Christmas Letter 2010

2010 has been a year of hoping and praying the economy will improve! We have been holding on to see what happens next.  The last of the landscaping projects around the house need to be finished for the upcoming graduation party to be held on Saturday, May 21st ….if all goes as planned.   We are on a schedule now!

After last year’s job promotion, trip to Europe and completion of two UCLA Executive Course Series, Kelly has slowly started to accept the realities of the work-a-day world.  Eat, sleep, work, and do it again the next day!  She is still working on the unmanned drones and continues to plot, and plan her next career move while being active in the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers this year as Vice President. She was able to attend the national conference in Orlando, enjoying the 5 days of training, inspiration, and partying! In May Kelly, and her boyfriend, Jeremiah, got a place together and they have been settling in with finding furniture, and getting pictures on the walls.  They both have cats, Kelly has Carmen and Jeremiah has Ash.  It has been a process to blend the two families but they seem to have come together with only minor issues.

Every time we see him, Brett is wearing his famous smile.  I’m telling you, ear to ear with the three rows of dimples going up his checks.  A super senior, on the home stretch, his final semester with only his senior project and two business electives to go until he walks with his Degree in Business Administration! Not to mention the much anticipated 5 weeks off for winter break. Managing to survive another wave of layoffs, Brett is still employed while living in the old house with two good roommates. How much better does it get?  The college life has brought some new experiences, away from the watchful eye of the parents; he has become quite the brewmaster! With several brews being quite tasty!  Between the college speakers the CEO of Stone Brewing and his Boy Scout cooking skills…hum mm we thought we were giving him good role models, he seems to have found an enjoyable hobby! 2010 has been all about the anticipation of 2011, graduation, full-time employment and 6 weeks of planned travel in Europe…don’t you need to get back to go to work?
Life is good!

The parents, Ray has expanded his shop into general repair and brought in a lead mechanic. With this change he has applied for AAA certification.  Brett has been working with Dad to bring the business into the computer age, everything comes off the computer, invoices, checks, service reminders and of course a state of the art webpage, take a look at it’s all about surviving in the recession. Saturday mornings it is time to dust off the mountain bike and meet the guys at 0800.  He is still in the game.  And he is still holding his own on the dirt bike up against that 22 year-old son.  He does seem to sit and read more and more tho!

Mom, well she is slowly getting a life!  She has consistently attended yoga classes this year, has joined the North Inland Chapter of Assistance League and is sharing some volunteer responsibilities with a friend for Make-A-Wish.  And she talks about the retirement plan. Will it be 5/28/11 or 5/28/16 or somewhere in between?  If she is going to get that new Beemer she has her eye on, it will be the latter! Other than that she has been trying to adapt to the aging process by preparing those easy to digest meals and getting out for walks.

After15 years of talking about going to Yellowstone National Park we finally were inspired to hit the road in the new motorhome. Dad and Brett headed out to ride the motorcycle trails of Utah for a week before meeting up with Mom and Kel at the Jackson Hole airport for our trip into the Grand Tetons and the final destination of Yellowstone.  Wow!  What a trip, hiking, biking, kayaking and more hiking.  We tried to see it all in the two weeks we were in the parks.  On the trip home we stopped for a couple of days each in Bryce and Zion.  Between 3 cameras and the video we have it well recorded on the family website here!

We are talking about doing a trip to Costa Rica as our next adventure. Still working on coordinating dates in all of our schedules; no easy task with all of us going in different directions.

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Happy Holidays 2009

Happy Holidays
Ray, Laura, Kelly & Brett

2009 was the second year in our new house. It is starting to feel more like home! After putting the airplane hanger on the property last year, Ray set about filling it up with his toys. Under one roof he is able to store the motorhome, ski boat, catamaran, motorcycle trailer and his truck. One of the benefits of living in the county is that you can have all your “stuff” on your property and no one gets annoyed.  The house projects continued this year at a much slower pace, added a drainage system and drought resistant plants. Now that the rain has softened up the earth we’ve embarked on the last two landscaping projects, a waterscape and wood burning fire ring. We also added a pet and she has helped us settle in a little more, too! See pictures below.

It has been a big year for Kelly, job promotion, post grad classes, three weeks travel in Europe and two years with her boyfriend.  She is liking her new position working on the unmanned drones. A bit closer to the engineering side of things!  She is getting more involved in the Society of Women Engineers and now maintains both the San Diego and Southwestern Region web pages.  She has embarked on a series of classes in Digital Avionics, sponsored by her employer ($9,000!).  Her ambition of becoming a motivational speaker became a reality by presenting “What Does it Mean to be Green, At Home, In Your Office and for the Holidays” to 62 attendees at Mom’s insurance associations Holiday Luncheon.  In her spare time she has been gardening, rock climbing, and enjoying all San Diego has to offer!

Brett has completed yet another year of college courses, just three more semesters to graduation! After completing five finals, he is very happy that he has made it successfully to the five week semester break! He has continued his student intern position at Northrop Grumman, Information Systems working in the Network Communications Division. He has been assigned some substantial duties that are essential for his work group. Those duties have led to some serious hours this past summer which of course cut into his surfing and travel time.  His computer repair business continues to grow with referrals coming in from his existing clients.  He also manages both of his parents’ business websites. His newest toy is a new dirt bike, YZ250 replacing the YZ125 he has had since the 8th grade. And it is desert season in Southern California!

Dad is slowly phasing into retirement mode.  He is only working four 12 hour days and even cutting two of those to 8 hours!  Good progress. He searched and searched for just the right motorhome, it was time to move on from the bunk bed style that had been our family home away from home for the last 15 years. He loves his new mountain bike and rides religiously every Saturday with his bike group. For sure in 2010 Mom is going to get a life!  Other than work her biggest adventure is helping the kids with laundry, cleaning and projects.  We are signed up to start a yoga class at the senior center in January and for a series of eight ice skating lessons!

Kelly’s boyfriend invited us to climb Mt. Saint Helen’s this summer.  Mom, Dad and Brett combined that with an 18-day road trip / adventure starting the 3rd of July.  We spent 4th of July with Laura’s sister Lucy and her family, then continued north touring the Oregon coast and on into Washington to meet up with Kelly, Jeremiah, and his family. You can see the pictures of this high adventure mountain climb and road trip on the family website at

The bikes have been prepped and we are ready to spend New Year’s in the desert!

From our house to yours Happy Holidays!


It’s Winter!

We’re finally going to make it out to the desert this weekend! It’s been cold / rainy lately. At least the desert will be wet, what a treat! On another note, I’ve been very busy. I just finished my finals the other week, and I’ve still been busy working since. I took on the task of marketing Alliance Transmissions and breathing life into Trans Connection. Both have received a new website, with Alliance still needing work but looking decent overall. Trans Connection, however still needs quite a bit of work done to it starting with the design and ending with marketing and content. To make myself feel better, I think Alliance just needs a few more marketing tweaks and some additional content. Outside of the Internet, I find myself working more hours at Northrop Grumman, I recently took over quite a few more responsibilities there (too many to list, plus they’re boring “heh”). Besides all that, I’ve been busy building custom computers and doing repair/ maintenance for a slew of new customers around town.

Besides all of that, I’ve moved my official website (don’t get too excited nothing has really changed) to

This weekend will be a nice break!