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Happy Holidays from the Ausk's

Well this year has been quite exciting...some things were up and some were down, but we still have our health and our future so things are very good!

Piper and Scully

We started out the year with a bitterly cold winter and the bright idea that Scully needed a sibling. Piper entered out life and became a part of our family for a long 3 months. See, Scully is an only child and she made that very clear. At the end of this experiment we just couldn't take the rivalry any longer and very sadly returned Piper to her shelter owner. We are happy to report that she found another wonderful family and is doing great. Scully is still gloating in her victory.

Moving into the Spring, our sister (Becky), brother (Paul), and niece (Juliet) traveled with Jeneen to visit our grandparents in the eastern (way, way eastern) part of PA. It was a nice road trip with lots of catching up. We heard wonderful stories about our family and were able to spend time with our cousin and her family as well.

Grandma's Great grand daughters Easter

Jeneen's father also decided to retire from the police department this year. We celebrated his service to the force and visited with friends and family that we haven't seen in ages. Derek was introduced to people he had heard about but never met. The big surprise of the event: Dad's reclusive brother and his kids showed up. He's a nice guy...just no one knows where he lives.

The Sistas @ Dad's retirement Party Funky D and Bad Becky @ Retirement Party

The biggest decision of the year was putting our house up for sale. We had just finished getting it the way we wanted at the end of winter. At the end of Spring, we had our very belated house warming party. At the beginning of summer we had made the decision to sell. There were a log of good reasons to sell, so we put it on the market...For Sale By Owner. We had A LOT of people look but there were no bids. In August we decided to go with an agent and the house sold in less than a week.

our very fine house

We certainly didn't waste our summer waiting for the house to sell. Our youngest brother (John) graduated from High School. We spent plenty of evenings out on the town with our friends. We even had some West Coast friends in town and took a road trip up to Washington DC for the Fourth of July.

John's Graduation Party on Mother's side  4th of July @ Washinton Monument
jeneen @ Happy Hour  Derek & Jeneen @ Happy Hour Shye & Jeneen Dancing  

After we sold the house we started selling our stuff with intentions of renting a much smaller place. We had tenative plans of moving to the west coast in a year or two, and figured it wouldn't hurt to start offloading the things we wouldn't be able to take. We were prepared to move into a great little apartment in another suburb of Pittsburgh when the city decided our new hood would be the next re-development project. We learned that the highway nearby would be under construction for the entire duration of our lease. The commute went from being 20-30 minutes to over an hour. Since we really didn't own much stuff we decided to sell the rest of it and move out west a little early. It was a difficult decision to make, but it would have been just as difficult in a year or two.

View of San Diego from Coradado Bridge
Emerald Bay in Tahoe

We made it to San Diego, but the fun had only just begun. We seriously inconvenienced our friends by shipping the remainder of our belongings to Cali 3 weeks before we arrived. Our boxes (70+) were in their the middle of their living room (we owed them big time). We lived in an icky hotel for 3 weeks and waited for an apartment that never materialized (long story), only to move into a place that already had an inhabitant...In the crawl space under the house, a skunk let us know of his presence not once, but twice before we got rid of him. Skunks smell like rotten onions when you're close to where they spray. We went on an awesome trip to Tahoe that was just what we needed...to get away from it all! When we came back home the plumbing in our duplex had stopped working alltogether. With each minor disaster we screamed "SERENITY NOW!", and then repeated, "well it certainly could have been worse". We have a nice place, the skunk is gone, and the plumbing works.

At the conclusion of the year we welcomed one new life and payed respects to the loss of another. Our brother Chris and his fiancee Teresa had a beautiful boy, Carson Thomas Gruendl, on November 9. He's healthy, well-behaved, and already grabbing attention from all the ladies. Our beloved grandfather, Frank Ausk Sr., passed away on December 3. He will be missed tremendously, but will continue to live on in the hearts and minds of those whom he influenced.

Derek & Jeneen in Tahoe
Derek & Jeneen in Tahoe

We know that next year can be full of only great things because we have a lot of good Karma in the bank or at least we've paid off any negative Karma we owed. Since being back on this coast Jeneen has been painting and drawing like crazy...which is a great feeling! Derek is enjoying not having to mow the lawn OR shovel the snow!

We hope all of you, our friends and family, had a wonderful year and that next year will be even better. We look forward to seeing at least some of you visiting us out here in San Diego!!!

Love,
Jeneen & Derek Ausk