Happy Holidays - 2019 In Review

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December 19th 2019
Published: December 21st 2019
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Happy Holidays to all of our wonderful family and friends.

May you be Blessed with Love, Peace and Happiness this Holiday Season.

Hanukkah begins the evening of December 22, so we wish all of our Jewish friends a peaceful and harmonious Hanukkah.

May the Lights of Hanukkah Bring you Happiness today and Always

It was another good year for Bernie and me - not only are we alive and healthy, but still traveling and enjoying friends, family and life in general.

I’m starting this letter with photos of two special people, but out of chronological order: grandson Evan and his mom Christina (Seattle). Evan’s photo captures the essence of the season don’t you think? Christina is showing off the New Zealand pendant we brought back for her.
Bernie, Kathy, MIck & PatBernie, Kathy, MIck & PatBernie, Kathy, MIck & Pat

Puerto Peñasco, Mexico has great sunsets

December 2018. Last year we spent Christmas and ended the year in Puerto Peñasco, Mexico with friends Pat & Mick. We got a condo and they drove their RV down and were very nearby in a RV park right on the ocean. Great beach walks, lots of fish and shellfish were consumed, plus we brought a cooler and the morning of our departure we went to the docks and had it filled with massive quantities of ice and freshly caught red snapper and shrimp.

At the end of January daughter **JJ arrived for her annual two-week AZ vacation and we had a few days to visit before our Argentine daughters arrived on the 31st: Victoria (from Mexico) and Marcela (from Florida). We had such a blast with these wonderful young ladies. The Gem Show was in town, so we ladies (good friend Susan too) spent most of our days looking at and buying shiny objects. Since we had to include Bernardo SOME of the time, we did some nice hikes, visited San Xavier Mission and Tubac - normal, touristy yet fun things - being together was the best.

Marcela, Vic & JJ in TucsonMarcela, Vic & JJ in TucsonMarcela, Vic & JJ in Tucson

Friend Susan accompanied us on our Gem Show excursions; last photo was for the friend who got passes for us
birthday is in early February so she always endeavors to be out of Alaska at that time - one of the darkest, coldest months of the year.

In February Bernie goes to Colorado Springs to lecture at the Air Force Academy - he’s been doing this for over 10 years now. It was incredibly cold this time - I’m glad I didn’t join him.

I’m still volunteering at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on Wednesdays. My docent colleagues have become a very important part of my life, so I thought I’d include a photo of a Feb. potluck gathering we had at Jenna (docent) and Chuck’s beautiful home. They have a 3-tiered outdoor area, one with a fire pit, another with a bar - just wonderful and their view is to-die-for.

Later in February brought good friend Deb Hansen (Alaska) to AZ for a visit. Deb is high energy and as soon as we got back to our place from the airport she wanted to go on a hike. Up the side of a mountain in Saguaro East National Park we did go - beautiful late afternoon hike.
Feb. - MarchFeb. - MarchFeb. - March

Hiking Sabino Canyon w/Deb & Alice; Bernie in D.C. @Clara Barton IHL Competition (far right); Docent party at Jenna & Chuck's - yep, that is their view!
We also hiked Sabino Canyon with friends Alice & John (Vermont) who come to Tucson for several months every winter.

March is the month Bernie flies to D.C. to take part in the American Red Cross Clara Barton International Humanitarian Law Completion, which is in its 6th year now. Bernie was in on the creation and has participated every year since.

Mid-March took us to Obernai, France to participate in the 31st and 32nd annual Pictet International Humanitarian Law Competition. This year there were two competitions: one in English only, then a week’s break, and a second in English & French.

**Forty-eight teams (3 persons each) per competition come from all over the world and from every continent (except Antarctica) to vie for the coveted Pictet winner’s title. They spend a solid week being tested on their knowledge of the law in many settings: courtrooms, committee meetings, fabricated prisoner of war camps, role-playing, an all-day outdoor test - every and any scenario is used and are different every competition.

**I now have approximately 300 new friends!!

This is a link to a very short video
France MarchFrance MarchFrance March

Obernai where the Pictet IHL competition was held was a beautiful, old town; first photo is the watchtower; the Côte d'Azur was breathtaking and the ancient town of Èze was so full of history
that gives a much better idea of what really transpires, plus I have one of the only 'speaking roles' - right at the beginning: www.nicolasbc.com On the first screen you get, click on the box in the 2nd row, far left "Jean Picture Competition." You see Bernie in it too; can't miss him as he has a green plant growing out of his head.

