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Interior of restored Mission San Jose in Fremont, CA

While visiting in California, we took one afternoon off hiking and visited the beautifully restored Mission San Jose in Fremont. It was still decorated for Christmas and quite inviting. The museum attached to the Mission church is also quite interesting.

Angie and I spent three weeks over the holidays with her sister and family in Fremont, California. While there we took every opportunity to go hiking in the regional parks, usually in the hills around Fremont. And as you may be able to see from the cap, I also got in a trip to my favorite spot, Muir Woods.

There are more pictures on my Flickr photostream.

Admiring the view in the hills near Fremont, CA

An icy overcoat

We got treated to an early cold spell complete with sleet and freezing rain. It kept the DFW Airport and all of North Texas shut down for quite a while. This is what the front yard looked like the morning after.

There are lots more pictures of the ice storm on my Flickr photostream. 

We got up to Paris, TN where we met up with Alice McCutcheon and Carol Mannon. Carol presented me with a "genuine Fidel cap" she picked up on her recent trip to Cuba. We decided to do our visiting while we enjoyed a trip up to Grand Rivers, KY and Patti's 1880s Settlement. Angie and I decided to share one of their famous 2" thick broiled pork chops. We ate all we could, brought more than half of it back home, and it made a couple more meals too!

On the way back I decided to go through the "Land Between the Lakes" National Recreational area which has some beautiful scenery, twisty roads, and an infamous sign!

All in all, we had a great time.

L-R: Alice McCutcheon, Carol Mannon, Angie Harrison, Jim Harrison

Natalee Reed, Jim Harrison, and Mrs. Catherine Thomas

The next stop was in Dyer where we visited with family and lots of old friends. As one of the good old Dyer High School teachers, Mrs. Catherine Thomas, was celebrating her 99th birthday, my cousin Natalee and I went by to wish her a happy birthday and drop off a card.

Next stop after Huntsville was Clarksville, TN where we planned to visit with ShaoLee McReynolds. She and Angie worked together in the early 1970s in Taiwan. ShaoLee ran in a surprise on us when she invited Judy Foley whom neither of us had seen since those days! Until we heard her voice, neither of us realized who she was!

Here's a picture from 1970 with Judy on the far left and Angie second from right.

Judy Foley, Angie Harrison, and ShaoLee McReynolds

Adam and Raewyn McCombs, Pam and Karsten Lowe, Laura and Ben Lowe

We made a "Journey to the East" last month (July 2013) to attend the wedding of Pam and Karsten Lowe in Huntsville, AL. Karsten is the son of one of my college buddies, Ben Lowe and his wife Laura. We had a grand old time getting reacquainted with all the family including the kids, the siblings, the in-laws, etc.

Here the newly married couple, Pam and Karsten pose with Karsten's sister Raewyn and her husband Adam McCombs, and with parents Laura and Ben Lowe.

Jim and Connie Wallner invited us to join them in a trip down to Ennis to see the Bluebonnets. We had a great time at the festival browsing the crafts and eating all the goodies. After that we went out to check out the Bluebonnets. Although not a particularly good year due to the drought, we found plenty to ooh and ahh over on a near perfect early spring day in Texas.

Apparently it's either a law or a requirement written into the state Constitution that all Texas parents have to take the babies in particular, and the children in general, out for a photograph in a Bluebonnet patch this time of year. Just to be on the safe side we got Jim and Connie to take our pictures too!

There are lots more pictures here on flickr.

Us kids in a Bluebonnet patch!

Elizabeth McCormick featured speaker

The program at the Rockwell Collins Retiree meeting this time was given by Elizabeth McCormick, Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot, author, and motivational speaker. She certainly had some interesting stories to relate.

More Pictures here

We had a little excitement around here Wednesday night, 19 December 2012, when a windstorm blew our neighbor's chinaberry tree down and onto my Suburban in our driveway. Luckily the major damage seems to be a bent rail on the top luggage rack. Those suburbans are tough! I guess this will just be one more "battle scar" for Black Beauty!

With the help of neighbors and Victor Gonzalez we got it all cleaned up, sawed up, and put out for city pick up in 2-3 hours thursday morning. The only traces left now are sawdust!

Lots more pictures here.

A windstorm blew our neighbor's chinaberry tree onto my suburban!

Angie with the guest of honor at Olivia Tong's party

We were invited to join family and friends celebrating the newest Tong arrival, Olivia, daughter of Ben and Felicia Tong, born Sept 18 2012. We had a great time at the party, and got to see lots of old friends, "our kids" and their kids!

Lots more pictures here.

For the first time since 2008, we were in town and able to make the State Fair. It was really nice to get back to the fair and visit all the usual attractions plus a few new ones. However, if the prices keep going up I'm going to have to get a bank loan to afford to go next time!

Lots more pictures on Flickr.

Little did we realize that this would be the last time we'd see Big Tex in the present incarnation. We look forward to seeing his return from the flames next year.

Howdy Folks!

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by James W. Harrison. All rights reserved.