Pat and Clay Christmas Letter 2002

25 December 2002

First, we want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

In February, Bob and Kathy (our no. 2) became grand parents. Tina and Brian had sweet little Ashley out on Utah. Bob and Kathy went out for the big event and again later for a big vacation.

And all of this make Pat and Clay GREAT grand parents. That's what 7 kids and 14 grand kids will do for you.

Tina and Ashley got in later for photos (below).

In March, we were able to attend Clay's 50th high school reunion in Miami. Technically, he graduated from OCHS in Owensboro, KY but he went through grammar, middle and 3/4 high with the Miami bunch so felt close to them. There were 3 parties plus Mass and a visit to the school, Ss Peter & Paul that was a 1 through 12 then but now a middle school. It was real nice seeing the (really) old bunch. I acquired a lot of photos, made a browser presentation, burnt and mailed 20 copies to them. It had the then and now side by side photos so all can tell how we aged.

During the going part of the trip, we stopped at Brunswick GA to see Fr. Herb at his new assignment. We had a nice visit and a great fish dinner.

On the way back, we stopped overnight at Anastasia Island near St Augustine FL. It was on the list of our family get together. We liked it enough to recommend it for the Sept vacation.

In April, we went to Ken & Betty's in Rockwall TX for 2 weeks. Naturally, we did an overnight at a Vicksburg, MS casino.

Clay broke a tooth on some easter egg candy. It didn't hurt to eat and drink so he was able to wait until we got home.

We got to the Dallas Aborium. In spring in TX, it's warm and pretty.


In order to justify the new toy, one of our problems its that our video tapes deteriorate after 10 years, (even just stored). Ours are over 15 years old. So, after we got back, Clay got a new toy; a Sony 2MHz, with Giga Pockets (RX-680G) which will bring in VHS video tape stuff and after 12 hours of encoding and editing produces a DVD disk. It was a learning effort. So a sizable project of conversion was to be done.

The first effort was to convert all of his airplane videos and stills to DVD. He used text buttons for the first page. The next effort was with Mark putting their wedding videos on a DVD. Here they used picture icons for the selection button. The pictures came from the first frame of the clip. It sure is a neat way to find the clip you want to see. One of the best things it that you get edit and cut out the really bad sections you recorded. Then he began the big effort. First was getting the 3 week north-west trip with 2100 shots on the DVD followed by 12 DVDs with about a dozen videos containing 4,000 feet of old 8mm copies, about 6,500 35mm slides and our early video events. He still has about a dozen tapes to convert.

When Betty came in in July, they spent much time converting her stuff to 12 DVDs.

Still in April, we got to go the the Renaissance Fair with Mark, Lisa and Clay. Had a great time even though there was a lot of walking. We went with Donna & Randy a few years ago and got caught by a cold windy day even though it was expected to be warm. This time the weather was great if not on the warm side.

In May, the first event was David's high school graduation. He did and now he is a freshman at Georgia Tech with Chris who is co-oping with Delta. Both are MEs; Chris likes propulsion and David computer robotics. Years will tell. Danny was in with his bride-to-be, Celeste. Sandie was in as she and Dawn were hosting a shower for the bride.

On Sunday, Dawn & Sandie hosted the shower. It was a casual, couple thingy and even the men enjoyed themselves.

The next day was Memorial Day and most of the same people came back for a pool party which began the summer season for all of us.

In June, we all went to St George Island, FL for Mike's family week. We did the first half of the week and had a great time. We got to Lamberts for a country supper and the amusement park for little and big kid stuff as you can see.

Mark finally got his kitchen cabinets finished. He did get the UnFinished furniture place to do the painting and finishing. They did a real good job. He just ran out of time. He has the missing parts to install in these photos. It all looks sharp.

Tina and Ashley got home in June and came here for family photos so Clay grabbed a few at the same time. Brian had to work so wasn't able to make it. During July they all got to Columbus and got to spend family time a Disney.

In early July, the kids went to Long Island NY for Danny's and Celeste's wedding at the Fort. It was a major event. They all flew. We decided not to go and took care of Clay. As we weren't there, we can only send you to Danny's web page for stuff . Nothing on the wedding yet.

Late July, Ken brought Betty and the kids in for a 5 week visit. One of the first things was a big day at Stone Mountain park. We had a picnic and laser show to top off the day.

During the off days Betty and Clay worked on converting the 12 VHS tapes to DVDs. We even found a clip for America's Funniest videos.

After Ken came back for a weeks vacation, we all got to the Atlanta Zoo for the day. It was another one of those hot days but that's better than cold days.

In late August we took a long weekend in Kentucky making bergou (a barbequed stew) with Pat's sister.

Dawn's Labor Day Pool Party is usually the end of the outdoor parting in Marietta. This one was real good. Clay even got into the water. Bill keeps it cold normally.

Later in September, the Graf family went to Anastasia Island for 2 weeks. It was one of the restful type vacation with little traveling. On the way we stopped at Herb's in Brunswick.

While we were gone in September, the kids got together and installed a Corian counter top, stainless steel microwave to go with the stainless stove, a deep stainless sink, stainless faucet, new hot water dispenser, new disposal, new electrical outlets with cable out and a new floor air conditioner outlet. Clay added the under counter later.

We went to Rockwall the last week of October for 2 weeks, stopping buy Vicksburg both ways. We went to the Canton First Monday flee market (6,500 booths). We also got to a new attraction, the fish barn. It's an aquarium created from an old warehouse. It was quite pleasant. We also did Halloween there. It was at their church again. We had a great time. Betty did the face painting.

When we got back Bill, Dawn and us went to Chattanooga TN to see both Chris and David compete in a rowing event for Georgia Tech. Chris got a 1st and David a 4th. It was a time event so you didn't get the thrill of a race but it was fun.

Thanksgiving was a 2 part. Bill, Dawn and kids had a really big turkey dinner at Pat & Clay's with Bob & Kathy and kids and Mark & Lisa and Clay coming for desert after the big dinner with the Lonzo's. The rest were with their in-laws. On Sunday, however, Donna had a "pig" dinner for all of us. Sure was good and a lot of fun.

Mark & Clay both have DVD burners. That evening, Mark got a chance to check out his new protected DVD copier software "used only for making a backup copy". It worked great.

Christmas was at Donna's and done up real well. It was climaxed with the "white elephant" card game with all who could read participating. Great time.

Again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Pat and Clay Houston