Monday, January 01, 2007

The Kosiors 2006 In Review

Michael and I wrote out our somewhat annual holiday newsletter and it spanned 4 pages... YIKES! Who knew such a year would be so crazy... Anyway, I'm posting it here--God only knows when we'll get it in the mail.

Michael kicked 2006 off with a bang—he earned his GS-13 with the defense department and earned the title “Deputy Branch Chief.” In addition to his fancy title, he got to become a supervisor for the first time. He also went back to his beloved ham radio, with the help of our neighbors, Roy and Jack, who braved the mud in our crawl space to install his huge radio antenna. All this and he was another year older! WOW! We also welcomed our bunny TomTom to the family! We had the chance to rent a cabin in a ski resort town with friends Heather, Steve, Nancy, and Gil in Maryland in mid-January, and had a great time hot tubbing, and hanging out, relaxing.

I kicked off February with a bang—literally. On Monday the 13th, I fell while taking the trash out (I had been remodeling our living room and the trash was full of old wallpaper, etc.), when I slid on the ice and immediately I knew I had broken my leg. My first ambulance ride later, I was misdiagnosed and my sister Judy and Michael got to take me to my first orthopedist. I had a compound spiral fracture and all kinds of torn and ripped tendons and ligaments and such (it’s never good when the doctor takes the cast off, looks at your leg, yells “Oh sh**” and walks out of the room!!). Two months and two surgeries later, I was able to walk again with the help of a plate and seven screws that are permanently embedded in my leg. We are forever in debt to our family and friends who came during that entire time—all of our parents made the trip to Virginia to stay for a week each, my sister moved in with us, Joe was our back up “babysitter extraordinaire,” Nancy brought TONS of food and sat with Mom and Judy during the first surgery, Heather brought me books and videos, and Trent scrubbed my floors and made burritos. In the midst of all the brouhaha, Michael, Judy and I went to see Billy Joel in concert in Washington DC. It was an amazing concert, and even though I had to do it on one leg, they helped me stand for “New York State of Mind”—the tears were flowing!

APRIL: We spent our fourth anniversary quietly at home, but are planning a bang up blow out for our fifth. The big news from April was that we became “grandparents” to four baby bunnies. My sister’s bunny turned out to be a girl, although the breeder swore she was a boy, and Valentina and TomTom created Rocky, Suisse, Rambo, and Nimmy. My college roommate, Kerriann, also came to town and Joe and I went to meet her and spend a day in DC. It was wonderful to see her after 10 years!

In May, we traveled to North Carolina to spend some time at another rented house, this one with our friends Brian and Lara, in Sunset Beach, NC. Sunset Beach is a great town right outside Myrtle Beach, SC, where we honeymooned, so we took time to go back to Myrtle Beach for the memories. We spent lots of time cooking, eating, reading, geocaching, playing games (especially skeeball), and catching up with Brian and Lara and doting over their daughter, Emma. For Memorial Day, our friends Mike and Lesley came up from Charlotte and we again went for the third year in a row to see “A Prairie Home Companion” taped live at Wolf Trap. Michael and Mike also spent lots of time building me a new computer, and now I have a computer of my own and my own office space in the basement, so Michael and I don’t have to fight over the computer any more! 

June was Relay for Life time, and may I thank all of you again who contributed to my fundraising!!! I raised over $1000 for the American Cancer Society. It was a great time—we got Michael out there too, and he stayed up all night while I fell asleep with a blanket wrapped around my head—it was FREEZING!!!!!!!!!! Michael and I attended our first book signing without Judy (who was in Israel for work), this time meeting CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who was most gracious even when I said the stupidest thing imaginable (“When I was laid up with a broken leg, your face was EVERYWHERE on TV.” His response? “I hope you didn’t get as sick of it as I did.” )

July we traveled north to bring contraband fireworks to my dad for the 4th (smuggled from South Carolina, where they have REAL fireworks). We set them off to critical acclaim, and only one of the neighbors called to complain about it, which only made my dad light them up with additional fervor. After the 4th, we visited Hank and Sheila in Rhode Island and caught up with our rapidly growing nephew!! When we got back to Virginia, Judy took me to meet Food Network Chef Alton Brown at a book signing and promotion for his summer show, Feasting on Asphalt. Judy, Michael, and I also went to see our third Dave Barry book signing—pretty soon he’ll know us by name!

Sadly, in August, our friend Tim passed away very suddenly, and we traveled up to Indiana, PA for his funeral. Interestingly enough, Indiana is the hometown of actor Jimmy Stewart, and the funeral home was built right where Jimmy Stewart was born, so we took a brief minute to go outside and see the historic marker. While we were terribly, terribly sad about Tim’s passing, it was wonderful to meet his family and they were so gracious and included us in everything.

When we got back, everyone threw me a wonderful surprise party for my birthday! The theme was fondue, and we had seafood, pizza and cheese fondue for dinner and 2 different chocolate fondues for dessert. WOW was it wonderful. And Michael bought me a power staple gun for a gift, which I desperately wanted and which has been more fun to use than any gift I can remember getting for a while.