For the week of competition Bernard is a juror/judge and I work administration; both of us work long hours. The week in between competitions we rented a car and drove through Switzerland, to Èze, southern France (Côte d'Azur area) and San Remo, Italy. While it was an amazing trip, we should have done less driving and more recuperating.

The second competition (French/English) was much tougher for me than the first because my French-speaking assistant wasn’t as reliable as my assistant in the first competition had been. At the end of the second competition I had no voice at all and was feeling like crap. Bernie had gotten sick during the first competition and had our week in Italy/Switzerland/So. France to recuperate. I, on the other hand, had to function while

In May long-time friends Mabel and Jim visited; we visited Stuart & Susan in Rosarito, MX; Mara & Larry came to Tucson
feeling half-dead and squeaking like a mouse.

To make matters worst, our flight home got messed up (really long story) and we spent the last day of the competition trying to straighten things out. Upshot, couldn’t straighten things out via **phone, so showed up at the airport for our original flight. Turns out it was over-booked, but we were prepared and wouldn’t leave the check-in counter until they gave us a better option than ‘we can get you out in 5 days.’ They eventually changed our routing, hired and paid for a car from Strasbourg, France to Frankfurt, Germany and we arrived home about 1/2 hour before our original flight would have. Sweet!!

**Bernie has a hard time hearing on a cell and I had absolutely no voice - what a team we made!!

We returned from Europe to Arizona in early April and later in the month Bernie flew back, this time to Germany, Frankfurt/Oder on the Polish border to be exact, to teach for a week at the university he is affiliated with there.

In May old friends from Alaska, Jim & Mabel, came for a
Kathy as AZ-Sonora Desert Museum DocentKathy as AZ-Sonora Desert Museum DocentKathy as AZ-Sonora Desert Museum Docent

Kathy w/Bo a Barn Owl. I also handled Burrowing Owls and a Harris Hawk this year. Next year I'm handling Kestrels, Burrowing Owls, Screech Owls, a Barn owl and a Harris Hawk.
visit. They have a second home in California now and spend a lot of the winter there. We got to see them just before they headed back to Alaska for the summer.

June, the hottest and driest month in Tucson, we chose to stay home - I know, go figure. I worked at the AZ-Sonora Desert Museum every week, but as the month advanced the visitors became fewer. We have, however, a good number of Europeans, mostly Germans, who visit Arizona in the summer.

July we headed west and south to Rosarito, Mexico to visit friends Stuart & Susan. We typically go in the winter, so being there in the summer was different. The wine country around Ensenada was bustling, we had so many wonderful meals, the beaches were hopping - great fun.

Later in July friends Mara & Larry from El Paso came for a short visit. It was JULY in ARIZONA so we tried to do activities that didn’t end with us all collapsing with heat stroke. One of the fun things was driving up to Mt. Lemmon, which is only about 1/2 hour from us, but
CO, Sally, Dan, Bernie, Kathy, MaryJean & BuzzCO, Sally, Dan, Bernie, Kathy, MaryJean & BuzzCO, Sally, Dan, Bernie, Kathy, MaryJean & Buzz

Met family in Mancos, CO for a visit to Mesa Verde National Park; after in Rocky Mountain National Park we camped and had elk visitors every morning.
20˚ (F) cooler.

August we packed up the VW camper van and headed first to New Mexico, then Colorado. We camped for ten days before meeting up with my sister & her family: Mary Jean,Buzz, son Dan and daughter-in-law Sally. We rented an Airbnb house in Mancos, CO which is the town closest to Mesa Verde National Park. Really, really nice time with everyone, but super enjoyed getting to know my niece-in-law Sally better.

September was an ‘at home’ month as we had a five-week trip to New Zealand in October.

We left Sept. 30 and returned Nov. 2 from New Zealand, so spent the entire month of October there.

It was a completely fantastic trip and I’ll only put a few photos here as I’m doing a travel blog about that trip where I’ll have lots of amazing scenery photos.

