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New Year Catch Up

I guess I better write an update with the goings on in the Givens’ household. I am so used to posting on Facebook and Twitter, that I sometimes forget about the blog here. If you aren’t on Facebook or Twitter and are not following us there, you are missing quite a bit. It is 2016, get with the program! I am also assuming that you even care, how narcissistic of me!

Let’s see, where to begin, one of the things I forget to mention in earlier posts was my bout with shingles back in the summer! Wow that was painful and in encompassed the whole right side of my scalp and in the heat of the summer too! It sidelined me for three weeks and I hid in the house from the sun and heat as best I could. My hiatal hernia surgery in 2014 didn’t hurt as bad!!! A miserable ordeal it was, and I still have phantom itching on my scalp at times. I will definitely be getting a shingles shot when my doctor says it is okay!

My Aching Neck!

My Aching Neck!

The rest of the summer saw us taking a few camping trips locally in our trailer so we could scout out real estate and possible retirement locations that we could settle our work weary asses down. This brings up the next item of interest, we have put up our San Juan Island house aka Givens Grove up for sale. We have shifted gears on living there full-time and are going to decide on other places. Getting to and from an island is too much of a headache and the politics there suck! We still have a couple of years before Debbie can retire and as for me at that point, we will have to see where we stand financially! The one decision we have made is to get out of King County and the Seattle area. It has become too crowded and too expensive to enjoy life here in retirement…….period!

In October we went down to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary once again to volunteer with the animals. We fed pigs, groomed horses, and walked dogs. One dog really tugged at my heart and almost brought her home but resisted the temptation, barely! We just aren’t ready for two dogs in the house. Debbie wants another one badly so Cordell can teach it how to behave……ummm…….yeah! It is always such a spiritual reconnection when we visit there!

Joe's New Friend

Joe’s New Friend

Debbie and her Piggy Friends

Debbie and her Piggy Friends

After our stint there, we drove down to the Phoenix area to visit our friends the McEvoy’s who were joined by our other friends the Kelly’s! These are our trailer buddies if you didn’t already know! We visited Superstition Mountain and went over to Tortilla Flats for lunch. Another day we took in the sights of Sedona. Deb loved it there……. a possible retirement spot?!?! I love Arizona too, but don’t want to be in the heat, maybe Flagstaff is more to my liking, we are going back in March to have a look around!

The Six Finger Drunkards

The Six Finger Drunkards

The six of us were then to head to Las Vegas where we had a timeshare booked, but poor Patty Belle was sick which turned out to be pneumonia so it was just us and the Kelly’s. She is fine now! We drove up, stopping by the Hoover Dam to take a walk and have a look and be tourists! The water was very low and if it gets any lower, it won’t be enough to turn the turbines for the electricity Las Vegas needs to stay lit up! We had a great time with Rich and Pam and did lots of walking on the Strip! We saw Cirque du Soleil O and what a show, unbelievable!! We spent Halloween night walking Fremont Street and that was a show in itself……wild!!! It was a great time like always with old friends like these!

Debbie Photobombing!

Debbie Photobombing!

Vegas

Debbie and Pam Hitting The Slots!

Speaking of old friends, in early December, we hooked up with a very old friend of mine I used to work with in my restaurant sales life, Jeff Simon and wife Jamie! We met in Oakland for the Packer/Raider game. Since we were staying in Oakland near the airport and stadium, we took the BART into San Francisco on the Saturday and spent the afternoon walking around, hitting local watering holes and having dinner at John’s Grill. For the most part, Jeff and I spent a lot of time catching up since we hadn’t seen each other in years! Debbie and Jamie also get along just great too! The game was awesome and the Packers got a win and the Raider Fans were pretty cool too! It was a fun trip and look forward to hanging with them again!

Joe And Jeff

Joe and Jeff surrounded by Raider Gear!

Shots

The Boys Doing Shots!

Dinner

Dinner At John’s Grill

And there you have it, a catch up with the Givens’! A new year has begun and new adventures to have and let’s hope that we all stay happy and healthy and have a wonderful 2016!! Let the show begin!!!

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Winter Has Arrived

Finally we are looking at a wintry wonderland for the first time this season. It would have been nice if this had happened at Christmas and up until just now, we have had a very uneventful winter this year! La Nina didn’t sock us into multiple snow storms like last year and I am kind of glad because I am driving articulated buses now and they are horrible in ice and snow. This wintry weather is supposed to last the next four days and I am not looking forward to going to work tomorrow!

