Category Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas 2017

Sydney Bridge Climb

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Joyful 2018!!

The Summer That Would Not End
~by Barry

It seemed as though summer would not end this year. We even had to go as far as the Yukon to really bring it to an end. In this ever changing political and social climate, we hope that this season finds you and your family well, prosperous and can finally relax that surprised look on your face each time you open up the daily news.

2017 started off raining in Sacramento and elsewhere as the California drought was finally on its way to ending. We decided to cruise over to Australia in January and left rainy Sacramento to board our ship in rainy Los Angeles. Who knew it rained in Los Angeles!!?? In fact in rained so much that our departure was delayed a day. Once we finally departed it was to rough seas, and I mean rough seas, so rough in fact, that long time crew members were getting sick for the first two days. The seas were so rough that we were saddened to hear that we would not be seeing Hawaii on the cruise over, but gladdened to hear that Bora Bora and Tahiti would be substituted. We had a great time seeing those islands again and then it was off to New Zealand and Australia where we disembarked. We traveled on land in Australia for about four weeks and then it was back on ship for a cruise back. For more on this trip you realty should consult our travel blog at When we got back to Sacramento we were still expecting some bit of winter, or at least spring, but it turned out to be unseasonably hot. We were hopeful that out trip to San Diego at the end of the month would be to a milder climate, NOT! This continued through to November when we finally got some rain and then took off to the Yukon in December to see the Northern Lights.

We both keep busy with our hobbies and interests. Denise continues to be super grandma planning grandkid outings, doing needlework, artwork, felting, making cookies, baking club and book club. She continues to write her travel blog and trying to keep up with all of our traveling around the world sorting through hundreds of pictures, making videos and writing travel stories. She has been making pillows for everyone with great embroidery graphics and sayings to the pleasure of all.

Barry is still busy with his Rotary Club but has given up his role as newsletter editor and secretary as of July. He continues as newsletter editor for his MG club but his term ended on the local community association and with that his job as monthly newsletter, Grants Chair and Secretary. He has continued woodturning and purchased a much larger lathe so he can make larger bowls. He has made a plethora of bottle stoppers, and wood handles for everything. He has joined the American Association of Woodturners as well as the Norcal Woodturners Club so he can expand his experience and woodturning projects. Barry continues to tinker with his 1973 MGBGT taking out the dents and prepping it for paint. He says, “It is almost done.” He took Banyan on a MG Ride with the Club members along the Delta. Banyan talked the whole way down and slept the whole way back. They both had a great time.

In July, our dear friend, Caroline hosted us AGAIN, so that we could visit her as well as Jon & Kathryn and Denise’s folks. Caroline took us on a seven bridges, seven mile San Diego urban hike.  Then we were fortunate to host her up or at. We saw Beach Blanket Babylon in North Beach, the Summer of Love Exhibit at the de Young Museum , walked across the Golden Park and across Golden Gate Bridge and into Saucilito,  bicycled in Mill Valley and Tiburon and strolled Dillon Beach.

By the time August came around we got notice that rooms were available at East Oregon State University for the eclipse and we were off again. This time we drove, and drove, and drove to reach Boise, Idaho where we stayed overnight and then drove on to La Grande, Oregon, a university town like no other, really, there is not much there and it is quite unlike what you’ve heard about other university towns. The eclipse was not life changing but worth the trip. There is an eerie quite when the moon blocks the sun and it goes dark and cold; and then in two minutes its all back to normal. We had a great time, drove a lot and don’t need to do it again.

In September it was off to New York for a fall colors cruise up the eastern coast to Halifax, Nova Scotia and back. We saw some colors but not the vibrancy that you see in the photos. After the cruise we took some more time and drove to Camden, Maine where we picked up a schooner with 18 other people for 4 days in Penobscot Bay with a lobster bake on a remote island and sailing around the bay. After the cruise we toured Deerfield and Sturbridge Village to see what 17th and 18th century living was really like. We were fortunate to see the Sleepy Hollow play performed at night in Sturbridge Village, truly a great experience.

Early in December we took off for the Yukon in hopes to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. Denise found a “resort” in the Yukon where we stayed in a private cabin and dined in the chalet. We had hot rock massages, great food, went dog sledding, snow mobiling and wild life viewing. We were not fortunate enough to see the Lights, but we do know what -17degrees feels like now. We think some body parts are still thawing out!

H,J,N&B in Arnold
Jungle Bird Kathryn&Jon
Polar Express, Old Sacramento

The extended family is doing well. Heather, Justin, Novella and Banyan are well. Heather continues with her art, web design and work for Sierra 2. Justin continues to work at Sutter and continues to experiment with his BBQ and other cooking techniques. Novella and Banyan are both growing like weeds. Novella is in the third grade while Banyan is in Kindergarten. Heather and Justin have been spending time fixing their house in anticipation of selling and moving elsewhere in Sacramento in 2018. Jon and Kathryn are well. Jon has moved on from the Chevy dealership to Hyundai and likes it much better there. Kathryn is close to completing her schooling for her certificate in Cardiovascular Technology . They are still living in San Diego.

