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Christmas Letters


I used to write Christmas letters and put them in the Christmas cards we sent out.  A few years ago we picked up the Scrooge Attitude that the cost of all those damn cards was out of line.  Not that we couldn’t afford it, just that it was such a waste to put it all together and send them out – wasted paper, wasted time, wasted costs, etc.  When we were sure that everyone else, just like us would have to throw all that “Waste paper” out when you didn’t have room for it anymore… Well so much for the explanation of our Scrooge Attitude.

Play me while you read 

Just hit the > to play

Year 2016

Yes, I am way late with this year’s update.   We have been way too busy for retired folks here.

In January Sherrie was still working and I was home husband.  Doing all this things that needed doing , you know, cook (once in awhile} laundry, etc.  Mostly I played Ham Radio and finished up a big award.  I completed the 9 Band worked all States.  According to my plaque there are only about 3500 that have accomplished the 5band WAS and I added in all the new bands and 160 meters… I know it doesn’t mean anything to non-hams but it is a big accomplishment to just get WAS on 160 meters… But here is the plaque with all the extra bands…

new-awards/

In between all this we were making monthly trips out to help with GS#3 and fill in for GS#1 and 2 when their parents needed to make trips… lets just asy were were busy… check out the archives for March and April… and May…

In late May we loaded up the motor home and just went out to Colorado for the summer.  Thanks to my sister for having a great place to park it with all the needed hookup’s.  Then things went crazy… My son’s wife decided she needed someone else and asked for a divorce and that tore up the family pretty bad.  We were making trips to help son with his needs and filling in with the other grand kids as well all summer long.  In the same time we were looking for a place in Colorado as Grandma figured she needed to be much closer to those little guys so she could get her fix weekly.  It was amazing looking for a new place as we couldn’t find much of anything that was quality.  There was a lot of way overpriced old homes around that needed to be rebuilt to make them reasonably livable.  We only made it back to Oklahoma about 3 times during the summer, which was good as we didn’t have to suffer all the heat.  We attended a lot of free music in the park events and a few other seasonal things.

In September we finally found a couple of decent houses.  found one that would fill in nicely and was solidly built so we made offers and ended up with a a Colorado home.  Although it took 2 months for all the paper work to get cone we moved in the day before Thanksgiving.   So moving in, having a big meal and all the Colorado family in… whew what a deal

TDay in the new house

Then a few days later we were again setting or rather rushing things around to make sure GS#1 and GS#2 made it to all scheduled appointments while their parents were out in Las Vega for a week… that was a wearing week and shortly after we had to go back to the Oklahoma house to make sure we were far enough away to get some rest… But then it was back to Colorado and get through Christmas.

So our year as been good and bad with Sherrie retiring in late January we thoght we had it made then things changed and it all went upside down and we have been way too busy for retired folks since.    I just hope that everyone else has had a good year with some good things happening to them and we all wish you the best for the coming year.

Year – 2015

Amazing how fast things move along and how quick we forget or neglect some things, like updating this letter.   Happily I am still on the retirement job.   It has been amazing how quickly I have forgotten work, the problems, the pains, etc… well not all the pains.   I focused early in the year on my radio habit and Grandma focused on getting me to drive her out to babysit several weekends (long drives out to Colorado Springs but was worth the trips…

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/01/04/babysitting-and-prep-for-home/

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/02/14/i-was-sick/

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/01/25/birthdays-and-grandsons/

although, not all Grandsons visits were trips for us… they came to see us several times… These are why we travel and are happy to do it..

GS #1 and #2

GS #1 and #2

GS#3

GS#3

 

 

I also spent a lot of time getting through some old pictures and making digital backup copies for family things.  We had some really old stuff hidden in the boxes… I then posted my senior class pictures…

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/03/05/senior-pictures-from-my-69-year-book/

With Sherrie still working we didn’t venture out much… other than the Grandson trips, as necessary.  I worked on the yard, and various other things around the house as well as my beer can pieces… made several wind spinners and learned how to make some humming bird pieces with spinning wings…

 

