This year we're trying a new format: family, fun, and work.
Our biggest event for the family this year was moving Anne's mom, Esther, down from her wooded but icy home in the hills south of St. Louis to the warmer (ok, blazing but at least not slippery) prairie north of Dallas. She's within minutes of our house, and while she misses the woods, she's become quite a SkipBo player with the gang at DaySpring and has an impressive array of doctors nearby.
Andrew returned from Japan this spring so he, Glenn and Mina are also nearby. Mina is pursuing other interests after leaving Godiva, which is probably a good thing for all of our waistlines.
Another nephew, Doug, graduated from high school this year. I know how old I am by remembering when "He-Man" was his big thing, as opposed to, say, "Poké-Mon". We attended Doug's Court of Honor in June where he became an Eagle Scout. It was quite a ceremony and a really proud moment for his folks, friends, family and scout leaders. Later, we helped him and his girlfriend, Manasi, move to Austin College in Sherman. It's a great, small, liberal arts college and it really took me back to my early college days at St. Joe's in Indiana. Maybe it was that smell of incense in the hall...
Doug's brother, Russell, joined us for a bike ride in Houston, working on a biking badge for Scouts. He hadn't done a rally before so we were glad the Katy Flatland Century lived up to its name, although the half-century was plenty for us. I'm still amazed that Russell did the 50 miles like a pro, although we did have to swap out his beat-up old bike seat at the ten mile mark. I guess being 15 means just do it.
We only did one big pool party this year but it was a good one, with mom and her floppy hat, Trina, Steve, Russell, Melanie, Brandi, Tom, Emily & Mia, and several good buddies. Once again, Dallas was in the throws of a long-winded hot spell but the underwater cameras kept people submerged and cool. And Stewart got with Marc, our next door neighbor, to enhance his special misting system with some fine fence-mounted sprays.
On the French side, Stewart's dad, Morgan, had his 80th birthday August 21st and Maxine outdid herself planning not one but TWO surprise parties. We called on the cell phone as we drove up the street to their house, pretending to be calling from Plano, and Stewart actually walked into the house and tapped his dad on the back while he was talking on the phone! Luckily he didn't have a heart attack, and we had two wonderful barbecues the next two days, first with the Milby side of the family and then with the French's. Pictures from this will soon be on our web site.
In October, we went to Maine for the Paul family reunion and it was an absolute blast. The day trip aboard the sailboat preceded a wonderful lobster dinner and Jane & Rod really did a great job making it special. This one is already on our web site.
November brought Thanksgiving in Houston. This time we made the trip with Esther. We had a wonderful time, with the Webb's hosting a very large family group. Great food and conversation made it a memorable experience, especially the grand Christmas light installation extravaganza. More web site fodder.
Although we didn't bike as much this year as usual, we still had some great rides, and maybe even greater attempts at rides that we blew off and just goofed off. Kerrville, for instance. We went down to Fredericksburg for the annual Easter Hill Country ride with bluebonnets in full swing but had a nice storm run through the area just as we were getting into our bike shorts. So, we met our buddies, Richard & Karen, at their B&B down the street, opted out, and spent the rest of the weeknd at the Beer Gardens, visiting Enchanted Rock (a truly amazing sight) and lolling in the hot tub at the Vogel Sunday House B&B.
Later that month, we joined Alan & Maria for a bike ride in Burnet, preceded by the Bluebonnet Festival's Pet Parade (Anne's favorite small town fix). We chose the shorter route due to Maria's pregnancy, and were pretty annoyed to find no port-a-potty at the first rest stop! The Lake House was gorgeous though and nothing beats Texas wildflowers in the spring. Our bike rides with Alan & Maria will be suspended for some time since they are now the proud parents of beautiful Samantha. Is it too early for her first bike?
Once again, we got upper deck mini-season tickets at the Ballpark in Arlington and enjoyed many a Texas Ranger game with their full array of All Stars. October brought another playoff series and another disappointingly short outing played (again!) against the eventual winners, the Yankees. With any luck, some year we'll play someone else.
Well, for the second time in the last two years, Anne got a new name on her paycheck while continuing on the same project. Originally a part of Texas Instruments, the project previously sold to Bosch Telecom was again sold, this time to a joint venture between Motorola and Cisco called SpectraPoint Wireless, LLC. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, Stewart continued work on the upgrade of the F-16 Mission Computer and its resident software with the former TI project now part of Raytheon. To ease integration for the operational flight program developers at Lockheed, Stewart and his cohorts spent 2 months on field service to Lockheed, which meant a 3 hour round trip drive to Fort Worth daily. He is really happy that it's over, although regular trips to Fort Worth still occur.
Well, that's about it! Hope you had a wonderful year and have a great Christmas holiday and Millenium New Year!