Yes, here it is, the Christmas letter…..in blog form! Just when you thought you were safe from such a thing, boom! here it is. Of course, I'm limited in adding photos just from the blog and iPhone, and my memory impairments, which seem to be escalating since my 59th birthday this year.
This photo shows the pretty blue paint that was starting to look a bit faded on the south side of our house (don't try to look, I didn't take a photo of that side). We hired a painter in the fall of 2012 to paint that side. As of December 2013, the painter moved to Georgia without painting more than 2 days in 2013. If you know of a good painter, from anywhere, let us know. Oops, I forgot that Christmas letters don't tell you things like that! Sorry.
In June, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. We discussed going to one of our favorite places, either Key West or Kennebunkport, but, instead, decided to try something completely new and rented an RV and camped near Asheville, North Carolina for a week. We spent a wonderful afternoon riding through a bit of the Blue Ridge Mountains and spent the rest of the time by the campfire, not even leaving to tour Biltmore!
This view, from our campsite, convinced both of us that further RV adventures would become a major part of our retirement years. And so, planning ahead, we…...
purchased one in late June and parked it at a beautiful campground in Bellevue, Ohio, Gotta Getaway, for the summer! This has been a great place to learn the art and science of camping. We can fill and (empty) various tanks, drive without white knuckles, use the furnace, cook using foil over a fire, talk RV with neighboring "rigs" about their "coaches" and how to incorporate our pups into this lifestyle. We are seriously hooked.
Paulette, Joel, our C.F.O., and I took drove from Sandusky to Michigan City, Indiana and then took the commuter train in to Chicago from there, just in time to arrive in the midst of a huge parade. Something about a basketball championship. We had to hire a rickshaw to haul our luggage down Michigan Avenue, weaving among the throngs of celebrants. On the drive home, we stopped at the RV Hall of Fame, as, by this time, Paulette has been bitten by the RV bug as well. You should put this on your bucket lists!
We tried to convince her to buy this small bungalow around the corner from our house. She pointed out that it gets cold in Ohio, and that her grandchildren lived in California! All true.
In October, Ron and I ventured for our second camping trip. This time to Nashville….Indiana. It was here that we discovered that not all campgrounds are alike. And that it is easy to back up and bash in the back of an RV, even when the co-pilot is yelling at you to STOP BACKING UP!!!!
Ron, had a great work year, too. He went on two Honor Flights to D.C. with his hospice veteran patients this year ( not the day the WW II memorial was closed, however). He often is asked to speak to service clubs and veteran groups about the hospice movement to recognize and thank veterans for their service. This is his twelfth year as a hospice nurse, and he now has seniority among nurses at Stein! (The average tenure is just 3 years). Ron turns 67 in December….we've both begun talking about retirement on a regular basis!
Merry Christmas to all of you, from, AlleyCat,
We hope you have a happy and healthy new year!
Love, Julie and Ron