2017 has reminded me just how grateful I should be, how thankful I am for the amazing people in my life and how blessed I am to live this life I have!
I’m not going to lie, 2017 started out as a rough year. 40 days in, my life changed forever. Dealing with my mom’s passing was rough, and I really thought it was going to define the year. While I am sure I will always remember that as the most influential part of my 2017, I have been blessed with a multitude of other experiences to make this year enjoyable in the days since. Here are my top 17 highlights from 2017:
- Monroe got a new yoga studio – Blue Lotus Yoga, opened by a dear friend of mine who has entrusted me with help her with her social media and website, and all the while it has only made Elaina and me better friends.
- My friend Mary came to visit from down south just to keep me company and be with me for a tough weekend. While it was a short visit, it is one I will always remember as she but her own life on hold for the weekend to be there for me at the drop of a hat.
- I got my 3rd tattoo – it’s my mom’s handwriting and says “Love, Mom”, taken off the Christmas card she wrote me last year.
- Tom and I went to see Jake Owen in concert! (I have to get at least one country concert in each year.)
- Once I finally had a chance to leave home for a bit, I visited Jenna and saw Oregon and Washington for my first time! We went beer tasting around Portland (along with whiskey and wine tasting) and even had a flight across the gorge in Washington! I was also able to see Mulnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge before they were hit with a devastating wild fire. Also, while in Portland, Jenna took me to my very first professional soccer game – and I will admit that I loved it!
- I spent Mother’s Day weekend in DC with Emily – wine tasting around Virginia and taking in another Nationals game.
- I completed my 2nd Warrior Dash with some awesome ladies from my softball team.
- I got a dirt bike!!!
- Spent Labor Day up on Cape Cod with Tom, Jenna and her family to wish her farewell before her next chapter of life and adventures in Cambodia! And since it was me and Jenna, rum, gin and wine tasting were all on the menu! Along with a 20+ mile bike ride on the rail trail. And we even caught a sight of seals off the coast in Provincetown.
- Finally took in a Bridgeport Bluefish game at Harbor Yard before they left town for good.
- And even though Hurricane Irma rained out the Tampa 2017 installment of #ktomandlamargotimlbtour, we booked a last minute trip to Cleveland where we saw the Indians win 21 straight games (and then break their win streak two days later). Plus we saw the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and cruised on the Great Lake to see a different side of Cleveland.
- I finally made it to Canada thanks to a work trip to Montreal. And though I didn’t have time for sightseeing, there was time to pick up pure Canadian maple syrup to bring home! Work also sent me to Atlanta, so I finally stepped foot outside the airport. And was able to experience some southern BBQ while we dined. My final work trip sent me to Torino, Italy for a week. And included a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt, which gave me ample time to go walk around the city instead of just hanging out in the airport.
- After wanting to learn for a long time, I dove in and took a calligraphy class at Joyful Noise Paper and have been enjoying practicing my new hobby ever since.
- I spent November writing my 30 Days of Thanks and looking back on all of the blessings I have in my life.
- I was elected chair of Monroe Youth Commission.
- I survived 3 straight days of Christmas baking – making 100 raspberry thumprints + 121 chocolate chip cookies + 3 Irish soda breads + 81 meringues + 45 chocolate covered pretzels…all for the weekend before Christmas. And that doesn’t include anything I made for Christmas itself, which we hosted for the 1st time this year.
- The Gotimer family grew again as Lizzie and Brian got married!
Yesterday morning was our last day in Maine. I woke up earlier than Mary and Kristen to head to St. Mary’s for mass. It was a cute little church and you could tell it was a parish of elderly people and some of us that we there just for vacation. After mass, I headed back to the hotel for us to pack up and check out before we headed out.
Our first stop was in York at Stonewall Kitchen, where we spend far too long wandering the store. We all tried new things and came up with a whole bunch of things each of us liked and wanted to cook with. We then tried to find downtown Kittery to drive around another little seaside town, but we were not able to find anymore than the outlets so we decided to head back to Ogunquit. We drove from Kittery to Ogunquit along the water which was very nice. We decided to spend a little bit of time on the beach in Ogunquit while eatting lunch (ice cream for all of us). It was a gorgeous day and getting to spend some time on the beach before heading home for a long drive was just what I needed.
Again, we were extremely fortunate and did not hit much traffic on the way home. The most traffic we hit was on the Mass Pike (I-90) where there was rubbernecking due to an accident on the other side of the highway.
