Eileen gets home from Amsterdam only to discover 2 days later that she has COVID. This means all the doctor visits and surgeries she had scheduled for December had to be rescheduled to January. So the following 2 weeks were the usual isolation (or at least distancing) and hoping I didn't catch it... again.
For Christmas, both our "free-range" adult kids came to visit. It'd been a while since we were together for any reason. We went out for Chinese at a place we'd never been, Peter Chang's in McLean. Definitely going back there! Super good food and not overpriced at all.
Eileen traveled to Amsterdam with her good friend, Deb, whose cousin happens to live there. Deb had a ticket leftover from last year when she was unable to travel with her husband, Charles, who had a speaking engagement there.
Eileen traveled to London to visit our au pair from 1998-99, Lea (Nomme) Last. Lea is now married and has a son. She works as an insurance underwriter in the aerospace industry. Go figure.
Eileen and Bruce had not been on a river cruise since 2021, when they cruised the Rhone in France. This month, they visited Portugal and cruised the Douro River after staying a few nights in both Lisbon and Porto. Oh, the wine and food!. Click here to see the photos from that trip.
Andrew and Newt began planning their next relocation. The original plan was for them to move in with us until they found an affordable apartment with more space. To that end, we began the house decluttering process and relocated Bruce's office to Rachel's old room to free-up the basement office for them to use. Meanwhile, Andrew & the kitties ended up moving in a month early. They eventually did find a better place and so never had to move in with us. In the process, we also acquired new furniture for our living room and bought new window shades to protect it.
Bruce finally got access to the fitness facility at work and was able to resume riding his bicycle to work. The trip is 1.5 miles further than before (total 11 miles each way).
Coming as soon as I can remember what happened...
The plan was for Eileen and Bruce to meet at Claude Moore Regional Park for a picnic lunch. When we arrived, the familiar entrance was blocked, allowing only vendors to enter. Vendors for what? We had to find another entrance, which we did after a few U-turns. Once in the park we discovered that the event happening starting at noon was the (now annual) Loudoun County Pride Festival. So, we went in.
Our au pair who lived with us in 1998-99 when we had our current house built, Lea (Nomme) Last, has been coming to the DC area occasionally for the past year or so. She ended up working as a broker for selling insurance for space vehicles. What are the chances?! Indeed, last year we met up where I work. Her team was astonished how I walked into the lobby and immediate big hugs ensued. Her visit this month happened on Bruce's birthday, and their lunch together (with Eileen) was the highlight of his day.
For our visit with Rachel this month, we booked a oceanview hotel room at Virginia Beach on Mothers Day weekend. It was like a 3-day mini-vacation. Rachel was in great spirits, we went to some excellent eateries, and the view and ocean breeze from our hotel room balcony really made for an enjoyable trip.
Bruce got involved with yet another website project. This time it was with Eileen's hometown, Hicksville, Long Island NY. The site had been created and maintained for over 20 years by a dedicated Hicksville High School alum who passed away early this year. Of course, Bruce turned the new team onto Joomla, which has been overwhelmingly accepted as the new platform. The previous site was done in raw HTML using Microsoft Frontpage. The new system has a learning curve for the new team, but they are catching on quickly.
Eileen and Bruce did a day trip to Baltimore's "Fells Point" to have breakfast at The Blue Moon Cafe. The first and only other time they dined there was, they think, around 2008 when they met their first "official" au pair, Bodil (Groop) Daunfelt, for brunch. Being there again brought back very fond memories of Bodil's year being part of our family. We still love her dearly and hope to see her again sometime.
Bruce signed up for a couple of wellness programs through work. One will help him better manage his diabetes through proper diet and exercise while the other works on his physical flexibility. This is intended to help him get back on the bike for longer rides, such as commuting to work.
Bruce transitioned to a new project at work while he continues to support the previous one part time. The new project is called "HALO" (Habitat And Logistics Outpost). It comprises a large inhabitable section of NASA's new "Gateway", which is a small space station that will orbit the moon and serve as a rendezvous point for "HLS" (Human Landing Systems) vehicles as well as a communication relay station. Bruce is providing software systems engineering to ensure the design meets NASA's requirements. Bruce's office moved off-campus to a nice lakeside location. He's hoping to be able to resume commuting by bicycle very soon.
Happy New Year!
The big news this month is that Eileen retired from AFPM. She now begins a new chapter of traveling, and spending. Hopefully, this period also included decluttering our house.