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http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/05/05/oh-mayo-cinco-again/

those were fun… and spent some time on a few more airplanes… I am sure slow…

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Our summer vacation was the Alaska Cruise… early in July so we could have very long days and see more stuff… it was sure fun and we saw things that were amazing… more whales, Giant glaciers, old towns, and plenty of other things… I would do the Alaska cruise again… you can catch all the posts on that here:

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/07/18/july-9thalaska-cruise/

Starts here and goes for 10 days or so… lots of pictures in there.  If course if you just want pictures… I put them up for everyone to see here: http://ishmaels.net/blog/2015/07/23/alaska-cruise-albums/

go through the links and they should all come up…

We pretty much just stayed home most of the rest of the summer into fall… with a birthday trip for GS#3 and various other small trips in-between…   I had some bad luck… got a lightning strike that wiped out my radio stuff… although it was easily replaced and fortunate that my grounding worked to prevent bigger damage, like fires and building damage.  It took me several months to get things working again but I am back on and doing my best to catch that last state on 160 meters… I did some work on the antennas, extended one and repaired several and other than that I do what retired folks do… not much that can be written about… good, call my own shots, daily living…

About the middle of September we gave up and figured we should “redo” the kitchen.  We had some floor tile coming loose and never really like the island so it was time to get it done in a more “useful” and better built method…, first up we had to pick out some granite, lay out some island plans, pick out some tile for the floor and a few other things… the marble that was picked is similar but a bit less colorful that the marble tiles we had before and the floor

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well that is substantially different…  I just realized we spent the whole fall getting this done… started the search for granite in September (late) and here it is mid-December and still not totally done… but hopefully it will be somewhat nicer than the previous setup?  Or at least a bit more likeable.

Sherrie was going to retire in July last summer but when she found her current spot in Engineering and they were so nice to her she opted to stay till January 2016… so in a few more weeks she will be fully retired and then?  We will be substantially broke and may get a bit on each others nerves?  Not really… I think it will be ok, I spend much of my time out in my shop/radio shack working on beer can items and the radio and ?? what ever and she can do knitting from daylight to dark most days and sometimes never knows when I come through the housoe… We probably will be spending more time traveling to see Grandsons and going places we haven’t been yet… I am really ready to get the motor home out for some extended trips… for sure most of the summer will be spent out looking for cooler spots to be…

Sherries Dad made it to 90 years and at present will make 100… We celebrated his birthday and his coming 65th wedding Anniversary In October..

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Sean and Amy and GS#1 and #2 are still in Frisco, TX… doing ok… we did have to make a trip down when Amy had a little procedure for some liver growths and it appears that procedure has done some good… GS#1 is still into the advanced learning stuff, building robots, wanting to rewrite game software (he is 9) so he can do better or design his own games…They made a trip out skiing a few weeks ago and reports from his Dad was that the adults couldn’t keep up… I remember that… some 9 year old girl was zipping and going places her dad and I could only dream of going… but at that age, fear is much less, they are a bit closer to the ground and weight is not a big speed push… seems 9 year olds can point it downhill and never really be out of control…  GS#2 is into everything… hey he is 2… learning to talk (which may be a bad thing?  From all reports he loves it outside and would rather be out than in most of the time…

Ryan and Brooke are enjoying life back in Colorado… I think we may have engrained Ryan and Amy a bit too much with our love of being out there and since they were born there, they both think that is where they need to be… Brooke is nursing and says she loves it… takes special people to be a nurse… I am not much on being with sick people… Ryan opted to stay home with GS#3 for a few months till he gets to a better age for pre-schools and such as finding competent and trusted day care is really hard, and double that with people that work 12 hour shifts??? GS#3 has got to be the happiest little one we have ever seen… never see him when he isn’t happy or totally content doing his own thing… Hummm, another Colorado native…

So this year I don’t have much to put in for the Christmas letter… most of it has already been posted on the blog, so go back and check things there… It is a wonderful time of year… love, life and family surround us, my wish is for it to surround a few more in this world.  Merry Christmas to all and may we all have Happy Holidays.

 

Year – 2014

 

Well, it is the end of the year 2014 and many things have happened.  I had told them  I would retire at the end of 2013 but things kept coming up that needed done and I was asked or I delayed my retirement until April 1.  Wanted it to be a Foolish move if it didn’t work out… So far… no fooling it is great.

