Saturday, January 2, 2016

Dear Ones..... 
     Color us guilty! It is hard to believe that it has been three years since we have written a note revisiting our activities and updating friends and family on our world(s). This year, as we heard from some of you--both by snail mail and on line--we realized what a joy it is to get your latest news. Therefore, as night follows day, it seems important that we contribute to the communication circle of life. 
     Over the last couple of years, we have been blessed to be able to visit Michigan in the Fall--reconnecting with old friends there and taking in the Fall color, crisp air, good sleeping, and the sound of the Lake Michigan waves lapping at our door.

       We also found ourselves involved again in the progress of activities at Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary in Manistee ( revisiting and enjoying the property and remembering....   
Daughter, Debbie, and her husband, Steve, live nearby now and Debbie is doing a yeoman's job of helping to restore Lake Bluff as a respected nature center of activity in Manistee.

Friday, January 1, 2016

     In the family department, it would be impossible to picture all the marvelous events that have occurred over the past three years. This picture shows two of our grands--Jamie on the right with his wife, Eve, serving as God parents for his sister, Courtney, on the left at the baptism of Ellie Gray Hankard in Boston. We were there and really enjoyed not only the family gathering, but the revisiting for Barbara of old haunts and for Bob recapturing our early American history on the ground and in person.
     We doubled the number of great grands  since we last wrote---it's up to 11 now, and the birth of twins to Dana and Eric Gray (Dick and Stasi's daughter) gave the numbers a boost.  Our oldest grandchild is now 32 and our youngest is 10. The ten and 12 years olds (Martha and Steve's) are now uncles. One really needs a roadmap to keep it all straight. But all of them bring us great joy and we give thanks constantly for their good health.
    A highlight of this year has been that son, Dick, and his wife, Stasi, have bought a darling little house just five blocks from us here in AZ. They come often all winter and have offered it to the whole family to use any time. This is a HUGE gift to us--more family time, lots of good cooking (not by me), and just the joy of having family close by--priceless.
    Dick's brewery is thriving ( and enjoying recognition throughout the midwest. Martha's business ( keeps her busy and always involved in something new (  Patti and Jeff continue to thrive with Jeff still working and Patti loving every minute of being a Grandma many times over and playing golf and tennis and more. They also have taken up world travel and are building their list of countries visited.  Debbie and Steve are almost retired (Steve working still in Syracuse but coming to Manistee as much as possible) and Debbie very happy being "home" with Makowski family and friends and her beloved Lake Bluff; Brooke continues to be happy as a Professor at Shoreline Community College in Seattle and traveling whenever and however she can. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

     A smashing success in 2015 was the 50th birthday celebration for Brooke (Barbara's youngest) on the side of Mount Rainier (her mountain--if anyone asks.) What a wonderful occasion staying in a mountain lodge, banquet on the deck, cocktail created just for Brooke (try the Gibson 5 0 if you get a chance), and Brooke looking so happy to have us all there so she could cook for us (with a little help from her friends).  While in Seattle area, we had another great month on Whidbey Island, with Brooke and Paula coming over to stay and spoil us with fresh seafood dinners. We supplied the venue, they the cooking--a perfect arrangement from our point of view!
     Over the past three years we have had our last "month with a kid," visiting and enjoying Patti and Jeff's environment in North Carolina, and then lots of travels for weddings, baptisms, birthdays, and sadly, funerals. When my Dad was this age, he said, "Time to circle the wagons, honey." How right he was. 
    We really do enjoy our home and activities here. Bob is happy to be playing golf year round and has a regular bunch of cronies that he enjoys as well. Barbara is active with Barbershop quartet, Mah Jongg, and the usual activities of running a household. Both of us have become active in the Astronomy Club which helps us keep our perspective!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

         As the new year begins on a 70 degree day here in Arizona, we are grateful most of all for our connections to you, dear friends and family. Forgive our delay over the years in keeping up.  We love hearing from you any time all the time.  Here is the view from our back yard looking east toward the Catalinas.

      Following is something I put up on Facebook last week and I think the feelings are shared by both of us:  It is entirely possible that we  are as happy as we've ever been. Do not knock aging. It comes with quiet joys wrapped in packages that almost always come as a surprise. For us one of the biggest gifts is time ...not to be spent or worried over or filled, but to be welcomed each morning and rolled around in like a puppy at play. Breathe in the good of it; breathe out the disappointments and pain of it. It is passing more quickly now...did you notice? Be happy in it while you can.

With love and Happy New Year from:

14369 N. Lost Arrow Dr., Oro Valley, AZ 85755
Cell phones only:  Bob (307) 690-2455, Barbara (307) 733-6544