Warmest Holiday Greetings to our Family and Friends, Near and Far,
2018 was definitely a year of transition of the settling-in sort for the Transient, Don't-Let-the-Grass-Grow-Under-Their-Feet Brookses. This year found us readjusting back into life in California after spending the previous almost-3 years away in NYC and SE Asia. As we attempted to acclimate to a more settled life in Santa Rosa, we passed much of our free time exploring area hiking trails, local world-class wineries, and re-connecting with northern California friends in our new hometown and Sonoma County Wine Country's largest "city," population 186,000.
In January, Scott re-entered the workforce after ten months of being footloose and fancy free, joining Delicato Family Vineyards in Napa as their sales finance manager for the Western US. In April, Caroline returned to the temp work circuit, initially as an assembly line worker and wine packer at a high-volume, local wine shipping warehouse and currently as an office coordinator for a home building company that is focusing on rebuilds for homeowners who lost their homes in the Tubbs Fire that swept through Santa Rosa in October of 2017.
In July, as many of you may have heard, we became property owners once again, when we purchased an eight-acre parcel of completely raw land on the northwest side of Santa Rosa, in the Russian River Valley wine region. We eventually intend to build our future primary residence there but not before conquering some environmental hurdles, as the property is a potential habitat for the endangered California Tiger Salamander as well as some endangered plant species. While it is nothing insurmountable, it will take a fair amount of time, patience (and money) to achieve our ultimate goal but the land purchase alone feels like a step in the right direction for us. I think. Haha. We have posted a little about this land acquisition previously on this blog, for anyone who is curious to know more about our latest questionable decision.
While our traveling aspirations are taking a backseat for the time being as we rejuvenate our finances and focus on more sedentary goals, we were able to spend five glorious days on the Big Island of Hawaii at the end September in celebration of 20 years(!!!) of wedded bliss. And for Christmas this year, we are excited to announce that will be traveling to Cuba! Upon our arrival on the Caribbean island, by way of San Salvador (because, of course, we can't do anything the easy way), we will be joining a 7-night cultural tour of Western Cuba. While anyone who knows us knows that we typically prefer independent travel, travel solely for the purpose of tourism (i.e. just having fun) in Cuba is strictly prohibited (i.e, illegal) for Americans at this time, except when traveling under a valid "travel category", such as participating in a specifically designed culturally-oriented tour, so off we go!
Whatever traditions or adventures your own celebrations entail, we wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy, healthy year in 2019!
The Outtakes, aka the making of a Brooks Christmas card, aka Gratuitous Elf Shots:
|Preparing the props|
|Setting up the shot. Don't forget to move the props box!|
|"I just love drinking wine in our spacious new living room!"|
|Home, Sweet Home|
|This Elf is outstanding in his field!|
|The devastating Paradise, CA Camp Fire was still going strong during our photo shoot, but we braved the smokey, polluted (if hauntingly beautiful) air to get it done.|
|Lady Elf Standing in a Field. Our field. :-)|
|Cheers and happy holidays, to one and all!|