Saturday, December 13th, 2003 - Happy holidays to one and all!
Would you believe the Bickerdikes have been busy again this year? We started out in March with a trip to Florida that included a couple of days on the Keys, and a weeklong 8th wedding anniversary cruise to Panama, Monkeying around Costa Rica, and Belize (formerly British Honduras).
For the following week, Judy Pedersen and her two daughters, Emma (5) and Abby (almost 2) from snowy New York, joined us at a two bedroom castle (according to Abby) and we enjoyed visiting several of the Disneyworld attractions with them. It was great seeing their reactions to the sights.
Katie and I took a summer PWC/gambling trip to Laughlin, Nevada. Here I am on the Colorado River as the old man and the Sea Doo. Because of limited vacation time, we only made one Colorado River trip this year. We did do several cruises around the Long Beach Harbor area, usually followed by a nice dinner in the area.
This year was a special one for me. I really went over the hill this year. Katie threw a pre-birthday celebration dinner with long time friends, Lee and Rose Ann Wilkinson, who were visiting from Tennessee, Gary and Louise Matz, Dan Halpert, and Mike Kaliczak. Family attending included Liberty, her Kevin, our Kevin and of course Katie .Ask us sometime about the restaurant dropping the birthday cake.
In July, for my real 60th birthday, Katie and I took a weeklong cruise to Alaska. It was great to see the places again and do different tours on shore. Skagway is still my favorite stop. After we docked in Seward we boarded a bus for a second week land tour that included two day trips on a private self-contained train car run by the cruise line. Alaska is sure a big place! Visiting the ranch where Jeff King trains his Iditarod dog teams, paddlewheel river boating and panning for gold in Fairbanks were some of the highlights. We were not able to see Mount McKinley during the Denali Park tour, but we did see it peeking out of the clouds while flying back home from Fairbanks.
On August 30th, Liberty and Kevin McCormick were married. They enjoyed a honeymoon relaxing at Grand Cayman and even found a parasail crew that let them wakeboard. Since it is now wintertime, they are spending many weekends in Mammoth snowboarding. Their home is in Simi Valley, California.
Katie has been teaching Algebra and Consumer math at the high school. She has her hands full trying to convince seniors that they might need to be able to add 6 + 7 sometime in their lives.
On November 10, niece Heather and her husband Sam, welcomed 6 pound, 12 ounces Lucia Reinert into the family. Katies parents flew back to Minnesota to greet the first great-grandchild into the family and spend Thanksgiving.
We just (last Sunday) returned from a two-week Thanksgiving vacation in Hawaii. Kevin, finally learning how much work his mom actually does in the classroom, took over Katies math class while we were gone. The first week we spent in Maui, Jennifer and a friend of hers, Chris, from her work at Ryland Homes joined us. Jennifer had enjoyed the SCUBA last year so much that she and Chris were certified in California before heading to Hawaii. The two of them did several great dives (one down to 85 feet) off Maui. The four of us celebrated Thanksgiving at a local beachfront restaurant and then the girls had to head back that night to the mainland.
Katie and I flew to the Big Island of Hawaii and spent another week re-exploring (the last time we were there was on our Honeymoon). One highlight was a mule wagon ride down the Waipio Valley, ever seen a Belgian Draft Mule before?
We visited (both by land and by snorkeling from a rubber raft) the Hawaiian place of refuge that Petes mom helped restore in the late 60s. The idol she carved (and was pictured on a US 11 cent stamp) succumbed to the harsh weather and has been replaced. The original is in a warehouse awaiting a spot in a museum sometime. Kona has sure exploded since Petes first visit camping there in 1960! Costco, Walmart, and almost any fast food you can imagine has appeared there.
We spent our last two days exploring the Volcanoes National Park and Hilo area, staying in a true Hawaiian bed and breakfast, squeaky floors and all. Katie especially enjoyed the Akatuska Orchid growers and even brought back some flowers with her.
Kevin is still looking for permanent employment and is filling his time with some bartending, and contract work as well as intermittently substituting for his mom and other teachers. He had a second knee surgery this spring, which this time, was completely successful. He also had Lasik surgery and happily, no longer wears glasses.
Karen is now living in the Apple Valley area near Victorville and looking for employment.
In between vacations and teaching, Katie managed to complete some major home improvements with 13 window replacements, two monster sliding doors and an outside repainting.
We plan to have a quiet Christmas at home in Hacienda Heights with Katie's parents visiting from Santa Barbara.
Our best to you and your families during the holidays.
Contacting us: address: 2650 Daytona Ave., Hacienda Heights, CA 91745-5101, (do come see us when you are in the area - were just East of the 605 freeway and just South of the 60 freeway, about 18 miles East of downtown Los Angeles), Phone 562-907-9003 (don't let the recording scare you off, thats to eliminate the telemarketing calls), Petes e-mail is: email@example.com, Katies e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (remove the no-spam before sending)