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December, 2010

Happy 2011 to Friends and Family Everywhere,

It is hard to believe that another year has passed so quickly (time does indeed appear to fly faster as we get older).   Here are our monthly highlights for 2010: 

January:  “Pacific Sunrise, Atlantic Sunset, Same Day” (one more checked off Hal’s To-Do-Before-I-Die list)  Erika and Alison flew from Rhode Island to Los Angeles early on New Year’s Day, and the following day the four of us embarked on a 2 week cruise down the coast of Mexico and through the Panama Canal to Miami.  The weather was glorious, the seas were calm, and we even got to check another continent off our list due to a brief stop in Cartagena, Colombia.  It’s a trip that we heartily recommend.   After three 2nd-place finishes over the years, Hal finally won an onboard Blackjack tournament and $500. 


  St. Hart’s Day XLII”  Nothing more need be said.  St. Hart’s Day XLIII will be held on Saturday, February 12, 2011. Hope to see you ther
e!  Invitation linked from  

March:  “Wearing Out & Renewing (Rekneeing?)”  The knee that Hal had surgically replaced in 2002 wore out in 2009 and had to be replaced.  The knee revision (which is the “technical” term for a replacement of a replacement) was done by a physician who specializes in such surgeries and Hal’s recovery was near miraculous.  He had 90 degree flex by the time he was released from the hospital 2 days post-surgery, and walked a mile in less than a week!   Materials have improved so that the problems that caused the first one to fail should not re-occur, and a somewhat less active lifestyle should help as well.  March also marked 5 years of retirement for Hal.

April:  “Seniority”  Another milestone was reached in early April, as Hal turned 65 and became eligible for Medicare.  He is now a “senior” by every possible definition except his own.

May:  “For Minds Not Ready to Retire”  May 1st not only meant that Ruth has been retired for 5 years, but also marked our 5th anniversary with Omnilore, our learning-in-retirement organization.  Hal continues as Coordinator of the Shakespeare group, as equipment manager, and has taken over some web duties following the death of our Webmaster.  Ruth completed her 2nd (and final!) year as President at the end of October and is looking forward to “just” being a member, although she continues on the Curriculum Committee.  Her legacy is straightening out confused financial accounting during her tenure and leaving a healthy surplus.  We both run the program that generates each trimester’s schedule; someday we will update it to run on modern Macs.  

June:  “A Passing”  Sad news to report, as Ruth’s stepfather, Dave Tiger, died a week after his 97th birthday.  Erika drove down from Providence for the funeral, and Ruth shortened our vacation in Palm Springs by a few days to fly to New York to spend some time with her mother.  Dave was healthy and able to live at home until a few months before his death.

July:  “Just Starting”  In July, we traveled to Nashville and San Francisco on consecutive long weekends to attend two weddings, the first for the daughter of one of Ruth’s cousins, the second for one of Ruth’s friends.  In Nashville, in addition to reconnecting with Ruth’s extended family, we also saw a fantastic exhibition of Chihuly glass at the Frist Museum, spent a (surprisingly) entertaining afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and visited The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home.  In San Francisco, we went to the SF Museum of Modern Art and took a full-day drive home via the stunningly beautiful coastal route 1, stopping for lunch (as we always like to do) at Nepenthe in Big Sur.

August:  “Vegas is for Seniors too” For the second consecutive year, we spent our anniversary in Las Vegas, in the timeshare we bought on our 25th anniversary trip there.  We’ve decided to make this an annual vacation; 110 degrees in dry heat is actually quite tolerable.  This year, we saw Mystere (Cirque du Soleil), “Menopause the Musical”, and a concert featuring Bob Dylan and John Mellencamp.  We caught the “Bodies” and “Titanic Artifacts” exhibits at the Luxor, both very informative.  Hal gambled most mornings (cheap tables at the MGM Grand next door), winning but not enough to cover expenses, and played golf once.  Ruth sat by the pool with her Kindle.

September:  “Boomeranging”  September 1st marked another transition, as Alison and her boyfriend Jay moved home.  Both of them have been volunteering 4 hours a day at the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate, Alison (left) as a public policy intern and Jay in the retail store, both hoping to eventually find full-time employment there.  Alison has also continued teaching SAT prep classes with Revolution Prep, which provides good money but limited hours.  They brought their two tuxedo cats and miniature Chihuahua (right, 2.8 pounds!) with them; fortunately, our house is large enough to accommodate them as well as our own 3 cats.

October:  Rallying”  Ruth traveled to New York to celebrate her mother Helen’s 90th birthday. Erika came from Providence.  Although still adjusting to Dave’s death, Helen remains mentally alert and physically healthy.  Later in the month, we attended the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington DC.  Although the Rally was fun (see some of the signs below, a highlight), the highlights were spending time with grad school friends (Mike & Roberta McClimens) in Maryland who we hadn’t seen in quite some time and a couple of Hal’s Carleton friends (Bob Geyer, Ted Lutz, his wife Willa).

November:  Cruising (again)”  We took our second 2-week cruise this year, this time round-trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii.  We went with the Rich & Rita Trott with whom we took our first cruise (to Mexico) in 1986; though we’re all considerably older now (definitely less partying) we had as much fun.  Hal and Rich played golf on three islands on three consecutive days (+ on the onboard golf simulator), and we rented a car on the Big Island and drove as far up as we could get on Mauna Kea (where it was in the low 40s and rainy).   Since it takes 4 days at sea to get from LA to Hawaii, there was a lot of time for relaxing.  Hal finished 3rd & 4th in BJ tourneys, but won at the tables.

December:  “Still Active”  Hal marked 10 years of volunteering with Habitat, lowering knee risk, where he served as Safety Coordinator and a training instructor more than building houses (3 days in Dec. only) this year.  Erika (left) flew home for the holidays with one of her cats (Josh) who is ailing and requires twice-daily medication.   She cleverly timed the trip to miss both the 6 consecutive days of rain in Los Angeles and the blizzard that hit Providence after Christmas!  She will be here until January 4th; hopefully all the snow will be melted by then.

In conclusion, we notice the trend toward electronic holiday letters. This letter (all photos clickable to enlarge) and a few earlier ones are linked near the top of, and we reserve the right to go web-only at any time. Please email Hal if you’re not sure he has your email address so we can stay in touch.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2011!


Hal, Ruth, Erika, & Alison Hart


Alison’s email:

Erika’s email:

Ruth’s email:

Hal’s email:     Hal.Hart@ACM.ORG

Family website:


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