We hope that you will have a wonderful and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and that you enjoyed 2017 as much as we did. We look forward to the future with more fun, family and travel.







Merry Christmas 2015

Hogan Holiday Letter

We hope that this letter finds you with loved ones, enjoying good health, prosperity and that your life is filled with all good things.


For us, the year started out with Alooooooooha with the family trip to Hawaii. Everyone was there, Heather, Justin, Novella, Banyan, Jon and his then girlfriend, Kathryn. Jon and Kathryn had recently made the move from the Monterrey area to San Diego where they were enjoying the great weather and the condo. We stayed in a VRBO house across from the beach on Hilo and managed to have a great time, which is not hard to do in Hawaii. It was a few days into the trip that Jon sprang the big question to Kathryn at the Botanical Gardens. She said “yes” and the rest is history or later in this letter.
Denise continues in her baking club (where she’s made some lovely friends), a new luncheon group, is taking a yoga class, reads, plays quizup and continues to enjoy trip planning. (She has had 18, 671 readers of her TripAdvisor reviews. Geez, really?) Though she hasn’t added to our travel blog for some time, she will make up for lost time soon. She also cherishes time with San Diego friends when we go South or when some have visited us up NorCal way.

VdM HawaiiWe delight in the fact that we are so close by to the grandkids and frequently spent time with them. It’s a wonderful time filled with hugs, cuddles, stories, snotty noses and love notes. Novella is now seven years old and in first grade, Banyan is three and in preschool.

Barry decided that is was time to become more involved in the Land Park Community Association (LPCA) as well as his MG Club and volunteered to do the newsletter for both organizations! Fortunately, the MG Club newsletter is only a month and the LPCA newsletter was once a quarter. Barry is still continuing to do the weekly newsletter for his Rotary Club. In March Barry ran for and was elected to the LPCA Board for two years and took over running their website.

In February we started to play Pickleball once a week in Elk Grove at one of the community centers. For those who don’t know this is a fast paced game where you play on the size of a Badminton court with rackets the size of paddle tennis and softball sized wiffle balls. We play each Monday and do a round-robin type play sometimes playing as many as six to eight games in a two hour period. We continue to go to the gym four times a week where Barry swims and Denise runs. Keeping in shape allows us to keep up with the grandkids!

Also in February we found out why Barry’s eye was drooping. He was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), albeit a mild case affecting his eyes. This is a situation where the message to the eye muscle just doesn’t seem to get there and the eye droops or closes. Barry takes pills to alleviate this situation and thankfully after he lost 35 pounds the MG seemed to go into remission and he takes the pills only occasionally.

We decided that this year was the year to lose some of the weight that both of us had been carrying around. We used the Take Shape for Life Program (thanks Elise and Jill), which supplied the food that we were to eat for the next few months. We were surprised that we were not hungry and pleased to see the weight loss. Barry lost the weight quicker than Denise since he was taking in more calories than she. All in all, both of us have lost a combined weight of 60 pounds! Both of us had to go shopping to get new clothes since the old clothes were so baggy.

In April, we finally took the leap and bought a “chalet” in the Sierras! We had been looking for some time to find a vacation home that the family could go to. We checked out Arnold, California and to our surprise, we found it charming; exactly what we had been looking for and in our price range. After a stay over Easter, when it snowed for the first time in 2015, we found our “chalet.” The “Let’s Play Chalet” has taken more time than we thought to make it into exactly what we wanted. Denise was active on Pinterest as well as other internet sites picking out material for drapes, colors for the wall and cabinets, furniture and the like. We searched thrift shops, consignment stores, IKEA, antique stores, Salvation Army, Craigslist, Habitat for Humanity and the like for all of the stuff that a chalet needs. It wasn’t until August that we were able to put it on the market as a rental. So far it has been great for the family and there is less and less work to do each time we visit, so we can enjoy just being there. We celebrated a preChristmas weekend with Jon and Kathryn, Heather and Justin and the grand-darlings. It was heaven to have everyone up there in the snow.

In July Barry took over as President of his Rotary Club. He hit the ground running, having his budget
adopted at the last Board meeting in June and selected his entire Board for his year. The Club was aware that both he and Denise would be gone in August and September for their six week trip to Europe, and had already planned to have past presidents fill in for the eight meetings that he would miss. In August, just a week before we were to go on our trip, Barry went in for a routine check up with his internist. We were surprised when his doctor heard a “flutter” in his chest, which sent us immediately to have an EKG of his heart. Sure enough, they found a “leaky” heart valve that required surgery to fix. The Europe trip was cancelled, thank God for insurance, and robotic surgery schedule for October 14. All went well; the valve was fixed and we are planning on rescheduling our trip for 2016. We are very, very thankful for our good health.

JK weddingBest of all, Jon and Kathryn got married in a small family ceremony in Las Vegas on October 10. It was great to meet the rest of Kathryn’s beautiful family and celebrate together with such a fun weekend. We love our new daughter-in-law and are so very happy that both of our kids have found such joyful and supportive marriages. (Heather and our adored Justin have now been married for YIKES 13 years.)

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful 2016.