Saturday, December 10, 2011

Holiday Update---E-version (iHolidayNote)

Rich and Betsy’s 2011 Holiday Update
Rain--This seems to be the word of the year.  Of course you probably already know that, but since it is raining as I write it seemed appropriate.  Travel and biology in the back yard were big items for this past year.  Betsy loves retirement and has read almost every book ever published this past year.  Well, not really, but she is enjoying reading and keeping her list of “books read” up to date.  She also loves keeping up with “the Elementary School” escapades by volunteering to help with kindergarten and first grade one or two days each week. She enjoys seeing her friends, working with the little ones and the fact that she can arrive when she wants and leave when she sees fit is what retirement is all about.  Rich is continuing to “drag himself” to the Metropark Environmental Learning Center 3 days a week to help connect the parks with the schools in Lake County.  He has to watch the turkeys wander past the window, the deer stop by for a graze or two, the bluebirds nest and the Sharp-shined hawk soar in for a snack (sometimes of bluebird, or wren, but that IS biology.)  
Travel is always a big part of our year.  Spring found us visiting Kate and Madeline on our way to a short week in Williamsburg.  We love getting to be Grandma and Grandpa and a visit to historic Williamsburg is always one of our favorite things to do.  Once again we stayed in one of the historic houses, visited with Thomas Jefferson, went to an L.L.Bean outlet and this time enjoyed watching a nesting Bald Eagle near historic Jamestown.  Rich ran a week long teacher professional development about Lake Erie and then hit the road to help run the First Annual Biology Institute At Exeter. Betsy joined him at the end of the week for the lobster feast and to travel to two incredible weeks in the Artist’s Cottage perched overlooking   Penobscot Bay on Maine’s rocky coast.  This is the second year in “The Cottage” and two weeks of beautiful weather made the visit almost beyond wonderful.  Two weeks of photographing the waves and rocks.  Two weeks of reading on the deck and watching the lobster boats every morning.  Two weeks of talking to the laughing gulls and watching Monhegan Island drift in and out of view as the fog came and went.  
We got home and repacked for another Belizean adventure. Ten days is a tropical rainforest during the rainy/hurricane season.  Of course we had a great time!!  Really we did.  The rain in Northeast Ohio and the August temperatures made the jungles of Belize feel just like home.  With Mayan ruins, jungle critters, beautiful birds and great friends, the ten days spent in Belize were the kind of adventure you usually only read about.  Living it is much better.  
Our Fall Leaf Peeping was beautiful again this year.  We spent five days in Norman Rockwell’s Vermont home in West Arlington, Vermont.  The weather was great.  Cool enough in the evenings for a fire in the room and warm enough for a light fleece during the day.  The colors have been better in past years, but after the terrible floods from Hurricane Irene, just seeing how the Vermont people have worked together to rebuild made the short visit very enthralling.  
Fall brings Leaf Patrol Duty
Though we don’t see Megan and her husband Peter often enough and Kate and Madeline are seven hours away in Bethlehem, Pa, we talk to them and sometimes get to visit via Skype.  Madeline is almost five now and is a young lady instead of a little baby.  But she is still “OUR” little girl and is growing way too fast.  We are planning to see Kate and Madeline in a few weeks and will be spending a week with Megan and Peter in Florida in January.  
Fitzroy is still chasing leaves as they fly past the back door and the pond is still resounding with falling water (though the Blue Heron visited in early Fall and feasted on four of my seven beautiful fish--I guess that’s biology too!)  
The rain keeps coming and Fall is slipping into Winter.  We have had another great year.  Fun and Family and Friends have filled our lives.  We hope your year has been as satisfying.  Here’s to a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy, Safe 2012.  
Rich and Betsy (and Fitzroy) December 2011


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