I began my year with a New Years Eve purchase… We had gone to order a new Jeep and just happens that someone was trading one in that was almost identical to what I was going to order… It had all of 2300 miles on it and a huge discount off new price.  They even gave me top dollar for my old jeep so we drove the new one home New Years Eve…

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Of course it needed a few things so over the month I got hitches and antennas and other things on it but sure was nice compared to the 15 year old one I had… figure if this one lasts me 15 years I won’t need another jeep?  or maybe?

The year didn’t start so great.  My sisters husband had been stricken with cancer for some years but had fought it off until the last round attacked his pancreas.  The time came fast once it got to that point and we lost him in January.  We had all been out in late December to visit for Christmas but we no sooner got home and resumed activities that we were headed back out for the memorial.   The weather was not bad when we went out.

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But on the way home we got to remember how blizzard driving in Eastern Colorado  was..  haven’t done that in a long time.

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Before leaving Colorado this time we were informed we would be Grandparents again… for awhile we figured we moght have none or just one now we are looking at 3 or more…

For the next few months I spent more time playing Ham radio than actual work, (hey it was cold outside still) although work got in the way several times and I had to make a trip to Duncan and Houston… nothing exotic like last years travels… Finally the day came and I packed up all my company stuff and sent it in… Just like Alka-seltzer… “What a relief it is”… From April 1 I was focused on my stuff to get done and found that I had saved back a hell of a lot of stuff that needed fixing or doing?  What gives with that… when your working you can keep putting things off and pick what is important to get done… when your newly retired you look at it like… hell I put all that stuff off and now I have to get it done… That idea fades after awhile but I still have way more to do than I have time to get it done… but I am learning how to put it all off again in a new mode.

Sherrie is putting up with my retirement ok, because she is not yet retired.  She still has about 6 months to go before she can get full retirement qualification and you can bet that she will be retired by July 1… or as close there after as they allow it. Then we will be two wore out people… ha!  We do plan a cruise for next summer (Alaska) to celebrate that occasion…

The yearly weather was a bit strange here.  In April we had one day of 85 and snow the next???   Not to mention the earth has been moving a lot here in Oklahoma.  They claim it is from Fracking but they confuse the idea of fracking with the new drilling techniques (horizontal drilling) and the past injection of massive amounts of produced waste water into the lower zones that more than likely is way more influential to the multiple earth quakes than the fracking… but once people grab a new term they apply it to all their problems.  But we have had a lot of earthquakes so they want to stop all fracking… but none of them have quit driving, or turned off their electric or quit complaining about high energy costs… ?

Most of the rest of my year has been just doing things around home that I had not done before… but I also have gotten a lot more into my radio hobby… it is more like it was in the 70’s when I was very active.  The first weekend of May I made the Pawnee Steam show again this year as a volunteer… we did better this year at getting people in quickly (had more help)…

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/05/04/i-saw-rooster/

Our big trip this year… we went to Scotland.  My sister mentioned she was going and Sherrie said she wanted to go so we put in and then her sister wanted to go so we all went and took a tour of Scotland.  I had been to a lot of the places but nothing like the tourist side of things.  It was fun, interesting and tiring…

Most of it can be caught up here: http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/06/12/scotland-day-1/

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/06/12/scotland-day2/  and succeeding posts (with pictures of course).

When we got home from Scotland I got sick… lingering cold, drawn down, etc.  Took over a week to break it and more than two weeks to get back to a more normal feeling…

We spent much of the summer at home, although we did make another trip out to Colorado Springs in late June.

We attended the Payne County Fair in September, Sherrie entered another knitting project but was not as successful as last year… we think mostly due to the fact it didn’t have a lot of color contrast?  Anyway we also attended the Cowboy Poetry/Music session at the fair… which was interesting and very good..

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/08/30/fair-poetry-and-games/

We then made another trip out to Colorado Springs to deliver a lot more of their stuff to them and see the new house.

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/09/28/

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/09/29/big-burrito-and-color/

Mostly this trip was to see the new #3 Grandson…Born on September 9th, now we have 3 Grandsons and no girls and not sure if we will have a Granddaughter… who knows?

