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December, 2011

Happy 2012 to Friends and Family Everywhere,

Back to our bad post-New-Year letter habit.  And, it appears we have not carried out last year's threat to go all-email with our annual letters, although we notice many others did.  Here are our highlights for 2011:

Hawaii flowerTravel:  After a ŅdownÓ year in 2011, while Hal was recuperating from his knee replacement surgery, we resumed our active travelling.  The highlight of our year was a fantastic three-week trip in the fall to Peru and Ecuador where we visited the Amazon, Machu Picchu, and the Galapagos Islands, with short stays in Lima (same climate as coastal Los Angeles, despite its proximity to the equator) and Quito Š see some of our photos at end.  Read Turn Right at Machu Picchu to learn the fascinating history of Inca reign and their Lost City.  This was our first time south of the equator and our first trip to South AmeValcanoes nat. Parkrica.  (We're now up from 2 to 5 continents visited in just over three years.)   We also spent a week on the Big Island of Hawaii in March and a week in Las Vegas in August, along with periodic trips to New York (Ruth) and Providence (Hal).  We flew to Hawaii via San Jose, which gave us the opportunity to reconnect with several grad school friends and where we were given a tour of Google by one of RuthÕs Internet friends and her husband.

Geocaching.com logoGeocaching:  In March, we were introduced to a new activity that quickly became an obsession.  Geocaching is a high-tech treasure/scavenger hunt, where players use a GPS to locate caches (typically, small watertight containers with logsheets and sometimes trinkets for trading) that have been hidden by other players.  Hides range from quick Park & Grabs to vigorous hikes and difficult concealments.  Amazingly, there are more than 5 million geocachers and more than 1.6 million geocaches hidden all over the world, with more than 300 within a 5 mile radius of our home.  Beginning in May, we geocached for 214 straight days (Erika filled in for us while we were in South America, though we did locate several there, including one in Machu Picchu itself), choosing to stop the streak right before the rains came a couple of weeks ago.  Among other things, itÕs given us an excMagellan GPSruse to investigate some of the trails all over the Palos Verdes Peninsula that weÕve been ŅmeaningÓ to hike for the past 35 years.  Thanks to our grad school friend, Rich Ragan, who showed us the ropes while we visited their Mountain View home prior to our Hawaii trip (where we geocached every day).  We went over 500 caches found on Dec. 31; intend to try hiding some in 2012 and turning our focus to less traditional Puzzle & Multi caches.  For those who are interested, check out www.geocaching.com which includes a 2-minute introductory video and where players maintain accounts  (we're StHart) for logging finds and automaticly keeping all kinds of statistics.  At right: our Magellan geocaching GPS.

Omnilore: We continue our heavy involvement in Omnilore, our unique peer-organized, peer-taught learning-in-retirement organization  (see Omnilore.org).  Both of us run the ingenious scheduling program every trimester.  Hal continues as the equipment manager (increasing technology usage), coordinates the popular Shakespeare group, and took on the job of co-webmaster in early 2011.  Although RuthÕs term as President mercifully ended in 2010, she continues on the Board of Directors as Past President and also serves on the Curriculum Committee.  We continue to take an eclectic set of classes and have joined the Hiking Club (where we first learned about geocaching Š see above).

HGH logoFamily:  The year ended on a high note for Alison as she has been working in the Advocacy Department with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles since October, where she had first interned for a year.  She is making lots of contacts with local elected officials and other non-profit leaders, which she hopes will come in handy in the future.   Now she and her boyfriend Jay are looking forward to another winter without snow!  Erika is still living in Providence, though she is making noises about returning to California.  WeÕd love to have her back and the prospects for a software engineer are better here too.  Now if she and Hal could just finish up her house remodel É

RuthÕs mother Helen celebrated her 91st birthday in a new location, a wonderful assisted living facility near RuthÕs sister PeggyÕs house in New Jersey.   Although she would rather still be in her apartment in Manhattan, she is safe and well cared for at Waterford Glen and that is what is most important.  Unfortunately, she fell in her room a few weeks ago and broke her hip, so she is currently living in the rehab part of the complex.  Fortunately, it was a simple fracture, so if she works hard, sheÕll be back in her room by mid-January.  We much appreciate the effort that Peggy and Harry have put into our motherÕs affairs, especially over the past year. 

League of Women Voters logoGrunion'77 softball team logoMiscellaneous:  Life in retirement continues to be busy, busy, busy, especially for Hal, who has been playing more golf and is the Ņsafety guyÓ for Habitat in addition to all his other activities.  Ruth spends far too much time on the computer but has also taken on the job of Newsletter Editor for the local League of Women Voters. ).  Hal went 2-for-2 in his first softball game of the year and immediately retired, claiming hits in 5 consecutive decades for his Grunion'77 TRW/Northrop intramural team.   No critical health issues for either of us so far (knock on wood).  Overall, life is good. 

If you're not sure we have your email address, please email Hal.Hart@ACM.ORG in case our all-email threat materializes next year.  Meanwhile, this letter is linked from our family website Hart-site.net with larger photos.

St. HartÕs Day (invitation also at Hart-site.net) will be on Saturday, February 11, 2012. We hope to see many of you there.



Hal, Ruth, Erika, & Alison Hart


AlisonÕs email: AlisonK.Hart@gmail.com

ErikaÕs email: Erika@Alumni.Brown.edu

RuthÕs email:  Ruth.Hart@Cornell.edu

HalÕs email: Hal.Hart@ACM.ORG






Ruth & McCawRuth with Toucan


Machu Picchu panorama

2 Galapagos turtles
Lonesome George sign

Hal & the Red Pirana



Lhama @ Machu Picchu


Fake Equator Real Equator


The Peruvian Amazon
(Ruth's Toucan; Hal
caught the Red Piranha

Machu Picchu
(& Llama that adopted us)

At Equator in Ecuador
(which one is fake?)

Galapagos Turtles
& Iguana