2014 Year In Review

Happy Holidays!  Please click on photos to enlarge!


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Rebecca's high school marching band spent Spring Break experiencing the magic of Disney World!

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We visited the University of Maryland several times in the spring, first for Rebecca to participate in an engineering program, then to see her high school robotics club compete in the Chesapeake Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, and finally to attend Maryland Day, the annual exposition of university activities.

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In April, Jim and Pete drove up to the Philadelphia area to visit Dan, where we shuffled audio equipment to trick our wives into believing that we are capable of downsizing our inventories.  The right photo was taken in 2010 of what we need to start doing again!

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In May, Rebecca attended prom with her boyfriend, Jimmy, whose parents later hosted a lovely dinner to celebrate his graduation.

 
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In June, Jim contracted Lyme Disease, a tick borne illness prevalent in areas with deer, and strongly advises against this experience!  Thankfully, he recovered just in time to lead a sports car event through rural Frederick County.

 
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Rebecca and friend Amanda had a great time visiting the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.

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Rebecca rides horses at a local stable and in June returned home with a tiny barn kitten named Mable who really keeps the elder Houdini on her toes!  Yes, Stephanie now prefers to ride Texas Longhorns.

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Our July road trip to the mid-west was great fun.  We spent a few days in Chicago exploring the Loop, eating deep dish pizza and catching an outstanding performance of Hamlet by The Globe Theater troupe on tour from London.

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We stopped briefly in Jim's dad's home town of Clinton, Iowa on the way to Des Moines for Stephanie's brother Mike's beautiful wedding to Megan where Rebecca accompanied the hired musicians on the portable piano she played in the car on the drive out!

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On the way back to Maryland we stopped by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, toured the Indiana State Fair and visited Christine and Bob at their bakery in Athens, Ohio.

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The rest of the summer we spent hiking and touring the local area.  A highlight was the War of 1812 bicentennial celebration in Baltimore City featuring the Blue Angels buzzing the towers of tall ships in the Inner Harbor!

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Rebecca survived a competitive interview process and was among the few top candidates selected to participate in the prestigious Werner H. Kirsten Student Internship Program at the National Cancer Institute on Fort Detrick in Frederick.  As a fully integrated member of the Human Retrovirus Pathogenesis Section, she genetically engineers proteins to develop immunotherapeutic treatments for cancer.  She spends about three hours per day in the lab and about two hours on the adjacent Frederick Community College campus taking courses to satisfy her remaining high school requirements and getting a head start on college credits for next year.  In her spare time, she applies her chemistry skills to make soap and candles!

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Jim's parents flew in from New Mexico in October.  We toured art museums in D.C., dined in Georgetown, enjoyed Hors d'oeuvre with Stephanie's parents in Rockville, took in the fall foliage of western Maryland and Northern Virginia, visited Ellicott City and Fells Point, and hosted the Zaisers for a family reunion cookout.

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The next weekend, Stephanie and Jim visited Uncle Johnny in Warwick, NY and had a great time touring the Hudson Valley and attending the New York Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck.

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In November, Rebecca completed the Tire Rack Teen Survival defensive driving program sponsored by the Northern Virginia Corvette Club.  She had a blast tossing our Rav4 around the skid pad and through the slalom!


Stephanie's parents hosted yet another fabulous Thanksgiving extravaganza where it was great to see Uncle Johnny, Aunt Sue, Guy, Holly, Carly, Ross, Christine and Bob.  This was followed by a visit to Matthews Meadows to see the animals and Stephanie's wool projects.

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Though Rebecca was unable to squeeze marching band into her busy autumn schedule, she did play first clarinet in both the Linganore High School Symphonic Band and the Hood College Wind Ensemble (winter concert and Vespers).  She also participated in the Towson University Honor Band, where top regional musicians auditioned for placement at 7am and then at 7pm performed for the community five difficult pieces they had sight-read only hours earlier!  She is now looking forward to All County Concert Band in January.

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This year we will be in the area enjoying the holidays with family and friends before heading south to explore reefs and ruins in the Yucatan.  We hope to see or hear from you soon!

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