We made it to all the home Football games, and most of the BB games so far… enjoying the things we have and the family as well… We just returned from a short trip out to Colorado again (We are begining to have the road memorized) to celebrate Thanksgiving with all our family… the ones From Frisco made it up for a weeks vacation and we drove out Thursday and came home Sunday… good trip, tired but for family it was worth it…

http://ishmaels.net/blog/2014/11/28/no-it-wasnt-the-real-t-day-but-i-ate-too-much/

Here are our major reason for traveling out so many times:

Grandson #1

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Grandson#2 (who is just barely over 1yr old now and we made it to his birthday in Frisco a few weeks ago..

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And Grandson #3… almost 3 months old here.

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I have told Grandma that the boys don’t need Santa Claus, cause they got Grandma… just about everywhere we go… “oh that is real cute and “” would enjoy that or would look good on him…

So with that we have more shopping to do before the holiday gets here and I am betting we make a trip to Frisco and CSprings before the year ends…

With that, I wish all of you that took the time to fight through this letter Happy Holidays… hope you had a great Thanksgiving and will have a great Christmas and remember that this time of year is all about family.  Too soon they go their own way, or leave for a different life so we have to enjoy what we have, when we have it… till next year… God Bless.

Just hit the > to play

 Year – 2013

 

Well another year has come and almost gone.  We started the year with high hopes of good things to come.  I started warning the people at work that it would be my last year.  It was going to be but looks like I may stretch things into the first quarter of 2014.  I would have taken early retirement in August but they didn’t offer enough to end the year out so I opted to stay with it and now, I am begging for them to come offer me a package to get out.  No matter what you want they will find ways to not let you have it.

In the first part of the year, nothing big happened.  At least nothing that I can remember.  We were adjusting to not having Dad around and still working.  I did make a few trips out of the country this year.  Was in

Canada… In February of all times to be there?

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and people were jumping in the water, after they cut out a big hole in the ice!!!!  NOT ME!

 

Venezuela,

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They have a vast array of Old Cars

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Road-side stands for everything…

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I experienced some different foods (sweet corn pancake with a semi soft cheese)

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And some ???? advertising (it was a clothing store in the mall).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand

Where I had to take “survival training”?

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But we didn’t go out on that ship…

 

 

 

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More ? exotic foods?                                      

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And Temples

 

 

 

 

 

Mexico,

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Colorful houses…

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Group Taxi’s

 

 

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Unique artists…

 

West Texas… you know that is a whole other country (according to their own advertisements).

 

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Along with several US locations, including a trip offshore and some fine food in Louisiana…

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It was in the spring we got the word that we would be grandparents again… actually on April 1st… so it came out that it was a fools joke, then turned out to be a truth… !

While we waited on that event we did get to attend some more graduation exercises (pictures)… both Ryan and Brooke got to graduate from Radiation Tech and Nursing school… so we have a Registered Nurse and a Picture taker(aiming for Medical Assistant) in the family now… I sure was glad to get them out , again, and I bet they were too as I know I can really wear on people… ha!

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They finished up all the testing and both passed the final exams and got their respective certifications.  They promptly picked up and moved to Colorado Springs and both have jobs out there and enjoy living there… they say they like their jobs but it is work and how can you truly like work?  I don’t, but I have been doing it a wholelot longer…

Sherrie is still working and in order to qualify for her retirement she has another year+ to put in… She threatens to quit every month but stays.. It has been a real problem.  My work is such that my time off does not work well with when her boss will let her of so we have not had a real vacation in over 2 years, we plan to remedy that this spring and start taking our time away.  We do visit her parents when we can as they are the remaining members of our collective older generation.  It is different times now.  We used to have big family gatherings both her’s and mine when our grandmothers were alive, but now that gathering has diminished and we seldom see some of the extended families.