Our visit to NZ was made extra special because we had friends in the south, Wellington area (Masterton) - the Mobberly family and an old friend in Auckland, Helen and her family. We know the Mobberly family from the Netherlands and
New Zealand FriendsNew Zealand FriendsNew Zealand Friends

First we stayed with the Mobberley family (Graham, Rebecca, Barbara & Andra) near Wellington; at the end of our 5 weeks we were with friend Helen, son Hayden, granddaughter Luna and daughter Alex in Auckland.
Helen and her family from Alaska.

Shortly after returning to Arizona in November we had a great-niece (Elise - Bernie’s niece Marie’s daughter) and her father (Chris) come for a visit. Elise is touring universities and is interested in astronomy, so came to check out the university of Arizona which has a very strong astronomy program. We met with friends Jenna & Chuck, both astronomers, and their son Ryan for Ethiopian food so Elise could pick their brains. Fun night. We also hiked in Saguaro National Park East; they managed to take in a U of A basketball came and visit Kitt Peak Observatory.

Thanksgiving turned out to be rather interesting. JJ (Alaska) was to meet a friend in Las Vegas. Said friend got caught in an airport delay/closure situation in Minnesota and couldn’t get to LV for several days. JJ decided to come to Tucson for Thanksgiving. Of course it was the busiest travel time of the year, and a record year at that. She wound up on a bus, but got sick just outside of Phoenix and arriving at 2:30 a.m. in Tucson where she had to vomit in a
Hobbiton, New Zealand Hobbiton, New Zealand Hobbiton, New Zealand

A highlight of NZ was visiting Hobbiton, aka The Shire - a movies set for the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy. We both LOVE JRR Tolkien and all his books, so were thrilled to spend the morning steeped in all things Hobbit.
shrub beside our front door while waiting for me to answer. She did not improve until Friday, so spent Thanksgiving between bathroom and bedroom while smelling all the wonderful (in our view, NOT in her’s) aromas of the turkey cooking, listening to us and our guests having a fun and laugh-filled day. Poor baby. She did manage left-overs on Friday while we vegged in front of the TV (watched Rocketman - sooooo good).

But I digress, we also had my sister Donna and husband Larry (Alaska) for Thanksgiving. They drive through AZ on their way to visit Larry’s sister in TX and ultimately to FL for the bulk of the winter. It was so nice having so much family for Thanksgiving, but we added a few friends as well. However, even though I had my camera set up on the tripod, I TOTALLY forgot to take any photos. I think I was preoccupied not only with dinner, but with a vomiting daughter in the next room. Ya think? I’m putting a photo of Donna & Larry from their class reunion in 2018 here.

Saturday we were headed to Phoenix/Scottsdale to visit friend Mary on

Grandniece Elise came w/her father Chris to check out the Univ. of AZ's astronomy program; sister and brother-n-law, Donna & Larry were with us for Thanksgiving; visited Mary in Scottsdale on our way to MX
our way to Rosarito, Mexico to meet friends and then drive down the Baja Peninsula with them. We dropped JJ off at Sky Harbor on the way because she managed to get a flight back to Las Vegas and finally meet her friend. At least she was feeling better and had a fun few days in LV before heading back to Alaska.

We lost Mary’s husband Leo last year, one of Bernie’s closest friends, and it devastated all of us. Mary is doing quite well under the circumstances; she is going to South Africa with us August 2020.

December 1 we drove into Mexico and met our friends Stuart & Susan (Seattle); overnighted in one of their condos in Rosarito before we packed up their car and headed down the Baja Peninsula (12 days; 2,200 miles) all the way to Los Cabos and back again.

The scenery was amazing, the company delightful, the food delicious (soooo much seafood), but the drive was long - 5 full days of driving on the return; we’d done the trip down more slowly. At our last meal with Stuart & Susan in Ensenada,
Baja Peninsula DecemberBaja Peninsula DecemberBaja Peninsula December

Stuart, Susan, Kathy & Bernie at end of trip down and back up the Baja Peninsula; Kathy & Bernie in La Paz; Bernie, Susan and Stuart walking on the beach in Todo Santos
MX we toasted to a wonderful friendship and a fantastic trip, but one that we would NEVER, EVER do again. Truly, a once-in-a-lifetime experience - emphasis on **ONCE. Having said that, I’d go ANYWHERE with Stuart & Susan as they are amazing traveling companions and we’ve done several week-long sailing trips with them - it was just the length of the drive on scary roads that none of us wants to repeat. I'm going to be doing a blog on this trip because the scenery and vegetation was so very beautiful and weird.

