scroll down for the pictures
Merry Christmas 2014 and a Happy 2015 from Ted & Cathy Morris!
Cathy retired from teaching
this past summer, and is enjoying not
having to drive to work in the dark, and
drive home in the dark! She
finished up the year teaching elementary
remedial reading and 7th & 8th grade
I went with her to the District
ceremony for the year’s retirees and she
received glowing thanks – and requests
to not retire – from the Superintendant
and several members of the Board. As
you may recall from previous letters,
her school was in the middle of Gang
Central, but even the gangsters
respected her. She
had an end of school pool party for her
middle-school students, and there was
not a bit of trouble. It
just goes to show that a teacher who
insists on student achievement and good
behavior – and who isn’t afraid to flunk
the slackers – is valued by the public
in our educational system, at least here
in Southern NM.
past years I’ve been able to talk my
friends in a local living history
outfit to set up WW2 and Civil War
camps for her classes at the end of
the school year. This
year they had too many other
commitments and that ended up with
me taking some of my guns to the
classroom and giving my “how gun
technology changed American
history”, from the Kentucky Rifle to
an M4 and many in between. Of
course it was all approved by the
Principle, and the kids loved it,
but all day I wondered how long it
would be before a SWAT team showed
Fortunately, nobody in Gang
Central seemed the least perturbed
at someone unloading a dozen rifles
and pistols from the back of their
car at the local school!!!
turned 62 last December and applied
for Social Security retirement,
having calculated that I’d have to
live for 14 extra years to make up
the difference of waiting until I
was 66. Then,
as fate would have it, I learned the
hard way that I should have waited,
because in March I was out taking
photos at a friend’s ranch, and
tripped while just walking along. I
tucked the camera & lens up like
a football, and landed on my left
shoulder, which promptly broke. So,
I could have gotten Social Security
disability for a few years instead! It
is taking a LONG time to return to
normal operations. The
doc thinks I may have something else
wrong and we’ll see after a while. The
worst thing is that my post-injury
laziness resulted in a lot of weight
gain, which is proving very
difficult to get rid of. At
any rate, I guess I’m really retired
now, and next year Cathy will be
eligible for Social Security and we
can claim true White Hair status. Provided
she doesn’t qualify for disability
next time, the camera gets
The family is doing pretty
Our youngest son Greg and his
family visited at Christmas time
last year. It
was very pleasant having Rebekah and
our granddaughter Kirstin here for
the holidays. It
may be a while before we see them
again, as they transferred from
Florida to Hawaii this past summer
where they live on base at Hickam. Kirstin,
who just turned 9, has her first
skate board and is amazingly good at
She is also into gymnastics,
and various other extracurricular
is getting better at surfing and
Rebekah is into Cross Fit fitness
already seen most of the local
sights, and have even climbed
Diamond Head and Koko Head! Somehow,
they seem to spend a LOT of time on
the beach; I wonder why?
& his family are still at the
Navy Base at Naples. Since
Geoffrey and Connor are now Boy
Scout age, Janna can finally get a
break from Cubbing, since Chris got
talked into being the Scoutmaster of
Troop 007. He
even took the troop to Summer Camp
at Garmish in the Bavarian Alps in
even bought the boys turtles so they
can complete Reptile Study Merit
Geoff’s voice changed this
year – it’s a good thing we’ve got
SKYPE and can video call them or I
wouldn’t have known who the new
baritone was in the family! Connor
is doing pretty well and seems to
especially enjoy gaming. He
says he wants to write code for
games when he grows up. They’ve
all managed to take in a lot of the
sights of Italy, and most recently
went to Florence and Pisa where they
saw what Janna described as
Michelangelo’s “very naked” David,
and of course the famous leaning
year’s letter mentioned that Dad
had been in the hospital/rehab
since September 2013.
Well, he finally got out on
New Year’s Eve and rejoined Mom in
We had Mom stay with us
much of the time he was in the
hospitals, and we kept their dog
for another month to permit Dad to
get well enough to take Charlie
out for walks.
This year, both Mom and Dad
have been in good health,
Mom had some back surgery,
but recovered nicely.
