As 2019 ends, and 2020 approaches, I have to say that it was a pretty fine year for our little family (Me, Hubby, and Kitty). There were no disasters, no serious illnesses, only a few bumps in the road. Our Country has been wracked and torn by the disgusting DemocRATS impeaching President Trump, but he has not let it stop him from governing well in the meantime.
Month by Month…
Not much going on in January. Early in the month, we went to the Seattle Athletic Club, where Hubby plays squash, to watch exhibition matches with some professional players. Some of it was good fun, as world-renowned players played doubles on the big, glass court. They were intentionally tripping over each other, missing shots, and getting in some good laughs.
If you have never watched a real professional squash match, I urge you to go over to your favorite video site and search on pro squash. They are very exciting and fast-paced.
February was a busy month for us. Early in the month, we got some snow up in our home of Everett, Washington (not that common an occurrence), and our backyard looked like a winter wonderland for awhile. Our local birds were happy to take advantage of our seed and suet feeders. Here’s one of our Varied Thrushes.
Later in the month, we went down to Southern California for a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar, which has already been documented here on Calling-all-RushBabes. It was a wonderful trip, and we were thrilled to be able to meet some well-known Conservatives. We also confirmed that we will be endowing a Hillsdale scholarship. From this year on, all of our donations will be credited to our scholarship (for a music student). We are pleased as punch to be able to do this.
My Age started to affect things this year, as in October I turned 70-1/2, which means I have to start taking Required Minimum Distributions from my Traditional IRA account. My account is with Vanguard, and they do make it very simple to set them up. I had decided a while ago to dedicate that money to Hillsdale donations, and I did that in May and November this year. Of course, the College was happy to receive the donations, and they will fund our endowed scholarship.
March was a pretty uneventful month, with no big trips or happenings. We did drive up to the Skagit Valley to see the scenery. It was too early for the tulips, but the daffodils were already blooming. It’s only about an hour drive from our house, so we make the trip often.
April, on the other hand, was full of interesting happenings. For a few months, we had been noticing that our water bills had been increasing, and we didn’t know why. Well, we finally called a plumber, and they discovered that we had a broken water pipe in our front yard that was making a lake near the side of our house! So, on a rainy day, they came out, dug up the yard, and discovered the broken pipe.
See the bend in the pipe (vertical)? Here is what the yard looked like:
However, when he was through, the plumber replaced the dirt and sod, and the yard looked almost untouched. We were grateful.
I turned 70 years old this year! I don’t feel that old, and I’m still working more than full-time and liking it. And, as a 70th birthday present to myself, I purchased my very first smartphone, an iPhone 10R. I am liking it a lot, especially the camera. It takes wonderful video, and it’s now my primary video recorder.
April is the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, and we went back up there to see the flowers.
In May, I took my solo trip to the Olympic Peninsula, also already documented here. It was a great time to get away and unwind from all the stress at work. [I just looked at my final paycheck for the year, and I worked 383 hours of overtime in 2019!] I got some excellent photos, and enjoyed the relaxation.
In June, as usual we went to Leavenworth for the Accordion Celebration. Leavenworth never changes much, and the music was fun, and the kids cute, as usual. We love the drive there, too.
In July, we again took a day trip up the North Cascades Highway, to the Diablo Overlook. That is always a fun drive, and we still marvel at the blue-green water in the glacial-fed lake.
At the end of the month, for the finale of the Seattle Chamber Music Festival, I got to play with the Festival musicians at the Outdoor Concert. It was a thrill to play with Amy Schwartz Moretti in the Second Violin section, playing the Elgar Serenade for Strings.
In August, we went to a party at my cousin’s house, to celebrate the birthday of his son’s daughter. We had not seen the son in many years, and had never met his wife. It was a nice party, attended by my sister, my nephew, and my great-niece too. Later, we took another fun trip down to Tumwater Falls Park in Olympia. That park never loses its fascination for us, and I understand why that was one of Hubby’s favorite places before we knew each other.
