Thursday, December 31, 2009

From all of US to all of YOU....

Happy New Year!

We just finished a lovely New Year's Eve Dinner. Now it's time to relax...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas in T.O.

All in our finest for Christmas Eve.

The guests sitting down to dinner.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

...and it looks like St. Nicholas certainly was there!

Karen, Glenn and Fiona came in for more presents and Christmas Turkey dinner with the Buche desert made by Gramma.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Folk Group Christmases & some kids

Don't know the dates, but you'll figure it out. How about those cousins, all sitting so prim? Merry Holidays to everyone.....

(cuz pic fixed by LB)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tree House 09

Simon tops the tree with the second year running of the wooden star (the tree was too tall to switch to the other one this year!)

and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

Corinne and her mom made up this years wreath.

Grandma made the dough, baked it with Lorne who assembled it and then everyone decorated the main hous, the neighbour's house, the truck and the dog house. And Candy was had by all!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

J3 Year In Review

2009 -- a year of challenge and change.


Year gets off to a quadruple whammy of a start: On the 2nd, right at the same time as the whole house's roof is being replaced because it had to be whether we could afford it or not, Judy's in a fender-bender that puts Scooter out of commission for three weeks, just before her business computer totally melts down and has to be replaced along with the printer, fax, the same time as the bank tells her they'd (in the end, mistakenly) canceled her line of credit months earlier and so she can't get new computers 'til THAT is straightened out. Um, good news is that she now has deep, deep empathy for the kind of year small business owners across America are about to have, and now, in year six of running her company, feels fully initiated as a business owner.

But somehow, harbingers of hope: On inauguration day, America gets a (for some) long-awaited new president. Within minutes of that, the shop calls to say the car is ready, the computer guys are ready to come over and install all the new equipment, AND somebody calls Judy to hire her for a consultation. Sweet. Judy names her new computers Hope and Change.

Judy gets the paperwork going to get physiotherapy for a mysterious elbow ailment that is annoying because she can't climb til treatment is completed in late May...but follows directions to get things healed.

After 18 years, JJ (with an eye toward an Administration job) ends his semi-pro auto writing and broadcasting.  His editor at Road & Track commends him for getting out of two dying industries (print and cars) at the same time.


Judy gets to her annual rent-everything-and-try-not-to-break-anything ski day in Ellicottville with Pam Heilman. Congress passes the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act...Judy does her first national television interview on CTV waxing eloquent about what a good job the International Trade Minister did to ensure trade agreement consistency...and then spent much of the month reading all thousand pages of the Stimulus bill to analyzing the damage to Canadian companies who'd be locked out of all the stuff that wasn't covered by the trade agreements and socked them with new Buy American problems anyway. We also celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary with a very nice dinner.

Judy heads down to Tampa for a couple days to speak to an audience in the military electronics field. She begins her stint hosting the American Small Business Coalition's weekly business networking breakfast. And Lorne, Simon, Chloe and Corinne visit.

Judy is honoured as member of the year by the American Small Business Coalition, and JJ beams proudly at the awards dinner.

And another reason to beam: As long as JJ was getting free test cars to drive, we had a house rule that we could only own one car for the street.  Now that he's out of the business, he brings home A Ride of His Own: A 1997 Mazda Miata M-Edition.


Not one but TWO visits to Ontario in ten days -- the first, to give a speech for the Communitech conference in Waterloo (and to visit with longtime friend Doreen Conrad),
and then with JJ a week later to see Lorne & Corinne all moved into their  new house in Toronto

and attend MBA 25th reunion at McMaster in Hamilton . It sure wasn't the same kind of gathering that Amherst put on for JJ's 25th, but gave her a nice sense of coming full circle. The people she liked then, she still liked, and one ones she never connected with in 1981 she didn't feel any closer to a quarter century later. Lots of them wanted to dance with JJ, though. Even some of the women.

We get away for a few days in the Pacific Northwest, starting with friends Tom and Patty Bryant on Bainbridge Island, WA.  While on the ferry, JJ's phone rings: Would he be interested in becoming Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition?  Why, yes.  Yes, he would.

