Greetings to all our friends and family. We are hoping to get our holiday missive out to you all during the holidays this year. We hope that this e-letter finds you well and happy.
For us the year has been very full and a little bitter sweet. We have lost several friends this year (our age) to cancer, diabetes, and other health issues. We also lost 2 members of our incredibly small Berry/Bowman family - Victor Chaney (my first cousin's husband) and Dorothy (Dottie) Shipman (a 2nd cousin and the key Berry/Bowman family genealogist). This also means that Harold is the last of that generation - or so I thought. We also headed up to Alaska for a quick trip to see friends - our first since our friend up there had passed away.
As for the genealogy, I was contacted by a lady who is doing research for what turns out to be a cousin. My mother's (Meta) father's (Joe) mother's (Clara) father (Henry) was a brother to this lady's grandmother (Yetta). I dug out the material Dottie had sent me 10 years ago, and everything else I had collected, and we began an in depth correspondence. It has been fun and frustrating deciphering all the relationships and documents, but very fascinating. There is much more to do and I hope in 2008 to meet the present day Yetta.
April saw us heading off to England and Scotland for a bit over 3 weeks. Robin chronicles the trip a bit in her blog, if you want some details. The impetus for the trip was a class Robin wanted to take in Appleby, Cumbria with post class visit to lower Scotland. Also, since it has been 10 years since our honeymoon trip to England, visits to key museums were in order. We have grown so much in our understanding of medieval textiles, armor, and embroidery that it was time to see things with new eyes.
The first week was a bit frustrating - museums partially closed, etc. Perhaps one of the most fascinating part was a visit to Macclesfield's Silk Museum and former silk factory. We were very lucky and managed to have a guide who had actually worked in the factory as a boy. He demonstrated all the equipment including one of the 20+ jacquard looms for us. We saw so much that if we hadn't taken so many pictures this trip it would have been a blur.
Perhaps the one of the most different parts of the trip was a visit to the Falkirk Wheel - a devise used to circumvent 10+ locks and move boats up and down. We made some new friends who live(d) on a house boat, and traveled with friends pre and post class. Will drove and Robin "nagigated" (not a misspelling). We did do the requisite visit to Roselin Chapel but not because of the DaVinci Code. Will have to go back to England and Scotland as we only barely touched on what there was to see.
2007 was also a heavy embroidery and textile year for Robin. First with the class in the UK which was immediately followed by a visit with Jane Nicholas (a lovely, classy lady and the stumpwork embroidery guru). We had her as our house guest for about a week. Then Robin took what she learned from the braiding portion of the UK class and implemented it to make projects and even win a competition. The later part of the year included Robin doing a slide show presentation on the history of embroidery (the first of several scheduled for 2007/8) and giving a 3 day workshop on Crazy Quilting. This was immediately followed by a 2 week visit from Robin's needlework mentor and friend Linn Skinner. Linn taught 4 classes while she was here and now has Robin hooked on doing ATC's (Artist Trading Cards). The year also saw Robin finishing her last column in Needlepoint Now - after 3 years and 18 columns.
Robin continues on as ARD (Assistant Region Director) for the Golden Gate Region for the Embroiderers Guild of America. In February she will be giving a major training course for chapter officers; that she is creating. Then, if they still want her, she will step up as Region Director in October - for 2 years.
We continue to be involved in our medieval organization - Society for Creative Anachronism - Kingdom of the West. In addition, February had Will doing a talk at a gaming conference on black powder shooting to a very attentive audience. We also attended Erinwood again this year - a wonderful private tourney weekend. In October Will squired to Brion of Bellatrix. He continues to grow in his fighting abilities. Robin/Sabrina continues as head of the lace guild and gave classes in Reticella and Filet Lace this year. She has been asked to join as one of the first Queen's Artisans for the first part of next year - a very special honor.
This year also saw the demise of the MDX. Will details the auto accident here. Fortunately all parties walked away and Will only suffered minor (we hope) soft tissue damage and minor concussion. Yes we have a new MDX, but still....
We still have our 2 loving balls of fur - Pete and Pickwick. Pete is getting older (13), but still has the moves to keep his top cat position when Pickwick is feeling feisty. Pickwick turned 2, and developed asthma. He spent large portions of the year on pregnisone. Every time we took him off, he had an attack about a month later. We are now trying Aerocat - an inhaller system instead of pills.
We had 2 big house projects this year. We painted the house outside. Whew! The hard part was choosing a color scheme. The original color was only tolerated. We also have worked very hard on reducing the stuff from the estates. About 6 - 7 dozen boxes of stuff have gone away through various sales/gift methods and some of the furniture. This past week has been spent nearly emptying the larger (10'x20') of the 2 remaining storage lockers -- unfortunately into our garage. However this means it is closer to being sorted.
We kept our promise to ourselves to do a bit more culture and fun things -- Will's first and second operas - Der Rosencavalier and Magic Flute. We went to the pre-talk as well. Went to Kooza by Cirque du Soliel and Trans-Siberian Orchestra while Linn was here. We are off to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company this weekend with some friends.
Will is working hard on a big project at work. He is now a team leader which unfortunately means more meetings and less time coding (which he likes). Robin still does a bit of arbitration (10-12 cases a year are on her docket). Mostly Robin spends her time on teaching, genealogy, organization, and going through stuff -- with a bit of textile and embroidery fun thrown in to keep things interesting. Robin refuses to call it semi-retirement!
We hope your 2008 is fun and healthy.