Christmas Card 2014

Click to enlarge image.

December 2014

Merry Christmas,

2014 is rolling to its end, and what a year it has been . . . filled with good times and sadness and hopes and dreams.

The photos on the card represent a small sample from last year providing glimpses of our area and the breaks we have taken to explore. We will never run out of places to hike, camp, explore, and photograph.

Annette is still teaching online at IUPUI. Earlier this week, Larry turned in his grades for his last class. It’s been a fun run, but is now time to turn it over to the younger set. We continue writing the InfoTech column in Teacher Librarian (Last April’s issue marked our eighth year). Annette is also busy as the social media editor publishing a book, website, or app review every day on the Teacher Librarian Facebook page.

Another era ended last month as we sold our 1999 motorhome, a diesel rig that we purchased new and our abode for a decade. Once our UT home was built, we found that we did not use the RV. Harvey RV now resides somewhere in Minnesota. Annette remembers it as being the home where she has lived longest.

This past year Larry transitioned into retirement and kept busy with renovating and refinishing several ladderback chairs, landscape work in the yard, and painting and organizing the garage and its workspace. There’s more to be done in the next few years.

We both serve on the Board of Directors for The Entrada Institute and are involved with program planning and computer technology support for the group. Entrada hosts evening programs along with special events from Memorial Day to late October. Another group that meets throughout the year is the OTG reading group (Odd Tuesday Group). We get together on the odd Tuesday nights and discuss a selected short story. By proclamation from founding members, OTG is never about learning or improving our minds. The diverse backgrounds of our participants make for a fun and often lively session. It is interesting to see how the topic travels once the story is introduced.

Our area provides lots of opportunities to volunteer. We enjoyed working together with our friends and neighbors at several great local events such as the Utah 4-H Leaders Conference, the Tour of Utah and Capitol Classic bike races, the Utah Symphony performance at the Teasdale Community Park (Part of this year’s Mighty5 Tour), photographers for the Wayne County Fair events, and helping out at several of the Entrada festivals and special events.

In July our home was the base for a 2014 Bolger-Thomas-Opperman Reunion. The event involved a weekend of sightseeing, hiking, and visiting capped with an evening of live music. Over forty of Annette’s relatives came from Alaska, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin… It had been a long time since the last reunion, and it was a great get-together.

Much of our own travel this past year was for family visits to the Midwest. In June we visited Larry’s father (Sylvester) in Shelbyville IL, daughter Brooke in Chicago, and Nancy and Bill (Annette’s parents) in Hollister, MO. We were saddened when Sylvester died in August, three months from his 95th birthday. A short time later in September, Larry’s cousin, Phil Reade, died, and we returned for his funeral in Marshall, AR. Death and grief are a part of life; they are both missed.

We spent Thanksgiving in Fort Collins, CO with son Benjamin. He is finishing up his studies there; has passed his written qualifying exams this fall, and will be looking for that next teaching assignment. Older brother Blake is teaching English at the International House Sabadell near Barcelona, Spain, and Brooke is the Director of the Division of Web Communications at the American Osteopathic Association. All of us were shocked last month when their mother, Pamela, had a serious heart attack. She is recuperating at her home in Charleston, IL.

We’re looking forward to joining Annette’s parents at Arrion and Ben Rathsack’s home for Christmas in Austin, TX. We will experience the holidays with the wonder of young children, Alex and Kaylee, who are growing up so fast. Then, it’s back home to Utah before the New Years Day.