[caption id="attachment_146" align="aligncenter" width="720"] By the mantle at Stonebench.[/caption]
To Our Familiar Friends & Friendly Family:
A year cannot help but look frantic in retrospect, dozens of important events and scores of only somewhat less vital ones all clamoring for mention in the space of a few hundred words. Contrary to last year's message, we kicked off the year in Plano instead of Austin, the first of many changes-of-plan.
The primary object of our discretionary time and treasure has been the new dependent we took under our wing last spring, the recently christened Stonebench, aka 1905 Rainy Meadows Dr. Spring Break brought the first Big Project . Master-izing the guest bath didn't sound so hard, but the plans went from walling off the second door, to replacing all the doors in the hall, to remodeling the hall completely. We made it over the finish line just in time to rest before work the next day. Other such endeavors saw the creation of a built-in book case, re-garage-ification, and the rehabilitation of the deck. Currently, we're finishing the job the dry summer and Russell's water conservation began, and are replacing our grass with hardscape, replete with limestone and river rock.
We didn't spend all our time at home, though. We hit the road to east Texas twice, exploring a new city each time. In June, Christina's sorors joined us in a van piloted by Russell to the energy hub of Beaumont for their Regional Executive Board Meeting. We, being the Regional Zeta Male Network Coordinator and a Male in said Network, took the other fellows about town for a morning. They both seemed to enjoy themselves, but we wound up organizing an outing to see The Hulk that afternoon with a Male Network of one. On the other end of summer, we changed plans several times, but ultimately ended up heading to Galveston for a weekend, exploring the island by foot, car, train, and retired DUKW assault vehicle. As always when we visit a new town, we not only see sights, but also eat bites. We'd heartily recommend the delights of Benno's crab cakes and new potatoes, as well as Leon's smoked meats and stepped-up rice. That is, if they're to be found following the widespread obliteration wrought by Hurricane Ike, which hit the lovely barrier isle a week after we did.
Not only did we visit, we but hosted as well. As July turned to August, the Allen side of Christina's family came to town - enjoying local flavors and sights including a personal tour of the state capitol given by Russell, testing how well he paid attention during the many iterations he heard on school field trips. The clan reached the southernmost extent of their road trip in Russell's parents' home, conversing and enjoying his father's grilling skills.
The New Year will bring with it many wonders, among them Christina's first coursework toward her master's degree in Library Information Science, Russell's continuing adventures with tools and various kinds of goo intended for Home Improvement, and everyone trying to pronounce the years twentyXX instead of two-thousandXX. Wherever you are and whatever you have planned this holiday season, we wish you safety, health, and happiness.
And of course,
a Very Merry Christmas,
and a Happy New Year!