Ann Chiappetta

Making meaningful connections with others through writing

The Year In Review

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GREETINGS FROM CASTLE CHIAPPETTA
December 2010

The year in review: at home and other happenings.

The first few months of 2010 were more or less quiet, as Jerry and I were still healing from shoulder and gallbladder surgeries respectively. It certainly felt like the winter would never end and then it was spring. Verona and I celebrated our first year together in January by traveling up to Guiding Eyes and taking part in the graduation ceremony and kennel tour. We’ve come a long way since our training and I’m so glad I’ve got her in my life.

Jerry’s been working for Homeland Security now for over ten years and this year has been full of unexpected changes since the Obama administration has taken charge but for the most part, it’s all been minor.

Anthony hasn’t decided what to do once he graduates high school but we are hoping he will figure it out this year. He’s got a knack for languages and has a great radio voice, so perhaps he’ll look into audio engineering. He’s very good at multi player role playing games, like World of Warcraft, and from what I hear, is well respected and plays with a core group of people who respect and like him. His next step is to find a training program or enroll in a community college.

April has been battling a series of throat infections since May and missed the first half of school due to three episodes of tonsillitis, one so serious she was put on prednisone for a week and two rounds of antibiotics. The specialist finally said the only way to keep these infections from reoccurring was to remove her tonsils, adenoids and excess sinus tissue. As I write this, she is recovering from the procedure which was done on December 15th.

Backtracking a bit, we took our annual vacation in August, piling into the new Toyota Tacoma truck and drove to Pennsylvania. Neeka went with my friend and dog trainer, Jamie while we were away.

We first went to the PA Renaissance festival – Huzzah! — It was hot but bearable. We stayed at a motel, and then drove on to stay near Stroudsburg at a KOA. Our cabin was clean and had air conditioning and a bathroom. The camp grounds had an awesome pool with a fountain at one end and a spiral slide at the other, restaurant, and Dog Park, just to name a few amenities. We went to Hershey Park but left after only half the day due to excessive heat. It was 98 degrees by noon and neither myself nor Verona could take it. April and I did get to go on some awesome coasters, though and I had the best sour cherry slushie ever. The heat reminded me to ask myself, whatever possessed us to take our vacations in the dead heat of summer?Ugh. Verona was so well-behaved, staying on the porch and guiding me expertly through all the crowds, heat, and obstacles, especially at the R. Fair. I would love to get back to that KOA in the fall and bum around all the little towns in Lancaster as well as hit the outlet stores before Xmas crazies. Having ro is a true gift and every year I grow to appreciate it more and more. J

Jerry, April, Carol and Verona and I drove up to Foxwood’s resort and casino for an overnight stay. Jerry and I went to see Jethro Tull at the MGM Grand’s theater while Carol and April bummed around the hotel, mall, and casino. Someone had to stay with Verona while we attended the show. Well, not really but it was a good excuse to get the kid to come so we wouldn’t worry about leaving her at home with only Anthony, who is not a babysitter.

On September 22, Jerry and I celebrated our 20th anniversary by going to a B & B inn Greenwood Lake, Orange County, N.Y. We did some apple picking with Verona, who had to guide me off-road, so to speak. Low hanging branches, gullies, yards and yards of half rotten apples, and little kids wanting to hug her were just some of the most eventful items we negotiated. It was a lot of fun and she did so well, we let her play kill the Frisbee twice when we got back to the room near the lake.

We went to a great German restaurant called The Breezy Point Inn, which is a B & B with a huge dining hall which serves an authentic pig roast buffet. It was excellent, Jerry and I both ate way too much and rolled out of there with fond memories of everything from the schnitzel and apple strudel with vanilla ice cream to the hog’s head on the buffet’s carving table. J

In October I changed jobs and I’m now working as a family therapist for the Veterans Administration located in White Plains, N.Y. It’s been five years since graduation with my master’s degree and I’m finally where I should be in terms of my career. I am so very grateful for the folks who helped me and I’ll never forget those who mentored me to this point. God’s blessings are with me and for that I’m just a humble pie. J

What’s in store for us this year? Number one on our list would be: no more surgeries. After that, we’re happy with whatever comes along.
Love and best wishes to all in 2011!
Annie, Jerry, Anthony, April, Neeka, Verona, and the bird, hamster, and fish.

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