Our Holidays were nice. We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and our friends Larry & Lynette hosted Christmas. So it was a family affair on both occasions. For New Year’s we headed up to our long time friends the Hillstroms in their brand new home on San Juan Island. They have a beautiful waterfront home overlooking the sound. We have always loved the San Juan’s and Friday Harbor and have thought about maybe retiring there among the other places that we consider. Well we have taken the first step into making that possibility a reality. We were walking about and found a wonderful smaller home we are calling “the cabin” for sale. We contacted a realtor we know there and had him come open it up and show us. We decided it was a deal we couldn’t pass up and made an offer a few days later after we returned home. After some offer counter offer volley, we came to an agreement with the seller and are now moving through the financing process. Until we have the keys in our hot hands, I hold off on providing the details until later but we are very excited!! I am also working on possibly what will start out as a side career that I am hoping flourishes into something I can do full-time! Again, I’ll hold off on the details until I get a better idea on how it is going to work out but I think 2012 is going to be a great year…..(knocking on wood)!

Happy 2011

The Givens Family Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well another years has passed us by. This was the fastest year yet for me. It seems like we had just put the tree and decorations away from last year just a few months ago and here we were dragging it all out again. For that reason, I was not very prepared for this Christmas. Debbie, on the other hand, gets excited no matter what. She loves the Holidays and loves giving. Our great friends Larry and Lynette hosted Thanksgiving and we had Christmas Dinner at our house. The day after Christmas we went down to Tacoma and had brunch at the Hob Nob with the sisters and their families. This has become somewhat of a tradition at the Hob Nob. It makes it a lot easier on everyone to just gather together at a restaurant and have our brunch and gift giving right there. The staff has become used to us taking over the dining room!

We had a wonderful Christmas. It was also Cordell and Patience first Christmas and they both enjoyed the company over. I think Cordell got a little stressed at all the fuss, especially while gifts were being open. He went off on his own and spent some quiet time by himself. We were very proud of both of them! Speaking of gifts, Debbie and I got some nice gifts this year! She got a Nikon D90 digital camera and I got an IPad! She is taking pictures of just about everything. I have left the photo editing to here as I can no longer keep up with the avalanche of photos she is ripping off. I love my IPad and it is really cool using it during my breaks on the bus (what few I have these days). It is an awesome gadget and I can hardly put it down. We are very blessed.

 

The Snowy Estate

Not soon after Christmas, we got our second snow storm of the season! They had predicted a rough winter for our area and so far it has been pretty wild. It made for a beautiful wintry wonderland right at the Holidays but also made my bus driving job not very fun. So now we have had two very big winter storms and we have a lot of winter left. I wonder how many more of them we will see this year. Everybody is doing well in our tribe. Alex is still working at Milgard Windows and is also a volunteer firefighter. His wife Mo is teaching and loving it. Her kids love her too. Ryan, after being laid off for awhile, now has a new job he likes better. He is still doing HVAC work, but is now with a different company and they are treating hime well. He recently moved to downtown Seattle and has his own space finally and loves it. It is quite a nice bachelor pad if I say so myself. Now we are looking forward to a new year and new adventures. We hope your upcoming year will be bright, prosperous, and wonderful!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Holiday Recap

Before it gets too stale, well it may already be stale, let me post a recap of our Holiday season. I thoroughly enjoyed the holidays because we hosted nothing!!!! It was kind of nice for a change and less work! For Thanksgiving, we were invited up to our friends Larry & Lynette for the turkey feast. It was wonderful as Lynette is a great cook. The only other family member that was there was Ryan. Mo and Alex went to her parents for Thanksgiving. This is what happens when the kids get married off. Time has to be shared with the in-laws!  Then came Christmas and again it seemed to come way too fast! Alex and Mo hosted their first Christmas in their new house in Gig Harbor. Larry, Lynette, Mariam (Lynette’s Mom), Ryan, Mo’s parents and brother and sister joined in the festivities. We had a fantastic dinner and opened gifts! By the end of the evening, Alex knew what it was like to host a family gathering….. allot of work! This year, our gift giving was toned down a bit! We exchanged small gifts between ourselves because we got big gifts earlier on! I had California Closets installed in her closet in our bedroom! That was her big gift! We also had bought a 52″ TV for our downstairs family room and called that a gift to ourselves. Between the two, that was plenty! Since Gig Harbor is quite a drive from our home in Snoqualmie, we had reserved a room in a nearby hotel for the night! It was convenient also because the following day we met up with Deb’s sisters and their better halves for brunch at the Hob Nob Restaurant in Tacoma! This is an old Tacoma establishment and looks to be an annual thing for Deb and her sisters to do at Christmas time! New Year’s Eve was fun especially since I got the day off unexpectedly!!! We went to a bash at the Queen City Yacht Club where Larry & Lynette are members! We also stayed at a hotel in the  University District so we wouldn’t be on the road afterward!! It was a fun time and we hung out with some boating people we had met on one of our voyages! So that was the holiday recap!! Look to the right under our Flickr photos for links to the pictures!!

