"This file contains our news for December 2005, and also contains the electronic version of our Christmas letter for 2005 !

Saturday, 31 December 2005

Hi !!

    I'm trying to keep this website up to date but it's getting harder with all the "projects" I've been trying to do. I still haven't been able to find the time to pickup my guitar and practice again, or to learn FLASH, JAVASCRIPT and PHP computer languages so I can help Chuck in his web design business. I guess I'll just have to make that a New Year's Resolution!!

    Earlier this month (6 December) we drove up and visited with Kathy, Tom & Alana in Woodbine, MD. It snowed while we were there (very nice)! The big surprise waiting for us was to see that our house, across the street from Kathy & Tom, had been SOLD! We just sold it to them on 14 May 2004 and the new owners have sold it already! It turns out that they are being transfered to London (he is the Chief Information officer for an international company) and they wanted him to go! The good news is that they were able to sell the house for over $800,000, so they made a nice profit in a short time. Lots of people are telling us that we should have held out for more money when we sold it to them but -- NO WAY! We are VERY pleased with what we got for our house, and are also pleased that the new owners didn't lose anything when they had to sell.

    Dale and I were able to attend various NSA reunions while we were up in Maryland. I went to the "A5 Reunion" and the "T" (Telecommunications Directorate) Reunion on the 7th and 9th, respectively, while Dale attended the Phoenix Society Luncheon on the 9th. It was great to see old co-workers, bosses, friends and acquaintances. Unfortunately my Kodak digital camera went on the fritz, and all the pictures I took at the reunions were lost.

    On the 10th, Dale and I went with Kathy and Tom to watch (and film!) Jessie's dance lessons at Mt Airy. The instructor was very nice and allowed us to come in to the room and take movies of the entire session. When we remarked about how beautiful the music was, she gave us two CDs with the special dance music she had recorded!

    Tracey, Alana and Mike (Tracey's boyfriend) were scheduled to arrive here this afternoon but traffic and a late start made them late arriving. They drove from Kentucky (they flew in to see Mike's parents about a week ago). Anyway, about 11:15PM Karen called from their big New year's Eve party at a Myrtle Beach restaurant, assuming that Tracey, Mike & Alana were still on the road. Tracey and Mike were on their way out-the-door at that moment and they DID arrive in time to celebrate the New year with Karen, Chuck and their crowd of friends! Then they all wandered over to the nightclub scenes at Broadway At The Beach. Needless to say, they all had a ball!

    Since Tracey, Mike and Alana weren't here for Christmas, we had a second Christmas Day for them, opening lots of presents. I'm sure that Alana could get used to THAT !

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale


Sunday, 18 December 2005

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

Hi Everyone !!

    Our biggest news of the year is that “Susan and Dan got married on 10 September 2005, Maui, Hawaii ! That said, on with the rest of the news!

    Last Christmas Kathy, Tom and Jessie came to Myrtle Beach to celebrate the Holidays. Trips to the beach, NASCAR racing (Jessie), shopping and a trip to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. Christmas dinner was here with Kathy’s family, Karen, Chuck and Chuck’s mom, dad, sister and her family, who were all visiting from Tennessee and Ohio. Good food and family made for a wonderful holiday.

    This year, trips to the Florida Keys, Hawaii, Maryland and North Carolina kept us busy. Saw lots of family and friends. We also made several trips back and forth between our homes in Bradenton and Myrtle Beach. Of course our big trip was to Hawaii. We arrived on Oahu in mid August and stayed at The Waikiki Banyan. What a location! Only one block from Waikiki Beach, we had views of Diamond Head and the beach from our lanai, as well as a direct view of Tracey and Alana’s new Waikiki home! As they say: “Location location location” is everything, and their location is great. Diamond Head behind them, the Ala Wai Canal in front, Honolulu Zoo a block away, three blocks from the beach, a park and library across the street, and Alana’s Waikiki Elementary School within walking distance. Tracey and friends had to do a lot of work on the condo before moving in and it sure does look great! New flooring and paint throughout, plus upgrades to the bathroom. Tracey is dating Mike, a very nice guy, and we were very pleased to meet him. She and Mike are now working on her kitchen. Mike is an excellent woodworker and has built her beautiful cabinets from scratch! Kathy arrived on Oahu on 31 August. Boy did we have fun! Kayaking to offshore islands, surfing at Waikiki, hiking Diamond Head and Manoa Falls (not Dale), shopping (definitely Dale) and eating out. We even paddled a huge outrigger canoe and surfed large Waikiki waves with it! On 7 Sept we all flew to Maui. We rented a private sea-side condo in Kahana for all of us, Kathy, Karen & Chuck, Tracey, Alana & Mike: 3 bedrooms plus a pull out couch, full kitchen, 2 bathrooms, swimming pool, etc. The wedding details were arranged on-line, over several months, on the Internet, and everything went off perfectly. Dan’s mom Barbara also used the Internet to arrange the pre-wedding party at the gorgeous Emerald & Gold Golf Club in Wailea (just absolutely outstanding)! The wedding itself was truly a “Susan and Dan” event! A large group of friends from their childhood flew in from Maryland, as well as their many new friends from California. They all shared a cluster of beach cottages on South Maui. The wedding beachouse at the Royal Lahaina Resort had its own private backyard with a pool, hot tub, waterfall and gate to the beach. The minister and Barry had a grand old time discussing hawaiian slack-key guitar. The minister is the brother of “Willy K”, a famous hawaiian entertainer, and he sang the Hawaiian wedding song “He Punahele No ‘Oe” for Susan & Dan! After the wedding, Doug Segree (of Ram’s Head Inn, Annapolis, MD fame) and other friends sang songs they had written especially for Susan and Dan. Could have not asked for anything better!

    Kathy and family are doing well! This past summer Jessie won several medals in the Carroll County (MD) Special Olympics. She really likes horse back riding! Later in the summer she was in the Maryland State Special Olympics (naturally Dale had to fly up) and boy was she a girl on fire! She took additional gold medals and a silver in running, jumping and the softball throw. It was an exciting summer for her. Of course there is still school, girl scouts, and dance lessons!

    With two businesses to run, and lots of interests, Karen and Chuck are always busy here in Myrtle Beach! They have been doing a lot of work on their new home (looks great)! Camping with friends, car trips and car shows keep them on the go!

    Susan and Dan, well I think I almost said enough about them ;-) Susan works at ImagicLA (see www.imagicla.com) and the business moved from Hollywood to beautiful downtown Burbank. Dan’s work in the film industry also has him traveling all over with the Stars, creating special effects for their concerts, road shows and special events. Their new dog, Mingus, likes to eat cell phones.

    Between Tracey’s export business, stints as a translator (Japanese; some Mandarin, Real Estate (licensed, but only a “sideline” – no time!) and Alana’s hip hop lessons, ice skating lessons and school they are always on the go. They will be coming to Myrtle Beach the end of December, so we will have an extra Christmas this year.

    Dale keeps busy with Meals on Wheels while in Florida and the Myrtle Beach American Red Cross. She deployed to Louisiana (Alexandria, Baker and Baton Rouge) for 3 weeks as a disaster volunteer with the Red Cross, helping people from the 9th ward, New Orleans and other places hit by hurricane Katrina. It was very heart breaking to hear some of the stories. You don’t realize how much you have until you see someone with only a plastic bag of personal possessions.

    Barry is always working on something: his garden, boat, converting family movies to DVDs, computer programming, the web site and many other projects.

    Dale's mom seems to be doing better in some ways and not so good in others. Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease.

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Holidays! A safe and prosperous “2006”!

Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale