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It's A Brand New Year

Who would have thought. It’s a brand new year and in so many ways were in the same place we were two years ago. Still in the midst of Covid. Although the outlook is so much better today. Aaron and I just got our booster and we are feeling so lucky we have not become ill despite our being a bit careless 2 years ago when Covid began and we did not believe how serious it would become.

I have said it before and will say it again despite everything it has been a tremendous two years for us. We rekindled a romance, got engaged, were able to get married move into a wonderful apartment and start a new life together that neither of us ever imagined we would have.

Aaron's Xmas card to Mike

A few weeks ago we celebrated Xmas down on the farm in Dungarvan, Ireland with Aaron’s family for our second year. It was a great time. His grandmother who is 80 still runs things and she is a real pistol, full of energy, fun and up with the sun to take care of things. His grandfather is still alive but unfortunately seems to be fading away slowly but still remains a part of the family. I think his grandparents deserve a lot of credit for keeping the family together which is exhibited the way everyone still gathers at the holidays. Other than his birthday Xmas is probably Aaron’s favorite holiday and I smile the whole time watching him interact with the whole family. Although Aaron will deny it I think he just might enjoy the farm or at least it seems that way when he drags me around showing off the cattle.

On the way back to Dublin we stopped off to see his mother and her husband who came in from Spain for the holiday. They wanted to be with us on the farm but had to quarantine due to Covid. Lucky for them they had some relatives who also had Covid and they all quarantined together. The day we stopped to see them was one of the nicer days and we able able to sit outside in the sun wearing our masks like good little boys and visit with them. I am sure they were glad when they finally tested negative and were able to flee back to the warm sunny days in spain.

Gay couple, aaron and Mike on the farm for Xmas.

New Years was very mellow for us. Due to lockdown here in Ireland everything had to close by 8:00PM. We had a nice dinner out at 5:00. Actually I considered it more like a late lunch. I think we were home by 7:30 and asleep by ten. I actually woke about 11:50 and watched some of the not very good fireworks from our terrace. In between dinner and bed we discussed some of the things we would like to see happen for us in 2022 and our New year's resolutions.

We have so many plans for 2022 and hopefully we will fulfill them all. Starting in February we will be going to Newcastle for Aaron’s birthday. He is a big football fan and Newcastle is his team. I think he has a thing for underdogs. Don’t be mistaken though I am no underdog and that is not why he loves me. I have never been to a football,(soccer,) match so it should be a lot of fun. He insists I have to get some Newcastle paraphernalia for the game. He won’t lend me any of his.

Gay couple, Aaron and Mike on New Years Eve.

I am most looking forward to March when we will be going to America. We will be going to the Grand Canyon and then to Scottsdale, Az. Our first day at the grand Canyon we will be taking a helicopter ride through the canyon. The second day we will be hiking up and down the canyon. I am not anticipating the hike to be easy so starting in February we will begin our hikes again in Ireland which we have let go by the wayside these past few months. I also got Aaron a good pair of hiking boots as one of his Xmas presents so he will not have an excuse for not making it. Actually I know he will make it up and down I am just not too sure if he will be speaking to me when we get back up to the top. I promised him next year we can do Vegas and AZ and or CA. Vegas would have been his first choice but I have been there too many times and am ashamed to say I have never been to the Grand Canyon despite probably being in Az over 20 times.

After the Grand canyon we will be spending a night in Sedona a beautiful small town set in the desert among red rock buttes, beautiful canyons and forests. Then we will drive back down to Scottsdale where Aaron and my family will finally get a chanced to meet. I could not be more excited by this. Imagine two years and they still have not met. I can’t believe it will be more than two years since I have had a chance to see any of them too.

At first I thought we would have some sort of reception for my friends and family but after planning two weddings already and having to cancel them because of Covid Aaron and I are just happy to get to see everyone. These days because of Covid no one can really commit to anything and I can’t say I blame them. We actually prefer having a week in Scottsdale where Aaron can have the time to meet everyone slowly and get to know them in a nice easy atmosphere. I have a brother who lives there permanently and sisters who have winter homes there so they can hide from the Chicago winters which are cold and windy.

Once we get back to Dublin we have about a month before we go to Spain to visit Aaron’s mom and her husband. Since travel opened up in Europe last year she has been asking us to come see them and I feel a bit bad as last year we were more interested in living it up in Sitges and did not stop to visit them. We will be in Spain over Easter. I am not sure what city she lives in but it is a couple hundred miles south of Barcelona so the weather should be near perfect for keeping up the tans we hopefully will be able to get in Scottsdale. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

Mike and Aaron at home.

Getting back to our New Year's resolutions two of our more shallow ones were to, one get in better shape, (or just in shape) through exercising more and trying to eat better. Since we were in Paris in November neither one of us has bothered to keep anything in check. Last night I must say I was pretty proud of Aaron as he started watching what he eats. I was also a bit disappointed though as we usually have dessert in bed together and last night I found myself sneaking off to the kitchen for mine, while he sipped tea in bed. I love my desserts so he might just have to learn moderation instead of going cold turkey or we might just have to have a little talk. The exercising I think will be a bit harder.

Due to Covid our gym will not allow more than 6 people in at a time and to get a time you wanting you have to make an appointment a month in advance. It’s crazy but so is Covid.

Our exercise at the moment is not just vanity driven but we also have to start getting ready for the hike up and down the Grand Canyon which we have decided to do in one day. There is some sort of tent hotel at the bottom but I could never spend a relaxing night there knowing I had to hike up the next day. I figure I just want to get the whole thing over in one day.

In the coming year we have decided to try and keep up our Blog. We were not sure where it would go when we started and we still aren’t but we both still really enjoy it. It has been 9 months. In addition some of you might have seen some of our Youtube, instagram and last weekend we started TikTok I can’t believe I have become such a user of social media. It has been a real learning experience. Besides working alongside Aaron one of the best parts is the positive feedback we have gotten from it. Of course with the good there has also been some bad negative feedback, usually not constructive so it has never bothered us.

Pictures of Blog.

We both also have some personal goals we would like to work on attaining so it appears we will be pretty busy after Spain trying to get started on them. Then in Sept we will take our other long vacation for the year. If you have any ideas of places let us know. I have a few requirements though. Due to the weather in Ireland, which is never really good for our September vacation I need to spend a few days in beautiful weather on an ocean or sea. It would be great if there was an incredible city on the water. If not I would like to spend the first 4 or five days investigating a new city. We are both pretty excited about the New Year but the best part of it is having someone to plan all of these adventures with.


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