This past year has been an interesting one, full of new adventures and opportunities. The economic downtown of the last couple of year's adversely affected my business, driving sales to their lowest point ever. In 2012 things picked up a bit and stabilized. We're still not back to pre-2010 levels, but things are moving in the right direction. On the other hand Mary's business, Connie's Cake's, is doing fantastic. She found a new space in Eastown she really liked and spent a good portion of the last year planning and negotiating and then in November signed a lease. Build out started and is scheduled to be completed in the first week of January. The new shop is at 1416 Robinson Road in the historic Kingsley Building.
One of my passions is traveling and we got to investigate some new places this year. In August we spent a few days at The Headlands in northern Michigan with Mary's brother, sisters, in-laws and mom. The Headlands is located on the shore of Lake Michigan near Mackinaw City. It is an international Dark Sky Park, so the theory is that the lack of light pollution allows you to see the stars well. Unfortunately, during our visit there was a full moon that pretty much washed out the entire night sky. We did see a spectacular blood red moon set at 4:00 a.m. one morning. We also brought our mountain bikes and rode the trails in the park. The whole group spent a day on Mackinac Island. Mary and I did a lot of hiking on the island, visiting some very old cemeteries, churches and forts.
In September we did our annual JDRF bike ride. This year we opted for the ride at Lake Tahoe instead of our usual Death Valley excursion. To say it was a glorious ride would be an understatement. The weather, scenery, and atmosphere were all perfect. The people we rode with were a lot of fun and we raised a lot of money for the cause. You can read more about it on my other blog More Than 100 Miles.
Speaking of JDRF we presented the 8th annual Jake's Music Festival in April at Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids. It was our most successful event ever raising over $6,000 for Type 1 diabetes research. The band line-up seems to get better every year and we have high hopes for the 2013 edition, which takes place April 13th.
To jump back to the travel for a moment, I attended a public relations conference in Chicago in July and took Mary along with me. We've been to Chicago a lot but this was a unique experience because we didn't have the kids with us and we we're staying in a very nice hotel, the Marriott on Michigan Avenue. We spent one evening with our Chicago friend's Susan and Elvin. We also went to a couple of parties sponsored by conference vendors. One was on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building. Great views from way up there and we had a special elevator to get to the top. The next night's party was at the House of Blues. That was big, loud fun. We even got Blues Brother style sunglasses to wear for the evening.
I could write another entire post about what the kids did in 2012 and perhaps I will at a later date. Although given the frequency I post to this blog, don't hold your breath.
See you on the other side.