In September, Michael, Joe and I went with our friend, Melissa to tour James and Dolley Madison’s Montpelier. It is completely under construction, so it was interesting to be able to see into the walls and walk through doors that will be turned back into windows and such. It was a great tour, and we had a great guide, and look forward to seeing it when it is completed! Mid-month, Judy and I went up to Bethesda, MD to meet actor Alan Alda, who was in town to celebrate his book “Never Stuff Your Dog”. It was a GREAT book signing, and he took the time to sit and chat with each person who came to the table. Since I got there early, and we were 6th in line, he even personalized our books for us, which was great! (There were over 1,000 people there.)

My mom came to visit and we went and enjoyed the National Book Festival on the National Mall. We got to hear two speakers, Christopher Buckley and Khaled Hosseini, speak about their wonderful books, and about writing. We visited the hall of states and the PBS tent and it was a great event. We really enjoyed it.

October brought with it another signing, this time with actor Harry Shearer. It was a much quieter affair than anticipated, only about 50 people showed up, but Judy and I were third in line for that one and he posed for a picture with us.  Michael and his cousin Matt Carroll caught up for the first time in 18 years and spent a great evening reconnecting in Alexandria. We look forward to welcoming them to Fredericksburg sometime soon! It was a fairly quiet month otherwise, the only really amazing thing we did other than the signing was to go to the Bazaar Rus at the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Washington DC. Judy helped us choose Russian meals that were delicious—beef stroganoff, sausages, vegetables, you name it. Incredible.

November was the start of the real craziness. National Novel Writing Month kicked off on November 1st, and Michael had the patience of Job to deal with what that month had in store. I decided to try my hand at writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, and while that did happen, it was at the expense of everyone and everything around me! Dishes piled up in the sink, we ate lots of take out, I locked myself in the basement for hours at a time… It was intense. But in only 24 days, I had written 50,000 words!!! I’m hoping to publish the book by the summer of 2007. So far, Michael has loved it, as have his parents!! So I’m waiting to get some feedback from my parents and sister and then I’ll be sending it around to see what others think!!! November was also the year-end wrap up for my book club, and we are now in our 3rd year. It was a good year for 2006, although we lost a lot of members, but we’re starting 2007 with eight new members, which I think will be a lot of fun!

We also spent Veteran’s Day weekend in Kentucky, visiting my good friend Tim, his wife Staci, and their two daughters. Tim and I met 7 years ago in Little Rock and have remained friends since. He lives in a huge house in Franklin, KY, and has a huge yard, in which he taught Michael to drive a golf cart!!! It was a great opportunity to break in our new video camera, so if you go on YouTube or have access to it, let me know and I’ll send you a link to his driving expedition.

We also went with Melissa to check out Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home in Charlottesville, VA. We were fortunate to have 2 wonderful tour guides, who let Michael feel priceless antiques that belonged to Jefferson himself, a rare experience. The house is set on top of a beautiful hill and the view was spectacular. We loved our trip there and hope to bring our family members back for tours sometime.

For Thanksgiving, Michael headed up to Rhode Island and I stayed here to spend time with my dad. Michael got to catch up with the family and spend even more time with Ethan, as well as his cousins, the Martins. When he came back, we spent the next day traveling to New Jersey to see Rutgers University take on Syracuse. My dad is a Rutgers alum, so we screamed and hollered for the Scarlet Knights, and afterwards, revived ourselves at White Castle.

December has remained busy. I spent 5 days in Florida visiting my mom, where I saw the space shuttle launch, and met Food Network Chef, Paula Deen, at a book signing there. I also helped her revamp her house and computer, and spent time with her 3 cats and her new dog. Upon my return, we only had a week to get ready for Christmas, so busily put up a tree, baked way too many cookies, wrapped presents, and the like. Christmas was special—Dad came down again and Joe was here as well, as he was unable to get back to Buffalo for the holidays. My uncle Glen arrived from San Diego on Tuesday and stayed with us for two days, which was great fun, as apart from my parents and sister, no one from my side of the family had been to the house yet. We showed him around town and he seemed to enjoy it here. For New Year’s, Michael was sick with the Plague which had been bugging me since Thanksgiving, so he stayed home and slept, while I went to Maryland to spend the evening with Heather, Nancy, Steve, Joe and Judy. We all missed Michael, particularly Joe and Steve, who were outnumbered!

Other little tidbits include:

• We finished remodeling the living room and my mom brought a bunch of furniture up, so we now have sofa beds in addition to our guest room. Now we need more company!
• Michael made a lot of upgrades to our technology infrastructure here—we now have Vonage for phone service, and a wireless internet network throughout the house.

So that’s our 2006 in review—we are exhausted just thinking about it!! We wish all of you a very happy 2007 and hope to see or speak with you all soon!

2 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Lesley said...

Happy New Year, Susan! I hope this year is is filled with much happiness for you and Michael. And I hope we get to see you again this year (y'know, Atlanta is a great place to visit, wink wink).

Bybee said...

I'm sorry about your broken leg and jealous that you got to meet Anderson Cooper!