Sherrie has been really intent on knitting stuff. this year  It is her focused hobby now.  Just like me she gravitated from one to the other.  She works on it pretty constant now, every free minute is used up knitting.  She is making stuff for others all the time.  I can relate to having that other thing to do that distracts you from work.  I get totally involved in my Ham radio and loose track of time and other stuff (well some of that is Old-timers, you know when you get to a point you only remember some of the stuff some of the time?), .  I have been asked a lot lately , “what will you do when you retire?”   They just don’t understand that when you have several hobbies that you could do full time, work is not the focus for me that it is for them. If you want to know what Sherrie is making, ask here on Facebook, she will send pictures… Lots of lots of baby stuff… which brings me to November 4th…

Luke was born on that day (picture)… he was really small as he came a bit early due to required C-section delivery.  He is doing well now, but still a bit small and catching up… Big brother Ethan is really involved in taking care of Luke as well…

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So, the year came and went, we made a few new friends, met up with a lot of old ones, didn’t get to go on vacation but I traveled more than I wanted… just hate those long plane rides.  The family has grown, we are happy and expecting to take more time away in the near future.  We are happy here in Stillwater and do attend a lot of the events here, as much as we can since we are so close it is good entertainment at a good price.

To that end, we wish everyone a very merry Christmas.  Please try to remember the reason for it all.  We also wish you all a Happy New Year and may you all be as happy as we have been… and look forward to the new years events.

 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Year – 2012

This year has been another one of those that just got away.  All the things we planned were usually changed before they came to fruit.

Ryan and Brooke are still in Nursing.  Well Ryan is working on Radiation Tech.  He will be the picture guy zapping you with radiation to show the Doctor what your insides look like.  One thing I can say about the school he is in, is they sure make them do a lot of practice.  He does several days a week of working on different clinics, hospitals and such taking pictures.  Brooke is working to be an RN.  I sure hope that gets them good paying jobs so I can live like they did…

Sean and Amy are still in Frisco and as normal Sean is working several jobs at once.  Running or partnered in several software ventures.  Amy is having to work for him to keep things from running over the top in one business.  Ethan is in school and seems to really like it.  In fact he hates to have out of school days.  I am sure he is not from my side of the family as I hated school when I had to go and was always looking for days to get out.

Sherrie is still working at OSU in the nutrition department.  Needs a couple more years to retire.  We both wish to be retired now but didn’t make all the right decisions early when we were having fun.  I am still working for Halliburton – rather Boots and Coots a part of Halliburton.  My job changed last year and this year I spent a lot of time travelling all over.  Before I had a good rotation of one month away and one month at home.  This year it was supposed to be 2 weeks out and 2 weeks at home but the 2 at home has turned into mostly work days to get the reports done from the 2 weeks out and get ready for the next 2 weeks out.  So far this year I have been in Houma,La., Oman, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Odessa, TX, Weston, WV, Homer City Pa., Canada, Back to Australia, Houston TX several times, Lafayette, LA, Kilgore, TX, etc… I am just over tired of all the travel.

In May I helped at the Pawnee Steam show... interesting

I also hit several car shows this year, as a spectator… would like to have a car but not in the finances…

1.  Kicker car show here in Stillwater.

2. Show in Perry, OK… on way to visit Dad one morning.

3. HotRod Power tour came through Stillwater...

The biggest thing this year was loosing Dad.  He passed away late in July.

sepia print motorcycle

 

I had spent much of my home time during the year helping him or getting over to see him.  He was in the Hospital 3 times this year and was just totally wore out.  We didn’t fully understand, but in the last few months and more especially the last few weeks he told us all that he had lived a good life and was ready to go.  In fact he had expressed a really strong desire that he missed Mom a lot and I had made the above picture for him as well as some others.

Ishmael_9610_5x7

 

I think he willed it to end as we had just gotten him out of the hospital in to rehab and the next day he gave it up.  We had a small graveside, which is what he wanted and we followed his wishes.

The rest of this year has been the issues of his estate and taking care of all those things one has to take care of while trying to maintain some interest in work and moving forward.  Right now we are working on plans for family meetings, maybe each summer we need to have a “board meeting” so we can still get together.

I won’t be putting in a lot of pictures this year but have linked several of my albums at Picasa for viewing.  You can check them by the links or in the blog as I have posted a lot of stuff.  I doubt that it is very interesting but it is a good diary for me to capture things that I remember or have seen that someday I may not remember… ha!

