This file contains one newsletter for December 2003

Monday 15 December 2003


    Happy Holidays Everyone! Hope that you are all enjoying yourselves and are in the best of health! We have had three snowstorms so far, although it keeps melting. There is still some hope for a white Christmas around here. Dale has done the majority of Christmas shopping for everyone and mailed the packages off, so it's obvious that it's time for me to get out there before Christmas Eve! We haven't even got a Christmas tree yet, and no outside decorations up.

    Wow! Where to start? It's been a long, long time since I've had a chance to update this web page, and a lot has happened.

    Dale and I just returned from a two day bus trip to New York City (11-12 Dec). It was sponsored by the Phoenix Society (our retired government employees group) and it was nice to see old friends, some of whom we hadn't seen in years. When we arrived in NYC we first went to see the World Trade Center reconstruction activity. They are still working on the below-ground-level structures. Many of the surrounding buildings still have large sections of their walls/windows missing, while others are replacing their walls/floor and have scaffolding all around. I took lots of pictures and will upload them to this site so that you can see them. Just click on the "Photographs" menu item on the left side of the screen.

    After checking into the Wellington Hotel, we found that it was perfectly situated for our visit. It was only a short walk to Central Park in one direction, and in the other direction we easily walked to the Radio City Music Hall and the Rockerfeller Center. In the evening we all attended the Christmas Spectacular show with the Rockettes! Our seats were in the Orchestra 2 section, about halfway up from the stage. No flash pictures were allowed so I took several digital shots that aren't snapshot quality but still will give you a sense of what the show looked liked (see Photographs menu). It was my brother Mike's birthday so I phoned him from my seat just before the show started. Now THAT was a bit different! "Hi Mike! Well...we're just sitting here in the New York Radio City Music Hall ..." The Rockettes were great (hadn't seen them perform since I was a kid) and the rest of the performers were similarly excellent. Very colorful costumes and scenes. The next morning we got to go backstage at the Music Hall. We had a great tour guide who showed us all the executive offices, rehearsal rooms, the old Director's room high above the audience with a grand view of the stage, and "Roxy's suite" of rooms where all the private parties are now hosted. Very enjoyable!

    Dale, I and friends walked all over lower Manhattan (Chinatown, Little Italy, etc). We also walked all around Macy's Department store to see all their Christmas window displays - many of them animated! Inside it was a winter wonderland. It was also obvious that it is an old, elegant store. They have wooden escalators and floors that must date from the early 1900's at least! Their restaurants in the basement are excellent and reasonably priced! All the walls are covered with interesting items and scenes - almost like a museum.

    In January Dale and I are heading to Los Angeles (6-10 Jan) to visit Susan, and then on to Honolulu (10-29Jan) to visit with Tracey and Alana! We'll also meet the Lamberts while on Oahu and hopefully also see Bev Brousseau. The Los Angeles Airport (LAX) Dollar car rental agency must be having a great sale because I got an economy car from them for only $14.99 a day!

    Our house is still up for sale but there are only a few people looking for houses at this time of year. It took a long time to refinish my deck, do a bunch of painting, etc before the house was ready, so we didn't get it up for sale until 06 October. I've been distracted by other projects so I still have the downstairs recreation rooms to finish. I guess it'll be okay as long as everything is done before the Springtime house-seekers arrive. I'm still on sabbatical from work and will get together with them fairly soon to see if they will have anything for me around February. Dale has continued to work at the Phoenix Society at Ft. Meade, and they have been very accommodating whenever we want to take off for a week or so (Florida condo, etc). We enjoy the condo very much and have plans to purchase a boat next Springtime. We have our own pier deeded to us but we haven't had anything floating in our slip since we bought the place. Can't wait to be able to zip along the IntraCoastal Waterway and out in the gulf next to the barrier islands!

Best wishes to all!!
Barry & Dale