2016 in review

Well it’s that time again. We now realize that we don’t post things to this blog since our previous post was last year’s review! It’s still nice to take a moment and appreciate what a great year we had, all of the great people we saw, and all the great places we visited.

We started out the year with a cool Atlas Obscura field trip to Sky Falconry in Alpine, CA, just east of San Diego. Carolyn learned how to handle birds-of-prey and was able to get up close and personal with three different hawks they use in their classes. Rick was busy taking photos and ducking as the birds flew just inches from his head.

February brought dinners with friends. First was Dave and Jackie, who we had meet on the Moody Blues Cruise in 2012, in Long Beach. Later in the month was Sue Waller Fish, who was down here from Seattle on business. It’s always nice to be able to reconnect with distant friends.

In March we took a vacation to the Southeast, spending time in Athens, GA where we meet up with Carolyn’s friend, Carla Buss, who gave us a tour of the area. The drive up to Raleigh-Durham, NC was beautiful and it was a treat to see so many trees! We stopped in Charlotte, NC to see Jeff Finan, Rick’s high school friend. Jeff and his wife Elaine had just moved there from Cincinnati, OH. We also had dinner with Larry and Melissa Hill who live in Apex, NC just south of Raleigh. We really enjoyed spending time in the Southeast.

Rick’s son, Erin, came out on a business trip in the middle of March and brought along our grandson, Wynn. We took the train to the San Clemente Pier to go swimming in the Pacific. We also spent a day at Knott’s Berry Farm. Wynn had a great time and Erin got to ride one adult-sized roller coaster before we left. We also all had a great time at the Santa Ana Science Center where Wynn got to see how a tornado forms. We don’t get to see the grandkids enough, so we cherish every opportunity we get.

In April, Carolyn’s brother, Bill, visited. Bill had always wanted to go to the Petersen Automotive Museum in LA. He and Rick were able to take the train to Union Station, the subway to Wilshire, and the bus to the museum. Who says LA doesn’t have mass transit! The museum is really interesting but to really see what they have you must take a tour of the car vault in the basement. These guided tours have a limited number of people and you get to see all of the cool stuff that is not on general display. If you go, don’t miss the car vault!

Our big trip for the year came in May when we traveled to London, England for a library conference. Carolyn had been to England three times before but this was Rick’s first visit. We toured London Tower, took a boat down to Greenwich (where we stood on the Prime Meridian), and visited Regent Park, Westminster Abbey, and Royal Geological Society. Rick gave Carolyn an early anniversary ring while riding on the London Eye. Carolyn’s boss, Kevin Ross, brought his whole family along on the trip and they were able to join us in celebrating our anniversary. His family is a real joy and we enjoyed spending time with them. A very special treat came as a complete surprise. Our daughter-in-law, Adiya, had to come to London on business and she invited us to her hotel, the Shangri-La in the Shard, for breakfast before she left. What a happy coincidence that we were in London at the same time!

In June, Carolyn flew to Orlando, FL for an assessment conference. She had a great time driving around in a Ford F-150 pick-up. Guess that’s going to be our next car.

For the Fourth of July weekend, we drove up to Sequoia and King’s Canyon National Parks. It was crazy crowded in Sequoia, where the giant trees are a major tourist attraction. We found a quiet hike back into a huge groove of Sequoias that was off the beaten path. King’s Canyon turned out to be the real treat in the trip, though. The valley is stunningly beautiful. We would definitely consider going back there (and most likely skip Sequoia all together).

Bill made another visit in July. Our niece, Ashlyn, joined her father for this trip. They drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey, CA, and back. We took them by train to the San Clemente Pier to go swimming in the Pacific. We made the obligatory trip to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to look at the stars embedded in the sidewalk and had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. After lunch we drove on to Warner Brothers Studio for a guided tour of the back lot. All of us thought the tour was really cool and highly recommend it.

Our friends Dave and Jackie were back in CA in August for a big coin show at the Anaheim Convention Center. We got to see some of the show and their booth before bringing them back to Orange for dinner at our favorite place, The Filling Station Cafe.

The end of August we traveled to Ohio for the wedding of our niece, Amanda. We had a short visit with the kids in Columbus before driving up to Kent to see friends. We were able to have dinner with Rick’s long-time friend and boss from Kent State, Tom Klingler, and his wife, Mona. They also put us up for the night. We had breakfast with Bill and Barbara Schloman, Carolyn’s friend from Kent State, at Wild Goats Cafe and lunch with our good friends, Dave and Carol Gaj, at one of the new cool places in the updated downtown Kent, before driving out to Amherst for the wedding. Amanda and her husband, Tony, had a beautiful ceremony and fun reception. We squeezed in another visit with the kids in Columbus and headed home. Our granddaughter, Lola, was almost two at the time and she’s just so much fun. We could definitely see her personality forming and how different she and Wynn are. We miss them like crazy!

In September, Rick and Erin met in Charlotte for a guys weekend. It was great to spend some one-on-one time with Erin. Rick enjoyed visiting two of the wonderful parks in the area. We just don’t have enough green where we live. As a bonus, Jeff and Elaine Finan invited Rick for dinner after Erin returned.

At the end of October, Carolyn traveled to Arlington, VA for a library conference. She and the project leader for our new product, April Cunningham, gave a presentation about our existing and new products.

In November we went on another Atlas Obscura field trip, this time to the San Andreas Fault with a USGS geologist and a CalTech geophysicist. We got to see where a major uplift had separated a parking lot into two sections, the deformation in the rocks near Palmdale, and an excavation that allowed researchers to date past earthquakes on the fault. It was way cool.

December brought Carolyn’s sister, Sue, her husband, Ron, and Amanda and Tony to Orange for Christmas. Even though the weather wasn’t ideal (although still nicer than Ohio), we made a (short and windy) trip to the Huntington Beach Dog Beach and drove down to Laguna Beach for a sunset dinner at a restaurant on the beach. Carolyn joined the rest of the group for a day-trip to the San Diego Zoo, a long-time wish of Amanda’s. A train trip to San Juan Capistrano completed their short visit.

What a year it was! We are so grateful for our families and friends and we hope that we will see everyone again soon. We’re already making plans!

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2017!

Carolyn and Rick