Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

Christmas 2011 photo taken at Tabeguache area south of Grand Junction

Christmas 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Where we live now, on the high plateau just to the west of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, autumn sometimes extends all the way to Christmas, or at least that’s how it feels. Sure, it gets cold at night and the leaves are off the trees, but the days are sunny, warm and dry. What’s missing from our early winters here is the snow. Our card photo, taken on December 10, would have looked pretty much the same, except for the jackets, if it had been taken back in September. It shows the three of us standing at the top of a hill in the Tabeguache area, about a mile from our home. In the background are downtown Grand Junction, Mt. Garfield, Chalk Mountain and the Grand Mesa—but no snow!

Nan climbing a ladder to Whispering JesseNan and I are fully settled in Grand Junction now, both living and working. I started a new job in January as a programmer analyst with Quality Health Network, and Nan started in the spring as a pharmacy technician at St. Mary’s Hospital. It’s good to know that in our recessed economy, there is always demand in healthcare. Scout has settled into a new routine of his own, spending Tuesdays and Thursdays at doggie daycare, where he romps all day with his dog buddies.

With the new jobs, we didn’t get to travel as much this year. We spent a quick week at the end of April in what is becoming our home away from home, Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where we hung out with our local friends, tried new restaurants, and read novels on the beach. We also checked out the accommodations at the local marinas, with the idea of sailing Whispering Jesse down there in a couple of years.

The refit project on our sailboat took several months longer than expected. I flew out to Solomons, Maryland to check on it in May, and then Nan and I both flew out there in July for Nan’s first-ever look at the boat. The photo above shows her climbing a ladder to the boat while it was out of the water.

By September the boat was almost ready to go. Two friends from Aspen, Mike and Kurt, flew out with me to help make final preparations to move the boat to Savannah, Georgia. We departed a week later, three days later than planned, sailing overnight on Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, Virginia. Then it was three days of motoring through the Intracoastal Waterway, emerging into the Atlantic Ocean at Morehead City, North Carolina. We sailed continuously to make up lost time, but we were overrun by a terrible storm on the second morning and pulled up short in Charleston, North Carolina. Mike and I flew out a month later to finish the move, sailing overnight to Savannah, where Whispering Jesse is now slipped at a marina near my folks’ vacation home on Skidaway Island. Plans are now in the works for a Lichty family rendez-vous there next spring, featuring day sails and bad golf.

Nan made a few trips home to Manitowoc, Wisconsin during the year to visit family and friends, most recently in October, when she attended the wedding of her niece. Congratulations to Laura and Chris! The next day, she and her friend Gail ventured to Lambeau Field to watch the Packers add to their undefeated streak with a victory over the Denver Broncos.

Until a few days ago, we were reconciled to a brown Christmas. But then there was an overnight dusting. And last night there were a few fresh inches. Now it seems we’re on course for a real white Christmas, our annual wish come true. Here’s hoping all your wishes come true this holiday season and in the coming year.


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