I was writing this, I was glancing back over some past blog entries from this year. I have so much to be thankful for. God has been amazing in my life, and I am more grateful than I can ever express. I have friends/family who love me. I have a roof over my head. I have enough food to eat. I have been blessed with a job that covers all of my needs and some wants as well. I have my health.

2015, I think, will be interesting. Things have been “stable” for so long but change is coming. I hope to handle it with grace and faith. And to always remember these words from my favorite Motley Crue song, “Just when things went right, doesn’t mean they were always wrong.”

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you a Happy New Year!

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