September was another busy month for me. We took a trip to the Puyallup Fair, which I already documented here with numerous pictures. Even at our advanced age, we love going to the fair!
Later, I had a very pleasant dinner with my sister, and our cousin from Portland. When I thought about it, I had not seen her for over twenty years! It was wonderful to get caught up on what we had all been doing for such a long time. I sure hope it won’t be another 20 years until we see each other again.
At the end of the month, I went, with my violin, to the 30th Anniversary celebration for Music Center of the Northwest. I was on the original Board of that community music school in Seattle, and it was fun to catch up with all the former board members, and hear about what had been going on at the center. They also scheduled a reunion of Hildman Strings, the string orchestra whose leader was the driving force behind Music Center. We played together again, and didn’t do too badly for a pickup group!
October was a momentous month for us. For the first week, we flew back to Michigan for the 175th Anniversary celebration at Hillsdale College (see my post). They dedicated the new Christ Chapel, and we got to hear Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speak at the dedication ceremony.
We also celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary in October, with a nice dinner at the Metropolitan Grill in Seattle. I just had to take a picture of a page in the menu, describing the various varieties of Wagyu beef they serve there. Having seen a picture of a slab of Wagyu, I certainly would not be interested in eating any, since it looks like it’s at least 50% fat!
Just look at those prices!
In November, we celebrated our first Thanksgiving since our marriage, alone. I have been basically drummed out of the family, based on the content here on my blog that my sister objects to. So we went to a nice dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Bellevue, and didn’t have to worry about saying anything that would offend anyone.
And we made our excursion to Snoqualmie Falls, that I have already documented here.
I made a momentous decision in December, after I received a letter from my long-term-care insurance carrier. The letter informed me that, if I did nothing, my insurance premium would be increasing in January by 40%, and would go up by an additional 150% in the next five years. Well, that was the last straw. I decided that this would be throwing good money after bad, so I basically canceled my policy. The money that I have already paid in premiums (over $30,000) would still be there for me to draw on if necessary, but I will be paying no additional premiums. I made the decision to take the money I would have paid in premiums, and invest that money in my own account, to earn dividends until needed.
Hubby and I had a very much Christmas dinner at home. I made a boneless rib roast, and he made garlic mashed potatoes. We had a nice salad, and apple pie for dessert. I even got out the good china and Grandma’s silver plate. Here’s our table:
The day after Christmas, we did the University Unitarian Church full-length sing-along, play-along Messiah. I played first violin, and Hubby sang. It was wonderful, as always. This year was the fiftieth year the church has been doing this, so the conductor appeared as the Composer! Cute, but she said the getup was really hot!
The remodeled sanctuary was beautiful, and we got nice padded chairs! The choir sang very well, and we in the orchestra were proud to be playing for them. It was a great ending to a good year. Oh, one more thing… This is a Unitarian Church, which is as far Left as you can possibly be and still be a religion. Here is a sign outside the rest room.
We are both in aerospace, and get the time between Christmas and New Years off. This year, we saw three movies in our weeks off. We saw the new Star Wars movie, Richard Jewell, and Ford Vs. Ferrari. That’s more movies than we normally see in six months! And we enjoyed them all.
Also this year, we followed the case of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, which was grounded for much of the year, after two fatal crashes in Asia and Africa. This incident brought opprobrium to Hubby’s employer, and my company’s biggest customer, and we winced every time new bad news was received. This issue will carry into the new year of 2020, and promises to be uncomfortable for everyone.
Now, as the old year winds down, I would like to express gratitude for all the good things that have come our way this year. I earned a very nice salary, was able to put away a rather large sum in my retirement accounts, and benefited from a rising stock market all year. Hubby and I have been healthy, except for my cancer scare (also documented here) in the fall. We are incredibly fortunate not to have had any major problems this year, and we thank God for our lives, and our friends, and our colleagues. We are big supporters of our President Donald Trump, and wish him and his family a good new year. I would also like to thank all of my loyal followers and commenters, here on my blog.
Onward to 2020! Happy New Year to all!