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.
Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Wonderful 2011
HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2010! Our year was very eventful and happy. We traveled, gardened, cut trees, saw lots of the family, and enjoyed living in both our locations.
The house in Sandwich is still on the market, but things are very slow, so we aren’t crossing our fingers yet. The bank stalled for months on the house we made an offer on in Maine, so we finally pulled out and instead bought a condo in Dover, NH when we were up in March for grandson Liam’s first birthday.
In January we flew to Puerto Rico for my birthday and spent time on Vieques Island and swam in their bioluminescent Bay as well as in Ponce (with its distinctive black and red firehouse and horned masks to keep evil beings away) and Old San Juan. After returning we spent a few days with Dick’s brother Dave, his wife, Linda, and son, Wayne, in Royal Palm Beach FL.
February found us in Kathmandu, Nepal visiting Dick’s daughter Heather and seeing the sights there, and traveling in the countryside where we had breathtaking views of Mt. Everest from our lodge. We went with Heather to a number of Buddhist holy sites and gained understanding of the life she’s living now.
In North Carolina we had a visit from our friends Carole and Jim Carroll and a family week with Christy and John, Liam and Angela- both at the house in Ash and on Sunset Beach. As soon as they headed north, we did too and met Cindy and Chris and Rick and family in Washington DC where we toured the major sights and saw Little Shop of Horrors at the Ford Theater. When Cindy and Chris went back to CA, the rest of the family joined us on Assateague and Chincoteague Island for a few more days in a rented house on a river.
It had been a cold winter in North Carolina, but we were welcomed back to New Hampshire where the pond warmed up quickly in the unusually warm weather and we got in more swimming than ever before. We spent time getting rid of possessions, downsizing for when the house finally sells. I planted my garden and Dick worked on property upkeep, trail clearing and fire wood gathering. It will be hard to see it sold.
Dick wanted to see North Carolina in the summer, so we went down for two weeks in August-which I found a lot more humid and uncomfortable than he did! But we found that the new trees, we planted, including nine pecans, were doing just fine. We went back north via Asheville- loved the city- and I tried my hand at mining for gems (rubies, emeralds, garnets) at a couple of mines, but didn’t find any ‘honkers’ as they call the big ones. We toured the Luray Caverns and Natural Bridge along the Blue Ridge Parkway and felt we’d had a vacation when we got back to NH.
September found us heading to South Africa where we toured Johannesburg and saw the site of the World Cup games and Nelson Mandela’s house in Soweto. From there we went on safaris, including one in Swaziland and saw all the Big Five (elephant, Cape Buffalo, lion, rhino, and giraffe), as well as lots of hippos and crocodiles. We ended up in the Cape Town area, seeing the penguin colonies on the Cape Peninsula and going to the top of Table Mountain.
After the rest of the tour left for home, Dick and I got our rental car and headed up the eastern coast. We went to several bird parks including one that was huge- 5 acres all enclosed in a netting roof with birds flying free around us and even sometimes hitching a ride with us. I went to a large cat preserve and walked in an enclosure with cheetahs. Dick rode an ostrich at a farm and I was surprised to see about a hundred of them peeking down at me as I answered nature’s call out in the boonies, squatting between a bush and the ostrich farm fence. We really enjoyed our trip to South Africa, but it is a dangerous place after dark and most houses are encircled with razor wire with signs posted that promise an armed response if you should trespass. Photos of all the trips are at dicksandy.org if you want to join us on a vicarious trip.
We stayed in New Hampshire until after Dick’s 50th High School Reunion- for which he did a lot of website organization. During the summer and fall we took care of Liam one day a week- who’s a great funny 21 month old now and living proof of why grandkids are so much fun. We saw The Drowsy Chaperone and Spamalot at the Ogunquit Playhouse, raked leaves, and harvested vegetables.
Christy and John are doing well, enjoying Liam and expecting a baby girl at the end of January. Life is very busy for them- needless to say! Rob is still working away at earth science and math courses at UNH- finishing up Calculus II right now! Never would have thought my math phobic fifth grader would be tackling that. He lives in the basement suite at the Dover condo and is enjoying the independence.
Cindy and Chris are still loving California and their hectic, world traveling, productive lives. Rick is buying and refurbishing houses and Michelle is still enjoying her special ed teaching. Ricky and Randy are growing up and Ricky definitely has the look and height of a teenager. Heather is still in Nepal and is applying for a Master’s Degree program there. She has become a Buddhist nun to show her sincerity and enhance her chances of being accepted for the degree.
The only sad spot for us is the diagnosis of cancer in our lovely orange Maine Coon Cat, James and we dread what is to come.
Next year will include another trip to Nepal/Tibet and India- part official tour and part Heather tour. We also hope to go to Sanibel Island sometime this spring. Until then we look forward to our own Baby New Year and know that good things are coming in 2011! We’re looking forward to hearing your news and hope that 2011 brings you bright hopes and new possibilities.