We bring them over to the
house to watch the latest DVD
movies, and Cathy has Mom over 3
afternoons a week to knit and do
cross-stitch in Cathy’s new hobby
Kerry is still here in town
and she is a wonderful help to Mom
We all go out to eat on
occasion, and celebrate the
holidays together too.
Kerry’s kids are in Tucson
and Austin, so she’s able to go
see and help them out too.
We brought Eric home last April & he’ll be here for this Christmas. He too is doing well overall, and still has his girlfriend, Robin, in Oklahoma.
Some of you want to
know whether our menagerie is doing
Well, the dogs, cats,
parrots, and macaw are fat, dumb and
We did get three new
additions as Mom’s box turtles
(which now reside in our back yard)
successfully hatched 3 babies, which
we’ve got in a terrarium to keep
from the local predators – the
roadrunners and coyotes. Our
neighborhood is filled with all
sorts of wild animals and birds, but
this year the pack rats seem to have
discovered procreation and they are
got 3 middens on the property (that
I know of), but they are so cute I
haven’t got the heart to kill them
off, so we sow mothballs and hope
they move on down the street!
done some repair and improvement
projects done this year and are
trying to keep our “garden” alive
and well in the face of the
continuing 8 year drought. A
couple years ago we planted some
flowering vines along the back
yard’s rock wall, and they have done
very well. We
especially enjoy the wisteria and
honey suckle. Except
in the late fall when I have to
clear away all their shedded leaves. As
part of my self-prescribed therapy
for my shoulder, I’ve been working
on clearing out the dead shrubs and
cactus from the big freeze here 3
years ago. Slow
work, but it gets me out of the
We also hired out
some big jobs.
We had the back deck
resurfaced with stamped concrete
(it looks like a massive slab of
sandstone now), replaced the old
hot tub, put in some French doors
leading from the Master BR and the
guest suite out onto the deck, and
took out a wall between a couple
of the bedrooms to make Cathy the
ultimate sewing room.
There are still a few
things left to do, but the house
feels much more livable now.
Also this year, I had the brilliant idea that we should either buy a new 4x4 or rejuvenate our 2005 Toyota Sequoia. She’s got 130,000 miles and still runs like a top, so I decided to get all the fluids changed out, the brakes done, replace the timing belt, etc. The last time I did such a thing was in the 1980s when you could actually do a lot of that yourself. Well, I can’t anymore, and I’ve now learned it is not cheap to do. But the Sequoia is once again like new, and I figure I’ll be dead long before I have to spruce it up again! We’ve got a Camry hybrid too, and really like Toyotas.
thought there was more to write
about, especially since it seems
that there is even less time for
things than there was before we
that’s about all I’ve got for this
We hope you and yours
are doing well and never lose the spark,
and wish you the Merriest Christmas and
the Happiest New Year.
Now, Here's This Year's Crop of Photos:
Cathy and me up at Cloudcroft last winter.
Cathy's retirement plaque. She was ALL smiles!!!
I recently shaved and cut off most of my hair. Haven't decided if I like it yet!
My Dad, Ted Senior, my son, Christopher, and me last winter during Chris' visit.
Our granddaughter Kirstin & my Dad last Christmas.
My Mom, Pat, and my sister Kerry.
Our Grandson Connor does his best to straighten up the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Our Grandson Geoffrey (on the far left) with his Troop at Boy Scout Summer Camp in Garmish, Germany.
Geoffrey surveying the countryside around Naples, in preparation for crossing the Rubicon and conquering Rome. SPQR!!!
Connor is up to something. I just know it.
Grandson Connor, his loving mother Janna, and oldest grandson Geoffrey in front of the "very naked" statue of David...
Our granddaughter Kirstin and her proud father, our son, Greg on the beach in Hawaii.
Kirstin prepared to defend Oahu.
Kirstin and our beautiful daughter-in-law Rebekah doing that really creepy thing that mothers and daughters do.
My sister Kerry, my Mom Pat, my Dad, Ted, my wonderful wife Cathy, and me out on the town.
Uh Duh Bee, Uh Duh Bee, Uh Duh Bee ... That’s All Folks!
You can see a bunch of pictures I've taken over the years on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30832662@N05/sets/
Don't forget to check out my website at http://www.zianet.com/tedmorris/dg/