I find myself bursting into tears at random times during the day. A memory of her, us will pour through me like a dam breaking at inopportune times. It happened at 1/2 Price books yesterday when I was standing in line behind a lady buying the book, Marley and Me. I immediately burst into tears as I thought about the Christmas we spent in Washington D.C. We started our tradition that year of being out of town every other Christmas. This year we went to see Marley and Me in a deserted theater. We both left crying our eyes out and being thankful no was there to witness this spectacle. For the next 2 days we toured DC like a couple Japanese tourist on crack! We made it through every major spot in record time! We stayed at Hotel Monaco in the middle of K Street. When I asked why she chose this hotel, she said, “Guppy-Love”! “hUh?” She said its because we get a pet guppy for our stay”! She was quirky that one! She bought me my first bomber jacket that year.

This got me thinking about the two other times we went out of town for Christmas. In 2007 we went to Miami and stayed at the Vanderbilt in Coral Gables. She said she chose this place because it was on a golf course, (we never played golf), it had the biggest pool in Miami (she never got in), and that each person gets their own personal trainer in the gym (we never went to the gym). It was nice though to just sit by the pool all day. Thats when I learned that Lindy likes to go to a city on a beach, but prefers just to lounge at the pool and dislikes the beach altogether. Lindy bought me my first Hawaiian shirt for Christmas that year. http://www.biltmorehotel.com/?NCK=8554540196&kw=hotel%20biltmore%20coral%20gables&utm_source=Google&utm_medium=Adwords&utm_campaign=Brand_Tier_1&gclid=CM22q-G_38ICFeY-MgodZ1AAGw

In 2009, we went to New Orleans. I chose this place because we could take our kiddos. The company I worked for had a nice condo in the French Quarter that we stayed in with Ollie and Sassy. We had a blast. We ate at the Rib Room Christmas day, http://ribroomneworleans.com while a small barbershop quartet sang Christmas carols. The day after Christmas I proposed to Lindy. I got up early and set it up. I went down early in the morning and placed a pink rose in a bush behind the park bench we would sit at. I was going to propose when the church bells struck noon in Jackson Square. What I didn’t plan for was the two homeless guys that would Occupy Bench and ruin my plan. I just chose a different bench, and after she said yes, I walked over and pulled the rose out from between them. It worked out! We went to the Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone right after for champagne. http://hotelmonteleone.com/entertainment/carousel-bar/?gclid=CNHW8I7C38ICFataMgodnAcAbw That night I had a horse drawn carriage take us to dinner to another incredible  NOLA restaurant, Antoine’s http://www.antoines.com

That year she gave me the best gift ever by saying YES!

With tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart,  I just sat down at a local coffee shop for a few hours and went through everything we did on our out-of-town Christmas trips. This was my gift this year to  myself: precious memories that  make me smile though my grief. Her not being here with me at Christmas is painful. I am happy that I will always have our memories. I will  carry on our tradition of being out of town on Christmas day. This year it is on the slopes of Vail.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Cherish the memories and make new ones!

Carousel BarAndrew_Jackson_monument,_New_Orleans,_USA44570652

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