Judy started the month completing her certification with the Women's Business Enterprise National Council, welcomed by its chief, Dr Marsha Firestone (left) 

Thanks to the Buy American Act (the gift that keeps on giving), it's suddenly a wild and crazy month, but Judy finished projects for the Canadian and Australian governments that would finally move her business into the black for the first time in 2009. The Canadian projects -- a webinar, and training courses in Washington, Toronto and Denver -- were rewarding ways to bring her expertise back to the Home Team.

BONUS: She flew out to Colorado a day early, to spend a day with a guide climbing the Flatiron peaks in Boulder, CO -- a splendid way to spend the Solistice, and Father's Day too, and really to celebrate what Summit Insight is all about on so many levels. After doing a seminar for some business owners from Wales, she finished off the month speaking for the National Association of Women Business Owners at their national conference in Chicago -- enjoying time with former Trade Commissioner colleague Natalie Cornell, who led Judy and friends on a tour of Taste of Chicago (a street festival featuring much-famed local cuisine).

JJ's potential job with the Army comes a cropper when it's discovered that his employer has inexplicably included him in its register of lobbyists, even though he never acted as one.


JJ spots an interesting job opening at the Congressional Research Service, and throws his hat in the ring.  Also ringing: Our doorbell, for a visit from our dear ("friend" isn't enough of a word) and former housemate Meredith. Judy and Merth spend a glorious day hiking Old Rag, and finish just as rain starts to pour.


The first week, at our island getaway...always a very special and renewing break. But how the summer zipped by!

The big event was Judy's 50th birthday. The actual day included a little bit of many things she enjoys, including climbing and connecting people who need to meet each other. While she'd spent most of the year trying to figure out what amazing astonishing thing she wanted to do for the occasion, was officially marked by dinner at home with friends old and new. Upon reflection, she concluded that what matters more than anything is the love and cherished bonds with family and the kind of friendships that are so intimate that one can sit for hours and not need to say a thing and still feel entirely beheld and understood.

Earlier in the year, Congress declared Judy's birthday to be the first-ever National Aerospace Day (a coincidence?)  Carrying a large statue out of a Congressional hearing room after an Aerospace Day celebration, JJ twinges an elbow, starting a battle with tendinitis that is still ongoing as you read this.


Judy reaps a bountiful harvest of visits with friends and family in Toronto -- first trip packs in a speaking engagement, a family birthday party hosted by Lorne and Corinne (see hat festival, left), and yet another birthday-and-theatre celebration including Peter Neilson, Michael McCulloch, Richard Outerbridge heading over to Trinity to see Tom Gough in the title role as Lord Bilk of Crosspurposes, a play based loosely on the prison term of Conrad Black.

The next weekend, a very thanks-filled birthday weekend bringing ALL the Bradt siblings together (thanks, Mom!) for Mom's birthday...which nearly didn't happen because Judy's green card spent several days in hiding. David commemorates this by writing the "Lookin' For My Green Card Blues" (click for live performance).  JJ spends a few days in Fort Worth running a conference.  While there, he visits the F-35 production line and gets a call: Would he like to accept the job at the Congressional Research Service?  Why, yes.  Yes, he would.

JJ heads to Phoenix for his final Board of Governors meeting for the Aerospace Industries Association, spends three days unemployed (two of them in Prescott with the Poobah), and pitches up in his new job as Military Aviation Specialist at the Congressional Research Service. What does this mean? Well, it's like the Congress' internal think tank. When the Congress wants to find out the facts about what they REALLY need in an airborne tanker, he's the one they call now.  We also visit with Sam Jelinek in Williamsburg.  And replace an about-to-burst water heater with an inline model that finally yields enough hot water to fill the giant whirlpool tub.

Rick Nagele (originally JJ's friend, now shared) and his adult supervision Sarah drop into town.  We commence Hanukkah with the Delaware Gertlers, returning a visit they made here in the spring.  And on the 20th, 19" of snow, a 70-year record for Washington in December.  As you can see from the previous post, the snow shovels still work!

Then off to Canada for the holidays.  Because, in a time of so much change, it is the lasting relationships that nourish and reward the most.