This year Nadine and I are both contributing our 1 cents worth to the letter, so since I'm a polite kind of guy, ladies first.
The year has brought us allot of ups and downs. I (Nadine) lost my father this February. He was 83 he had been ill on and off for a long time. Still it is never easy to lose a parent. We moved into our summer house in Reno in April only to find snow! Yes, I did say "snow" and our dogs had to high step it for a few days while the snow was on the ground. The best part about having snow in April was we didn't have to have it for Christmas. I have never had a white Christmas so Henry promised me Christmas in Reno. After my experience with the April snow I changed my mind! The Reno summer was a blast! Made great life long friends in our neighbors Mike and Barbara. They made our summer in Reno extra special! We had game night with them once a week and it was the best night of the week for us! Our new walking friends Orly and Nancy made our Caughlin Ranch walks a delight! We looked forward to them every week! Now Nancy writes us emails to keep us posted weekly so we don't miss them too much! Besides great friends we found Reno to have wonderful weather, good food and entertainment.
Our friend Bertha who remodeled our Reno house did a wonderful job for us. She did a better job than Henry and I would have done. That is why we love our house in Reno so much. We also are enjoying Bertha's friendship again by living close to her. She used to be our very close friend in Mazatlan and now we have her close to us again in Reno yeah!! She and I share shopping and the movies as monthly outtings. She has also introduced me to her other female friends and this helps me to feel right at home in Reno!
We feel we finally found the right summer home for us! Of course the dogs just love the house and the walks surrounding our house. Speaking of our dogs we put them in school this summer and they passed of course. They are better behaved dogs now and don't pull on their leads like they used to. I enjoy walking them now by myself. On a down side to Reno I came back 15 lbs. heavier. It was great to get back to Mazatlan in Oct. but it was hot. We missed our cats. They never go to the states with us. It was wonderful to be reunited with them. Our new cat Jarod, who was a kitten, is now a cat. Tippy is almost 20 and on her last legs. Miss Parker is fat. Henry is trim and fit and has stayed that way all summer thanks to playing tennis all summer. Of course when he plays tennis he is happy so he has been happy with his life as well as looking like a fox! We are both very grateful we have good health!! We are very busy right now with the holidays and enjoying our friends that live down here in Mazatlan.
We hope this letter finds you all healthy and happy! We wish you the happiest of holiday seasons all year round!
Now it's Henry's turn:
So let's start where we left off last year. We had our first, hopefully annual, open house on Christmas Eve, 2002. All in all about 60 people dropped by to give us the pleasure of wishing them a Merry Christmas. This year we are doing it again, but on Saturday, Dec. 20 from 2-6. If we haven't invited you already, consider this an invitation.
We like to call our time down here (in Mazatlan) life in the slow lane, but there were a few especially noteworthy events that took place before we left for the great white north last April. One was a Murder Mystery play, in which our friend, Jack Moreau had a leading role, along with his wife Valerie. Our table was only table that (accidently) guessed the perpetrator of the heinous deed, for which we were rewarded by being forced to do a silly dance. No good deed will go unpunished, I always say. We also had the pleasure of meeting our friends, Bill and Carol McCrossen's new grand-daughter. She was a real cutie, but I doubt she'll remember us when she enters high school a little more than 15 years from now. Finally, we made the mistake of attending an Amigos de los Animales meeting shortly before we left for the summer, and met Mitchell and Cheryl Ledis, who foisted their newly rescued kitten upon us. She was such a cute little girl, that we just couldn't resist. After sending her to the vet to be spayed, we discovered that she was a he, so we named him Jarod, as a companion for Miss Parker. The Pretender fans among you will appreciate that bit of naming cleverness.
Let's fast forward to summer then, which for us began in April with our trip back to Reno. As Nadine mentioned above, the highlight of April was the first snowfall either of us have experienced in the last 25 years. It is not an event we are eager to repeat. We also welcomed our first of many visitors, a couple of days after we arrived. Our friends Jack and Val Moreau stopped by for a few days on the way home to Nanaimo. A few months later, our other Mazatlan friends, Cheri and Mark, came over to check out the area. While they were there, Nadine helped Cheri find the "perfect diamond ring." If there is one thing she know about, it's baubles. Speaking of which, she is recycling some of her baubles. If you need a great Christmas present for that special someone, take a look at: http://maztravel.com/misc/jewels/
We waited until June to invite the neighborhood over to our new house in Reno, and meet the neighbors. It was a fun event, and we discovered that our neighbors there are very nice people who we would enjoy spending time with. As a matter of fact, our next door neighbors, Mike and Barbara Heffner, have become close friends, and together with them we organized a bunch of events, including a evening out at the Rocky Horror Picture Show, the Hot Air Balloon Races, a bunch of shows, like Help!, Baryshnikov, Irish Dancers, Reno Pops, and too many to remember. That is one of the things we liked best about our summer in Reno, there were always plenty of interesting things to do.
I also found a new "tennis group," that I could play with. I was the "youngster" of the crowd, being only 50, so I got to be the designated runner, which I always enjoy, until that fateful day when I ran into the metal side-post at full speed. After waking up a few minutes later, I discovered I was very lucky, since all I wound up with was the mother of all bruises on my hip. Had I crashed head first, my tennis career would probably be over. It also turned out that our house was only about 500 yards from the Caughlin Creek tennis club, a very lucky accident, which allowed me to play at all of their social events. I particularly liked the Margarita Doubles.
We also made time to attend several auctions while we were there this summer. After all, Nadine went from a 1500 square foot house to a 3200 square foot house, and had a lot of blank walls that needed filling. As usual, we came home with some treasures. If you are interested, photos of our home in Reno are online at: http://maztravel.com/reno/
As the summer wound down, we were again eager to return to our life in Mazatlan. We've been back for two months now, and the time is just flying by. Christmas season is always too busy. For the last two weeks, we have either been invited over to someone else's house, or had others over here for 5 out of 7 nights. We are really looking forward to the New Year, when things slow down a little. One special treat was on Dec. third, when our friends Mary and Fred Herlocker, happened to be in town on a cruise. We had met them during our Geek cruise in the Caribbean, a couple of years ago. It was great to see them again, and it was as if we had never been apart. We hope to go on another Geek cruise in October, 2004, this time to the Mediterranean. I'm sure I'll report all about it in next years Christmas letter.
I also finally got around to updating the online tour of our house in Mazatlan. If you are interested, you can check out the new pages.
On the techie front, I've been busy with a couple of new toys. One is a weather station, that I plan to put online over the next few weeks. That way I can always get accurate weather info about what is going on in Mazatlan, even while we are in Reno. I've also managed to get a Linux based TIVO like system running, and am in the process of phasing out our VCR collection.
So, in closing, we would like to wish you all a happy and prosperous holiday season. May Santa make your wishes come true, or even better, may the Santa within you help in fulfilling the wishes of others. Nadine and I continue to be very happy together, and look forward to hearing from you in the coming weeks.