Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us.
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In January we celebrated my Mom's 90th birthday with a bit of a surprise party. She was presented with a book containing a lot of notes written by friends and family for the occasion. The real work was done by my sister Amy along with her sisters-in-law Laura and Anna, but a fun time was had by all. Quite a few friends, family, and neighbors made it to the party. In the picture are Mom and Dad with their three kids.
We've had a few tough winters in Mass lately, so Laura and I decided to get the jump on it by going somewhere we'd never been: Miami Beach. There wasn't any snow until after we left for Florida in late January, but it didn't take long. At left is a picture of the storm at home taken by Wikipedia contributor Medeis. At right is a picture of me coming in from my morning swim in the ocean, taken by Laura! It's fun to get these cell phone alerts at the beach telling you not to come in to work due to the blizzard. We got two of these while hanging out in Miami and visiting the Keys.
It didn't take long for reality to set in once we got back home, though. To give you an idea of how it was on February 15th, the picture shows our yard and our neighbors yard taken from the east side of our house. That's a 4 foot fence almost completely buried in snow. There's 3.5 feet of snow left on the ground filling up the two back yards after settling, etc. It was just too cold for anything to melt in between storms, an unusual event for New England and enabled by the now-famous polar vortex. With the Arctic as warm as ever, we may see more of this in our future! It took until late April for things to really warm up here, and some of the giant piles of snow in Boston didn't melt until July.
However, by July we were able to go on our usual two-week Cape Cod vacation. My dad had just retired after 62 years, so that was a good topic of conversation. As the average age of our group increases, the pace of events seems to slow down. Last year we had video; this year a still picture of some of us over at the ocean side in N. Truro captures the ambience! Laura and my sister Amy did some art, I caught up on my reading, and we did some smart phone tutorials for the newly-retired, among other things. Amy's husband Bill retired recently as well, which definitely makes me plan to be next. Probably another year of work is in the cards.
We left the Cape a couple of days early to fly to the ASA annual meeting at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had a chance to catch up with my cousin Karen and her husband John who've lived in Oklahoma for years. The whole rest of her family is in New England, but we don't get to see her that often. Karen is an excellent artist and Laura had fun looking at her art and showing a few of her own in the cell phone form factor. Oral Roberts is a bit of an architectural trip, but I don't really need to show any pictures here; Google pictures is your friend. The conference was excellent, as usual, as were the side discussions with new and old friends.
After the conference I flew home and Laura flew to Colorado Springs to meet her sister Sally and visit a few sights and a few friends including good friend Carol shown in the picture, and Esther from our 90's era Bible study. They went up Pike's Peak, and also went to the Broadmoor (pictured) and the Garden of the Gods.
Laura kept busy with many different activities including visiting people from the church as part of her Deacon duties. She was one of the major movers behind the new Bedford Arts and Crafts Society (BACS) web page . Laura continued to create art, some of which was exhibited at the Grace Chapel Art Shows. The batik at left was inspired by a Ukrainian folk tale about a mitten. She repeated her batik demonstration of 2014 at BACS in 2015.
As far as my other activities go, I again spent a fair bit of time attending the Cambridge Roundtable on Science and Religion, and writing up my experiences for the web site. We again got a very cold winter during which we burned most of my wood; I plan to re-stock but our new super efficient mini-split heat pump and the warm December we've had should help reduce wood consumption. I may do some snowboarding if it ever gets cold enough for snow!
My grandfather Philip Herrmann was born 120 years ago this year. I'm putting 16 of his sermons in mp3 and text format on my web site, along with his photo albums and a few related historical items. He was quite a Bible scholar, and would have been amazed to know that these sermons could be easily heard by hundreds of millions of people on the Internet.
Have a great New Year!
Tim (and for Laura)