The new year will be an exciting one and hopefully without the disasters that befell us in 2009! We have some awesome vacations planned for this coming year! We plan on returning to Best Friends Animal Society for our third visit in April!! We are looking forward to seeing our animal and human friends again there! In September we have booked a two week cruise to Alaska and I am busting with anticipation for this one!!! I can hardly wait! We have also possibly planned to rent a boat in July and cruising with Larry & Lynette up to Canada, but that one is still tentative! I am a little anxious about getting on a boat of that size again and cruising around on it, but I will have to get over the hump and just do it!!! Well, that’s it for now will be back soon!

What It Looked Like Christmas Day

While it does snow here in the Puget Sound Area from time to time, we rarely have a white Christmas! This year not only did we have one heck of a white Christmas, but we’ve had snow for weeks! Record snow fell in Seattle and surrounds the last half of December and it is just now beginning to melt away! These are some images of our home and neighborhood Christmas morning:

Sick Thoughts

Yes I am sick and have been all week and have also been off work for the last three days, so I thought I’d take a moment and write a post since it has been awhile. What did you think I meant? I hate being sick, like most I assume. I am miserable! I am on the tail end of this crud though and I hope I am feeling better tomorrow, because it’s the big game!!! More on that later!!! If the game were today, I would have to drag myself there!!

So I haven’t written since before Christmas so how was yours? We had a nice one although I had to work that evening. Ryan came over Christmas Eve and spent the night. Alex and Mo came over that morning and we opened presents and celebrated. Even though we had promised to keep our spending down a bit this year, I think we all enjoyed what we received. I got a nice new leather jacket, new photo editing software, cologne, books, and a poker set!!! That was a surprise since I don’t play. It is really nice and we did play on New Year’s Eve. I also got a new phone, but it really wasn’t a present, well maybe for myself. After much prodding from Debbie to join the 21st Century and get a better phone with web and email capabilities, I finally jumped ship with AT&T and went with T-Mobile and got a new Wing Phone!! It is really cool and I am glad I finally did. It only costs me $20 a month than I was paying before with just phone service. Now I have web and email on my phone!!! Yes I know, I am a late bloomer when it comes to the latest technology!!

Debbie didn’t do too bad with her Christmas either. Among her many presents, she also got a Garmin Nuvu 760 GPS for her car! We had to order it online and it was back-ordered until it was finally delivered yesterday. She played with it all last night……… the Nuvu……. that is! It has blue tooth and syncs up with her Blackberry so she can actually use her phone through her GPS. It even uses the Blackberry voice recognition and she can just talk to make calls. All hands free which is good since it will be used in the car most of the time. The great thing is, that it is not in dash and we can also take it with us on hikes or walks and know where we are all the time. Is that too important?

New Year’s was fun. It was the first holiday of the season that I didn’t have to work. I decided to take a week’s vacation just so I would have it. Our friends Kevin and Tori Hillstrom and Larry and Lynette came over to our house. We broke out my new poker set and Kevin taught me the ins and outs of Texas Hold em! I can’t say I am ready for the Casinos yet, but I did learn a bunch. We had a great time and Larry and Lynette stayed over since their drive back home was quite long. Larry and I played a little too hard with night caps of Tequila shots. Needless to say neither of us felt to good the next morning. Maybe that’s what reduced my immunity that allowed these vicious germs to sneak aboard and wreck the havoc they have all week in my body!!!

We Are Cheesheads!


Like I said earlier, the big game is tomorrow and if you know me, well enough said. It’s the big playoff game between the Packers and Seahawks! I am actually nervous even though the game is in Green Bay. The Packers are the youngest team in the NFL, and I am worried about all these young players and how they will act in their first playoff game. I am sure the Seahawks will be playing with allot of heart, so the Pack better be ready. I hope I am ready!!! Our Club The Northwest Packer Backers is the biggest Packer Club in the whole Northwest and we are even on the radar of our local TV stations. Fox News 13 will be on hand sometime tomorrow covering the fans at the game. Hell, you might even see Deb and I on TV!!! Well I have to dose myself with some more Mucinex and chill out for awhile. Catch Ya Later!!!

Our New Christmas Tree

pc070033.jpg This is our new artificial tree, a Costco special. After many good years, we finally decided the old one had had too many times in and out of the box! We put it up for give away on our local freecycle group! As for real trees, we aren’t into the cutting, packing on the car, dragging the thing home, trying to keep it watered, and then trying to get it out of the door a month later without having a million needles everywhere. These are easier, just out of the box and ups they go! Lights are already on it!!! Isn’t Christmas such a wonderful commercial event these days!!!!

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