Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Click on image to get a larger view of the card.

Another year; another Christmas letter, another compilation of experiences. First reaction… we didn’t do anything special. Wait? What about this trip, what about that visit? After six years living in our Utah home, we’ve definitely settled in.

We continue to be amazed by this place, its landscapes - forests, deserts, mountains, the redrock canyons. We don’t hike as much as we’d hoped, but we add new experiences as we have time. This year, we made our first trip to Upper Calf Creek Falls (Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument), and we explored the South side of Monroe Mountain via the Pole Canyon Rd. We spent some time in the Bears Ears area and the nearby House of Fire Ruin. Spectacular! A few months back, we were treated to an afternoon watching and photographing wild horses in the nearby San Rafael Swell (BLM) region.

Larry is enjoying the freedom of full retirement, and keeps busy. This fall, he began working on the patio outside our walk-out basement and completed adjacent landscaping work. The patio project is now on hold until warmer weather returns, so Larry has turned his attention back to refinishing ladder back chairs. There are a few dozen more chairs to rehabilitate. Annette is still busy teaching at IUPUI (Indiana University Purdue University at Indianapolis). Since 2002, she has developed a total of twenty-three different online courses. In addition as the Social Media Editor for Teacher Librarian Magazine, she writes 365 reviews a year: one-review-a-day of a book, app, or a website for children or young adults. Annette also continues to write the Info Tech column for Teacher Librarian (Tenth year next April).

And the people, the talent of our friends and neighbors continues to amaze us. We join many of them in planning and delivering events with The Entrada Institute. Summers speed by with weekly music, festivals, and more. We again volunteered to photograph events of the Wayne County Fair. Another event activity added this past year was volunteer photographers for the two-day bike stage races of the Capitol Reef Classic. We had a great time at these and other events.

We made three trips back to the Midwest (Jan, May and Nov) visiting daughter Brooke in Chicago, Larry’s families downstate and Annette’s parents and sister Allison in Missouri. On the May trip we stopped in Fort Collins, Colorado a few days to visit son Benji and help celebrate his graduate school graduation. We also enjoyed a Spring trip to Austin to visit the Rathsack family and do some babysitting. Alex and Kaylee are growing up fast, so our babysitting fun is quickly coming to an end. In June, we drove and camped through Nevada and California, visiting Great Basin National Park and Wheeler Mtn., Donner Memorial State Park, Angel Island and Point Reyes National Seashore. In addition, Annette presented at the American Library Association conference in San Francisco. We spent three days in the city, saw the sights and enjoyed some excellent seafood.

In retrospect, we did do some things this year. We have already begun planning for our annual Winter Valentine’s Day Party. This will be the 7th Annual - - lots of great food, drink, people and live music. If you are in the area on Feb. 13th, 2016. You are invited.

We’re looking forward to a Christmas holiday camping trip. We will take our teardrop camper “Miss Daisy” on a leisurely drive through Arizona, New Mexico, and on to Texas with a few days in the Big Bend area. Our annual destination for the holidays is Austin, TX and time with Annette’s sister, parents, and family.

Today there’s a little snow on the ground, the road is clear, and it’s bright and sunny. Annette is baking Christmas cookies and has asked Larry for help with a batch of fudge. Winters are cozy here in Utah. Come visit. We would love to show you around this region.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Annette and Larry

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