Hello everyone! Welcome to this year's edition of Anne & Stewart's Year In Review.
On Christmas Eve 2014 we went with our friend Maria to Tuba Christmas in downtown Dallas' Thanksgiving Square to hear tuba, sousaphone, euphoniums, and baritones belt out favorite christmas carols while we all sang along.
We had a great time ringing in the new year at our friends Mike & Linda's home with a wonderful surprise impromptu concert by Margaret Ingram. Her jazz background at UNT was just what Stewart was looking for. He soon signed up Margaret as his new piano teacher. After 40 years it felt good to exercise those brain cells.
We took several bike rides in January with Anne biking into work and both of us riding the Allen, TX back roads, true snapshots of Texas ... 40 degrees on the way with lobster gloves and many layers, white sycamore trunks poking out of the leafless woods, Christmas lights still wrapping some lawns, then 68 degrees coming home and I kid you not: a lemonade stand and ice cream truck jingling away!
In February Anne took niece Mia to see Book of Mormon for her 21st birthday in downtown Dallas. Both enjoyed the show belting out the tunes that they both knew by heart.
This year's Academy Award ceremony on TV included a nice surprise. Texas Instrument's Larry Hornbeck, a fellow down the hall from Anne, made a cameo accepting his Oscar for Technical Achievement! Larry invented the Digital Micromirror Device that made digital cinema possible along with all of our jobs in Digital Light Processing at TI. Larry graciously let Anne and other co-workers pose for pictures with him and the Oscar. What a fun job!
Weather was crazy this year. A March bike ride to Lake Lavon saw the lake, down 12 feet at the low point. Later in April we biked it again to find the lake 100% full. The wetland that had sprouted in the fall was now under water and fishing boats were back. We had an insane amount of rain again in the fall making 2015 a record setter.
In March we visited Houston for a baby shower celebrating our 2nd great nephew, August Henry Webb. Then later in April were so excited to welcome him to the world! Congratulations to Glenda, Russell, and big brother Everett, and happy grandparents, Anne's sister Trina & husband Steve.
Our annual Easter Bike Rally included beautiful Texas Hill Country views, great cycling, catching up with old friends, John and Coondog, and making new ones, Jackie and Beth, who live in Arlington, TX. J&B hosted us all at their RV after the rides for snacks, drinks, and "s'more-ing the peeps" over a campfire.
Stewart released his latest iPhone app in May to the Apple App Store. GeezerPlay is a music and podcast player with big words and buttons that make it easy to control while driving or biking, or if you don't have easy access to your reading glasses (you Geezers!).
In June we met up again with our friends Jackie, Beth, and John for the mud-caked Tour d'Italia (aka in Texan "Tour Ditly") bicycle rally. Parked in a muddy field, cycled muddy, recently flooded roads, past muddy armadillo and snake road kill, scraped mud out of our cleats twice, got mud sprayed in the face drafting after a surprise rain shower, too late for plums and BBQ. Wait, what was fun? Oh yeah, great pace line, uncharacteristicly lush scenery, tasty snow cones and hospitality at J&Bs RV after. Did we mention the mud?
Anne's birthday was a blast hosting a visit with sister, Trina, nieces Melanie and Brandi and Mia and their friends, Brad and Bobby. Hung out on the square in Denton (Rooster's, vinyl and coffee), watched multiple firework shows from the neighborhood high point, played 10,000 on the front porch, watched How to Train Your Dragon 2, and wrapped it up with a long brunch on the patio at La Madeleine with temps in the 80's. Sweet!
We celebrated July 4th with a visit from nephew Doug, Manasi, Manisha, and Freddy, hanging out at Nine Band Brewery and Watters Creek. We spent lots of time on the porch and enjoyed an awesome salmon dinner and caprese salad (with tomatoes from the garden) and homemade peach ice cream.
July brought our annual Katy Flatland Century bike rally in Katy, TX. 62 miles done by noon! Afterwards we had a fun visit with Trina, Russell and Glenda, Everett and were very excited to meet Augie in person.