**Bernie and I actually drove the Baja Peninsula more than 20 years ago, but not all the way down and back. There was a hurricane which had closed MX Hwy. 1 to Cabo San Lucas, so we just went to La Paz. While there we found out they had a ferry to the mainland, to Mazatlan, so instead of driving back up the peninsula, we took the over-night ferry, saw another beautiful area and drove back to AZ from there. It occurred to us on this trip that perhaps 20 years ago we made the decision to take the ferry because the drive down
Kathy, Bernie & SusanKathy, Bernie & SusanKathy, Bernie & Susan

That is a 300-year-old olive tree we are standing in front of - just outside Loreto, Baja CA Sur, MX
on scary, narrow roads had been so harrowing. Damn old brains - we hadn't remembered that part!!

Upcoming Events:

Christmas this year we are in AZ and friends (family of 5) are coming from El Paso for the week. Same friends, Mara & Larry, who visited us in July are returning with their two adult children and the daughter’s significant other; son’s significant other is with her parents for the holidays.

The same day (12/26) the Cohn family leaves, Mark, the son of good friend Deb (Alaska, yes, the one who visited in Feb.) and girlfriend Chloë arrive for a week.

We have three days between Mark & Chloë leaving and Mark’s parents Deb & Martin arriving for a six-day visit on January 6.

Later in January Bernie heads to Colorado Springs for his annual lecturing there. This year his colleague and good friend from Germany, Heike, joins him. We’d hoped Heike had the time to come to Tucson after CO Springs, but she is super busy right now as the head lawyer for the German Red Cross.

February we fly to
Doug, Tim, Linda, Joan, Kathy & BernieDoug, Tim, Linda, Joan, Kathy & BernieDoug, Tim, Linda, Joan, Kathy & Bernie

We lost Tim MacMillan early this year (pancreatic cancer), which brings me to tears even as I write. Top photo was from our trip to So. Africa in 2016 w/wife Linda & our SA friends; then Linda & me at Tohono Chul botanical garden Xmas light & music night. Linda was also with us for Thanksgiving this year, a time when memories of Tim are vivid. A much loved and much missed man.
Bali, Indonesia via Doha, Qatar (4 days) for the annual Jean-Pictet International Humanitarian Law Competition - two sessions again this year. The competitions are in the city of Denpasar. After the first competition we go straight to the northwest coast to the Taman Sari Bali Resort & Spa to spend the entire week getting massages, doing yoga, going to cultural performances and enjoying the warm waters. We are NOT making the mistake we made last year - no long drives!!

We return to AZ March 7 and on March 15 fly to Cozumel, Mexico for a reunion with our JJ and our exchange student daughters.

In August we are headed to South Africa again, this time eleven of us will be in Kruger National Park together (friend Mary and her friend; daughter JJ and 2 friends; my sister Mary Jean, husband Buzz, their older son Dan and wife Sally; B & me. After Kruger we plus Mary Jean, Buzz fly to Namibia to continue the adventure for a couple more weeks.

Obviously, there will be details and photos next year of all I’ve outline above plus whatever summer adventure we decide to go on!!

May this year bring new happiness, new goals, new achievements and a lot of new inspirations to you. Wishing you a year fully loaded with happiness.

Love, Kathy & Bernie


21st December 2019

Wonderful year!
Thanks for the review of the year you guys had! Lots of good times and good work! Best wishes for another fulfilling year in 2020!
21st December 2019

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
What a wonderful year you had! And next year sounds as exciting. We are going to China with our friends that winter in Tucson. I still want to go to NZ and also Australia (again).
24th December 2019

holiday love from the Ecuador coast!
you guys are amazing, how you keep up with SO many friends and loved ones all over the world! I have fond memories of visiting Rocky Point in the 80's - driving down from Tucson and eating tons of shrimp! fab foto of Kathy at Desert Museum...looks like a pic I took of you!! big hugs and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and spectacular 2020!!
8th February 2020

always on the move!
I feel so lucky to have been able to spend a peaceful few days with you guys in the fall of 2018 -- since you almost NEVER hold still! Stay well my dear friends!!
8th February 2020

always on the move!
I feel so lucky to have been able to spend a peaceful few days with you guys in the fall of 2018 -- since you almost NEVER hold still! Stay well my dear friends!!

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