Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! For those of you new to the Holly Herald, this is our annual Christmas newsletter that Dora and I have been writing since 1984, so last year we celebrated 25 years of Holly Herald love, and this year begins the next quarter century of the same! That will take Dora and I out to ages 76 and 77, what we now consider to be very young. We stay young by enjoying life to the fullest and loving our family and friends.
As in recent years, this Holly Herald is completely electronic since most all our family and friends are online these days. I don't remember the last time I licked a stamp . . . So here's our year in review, electronically speaking.
In January, Dora and I renewed our wedding vows for our 30th anniversary. Here's a photo of the beautiful bride, looking even more radiant than she did in 1980. Wanda, Mike, and Taylor joined us for the ceremony at our spiritual home, the Spiritual Enrichment Center in Peoria, AZ. Mike and Wanda stood up with us, and our minister and friend, Reverend Ron Fox, conducted the ceremony. Dora got a bit verklempt (emotional) during the ceremony and so did our friends. We had a nice reception with cake and lots of friends, like Glenda.
Three weeks later, we took a "renewed honeymoon" trip to Florida. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale, and then drove down to Key West. It was a little weird seeing water on both sides of the road - the drive to Key West was gorgeous and fun. We had a blast sampling the local food, like the conch fritters at Herbie's, the excellent Cuban cuisine of El Siboney's, and the many varieties of key lime pie that we sampled at 6 different restaurants. We had a wonderful time in Key West. We went as far south as one can go in the U.S., goofed off a lot, visited a shipwreck museum, hung out with the pelicans, and almost got blown away by a flash thunderstorm at Mallory Square. Mark was thrilled to visit the vacation home of Harry Truman, Truman's Little White House, and we spent many peaceful evenings enjoying the most beautiful sunsets. We also enjoyed the Key West Butterfly Conservatory, featuring hundreds of beautiful butterflies. On our way back to Ft Lauderdale, we stopped by Miami and toured the Art Deco District, did some shopping on South Beach, and just hung out at our favorite getaway, the beach. All in all, it was a most memorable and peaceful second honeymoon. The best part was just being together.
In March, Dora and I were thrilled to see a living legend in concert, Sir Paul McCartney. He's been touring on his own and with Wings for 30 years now, but Dora and I never had the chance to see him until now. We were on the edge of our seat during the entire concert - what a thrill. We captured a few photos and quite a few videos!.
Dora found her perfect job in April when she left the Quality Management department at Banner Thunderbird to join the Perioperative Informatics Team at Banner Estrella Medical Center. In her new position, she gets to use all her past job experience and knowledge. She is part of a team that teaches nurses how to document patient information into an electronic medical record. She gets to train new hires and is involved in developing new forms and processes that will be used at all 23 Banner hospitals. She uses her management skills to lead meetings and present computer documentation changes to the staff of the O.R. and Recovery Room. She really enjoys working closely with the nurses and doctors who dedicate themselves to taking care of their surgical patients.
In June, our neighbors were taking a walk in our neighborhood and the cutest little 7-8 week old, all-black kitten followed them home. Abandoned, we think, our hearts melted, and we decided to adopt her. She was christened Cherie (pronounced Sherry), the perfect mate for 2-year old Sonny (get it? Sonny and Cherie?). LOL! She's been an adorable, funny, loving, purring machine, a wonderful addition to our family. Sonny hissed at her and man-handled her for a week or so, he sure let her know who was boss. But soon they were bosom buddies, licking, grooming, biting, and playing with each other. We were impressed at how Sonny took to the father role. When we threw a piece of meat on the floor, he always steps back and lets Cherie have it. His unconditional love for her is a good lesson to us. And here they are... pictures of Sonny and Cherie and a video.
We took a trip to Huntington Beach over the 4th of July weekend just to get away. The big event was Huntington Beach's fantastic 4th of July parade. It was wonderfully loud and long, with lots of marching bands and a plethora of floats. Here we are waiting for the parade to start, and here's the All-American girl eating a very patriotic hot dog. Dora also found a piece of her favorite strawberry pie (man, for someone so thin she sure eats a lot). Mark enjoyed the parade so much, he created a web page dedicated to the many modes of parade transport.
