Dear Friends and Family,

Here we are again writing our annual Christmas letter – hope you aren’t irritated by getting this group greeting year after year! Perhaps we ought to skip a year and await the cards and letters and calls begging us to resume our chronicle!

We’ve had a good and busy year. Randy retired at the end of last year, a year after I retired. It was an adjustment for him for the first month or so not having his regular schedule, but he quickly got the hang of it. He started up a project to build another kayak. This one is not from a kit. It consists of narrow cedar strips laid onto a form and is more difficult to build than the first one he built. He’s in a bit of a holding pattern now because it’s too cold to do any of the epoxy work.

Randy has also been very busy as vice president of Seattle Audubon Society. He will move up to president in July and serve for two years. Retirement has also given him the supreme pleasure of birdwatching whenever he feels like it, working crosswords and reading.

You’ve heard of parents gnashing their teeth over their perpetual-student children. What would you think if the kid were still a student at age 61? The University of Washington has a program that allows anybody over 60 to take just about any class at the university for $5. Officially, you’re not supposed to participate in the discussions, write papers or take exams, though many professors encourage you to participate anyway. This fall, I took two courses: The History of American Indians from Discovery to 1840 and an art history class on Northwest Coast Native American art. I especially liked the history class. I learned a lot and found it terrifically interesting. We had an excellent teacher. I was pretty tied up for three months going to the campus on the bus every weekday morning. When the professor started talking about the details of the upcoming exams and papers, I was always greatly relieved not to have to worry about that! (I still had a couple of anxiety dreams, though!)

I’ve also been volunteering in a neighborhood program to cook for the homeless. I chop vegetables and wash dishes and look frightened when one of the leaders asks me to dream up a dish to make with the ingredients at hand. Despite the loosey-goosey atmosphere, we actually manage to turn out delicious, fancy, nutritious meals. My only regret is that we never get to eat any of the food. It is delivered to various homeless feeding programs.

Randy and I did quite a bit of traveling this year. We had a laid-back, pleasant trip to Key West in January to escape the gloomy, cold Seattle weather. In February, we had a really enjoyable trip to


Arizona with another couple to birdwatch, tacking on a few spring training baseball games at the

end. We hope to return for more exploring in Arizona, but I don’t think I could live there – it’s just too dry. In March, we did a short trip to Carlisle, Penn. for the Bar Mitzvah of the son of friends of ours.

In June, we did a three-week road trip to Wisconsin and back, using as an excuse to visit Washington state friends who were house-sitting in Wisconsin. We birdwatched our way through Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, and Minnesota and back. In Madison, we met up with Fred (my twin brother) and his wife Maxine, and they and Randy were gracious enough to accompany me as I revisited all of my old haunts at the University of Wisconsin. On the way back, we were able to attend my Uncle David’s funeral in Rochester, Minn. and see family and also visited a longtime friend and her husband in Minneapolis.

We had just fantastic birding on this trip as we went from one wildlife refuge to another. By the end, though, the mosquitoes and ticks got to me and I vowed as that I was going to roll up the windows, turn on the air conditioning and no longer subject myself to mosquito repellent. It was so nice to return to a place (Seattle) that for some reason does not have these pests.

In July, my siblings and spouses and I gathered at Petoskey, Mich. for our annual reunion. We had a good time looking for Petoskey stones and visiting Mackinac Island.

August was a kayak and camping trip on beautiful Ross Lake surrounded by high mountains on the Canadian border with five other people. Highlights were all the waterfalls we saw along with the 13” trout I caught. We ate it a half hour later.

In November, my golfing buddy Linda got laid off, and we immediately felt we needed to play as much golf as we could. The weather not being conducive here, we did a quick four-day trip to Fresno, Calif. The golf was great and we also saw Kings Canyon National Park. Fresno is not the most scintillating town, but it’s only a two-hour non-stop flight away from Seattle and is SUNNY!

You can see pictures of these various travels at my Web site:

Randy and I are busy planning our 2008 travel, which will include a week-long trip to southern California right after the New Year and a month-long trip to New Zealand in March.

We hope you are happy and healthy and we wish you a great 2008.