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The Morris Family Annual Christmas Letter - 2012...

Well, it has been an interesting year for us.  Both of us are pretty healthy and still in possession of our faculties!  Cathy is still teaching reading and social studies, and I’m still a na’er-do-well.

In June our schedules matched up and Cathy and I took a month’s vacation to visit with family and friends in Florida.  We drove in Cathy’s new Camry hybrid.  We traded in the Prius for it so Cathy would feel safer on her 70 mile round trip commute each day.  Plus I was tired of people mistaking us for Al Gore groupies!  On the trip the Camry was very comfortable, and got 40 mpg.

We took our time travelling, and stayed at some great places.  First, the Davis Mountain State Park “Indian Lodge” at Fort Davis, Texas.  Dad and I stayed there last year, and it continues to be a really pleasant place to take a break and it’s got a great restaurant too.  At San Antonio we stayed at the Menger Hotel, right across the street from the Alamo and within stumbling distance of the River Walk.  Down in Florida, on the spur of the moment, we went to “The Villages” which you might have seen on the TV ads.  It certainly was as beautiful as the commercials make it out to be, and the whole place is “golf-cart friendly”.  I guess that’s because there are 50,000 golf carts in the development!  They have golf-cart trails everywhere, or you can drive them on the side streets.  We saw many such places along the Gulf Coast, even in our favorite old town, Apalachicola.  We stayed at the Apalachicola Inn right on the river and it hasn’t changed much since we first went there in 1993.  It is still very much “old Florida”, although they’ve started to get some trendy shops and restaurants in town.

Of course we spent the majority of our time in Florida with our son Greg and his family and with Cathy’s brother Gary.  We also visited Cathy’s brother Tim and some friends along the way.  On the way home, we made a swing up to Oklahoma to visit our son Eric.  Right after Christmas last year we had him home for a visit, and we’ll bring him home at Christmastime this year, but it was nice to see him in his “natural environment”!  He is doing very well and seems happy.

While we were gone, we had some work done to the house.  We had a new metal sun shade put over the patio, and a metal framework on top of the rock wall out back.  We planted some wisteria and other vines and are training them up the framework and in a couple years should have a very colorful backdrop to the pool.  Speaking of that, in September we installed a solar heater on the roof for the pool and it actually works – it kept the pool up to 80 degrees until Halloween!

This August we attended the White Sands Film Festival again.  This year it was five days long, but Cathy had to work for three of them, so I used her ticket to take Mom along and we saw some good little movies.  Maybe Cathy will be able to go to all of them next year.  She’s thinking about retiring.

This year she’s teaching reading to elementary students and conducts & grades an on-line Social Studies program for 7th & 8th Graders.  Since that program requires a teacher with a secondary certificate, she was granted a temporary one and now takes night courses at NMSU to earn her permanent secondary license.  However, the really big news is that she completed her “National Boards”.  This is a two year program leading to an certificate to teach anywhere in the country.  Although she was planning to retire in July when she turns 60, now she’s thinking about staying on for a couple more years.  In her school district, the certification has a healthy pay raise attached to it, but she’s also thinking about going overseas to teach at DoD schools for a while. 

I think she wants to go to Naples, Italy, so she can keep an eye on our Grandsons!  Last June, our  son Christopher was hired as the Navy’s regional lodging manager for the Mediterranean and Near East.  So he and Janna and the boys pulled up stakes in Japan and made the move to Naples - talk about Culture Shock! But they found themselves a very nice house and have spent plenty of time exploring both modern Italy and ancient Rome.  The boys, Connor and Geoffrey, are now 10 and 11 years old and apparently enjoy seeing new places and learning about new (and extinct) cultures.  They are adding some Italiano to their Japanese vocabulary, and soon they won’t know which language to speak.

Greg, our youngest, is playing Bachelor Father right now, as Rebekah is deployed to Bagram, Afghanistan.  It was a very short notice departure, and Greg was off TDY himself when her orders came down.  So, Cathy took some leave without pay and flew out to fill in for a couple of weeks.  It was worth every penny because it gave Cathy the time to spend time with our Granddaughter, Kirstin.  This year, Kirstin turned 7 and is taking gymnastics classes and is on a pee-wee cheerleading squad that won first place in their division.

In October my Dad’s Cousin Rita Morris came out for a visit and we spent many enjoyable days scanning her father Jim’s genealogical research and old pictures he left her.

This hasn’t been a particularly good year for my folks.  Dad had to have another back surgery, and deteriorated so much he came down with pneumonia and is now spending a couple weeks in a rehabilitation hospital.  While he’s there, Mom is staying with Cathy and me so that she won’t be alone – she has some memory loss and should have someone check on her regularly.  Dad seems to be progressing well, and we are hopeful he’ll recover as much as possible.

As for me, I’ve been crippled for the last few months with Plantar Fasciitis in my left heel, although I finally got “plasma rich platelet infusion therapy” a couple weeks ago, and hopefully I’ll fully recover in a couple months.  I’m also the proud owner of an anti-snoring machine that seems to work; now Cathy can get a good night’s sleep without me sawing logs in her ear.  As for hobbies, I seem to spend a lot of time on this computer, and like taking pictures.  I even got paid to take photos as a local winery - $1 and 2 free bottles of wine!  So now I’m a “professional” photographer!  Woo-hoo!

Now, here're the pictures:

Below:  Cathy and her brother Gary on Sanibel Island

Below:  Cathy in Roswell, June 2012!

Below - Ted and his buddy Dennis getting their Brains Enhanced.  Tampa 2012.

Below:  Son Greg and his Long Board on Navarre Beach, Florida, June 2012

Below:  Granddaughter Kirstin at Fort Pickens, Florida, June 2012

Below:  Daughter-in-law Rebekah at Bagram Afghanistan, November 2012.  That's Bek on the right.
Notice that they are all armed... No Green on Blue shootings for them!

Janna and Christopher somewhere in Italy!

Below:  Conner contemplates Pompei!

Below:  Geoffrey cleaning their pool in Naples, Italy

Below:  Son Eric at Fort Selden, New Mexico, January 2012.

Below:  Our new sunshade out back.

Below:  My sister Kerry.

Below:  Mom.

Below:  Dad.

Below:  We've inherited Mom's yard turtles.  Here they are getting to know their new home:

And finally, our dog Sheila and the insane Senegalese Parrot, Willie:

Uh Duh Bee, Uh Duh Bee, Uh Duh Bee

That’s All Folks!

Here're some other Christmas e-cards you might want to see:
(sorry, I was off to the wars and didn't do cards for 03-04)


2009 - 2010

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You can see a bunch of pictures I've taken over the years on flickr: