We have been getting everybody's annual Christmas letter this week, and feel that it's high time we wrote one again. So Kris is writing this to process some of what we experienced, learned, felt, thought, and saw this year. There was a lot!
Dan and Di break up and Dan injures himself snowboarding.
Bonnie takes off to Wuhan China to study Mandarin and teach English and keeps us posted.
John starts his sabbatical, which he tells Kris will be like a holiday. (You need to understand John's idea of a holiday to realize how scary this sounds to Kristen.)
Kris and Rob take John to a resort (which we don't recommend) in Playa del Carmen to teach him the concept of leisure for his sabbatical. Rob goes night-clubbing, but can't get his old parents to join him, and John drags Kris (and Rob) up Mayan ruins 'til she can't walk anymore, then he takes her snorkelling til she can't swim anymore. More pictures from Mexico
Back home, after hearing Kris whine about climbing Mayan temples, her trainer Paul decides its time to put her on the killer ab lift device. She does a total of 5 reps in 3 sets the first day, and decides he must be mad.
John and Kris fly off to Wuhan to be sure their little girl is OK. John gives 15 lectures in the month of his holiday in China, gets married to a Chinese woman in a very strange ceremony, to much applause, and is elegantly hosted by Dr Shen and the Huazhong Agricultural University, and Kris redecorates Bonnie's apartment and learns how to count in Mandarin. They visit Hong Kong (airport only), Shanghai, Xian, Wuhan, and Yichang, where we ate the most delicious soup of our lives - sturgeon soup. Kris miraculously loses 5 pounds from all the sightseeing. Bonnie gives Kristen a copy of her Mandarin language tapes, and unbeknownst to her, creates a monster. More Photos from China
John and Kris leave China and go to Sydney, Australia to visit Dan and Mei Adamson and have some vacation time. John only gives one lecture here, and tries to relax and put into practice the leisure theory Kris lectured him on in Playa del Carmen. Dan takes us all around the Sydney area, cramming as many sites as possible into the 10-day visit, the highlights being the Taronga Zoo, the Sydney Opera House, a wedding reception for friends of our nieces, AiLyn and KateLyn, and a family dinner with Mei's sister and brother-in-law and friends, the cake decorating shop, and walks with their cute little dog BooBoo (who unfortunately passed away this year). More Pictures from Sydney
Kris, who before the China trip always claimed to hate travel, is no sooner home than she takes off to California to visit son Dan. She learns he has recuperated somewhat from his breakup. He has bought a Miata convertible, has learned to drive stick and he has taken up dating, fire-spinning, hang-gliding, scuba-diving, salsa-dancing, harmonica-playing and lots of music-jamming in open-mike clubs within reach of his car and his time off. His employer Palm has been bought up by HP and he now works for HP, but he plays entirely for himself. We visit my very hospitable Uncle Paddy, and wine country, and try out the Napa Valley Margaritas. Kris sees that Dan is actually doing pretty well and probably doesn't need his mother there, so she flies back to Toronto, and changes planes and goes to....
... Santa Fe to meet up with John at a water quality conference where the main topic is the BP spill. John applies his expertise to the conference and Kristen hers to shopping and finding great restaurants, the best of which is clearly Las Mayas , which we warmly recommend, just a couple of blocks off the main plaza, and well worth the short walk. We go whitewater rafting on the Rio Grande, and when we get back to to the gym in Sudbury, Kris finds she can now do 3 sets of 12 reps on the ab exercises, in spite of all that fabulous Santa Fe food. More photos from Santa Fe
Back home, Rob receives an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for his long-time work at Theatre Cambrian. He invites us to be his guests at the lovely ceremony downtown. As always, at any public event we attend with Rob, we were amazed by the number of people he knows there, the links he has made in the Sudbury community. (He always has to remind me who people are, as I cannot remember faces or names to save my life.)
Kris and John and Keagan go to Ottawa to see Kris's brother Martin, exchange news, and give one another advice, both good and bad. (Bad advice is always more fun!)
Kris starts working on her new Joomla web sites, particularly her practice one, which will not be migrated to hers 'til later in the year. She has been blogging ineptly on it off and on for some time, but Joomla brings new functionality to the whole thing.
John finally gives in to his wife and contracts someone to build the deck. It has been lingering in the dreamworld (the world where you are going to finish knitting that sweater, write your memoirs, and refinish that dresser) for three years, but it is now built by John and the contractor in four days. The inspector says it is one of the best-built decks he has ever seen. He says the house will collapse before the deck does.
Rob and John head east - Rob for Camp Berwick where he visits with his maritime cousins and aunts and uncles, and John for a fishing adventure with his brother Eldon and a trip around the Cabot Trail. Kristen is stuck at home walking a dog who needs 6km a day walks to sleep at night. Fortunately, she meets the Sudbury Dog Trails people on the trail one day, and hires them. Life has never been better. Now a mere 1.5 km walk morning (from me) and evening (from John) is enough.
Back in Sudbury Rob and John join Kris they and pack up for Family Camp 3, which is very quiet this year with neither Bonnie nor Dan there. Kris plays volleyball for the first time in about 40 years at Camp Manitou , where she was previously famous for her incomparable level of inactivity.
Also this month Kris launches her first Joomla site for somebody else- for her sis Rondi, an experienced blogger with lots of fun links.
Kristen made it to the top of the Crack this year. The famous hiking trail in Killarney always eluded her grasp, but this year she did it with John's and Keagan's company and encouragement.
John signed on for another seven years of luck and work as a NRC Canada Research Chair in stressed aquatic systems. Let's hope it is only the aquatic systems that are stretched to their limits!
Dan goes to China to visit Bonnie and get a taste of the world outside North America. He jams with locals in Inner Mongolia, attends wedding preparations with Bonnie for a stranger they meet en route (having Westerners at a wedding event is very chic) and sees the sights in Shanghai with our ex-guide ShanShan.
Kristen gets a lovely visit from Candace and John, who are about to fly to Seoul Korea to teach, after getting their teaching degrees in Australia, and finding no work in Canada.
As always we had the traditional apple-picking ceremony at Thanksgiving, with a bumper crop this year, and Deb's remarkable pumpkin and lemon meringue pies.
John and Kris head off to Oregon to visit John's PhD supervisor and to visit friends that were at Guelph when we were. Pat takes Kris on her best shopping trip of the year!
Kris is up to 3 sets of 25 reps on the ab exercise, so Paul raises the standards, and changes the form a bit, and Kris finds herself back to doing a discouraging 3 sets of 10 or less.
Kristen makes a website for Melanie and Adam, the previously mentioned dogtrekkers. Since Adam is an adept at picking up new stuff on the web, he has taken over management of the site, and I think their page looks great. ( A few of the photos on this site - ones of Keagan - are photos from Melanie, who takes great dog shots.)
November (Shi Yiyue)
Kristen and John make a whirlwind trip to Ottawa to say a fond final farewell to Stanley Mercer, whose wife Sylvia is John's first cousin once removed. While this is a sad occasion, Stanley's life is one of those sterling examples of a life well-lived, and we are glad that we were able to honour his passing with Sylvia and family, and the many people who came to see him off.
Kristen launches her brother Al's Joomla site
John grows a moustache and raises a whack of money for research into the cure for prostate cancer
December (Shi Aryue)
Dan makes his first trip back to the east coast in 12 years. He went to his grandmother's 92nd birthday event, and had a grand maritime family togetherness time visiting cousins, laughing, and shopping for socks in Sears. (His Aunt Holly felt that December weather in Nova Scotia warranted heavier footwear than his California 'sandals with bare feet'.)More photos of Dan
Bonnie flies to Seoul for a Christmas with Candace and John, where she is surprised to find a present awaiting her form North America.
Kristen has had so much fun travelling this year (to her great surprise) that she decides to renew her passport so she can go to China, Morocco, Nova Scotia and maybe even Italy next year, and she makes a whirlwind trip to Toronto to do so. While there we visit niece Sarah and her husband Wayne. Kris buys a great pair of winter boots, and chats with an astounded store owner in Chinatown in her fledgling Mandarin (which was intelligible!) zips home and catches a cold. Kristen malingers until John suggests she write a brief summary of 2010.
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