In late summer we had a great time hanging with hilarious friends from wayyy back. Between Jeanie's retirement, Nine Band Brewery get togethers, Jeanie's son John and Brooke's engagement party, and a shindig at our house, we reconnected with many great friends, some which we had not seen in many years - Jeanie and Chris, Ron and Deb, Katy, Richard and Darlene, Dan and Paige, Steve and Doris, Jay and Carla, and Mike and Linda.
In September we were lucky enough to attend probably the most creative outdoor wedding ever when Anne's sister Kathy's oldest son Tom and his bride Elizabeth got married in Picton, Ontario, Canada. Some highlights included interactive entertainment (a craft tent with mustaches for all, hula hoops, juggling, and a scavenger hunt), a stroll through the meadow, bicycle powered lights and sound, a puppet show, and a tree planting. Niece Brenda did her share, hopping on the bike to keep the lights on. Had a great time, met lots of wonderful people and saw some scenic Canada. We wish Tom and Elizabeth all the best. Can't wait for the party they'll have when they renew their vows!
Later that month we saw "Moonshine - The Hee Haw Musical" and met up with Richard and Darlene. That was a fun show! While waiting for the show to start Richard and Stewart remembered and sang a verse of that classic - "Gloom, despair, agony on me, Deep dark depression, excessive misery, If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all..." Sing Along!
At the end of September we had some fun visits with nieces Brandi & Mia and their friends Jonathan & Bobby. And our next door neighbor kids came over for a bit too, always an entertaining bunch.
The first of October was fun picnicking with Maria, Sami, and Ethan, throwing frisbees, orbiters, and cruising Plano on our bicycles. Ethan saved the day using his soccer ball to retrieve the telescoping window pole that we tried and failed to use to retrieve the orbiter boomerang hung way up in a tree. All fell down together.
In mid-October we got to see our friends Todd & Kim in Buda, TX. It felt like being back home! Visited Salt Lick BBQ, sat on their patio in the beautiful fall weather, ate bbq, drank wine, played 10,000, & did a bike ride with neighbors down to the Blanco River. A terrible flood occurred in the spring and the Old Stagecoach Road washed out just 5 miles from San Marcos, TX. Probably the highlight of the visit was using the iPhone app "Detour Austin" to do an audio tour following a real live murder mystery through the city's secret river walk, back alleys, the history museum, the Driskill Hotel, and an amazing panorama view from the 7th floor of a parking garage. This is a definite must for visitors and natives alike.
Anne's sister Trina is an amazing artist. She painted some great art for our house, including a pool party at our old house back in the 90s, with niece Melanie, and another from a photo Anne had taken at Connemara, a nature conservancy near our house. Trina really captured the Autumn light.
In November we attended our first "Slingfest" in Plano, TX, with Maria & Sami, as the huge trebuchets flung various items for distance and points, mostly pumpkins but also the occasional squid. Loved the names like Velocichunker and learned about tlab.ms, a Plano maker space.
Thanksgiving was a "Friendsgiving" with Glenn, Mina, Andrew, Katy, Jonathan, Joshua, and Maria at the house for a great feast followed by beautiful fall porch time under a gentle rain.
The first weekend in December we headed to the San Antonio, TX Riverwalk. Tom and Elizabeth flew in from Oakland, Elizabeth's first trip to Texas! We were joined by Trina, niece Emily, and Andrew. Love the Riverwalk decorated with lights for Christmas, the Mariachi bands, the missions (which were holding services on the Sunday morning we were there), old market, Pearl District tamales festival, the Luxury food truck park, the King William District, and, of course, 10,000. Trina got us all addicted to this game!
In mid-December our friend Samanatha get her Black Belt in karate! It was an amazing demonstration of skill, control, focus, and power. We were very thankful to have been invited to witness it.
Every month Anne enjoys getting together with the neighborhood women with themes from witch hats to Christmas ornament grudge matches. The neighborhood First Fridays are always fun too, with kids riding various rolling things around the circle, plenty of food & beverages, and catching up.
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays !