Michael & Danielle’s 2008 Newsletter

(click images to enlarge)
We began 2008 with a weekend ‘personal retreat’ at Esalen. This year our Esalen stay coincided with a seminar that was attended by our friend from Ireland, Helma Mair (left).
Also visiting us in January was Danielle's sister, Lisa, from Tampa, FL (right)
A few weeks later we were again in Big Sur for a two-night stay at the Ventana Inn (our Christmas present to each other). Adding to the fun, our Aikido teacher (and often-times co-guests), Frank Doran and his wife Ursula, were there at the same time.
Yes, that's us enjoying breakfast in the main lodge in fluffy cotton robes - our usual attire for most of our stay :-)
At the beginning of March we made a weekend trip with Danielle's son, Colin, and his girlfriend, to Lake Tahoe for a day of skiing in absolutely gorgeous weather.
In late May we made our annual trip to So. California, for the Mt. Baldy Aikido retreat. This was my 21st year attending the retreat - but the first time I had to drive through snow to get there (!) as a rare, late spring snowfall dumped several inches on the mountain.
Most years we enjoy day-time temperatures in the 70s to 80s. This year it barely made it into the 50s: very beautiful, though.

Following the retreat, as has become our tradition, we drove to Las Vegas for a 2-night stay at the Bellagio to celebrate our wedding anniversary. This year two of our Aikido friends, Cyndy Hayashi and her husband Keith joined us (above, right).

While in Las Vegas we visited my Dad and his wife Nancy. It was great to have Dad remember me when he saw me - his Alzheimer's is clearly more advanced than the last time we were together. He no longer remembers Danielle. Still we had a good time just talking about what was going on with us and maybe recalling older memories.