Also in June... Maui Wowy! When I announced to Dora that I would be attending a work conference in Maui her response was, "not without me you're not!" So in addition to the conference I took a few days vacation, and we had a great time on one of our favorite Hawaiian islands. Here are some photos and a few videos.
Dora turned . . . well . . . uh . . . Dora had a birthday this summer and we all had a good time celebrating it. We tried to keep cool this summer. One of our methods was attending Diamondbacks games in the cool, enclosed Chase Field. Another method employed by many Phoenicians is escaping completely from Phoenix. This year, we took Wanda with us for a weekend in higher-elevation Payson, AZ. We stayed cool while gettin' hot on the blackjack tables at the Mazatzal Casino.
In August, Mark started a new job. Still at Glendale Community College, he manages the ACE Plus program. ACE = Achieving a College Education, an early outreach program designed to help high school students take college classes while still in high school. He works with a great staff who know their jobs well, and everyone gets along. Mark went from supervising 14 to 5. His stress level is at an all-time low, something for which he's very grateful. Check out the GCC ACE Plus program on Facebook by logging into your Facebook and searching for "GCC ACE Plus."
September is apple picking time at the Date Creek Ranch, just north of Wickenburg, AZ. Mark, Dora, Wanda, Mike, and Taylor drove up to pick some apples and have some fun. On the way, we stopped to see a "forest" of Joshua trees. Though the "Pickins" were "Slim" we had much fun picking, and even more fun eating a picnic lunch in a Wickenburg park.
In October, our niece Taylor turned 16 (OMG!) and went to her first Homecoming Dance with her friends. Mark turned 52 (ye Gods Bob) and celebrated by going out to dinner with a birthday buddy - his friend Tom shares the same birthday. Here's the birthday couple and friends Tom and Lil.
We took advantage of the beautiful fall weather by taking a 2-day trip up to historic Route 66. Mike was away on business, so it was just Mark, Dora, Wanda, and Taylor on the trip. We hooked up with Route 66 in Kingman, AZ at the Route 66 historic museum. We started by superimposing the new onto the old . . . Taylor looks so cool in her shades. In the museum, we learned a lot about the history of Route 66 and we also goofed around and shopped for Route 66 memorabilia. Across the street is Mr. D's Diner, an authentic 1950's hamburger joint, where Mark got this great shot of Dora and Taylor. We drove east on Route 66 and saw some beautiful scenery along the way. In Peach Springs, we stopped at the Grand Canyon Caverns and Mark, Wanda, and Taylor took the walking tour. In Hackberry, we stopped at the historic Hackberry General Store, where everyone posed for photos, including Dora, Mark, and Mark and Dora. Taylor loved the historic cars, both old and very old. We ended the first day by stopping in Seligman to shop for more crap and have a malted at the Snowcap Malt Shop. On our drive back to Phoenix the next day, we stopped in Prescott to do still more shopping and experience the beautiful fall foliage.
We close out 2010 with a day trip we took to Show Low, AZ where Dora's cousin Cindy lives. Cindy's father, Uncle Holly, turned 80, so we went up to celebrate. We got to meet Ernie's (Cindy's husband) brothers and had fun eating, visiting, and throwing snowballs at each other. Here's a photo of the Clevinger family and one of Bill, Wanda, Dora, and Taylor. A rare sighting . . . Taylor and her cousin Taylor . . . two Taylors are always better than one!
And finally . . . Ruth has been busy scanning old Reed family photos, Dan has been putting them on his Facebook, and Mark has downloaded them and put together a little "Reed family photo scrabook" Powerpoint - if you're family, belong to the Reed, Yearian, Jones, or Stochl clan, or you'd like to see photos of Bob and Mary from the old days... please check it out at: http://www.markanddora.com/photo_album.ppt (may take a minute or so to download.
This just in, hot off the press... Ruth found a tiny little Kodak box with an 8mm tape in it when she was sorting through the Reed family treasures, had in converted and posted it to Youtube - here's a video of Mary Reed at age 17 on her high school graduation day in 1948, in Williamsburg, Iowa. How cool thanks Ruth! - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Chaw2NQjlk.
Well, that's our year in review. Hope your jaws aren't sore from yawning so much. Dora and I want you to know how much we love you and are glad that you're part of our lives. We KNOW you're having a wonderful holiday season and that your 2011 will be amazing! Stay in touch!
Mark and Dora