Here’s all my pictures from Maine.
Today we woke up and headed to Portland early in the morning. We wanted to get there early to get our tickets for our ferry to Bailey Island. We were plenty early, but we were glad as we got to walk around downtown Southern Portland. While exploring the area, we stumbled across the US Customs House which made me really excited as I work in the import/export industry and actually know a bit about customs and regulations now. Then while walking down the street Mary and I found a sign that made us both very happy…
After exploring a bit, we went back to the ferry terminal and boarded the ferry. It took about two hours to get to Bailey Island. The view from the ferry was a bit dull as there was plenty of fog in the morning, but it was a nice ride out. We ate at a place called Cooks, then wandered around a bit taking in the sights. The ferry ride back was better, minus the brief 3 minute downpour. We were able to get much better pictures and see further out from the boat.
We then headed back to the hotel to change into some warmed clothes and drove down to Kennebunkport. We walked around downtown for a bit and headed to Alisson’s for dinner. It was one of the greatest meals out that I have eaten in a while. I had the best steak tips I’ve ever had (and those of you who know me, know I eat my fair share of meat). We then stopped by the local candy store to buy some fudge and headed down to Gooch’s Beach to see the town fireworks.
So we woke up bright and early yesterday morning, 5:15 for me, which was hard since we got home at 12:10AM. Mary and I got our stuff together and headed to Dunkin’ Donuts before picking Kristen up. Once we were all in the car, we got a full tank of gas and got on the road. Fortunately we didn’t hit traffic at all on the way there. We were checked into the hotel and in our room at about 11AM.
After changing and figuring out what to do, we got some more gas and headed to Ogunquit for the afternoon. We walked around the downtown area, ate some lunch and headed down to the beach. The water was a bit cold, but refreshing to put our feet in. After spending a bit of time on the beach, we took another stroll around downtown Ogunquit.
We decided to go to Mike’s Clam Shack for dinner. It’s a nice place in Wells, ME where apparently a bunch of the locals go. It was good food and reasonable for us. Kristen and I had our lobster dinners that are a must have when visiting Maine. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel we stayed at in Biddeford. We took a little dip in the pool before heading to our room and were all fast asleep quickly.
So today I didn’t exactly “travel”. My friend Mary flew out from Denver to visit for a week. Mary and I met while studying abroad in Ireland, details of that adventure can be found here. I spent last night on Long Island at my grandma’s house so I would be closed to JFK to get Mary since she flew in on the red eye. So I picked Mary up and we drove back to CT so she could shower and drop her stuff off at my house.
After that I took Mary on a mini drive through Ridgefield, I mean, what could I really show her besides Main Street? We grabbed breakfast at Steve’s then got coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts before heading to Goldens Bridge to get the train to the city. We spent all morning catching up, which wasn’t too much since we’ve kept in pretty good contact since we’ve been home from Ireland.
The first thing we did in the city was to go down to Wall Street. Mary’s in finance and it made me excited that she wanted to see the financial district (tell tale sign that I’m growing up? I think so). So we saw the NYSE, Trinity Church (commonly known as being the church from National Treasure), the Wall Street bull (which is actually at Bowling Green), Battery Park and Ground Zero. It was weird being at Ground Zero, especially since its in a state of disarray and in my opinion it looked more like something when there was still a pile of debris there, not a construction site that we have sitting there.
We then ventured a walk uptown to SoHo and were fortunate to beat the rain to our location. it started to drizzle a few blocks from where we were headed and we walked into SoHo Park maybe 30 seconds before it began to downpour. SoHo Park is a great little burger joint that is so reasonably priced; I suggest you all try it someday if you ever need a burger in the area.
Then we headed to midtown and took a walk down 5th Ave. we saw the Empire State building and I showed Mary where I work. After our little walk, we headed to Grand Central to take the subway up to the new Yankee Stadium. We were going to the game with another friend from Ireland, Tim, his girlfriend and some of their friends from home. We first went over to Billy’s before the game started and I must say, I rather liked the bar. It’s a great place for drinks near the stadium. Unfortunately the Yankees did lose on Thursday, but I had a good time nonetheless.
Not only was it my first time at the new stadium, but it was my first time taking the train home from the stadium. I was a bit skeptical of how well the whole system would work since I’m not on the Hudson line, but it was really easy and I have definitely found my new way to get to and from the stadium.