Merry Christmas 2009 and Happy New Year 2010

After last year’s event-packed schedule, we looked forward to a bit more of rest this year. Did we succeed? Read on!

Our year-end trip of 2008 took us on a weeklong tour of twelve states, one province and the nation’s capital. Flying from San Francisco to Washington, DC on Christmas night, we arrived in DC at 6 AM, nearly 24 hours after awakening the day before. A quick nap? Not a chance! We drove on to Elizabeth, New Jersey, driving through parts of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware along the way. We enjoyed a great meal at a local Italian restaurant in Elizabeth, and hit the sack at 9 PM ET, after being up for 36 hours.

The following day took us into New York City, then on through Connecticut and spending the night in Providence, Rhode Island, a few blocks from the capitol building. Our third day saw us in Boston to visit with an old friend, then on to Portland, Maine, making a stop in New Hampshire along the way. Returning to New Hampshire the following day, we continued on through Vermont, and crossed over the Canadian border to settle in a cold Montreal for the night. From Montreal, we traveled to Albany, NY, and stayed within view of that state’s capitol building as well. We woke in Albany to a layer of fresh-fallen snow and temps in the ‘teens, and drove on to Philadelphia, PA (spending the night across the river in Cherry Hill, NJ) to attend a New Year’s Eve party and concert featuring (no surprise here) Todd Rundgren.

Our final day on the East Coast saw us driving from Cherry Hill back to DC, to spend a few hours on New Year’s Day in the nation’s capital. We flew back to San Francisco, spent the night and drove back home on January 2. Overall, 6,000 miles of flight, 1,600 miles of driving, 9 days of travel. It was a very enjoyable time.

February saw worker furloughs twice a month for Roger (expanding to three days a month in July), which continued throughout the year. Rather than look at the downside (a 15% cut in pay) Roger chose to look at opportunities for taking care of the yard, and taking short day trips on days that Cece was also off from work during her vacations.

In April, we traveled to Southern California for a few days to enjoy some time at Disneyland during Cece’s spring break. Once home, we began preparing for a major landscaping job in our back yard, and after about five weeks of work by a professional landscaping crew, our yard was transformed, with 900 square feet of additional concrete decking around the pool, six yards of topsoil, five hundred pounds of boulders, sixteen yards of shredded redwood bark, 30 feet of additional retaining wall, a horseshoe pit, well over one hundred new plants, meandering paths, a sundial garden and a beautiful park-like atmosphere. Even our vegetable garden was full of bounty. We took no vacation during the summer, opting to spend time in our new paradise. We purchased additional outdoor furniture, hosted a Father’s Day barbecue and celebrated in July with a “yardwarming” party with family and friends.

In August, The Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre featured two monologues written by Roger. It was fun to see those performed, among other works by other members of the playwright’s workshop. August also saw Cece and Roger hosting ToddFest/West 12 in their new yard. By this time, they were also planning another trip, this time to Akron, OH, to see the world premiere of a Labor Day weekend performance of “A Wizard, A True Star” by Todd Rundgren, a live concert of his 1973 album. About 2,500 fans from all over the world and several countries attended the three-day event, which included a party, two nights of concert and a trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Roger and Cece also took time out during their weekend to visit Roger’s niece Katie and her husband Ben.

The final major trip of the year was a short early-December tour of Todd Rundgren dates throughout California, seeing concerts in San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Ventura. Once again, it was a lot of fun meeting up with fans that traveled from all over the country and enjoying four spectacular performances.

There was some non-Rundgren concert activity during the year as well. We attended concerts by Rod Stewart, Adrian Bourgeois, Autumn Sky, Matt Bolton and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. We also took in several plays at the Thistle Dew Dessert Theatre.

Roger was presented a ten-year volunteer award by the local blood bank, accepted the position of Blood Drive Chairperson for the Department of Water Resources, and donated his 120th unit of whole blood (15 gallons). He took over the position of Praise Band Director at Ascension Lutheran Church where he also played guitar in the Praise Band. He was elected as the VP Education for his local toastmasters club, and will begin serving in that office in January. He also walks up to twenty miles a week during his lunch hour, and posts his walking maps on his Facebook page.

Cece continued to work in her position at Wilson Riles Middle School, but her greatest joy of the year was discovering that she would be a grandmother in April of next year, when Matthew and Katherine are expecting their first child (Roger is pretty happy about that, too.) Cece was even more delighted when she discovered a few weeks later that our first grandchild would be a granddaughter. She couldn’t wait to begin shopping for baby clothes and toys, and will be hosting a baby shower in the next few months. She also hosted two Bunco gatherings at our home. Cece works out five days a week at Curves and also enjoys walking. She sometimes is joined by Roger on a nice evening or weekend walk in the neighborhood.

Brad was laid off his new job at Tre just before Christmas last year, but found a job at a newly built McCormick and Schmick’s, which opened in Roseville in January. Then Tre rehired Brad on a part-time basis for a few weeks, only to shut its doors, leaving Brad laid off once again. Brad continues to work at McCormick and Schmick’s as a dishwasher.

Here’s hoping you all enjoy a great Christmas and New Year’s, and if we slow down next year, perhaps our letter won’t be as long.

Roger, Cece and Brad