Dick and Jane's Travels

A Travelblog (click on any picture to enlarge -- then click again to make it even bigger)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Happy Holidays -- 2005

Now that I’m retired, I don’t have to dress like this everyday

Happy Holidays!


Photos of Christmas Past
As far as I can recall (a time-span that seems somehow to shorten each year), I’ve never distributed a holiday letter. My parents would always mimeograph (remember that word!) a page to include with the family Christmas photo each year. With twelve kids, you got at most a short paragraph, usually only a sentence, maybe two if you did something significantly good like graduate or cure cancer. (Getting out of prison didn’t count -- only good news made the annual letter. Maybe Sarbanes-Oxley will change that but apparently not so far from the letters I’ve been getting from some of you.) For those relatives reading this who may have missed them, click here to see the annual Francis & Eileen Christmas Photos -- or click here to see Pietrina and Dick’s annual photo cards.

Is a thirty-year-old Christmas photo better than none at all?

(Note: to see any of these pictures enlarged, just click on them. If you click on the subsequent picture, it gets even bigger, maybe even life size!)

Is it as bad as missing a period?
Since leaving my parents’ home, I’m not sure I’ve had that many years that deserve a paragraph and figured your email was already sufficiently boring without a yearly recap from me. But looking back, I realize there have been such things as the births of four children and three grandchildren (so far), a dream (was this why I slept on the job so much?) expatriate assignment in Paris, the 2001 death of Pietrina after 34 years of marriage, my wedding with Jane in 2003, and my retirement – all of them without much communication from me. I was going to wait until my death so you’d only have to read one letter from me, but I’m not sure I will get the opportunity. So, I thought I’d use this one…

Third time charmer
Mitchell is the smaller one – at least for now

Our family’s big news for the year is Maria and Mike’s Valentine's production of Grandson #3: Mitch Jerry Onufrow.

Mitchell joined his brother Matthew and cousin Mark to be the great joy of our lives. We are lucky to have Mitch and Matthew only a few miles away and are trying to see Mark and his California parents more often.

How can we tell that he’s no longer working?

Swine Song: Here’s my last chance to gorge myself
and pontificate on the company’s tab.
Notice I'm already leaning to the left.

A few weeks after Mitch’s birth, I retired after 23 years with ExxonMobil -- nearly forty years after I started teaching grade school in 1966. Having downsized my career in 2000 to take care of a few personal matters (my own Y2K crisis), I pretty much coasted the last five years and was more-than-ready to leave the corporate world.

The following weekend, my twin sister Mary joined me for a 60th birthday celebration with several of my kids, brother Paul and his wife Cindy, and the Conlan’s (my good friends for nearly 45 years who, like us, found themselves transplanted to Houston in the 1980s).

Here’s a picture of my oldest grandson, Matthew, who also turned 3 that day and Graciously postponed his own party so Mary and I could have ours:

Is he stimulating your cone?

Working Girl

Mitch and retirement turned out to be the big stories for 2005. With Jane still working (not much longer, we hope), we weren’t able to do the kind of extended travel that we hope is in our future. We did get to New York a couple of times, including a business trip where Jane’s company celebrated its tenth anniversary of being listed on the NYSE. See if you can pick her out as her group closed down the market (that’s a good thing) in July:

Second from the right: She still rings my bell

Road work
Our long trips in 2005 were to Hawaii (Maui and Kuai) and Chile/Argentina (blog in progress at http://dickschmitt.blogspot.com .) With many other trips including several visits to Dick's father Francis (still doing well at 93) as well as two trips to the Georgia/North Carolina area to see Jane’s father Paul.

Peak experiences
Dick participated in his family’s second annual father-son vacation/death march in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks in Utah. He was joined by sons John and Paul along with seven other brothers/in-laws/nephews. All joined in picking on brother Paul who organized(?) the mob and took it with his usual studied insouciance.

The usual suspects at one of the great holes of the world; you must click on this one to see it enlarged!

The year ended on a high note with the visit of all of the kids and grandkids to Houston to celebrate the holidays. Here’s a photo of Grandma Jane celebrating with grandson Mark:

The idle Richard
So are you going to embarrass me by asking me what am I really doing in my retirement? There was a lot of travel (11 trips by my count, including the three trips of a week or longer). More time was spent on family, especially helping out the senior generation while we are still blessed with their presence. A little more time went to exercising to preserve what’s left of this generation (although there were no marathons this year.) I’ve been getting more time in at the piano, enough to justify (at least in my mind) getting a new Steinway grand. (Cocaine isn’t the only way God tells you that you have too much money!) And I’m trying to get back into Webdocumenting some of my travels after a five-year hiatus. (If that’s not enough, stay tuned at http://dickschmitt.blogspot.com/ ).

In short, I didn't watch any daytime TV and had more trouble getting a nap in than when I was working. If that's not busy, then I don't want to find out what is.

I hope your year was as happy -- and that Jane and I will get to see you in 2006.




  • At 6:27 AM, Blogger Morsteadle said…

    Dick & Jane --- love the pics and dialogue. Must have an in-depth online overview of all this new technology sometime!!

  • At 7:35 AM, Blogger ocay said…

    What a wonderful way to chronicle some mighty important life-moments...and with such a sly touch of humor.

    I really enjoyed reading it and intend to look at the pictures as soon as I am mature enough not to be totally jealous.

    -- Cay Dickson

  • At 8:03 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Great site! I found myself on the family tree. Maybe I can start a cool site like this for myself someday. Keep up the good work, go Schmitt's!



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