Christmas Card 2013

Click to enlarge image.

Another trip around the sun; 2013 is coming to an end. Time to reflect . . .

This makes a dozen years that we have created our Christmas greeting card, but this is the first time that our photographs have included people. You may have noticed a person standing in the center underneath Delicate Arch, the iconic landscape of Utah. That is Annette. Last January, we hiked the 3.2 mile round trip over the slickrock and often snow-covered trail. Wintertime is a fantastic time to visit some of Utah’s incredible landscapes. While we were in that area, we also took in a day of roller derby action at the ‘Moab Midwinter Mayhem’ events. We plan to return next month for more fun and action on skates as participants from Utah and Colorado again compete. I’m watching from the stands, but perhaps Annette will join the annual training workshop?

Another person seen in the photos is son, Benjamin, who is standing underneath Hickman Bridge (You will likely need a magnifying lens but trust me, he’s there in the bottom center). Ben visited for a few weeks beginning in late January and returned again in July. He always brings his music to the house, and he again performed at the Robber’s Roost Bookstore concert for Apple Days (July 6th).

2013 was a wild weather year here in southern Utah. The Winter of 2012-2013 was another relatively dry season with most of the moisture coming in two Nov. and Dec. 2012 snowfalls – – then nothing significant in the New Year. Cold, windy temperatures hung on and our late Spring lasted a day or two before jumping to warm days. We entered the Summer season in drought conditions (Similar to the previous year). Then the Summer monsoon rains arrived early, around the beginning of July, and stayed late into September – – but we did get rain, lots of rain, and flash floods were the talk of late August and the beginning of September. Fall season brought beautiful, mild weather that extended well into November. Thanksgiving weekend, we got plenty of snow. We wonder what the remainder of Winter and Spring 2014 will bring? We like living in a location that usually has all four seasons. The Winter months have a fair share – – that is most days bring clear skies and sunshine making it a great time to explore and hike even if you need snowshoes or with less snow, Microspikes.

In June, we made a trip back to the Midwest, combining a professional conference that Annette attended with family visits. We got together with Larry’s Dad in Shelbyville (In late November, Sylvester celebrated his 94th birthday), and we spent a weekend in Chicago with daughter, Brooke. We also visited Larry’s sister, Patricia and the two girls in Riverton and got to see brother Keith, Jill and their two daughters from Effingham. The time sped by all too fast.

For us, Summer begins shortly after Memorial Day weekend with the kickoff of the Entrada Institute’s season of events – – starting with the Cowboy Music and Poetry Festival. Annette and I just finished our second year as members of the Entrada Board, and our main assignment has been the scheduling and facilitation of the Saturday Sunset Series. Every weekend there is something interesting going on at the Roost, either a live music performance or other interesting presentation program.

During the year, a few family members traveled to southern Utah. Annette’s parents, Bill & Nancy, spent a couple weeks here in June and returned in September. Annette’s sister’s family, Arrion & Ben Rathsack and their children: Alex and Kaylee, vacationed here in July. We always enjoy having friends and relatives stay with us; glad that we have some space for guests.

In early October, Brooke’s work brought her to Las Vegas for an annual conference. She was able to squeeze in a few days to visit us. We scheduled a scenic loop-drive around Boulder Mtn. and over Hell’s Backbone bridge to reach her favorite restaurant, Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder. We also spent part of a day on horseback exploring the canyons off Beas Lewis Flat Road.

The year was also busier than ever with Annette spending much of her time developing courses and teaching online for Indiana University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). Larry continues to teach an occasional course too in the LIS program. But he is definitely moving more into full retirement after working 45 years in education.

Update on the Johnson kids: Brooke is the director of web communications for the American Osteopathic Association in Chicago (Michigan Ave & Ontario St) and lives in nearby Lincoln Park. Blake is teaching English at the International House Sabadell near Barcelona Spain. Ben, after spending the last few years building music instruments and teaching guitar, has started graduate school at Colorado State University. This Summer he moved to Fort Collins and in the Fall, he began his first year as a teaching assistant in Spanish while working on his Masters degree.

The blanket of snow from the late November snowstorm has been significantly added to by smaller storms. That has meant spending time plowing our road to make sure that we can get down and off the mountain. Night time temperatures have dipped to 15 below a few times. We are looking forward to another warmer spell coming at the end of this week; but don’t expect it to last long enough to melt much of our snow. It will be a white Christmas here for sure. Meantime, we are eyeing those snowshoes kept near the door.

At year’s end, we are preparing for a trip towing our teardrop camper. We will spend several days traveling to South Texas and end up at a Rathsack – Smith family New Year’s gathering in Austin. Christmas Day, we plan to be on Goose Island near Corpus Christi and San Padre Island. Back to Utah near the end of the first week in January 2014.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from Annette and Larry