For those that are inclined, I do a little face book and do some blogging – the blog is for me mostly as I put in stuff about a number of subjects that I am following or doing at the time.   Sherrie is big into Facebook and checks it every day.  Me not so much.  You can search for us on Facebook or visit my eclectic blog at:  www.ishmaels.net/blog  the old web pages are still there and someday I may update some of them – www.ishmaels.net   all are linked back and forth and probably to these letters as I will make page of it and put in updates , when I remember.

http://ishmaels.net/blog/christmas-letters-and-such/

 

 

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This year I will attempt to write a letter but it will be posted on the internet for all to see and sent in an email to those that we know your email… for the rest – let us know your email or you may end up off the list.  This is a technology age we live in so get with the program.

Year – 2011

As a short catch up, since the last letter (last I can find is 2006).  Yes we lived in that trailer

for about 3 years.  I continued to work on the International rotation and sure got tired of it.  We built a house in Stillwater out west of town and then the city promptly annexed our addition shortly after we moved in.  We spent way too much building and will have to live here for 40 years to break even.  Not sure we can make it that long.  We moved in this new house in April 2008 and really like it.

 

Sure we see things we should have done different but for the most part it is nice to be at the edge of town, have a pond in the back yard and get to fish it some, have a shop big enough to park the motor home as well as a place for me to play with all my toys and leave them out so I don’t have to pick it all up or shut the door when company comes…

The greatest thing about it is the view from the back deck that runs the full length of the house.

 

Current and some last year stuff –  Ryan and Brooke moved back in with us as financially they could not hold on in the Dallas area and finding work or better paying work was not so good.  They are both studying nursing now so they can get work anywhere (we all hope) that pays better than what they had or didn’t have.  You can catch up with both of them on Facebook , just do a search for them by name.

We were really into travel in the fall of 2010.  In October we made it to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta.  I posted about it for the entire trip and it starts here:  Balloon Fiesta Vacation.  Just 2 months later we took the whole family on a cruise of the Caribbean and I posted that vacation starting here: Cruise the Eastern Caribbean.

Amy, Sean and Ethan are still in Frisco,TX. and doing well.  Amy is really into “beach body exercise” and has lost a lot of weight.  Thinner than she was in High School.  She is into Facebook and you can find here there search for Amy Ishmael Goodpasture.  Sean is also on Facebook.   Those will give you up-to-date pictures as they do post on a regular basis.  Ethan has started real school or at least Kindergarten and seems to really like it.  Although he has been going to school since he was 2 and in January he will be 6.

Sherrie is still working for OSU and likes it for the most part.   How can you like work when it is work?  We both would rather be retired and traveling in the Motor Home

but that is a ways off yet.  She gets  time off when she wants or needs it and no work on Holidays or long “payroll” days like the previous work at Halliburton.  She is also into Facebook and most of you are already friends so the rest better get on the stick or rather web and keep up.

Me, I am on my 7th or 8th redo with Halliburton. I was converted into Boots and Coots when Halliburton bought them.   I was working a rotation in Algeria, for the past 9 years, running a Training School for Customer Engineers – developing field supervisors – and had hopes of making 2 more but last summer just as I was ready to return to work they call and tell me not to come.  At that point I figured I had been early retired and started my search for something else but they called me back and I ended up with a new job as a Performance Development Coordinator – Service Quality Auditor.  Huge title but I travel way too much, go in and check work from all aspects, HSE, Management Systems and performance measures and identify things that need to be changed or fixed.  I report the problems I find to them and management and move on to the next spot.  It is supposed to be a short rotation job (2 weeks out, 2 to 5 days work at home on reports, 1 week off and repeat) it has been close so far but you always wonder about deals like this.

I still do Amateur Radio and play with computers.  I do a little Facebook and do some blogging – the blog is for me mostly as I put in stuff about a number of subjects that I am following or doing at the time.   You can search for me on Facebook or visit my eclectic blog at:  www.ishmaels.net/blog  the old web pages are still there and someday I may update some of them – www.ishmaels.net   all are linked back and forth and probably to this letter as I will make page of it, and put in updates , when I remember.  You can also leave comments here, which is better than before.

 

 

 

 


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