Happy Holidays


Caledonia, MI, USA

Last Winter started out like a wimp, but that didn’t last much beyond the Newsletter before we had plenty of snow again. This Winter got off to a cold start – we seemed to go from 80 degrees Summer to 30 degrees Winter in about 2 weeks, and on 7 December woke up to 0°F (-13°C)

The past 12 months has been another year of work for Lisa at Delphi, both of us volunteering for the local Genealogy Society, working on the yard and gardens, Roger volunteering for the Clan Moffat Society running the genealogy and web site, Lisa playing in the local orchestra (with Roger playing orchestra “groupie”), Roger shipping computers to New Zealand, working on the yard and gardens, family things (well Lisa’s family at least), and some traveling. The first half of the year was fairly quiet travel-wise, but things heated up in the second half.

The barn swallows continue to treat our house as their house and raised two lots of chicks above our back door again. During the summer we discovered that we finally have bats living in one of the bat boxes Roger put up the first spring we were here – each evening up to 40 bats would swoop out of the box at dusk for their night of bug catching. With the mosquito transmitted West Nile Virus showing up in Michigan this year (and people dying from it) we hope the bats eat as many mosquitoes as they are supposed to!!. We saw our first bluebird family this summer.
We started off July with a Christensen reunion in Frankfort, Michigan. This year’s reunion was special because we celebrated 70th birthdays for the last of the Christensen Grandpas and first of the Christensen Grandmas. 33 Christensens “invaded” George and Bev’s place for a few days. Lisa and Roger spent much of June making a picture quilt for Lisa’s Aunt Jean. The big pictures are 6 inches square.

One week later we were off to Cleveland with Lisa’s parents to meet distant Tonsing cousins. We spent several days touring Cleveland, visiting Tonsing Drive, and wandering through cemeteries. We were able to find several of the homes Lisa’s ancestors lived in and the church her Tonsings’ attended.

Next, it was a trip to Oregon to attend the wedding of Roger’s friend Peter Moore and Stacey. I worked with Peter on wildlife research on Campbell Island, and Stacy who is American, had more recently accompanied Peter to Campbell Island as a research assistant (they had met in New Zealand before this). So there’s something about Campbell Island, the Kiwi blokes who go there, and the American women they get to meet there!! We spent three days in Corvallis, Oregon, and on a day trip away saw and stepped in the Pacific Ocean. We had a day in Portland with Scott, an “eFriend”. We picked the wrong time to visit Scott in Portland—record high temperatures, haze obscuring the volcanoes, and the Kiwi rose NOT blooming at the famous Portland rose garden.
In August Lisa went off to the hospital to have a hysterectomy. Earlier this year the doctor had found more fibroid tumors. They continued to grow slowly in spite of the medication she was taking that was supposed to keep them under control. Since this was her second time dealing with the tumors she decided the hysterectomy was the best solution. After three days in the hospital, 4 weeks of rest and recovery (and excellent home care!!) she was back at work.
We now have a satellite dish delivering about 50 new TV channels to watch—and there still isn’t anything good to watch, but Lisa managed to be entertained by reruns of Magnum PI and Saturday Night Live during her convalescence. One of these days we’ll pay the $3.99 to watch a movie a few months after we don’t see at the theatre. But I’m not going to be paying them $99 to watch a cricket one day series any time soon!!!!!

At the end of August Roger realized that the last Camaro had just rolled off GM’s assembly line…and he didn’t have one. A shiny new Camaro with $0 down, Lisa’s GM staff discount and 0% financing for 5 years was simply irresistible. We chose another red one off the dealer’s lot. Now we just have to sell the old (1994 model) Camaro, but Winter isn’t the best time to sell a car that has very wide skis tyres on it, so it sits in the barn waiting for next Spring.

In early October we drove the new car down to this year’s Clan Moffat Society AGM in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Along the way we visited Betsy (another eFriend) and met her husband, daughter and Cognac the dog. After spending several days with the Moffats we visited Mammoth Caves National Park in Kentucky, then headed west to finally catch up with the Shackleton display in Springfield Missouri. Earlier in the year we had gone to Cincinnati, Ohio (400 miles – 640 km each way) to see it, only to find that the museum’s web site was wrong and the display had left 2 weeks earlier. On the way back from Springfield MO we visited President Lincoln’s home in Springfield Illinois.

If you have internet access you can see picture diaries of some of our travels at these addresses




We grew another batch of giant pumpkins this year, gave a few to Kyle and Zoe, and sold the rest. It was also a good year for potatoes—russet, Yukon Gold, and Red skinned.

Lisa has continued looking at microfilms from German towns and villages in the quest for more ancestors and now has some ancestors back to the early 1600s in Germany. I continue to get a trickle of enquiries about my ancestors from people who find my web sites with the data on them. Most recently I heard from someone in Singapore who was doing research on Surveyors General of Malaysia and found me because I’m related to John “Uncle Jack” Dewar (my father’s mother’s brother) who held that post in the 1930s and was awarded the CBE by King George for his service. I’m also in touch with a Houliston in South Africa, but so far we can’t determine that we’re related. It seems I am related to a Lineham in Germany, and a Lyneham descendant in Australia.

Next year is Roger’s parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, and we are planning to visit in June. The whole family will be together for the first time since January 2000. We cashed up 180,000 miles from our frequent flyer miles and have locked away 2 round trip Business Class tickets to New Zealand – oh the luxury!!!!!!!. Now we just have to hope that United Airlines is still around to honour the tickets next June.

We wish you all Happy Holidays, and all the best for 2003

Thanks for being Reader of our Newsletter 2002.
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