Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 ... In the Rear-View

It seems appropriate, on this last day of 2016, to look back and remind myself of things that happened during the year.  Truthfully, I did this about a month ago when I was writing our annual Christmas letter.  I enjoy sifting through our calendar, condensing an entire year's worth of days and happenings into a single page to include in our Christmas cards.

This is what I wrote (with some additions and edits, because I always do that whenever I revisit anything that I write.)


Welcome to our annual recap, where we try to remember and
relate to you some of the things that happened around here in 2016.

We did a fair bit of traveling in 2016, with Connie making more trips than Steve did this year.  Connie’s travel always has a plant theme, mostly related to her work with and love of roses.  This year, she had various trips around the country to rose speaking engagements, board meetings for the Heritage Rose Foundation, and some just-for-fun-trips.  One of those fun trips was a long weekend with her mom in April to Charleston, South Carolina, with the Southern Garden History Society. 

Mrs. Whaley's Garden in Charleston

In August, we had long-weekend working vacation at a greyhound conference in Wheeling, West Virginia ... the same conference that we attended in 2015.  We again shared a cabin with our friends Kim, Andy, Gale, and Chris.  The highlight of the trip was a visit to the racetrack to watch the greyhounds run and an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the racing operations with the track veterinarian!

Petting pups at a greyhound farm.

Our annual Thanksgiving week getaway this year was a trip to Las Vegas with our friends, Andy and Kim.  The weather was a little chilly, but perfect for visiting the desert and seeing the sights.  We went hiking in Red Rock Canyon to see petroglyphs, saw a couple of awesome shows (Cirque du Soleil’s Mystère and impressionist Terry Fator from America’s Got Talent), and spent time with Vegas friends and visited the Ethel M Cactus Garden decorated for Christmas.  The death-defying part of our trip was the “Slotzilla” zip line.  You launch from 10 stories up (114 feet) and fly face first all the way down Fremont Street (1,750 feet).  It was terrifying and amazingly fun at the same time!

Pausing for a photo while hiking at Red Rock Canyon.

The nervous smile of one who has survived what felt like a near-death experience.

July saw the passing of Maggie, our oldest cat, at age 15.   She was our miracle kitty that spent her life surviving and thriving with one should-have-been-terminal condition after another.  She ruled our household with her velvet paws, greeted all houseguests and insisted that they pet her, and was a huge presence in our lives.  She is greatly missed.

Maggie was just as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside.

Renovation projects continue as usual and there is never a shortage of items to take care of here at The Manor.  There’s always something to repair or restore when one lives in an old house!  Projects included continuing to transform one of our outbuildings into a studio, repairing the concrete fence around our front yard, and refining and expanding our gardens. 

The concrete fence around the front is an important feature of our property.  About 1/3 of it is now repaired and repainted.

The neglected, weed-filled Rose Field is well on its way to being beautiful again, as we clear weeds, redesign beds, and replant roses.

We hope that you have a very Merry Christmas, and we wish you health, happiness and the very best in 2017.

Winnie, Ruby, and me, captured by my trail camera, while on a walk back by our barn.

With love,
Steve and Connie
(and Alice, Dorothy, Ruby, and Winnie … the furry members of our family)

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