Our 2011 Journey, With Open Arms for 2012

Here we go! Although there is so much to be grateful for, I sometimes wonder about God's sense of humor. This year was definitely about change and transitioning in many ways. I received good news and I received bad news. But I have hope. I have hope that this year is all about faith, health, happiness and togetherness. Sometimes life gives us small to large tests depending on whatever you can handle, and that's the time to stop right in your tracks and see it for what it is...or what it isn't. So, I give you our moments of 2011. Some happy, some bizarre, some frustrating and of course, new friends we met on the way to 2012.

First, Mad gets her haircut by Ryan Nickulas from The A-List New York.

It all started right before last Christmas of 2010 while watching The A-List NY on LOGO. I had no clue what to get Madelene for a present, and then it hit me: her favorite cast member, Ryan Nickulas owns a salon in the West Village in NYC. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I was going to treat her to a day of beauty and of course, meet Ryan. I hopped on Twitter and got in contact with Ryan himself. He was available and awaiting our appointment after the new year. So, starting in January of 2011, Madelene got her hair did by her favorite boy, and on top of that, he also was interested in being part of our documentary, which I was thrilled about. He welcomed us in his home February 4th (on my birthday) and poured his heart out. We had a blast with him. I am very grateful for his hospitality as well as contributing to our project. Below is the clip he did for us. Thanks for starting off our 2011 on a good foot, Ryan!

If you cannot view this video, please click here.

Mad's birthday quickly approached us and we enjoyed time with our family and friends celebrating.
As the year went on, my father had begun radiation since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. He underwent a few surgeries and for the most part, feeling quite miserable. As a family, we did everything we could to let him know he was loved and taken care of, however the anxiety and panic of what he was going through tore my heart out. To see "Superman", aka Dad become scared (and for good reason) was heartbreaking. He was the most fearless and happy man I have ever known. Things really changed a lot and I finally saw that Dad was a very vulnerable man; a man full of fear and sadness. I saw Mom struggle along with him, staying up all night while he had insomnia or was in pain and trying to do anything she could to comfort him. That was very much a somber part of the year to see him go through so much. As he progresses these days, he has gotten better, but a few more procedures to go. 2012 is a year where he will get through this. I have faith.

On a lighter, (or on a much heavier note?) -- we endured and survived the end of the world, predicted by Harold Camping.

Then there was the moving process. We went from city folk to mountaintop hillbillies. It was quite a change for us, since all we heard were sirens, domestic fights and cars zipping through at every hour of the day and night. In the new location, we only heard crickets, frogs (which were loud mind you) and the occasional dog barking a few acres away. The views were gorgeous and better yet, I was closer to my parents so I could help out if they needed anything.

With beautiful views, comes dreadful renovations and touchups....

And not for nuttin', but Mad would handle contacting the 'right people' to do the job and then they would come over, do a half-ass job and have us do the rest. She really put me to work!

And beyond what anything we could have done, there were tons of contractors in and out, from maintenance men to bee exterminators, which had to come back ten million times. We had such a bad bee problem that even the exterminators were baffled.Then Madelene decided to brave it and attack these critters herself. It was so funny to watch that I had to get my camera out for this.

If you cannot view this video, please click here.

And then, we found the culprit on a branch that was way too high to even reach...
It was peaceful for a while, until we heard news that hurricane Irene was headed straight for New York. They advised all NYC residents to evacuate up north where we were. When the hurricane finally swept through our area, we were the ones that got hit the hardest, while NYC looked like any other rainy day. There were tons of power outages in the area, many roads that were literally cracked open, so needless to say, endless detours. It devastated homes and businesses. People were actually traveling around in boats in certain areas. It just gives you a grim reminder of our fierce Mother Nature can be. The pictures below are courtesy of my friend Laura Duggan.

And then...there was the earthquake that hit New York. I was sitting at my desk working from home when all of the sudden, my desk started shaking back and forth. The only damage is what happened in my kitchen in the photo below. Tragedy.
With the autumn weather moving in, we finally felt a bit more settled into our new place. There was a lot of adjusting, lots of tweaking and new things that had to still be installed. Other than that, September was a very quiet month. We were all still reeling from the hurricane. It was definitely a shock to our systems. But oddly enough, when October arrived, it seemed to come in so beautifully. Watch how these photos change drastically...

And then...the snowstorm of October of 2011 comes barreling in...
(All photos were taken from the deck of my house.)
Many people were out of power, branches and trees were down, but oddly enough and once again, we were lucky.

We got in touch with old friends, and made new ones on the way. One in particular came over and cooked her famous Puerto Rican food for us. We had a blast and it was good to finally get some quality friendships in before the New Year. Thank you, Zee! She and her partner were our first guests to come over and warm our home.
It's been a crazy year for us, a lot of stressful moments as well as wonderful ones too. Tonight, I'm celebrating all the hard times that have only made my family & my marriage only that much closer and stronger. I'm celebrating all the laughter that's been shared, all the wonderful moments with each special person in my life and overall, thanking God that everyone is healthy and okay and will continue to have better and better years ahead. So I wish you and your family a very healthy and prosperous New Year! Let's not even think about the Mayan Calendar...

For more of Deb's articles, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com