What A Decade!

Holiday 2009

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Greetings Friends,

Itís time for the bi-annual, holiday letter.  I thought that being the end of the decade and all that I should be sure to get it in.

What a decade it has been!

 When I left off in my 2007 letter, my job was in jeopardy at GE.  That was an accurate prediction; it left in April of 2008.  The nice thing is that GE has a good severance package.  That has enabled me to start up a consulting business called Iph (www.damnsmartdesign.com).  Iíve been doing ultrasound work for U of Michigan.  I also had a nice 10 month stint at Wicab (www.wicab.com) prior to them running out of funding.  So, 2010 is a bit up in the air, but Iím confident things will work out.  Currently Iím working on an ultrasound probe of my own design that I hope will be attractive to various research groups.  Otherwise, Iíll continue to look for a good situation in Madison , since Iím not prepared to leave my farm, my family or my friends.

Adam is still in Milwaukee and just bought a little house with his girlfriend Joanna.  Itís a great place, in a 50ís neighborhood just southwest of downtown.  They are very excited and rightly so.  Itís a great place, perfect for them.  Adam is still working for Philips, designing MRI equipment and becoming pretty proficient at it I think.  Jo is a sweet girl that he met in college.  She is upgrading her English degree with a paralegal degree and will finish that during the coming year.

 Neil is now a sophomore at UW Madison.  He had sort of an iffy freshman year, but now seems to be on track.  Luckily, he figured out that he loves school and needs to not screw up his once in a lifetime opportunity.  He is pursuing linguistics and computer science.  For him it seems to be all about language.  Heís playing around with French, German, Dutch, Russian, and Java, quite the combination.  He gets some pretty good coaching from Sasha, his girlfriend, a native Russian speaker, but I canít imagine how he can keep it all straight.

Last summer Neil worked for me as a handyman.  You might think, Neil, a handyman?    But I figured it would be a good combination of getting money in his pocket, and knowledge in his brain.  There were plenty of do-overs, but at the end of the summer, we both had what we wanted.  Among other things, he played a leading role in reroofing the barn.  He, Pete (Lauraís son), and Peteís buddy Stu, did a fabulous job on the barn.  It was a big complex job and had us all scratching our heads more than once.

Speaking of LauraÖ weíve been dating since February 2008.  We seem to on the same wavelength 95% of the time which is good since we are both pretty strong minded.  Sheís a very dedicated pediatric nurse at UW Childrenís hospital and a handyman in her own right.  I think she has renovated 75% of her house during the time Iíve known her and Iím guessing itís never going to end, she loves doing it.  SoÖ we have that in common too.  

As far as renovations at the Holy Goof goÖ Iím getting pretty burned out after 3.5 years of it.  Itís still fun, but itís about time to stop.  The barn was the big project last summer.  Besides that itís been windows, kitchen, living room, deck/screen porch, workshops, landscaping, HVAC, plumbingÖ pretty much everything on the property needed fixing or replacing.  At this point, Iím happy to say the end is in sight.  Next year will mean replacing the roof on the house and a fireplace in the Ďroom with a viewí, but after that, it will mostly be hanging pictures.

With all that said, I love the place.  The view out back to the east is fabulous.  I love getting up in the morning and watching dawn turn to sunrise.  The fields, the marsh, it all works for me.  And, Iím still paragliding, so when the wind is right, all I have to do is walk out to my tiny hanger, and throw myself into the air.  Itís a childhood dream come true. 

Iíve updated my pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/rfmorris with shots of the kids, the house, and the girlfriend.

So there you have it.

 Life is good.  There are challenges, disappointments, and tragedies, but on the whole, we are all living charmed lives.  I try to think that every single time I get on an airplane, or browse the internet, or drive to visit someone, or walk down the street. 

 Friends, enjoy these things, they are not birthrights; they are gifts.

 Peace,

Rich