This is an online version of our annual Christmas Letter. If you want to see the photos from any of our trips, click on the appropriate link. The links are in bold to help you find them.
We hope that 2002 was very good to you! It brought many changes into our lives, not the least of which was my retiring, putting my house in New London on the market, and moving into Dick's house in North Sandwich, NH.
Dick and I traveled to Iceland in March. It was a fun trip with tours to see the hot springs and geysers and dormant volcanoes. Iceland is the place where the continental shelves meet, so you can stand with one foot on the North American shelf and one on the Eurasian shelf and see the rift between the two in many places. We ended with a trip to a fishing village and thermal power plant followed by a swim in a misty outdoor pool with water so hot from the hot springs that they had to cool it with sea water to make it bearable for swimming. From there the bus took us to the airport- so a great and convenient ending to a unique trip.
At work I spent a good deal of time getting things ready and understandable for the person who would follow after me- a very good friend from the college. It was hard saying goodbye to everyone, but we've had friends over here and gone there frequently as we sand and seal floors and paint walls and get the old house more presentable.
We planned a week's bike and barge trip to Holland followed by a week in London which was jeopardized, but not stopped by my finding out I had breast cancer in late April. Eight days after my surgery, I was in Holland and built my long ago biking skills up enough to enable me to cover thirty two miles on the last day I was out. It was a great trip with a wonderful cook on our barge who added lots to the experience.
In London we saw all the usual tourist sights plus went to see Mamma Mia! And A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Globe Theatre.
We came back to a summer of daily radiation for me for seven weeks, and I seem to be doing just fine- no sign of cancer cells anywhere at this point. We spent a lot of the summer working on the house and moving my things and by the end of summer I was pretty much moved in here. Dick's used his back hoe to cultivate a big garden for us next year and we bought blueberry bushes to put in down there.
We picked pounds of blackberries and have five gallons of blackberry wine or blackberry vinegar, depending on how it turns out, aging for another few months in the basement. On a solo blackberry picking trip, I was picking quietly when I heard a noise on the other side of the trail and saw a huge black bear stick her nose out onto the trail. She saw me, too, and quickly herded her three baby bears onto the trail and back into the brush. It was a unique experience to say the least!
We've picked out a few maple trees to tap in the spring and want to make a gallon or so of our own maple syrup. Other plans here include building stone steps to the front door and a stone floor to the patio next year.
In late September we drove to Michigan where we visited with relatives and friends and did some very cold sleety rock hunting on the shore of Lake Superior. But it was a mixed time. We were able to swim- at least dunk in and out- at my sister's on the first of October- which is certainly as late as I've ever swum. I also took a dunk in Lake Superior when I couldn't back-step fast enough to avoid being swept off my feet by a wave, but that's another, much colder, story. We've tumbled quite a few of the rocks we found and plan to do a lot more.
Finding places for my things and putting my stamp on the house has taken up some of our time, but we find time to enjoy the great out-of-doors we have at our doorstep. We've hiked quite a few local trails as well as going cross country skiing five or six times on our own trails already this year.
We're just back from a week in Italy where we really kept on the run seeing the sights in Rome as well as trips to Naples/Pompeii and Florence. It will be nice to sit around for a while- but who am I to complain after being a stuck-in-one-place person for so many years.
Christy finished her Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in May, took a trip to Belize, and is now working for an agency near the seacoast and really enjoying being back in Portsmouth.
Rob's in Portsmouth, too. He should be finished with his Associate's Degree in Network Security pretty much by Christmas with only a general ed class or two to complete it. It's really great to see them both moving on into the real world.
Dick's daughter Heather is a sophomore at Brown. His son Rick is building their house and has two little boys who keep us on our toes when they're here and his daughter Cindy works for a California video games producer.