“Excuse me, are you from Namgoong?” the unknown lady in the lobby of the building asked. “No, but why do you ask?” he said. “Oh, just curious I guess. I thought you looked a bit like that man on The Sound of Music and it is New Year’s Day, after all” she said. “Ah, I understand” he said, but did he really? Rich puzzled over that brief conversation for several weeks. Ultimately, he told Rochelle about it and said it might be a sign that they should leave the hi-rise living behind and look for a house to buy. The Sound of Music has long been a favorite of Rochelle’s so she immediately started looking at properties in Austria. Having identified one in Salzburg and another in Vienna that looked appealing, she made offers on each, subject to strict contingencies. Vienna, won out, but the contingency was that it relocate to Virginia to shorten Rich’s commute. The contingency was satisfied so there we are. Construction zone city, but without five sides, has a slightly longer commute, but is quite tolerable. And there is the nearby jungle and wildlife sanctuary. And so we tinker a bit, but not nearly as much as the past two houses. We don’t have a farm, you know, so we made sure we had our two-year supply of water. He took note as he wrote 11/12/13. Rich and Roch hopped a bicycle built for about 1.75 (given depreciation) but they rounded to 2 and went rolling up and down the path. The weather, beach and scenery were nice; they looked but didn’t find Amelia even though they nearly crashed more than once. He was driving. There was some fun involved, but also lots of driving. It probably is a good thing in the end that she didn’t really want to see the sun come up over Santa Monica Boulevard. Nevertheless, always the more. Why doesn’t anyone say that? They say lots of other things. How about doing the windy city dance and having real deep dish pizza? It really does get too cold there, global warming notwithstanding, or something without sitting. It’s a good thing Rochelle at least doesn’t tweet. She and Rich do the T-24, or 23 sometimes – occasionally all the way to 25. A little rounding isn’t so bad, as demonstrated on the beach; we don’t need to splash. Children everywhere really love the music, but mostly love feeling loved, and she is a star.
You know, when the kids have all moved out, there isn’t as much to write about so you have to make up more stuff. Actually, nobody asked about Namgoong or any other such place (actually, there isn't such a place), or the Sound of Music, but there were some rather odd interactions with fellow residents in our otherwise nice high-rise apartment building in Pentagon City. So after about 6 months of apartment living, Rochelle and I decided to buy a house. Despite many people urging us to live in the city, we settled on a new house in Vienna, Virginia which is a suburb directly west of the city. We relocated in March so if you didn't get our change of address card, drop us a line. The commute is very civilized and tolerable – about 30 minutes by train – and so far predictable and easy to do. It’s nice to have a yard and a place to tinker, but having a new house means there isn’t much I can do to get my do-it-yourself fix. We’ve still managed to find some small things to do and reasons to go to Home Depot. The town has many 1950’s era houses that are being knocked down and rebuilt. We are in one of those, and have new houses being built on either side of us, and one directly across the street that will be knocked down soon. So we live in a construction zone. There is a bamboo grove in the neighbor’s yard that houses a large flock of somewhat chatty birds in the evening, and some other local not-so wildlife keeps it from being too quiet. Most of the travel was to visit children and grandchildren so no globetrotting to report, but we did spend an afternoon riding a somewhat dilapidated tandem bike up and down the beach in Santa Monica, which was fun and educational. Following the tradition in which Rochelle was raised, we also took two trips to see BYU’s football team lose at UVA and at Notre Dame, the latter on an exceptionally cold and snowy day. We salvaged the trip by having deep dish spinach and mozzarella pizza at Edwardo’s. If you haven’t ever had it, you don’t know what deep dish pizza really is – and shouldn’t pretend to know – sorry. We spent some time doing the Insanity workouts and T25, but our enthusiasm for the latter is limited. We’re just not young or fast enough. One day at church I asked a 10 year old girl how old she thought I was. 75 was her answer. So much for T25. We’ve gone back to running. Rochelle has had some very good experiences teaching young children in local elementary and pre-schools on a part-time basis. She takes an autoharp and a ukulele with her and charms the kids with her tunes. After one such visit, an 8 year old boy asked if he could “connect” with her online. She broke the kid’s heart, I’m sure. She does have an extraordinary talent at helping children feel loved, and the kids love her for it.
Rachel, Sam, Harper, Shiloh, Atti. Only one is a dog. Harper is getting ready for the Kentucky Derby and Sam is about ready for the marathon. Neither is very close to the triathalon yet, sprint or otherwise. Living in Montana usually means that there is a tent. And there is always Grandpa Cowboy with pony rides and other fragrant experiences. You’ll have to check in with Rachel to see how she feels about tucking and rolling to avoid the face plant. She is brave, and her kids are remarkably good at being have, in addition to being fun and smart and pleasant, mostly, and tall completely; maybe they wear Shiloh’s jeans. The words are there but not the pictures; Grandpa wishes he could draw.
Rachel and family are still in Great Falls, MT. We’ve seen them a few times and Rachel and kids came to spend some weeks with us, but we would like to see more of them still. Fortunately, their other grandparents are close and have lots of fringe benefits to offer – such as a Shetland Pony for Harper to ride, and lots of other cattle auction-related activity. Sam is a walker/runner but neither Harper nor Sam are much for actual swimming yet. Rachel accompanied Rich and Rochelle and Roch’s family on a mountain biking trip near Yellowstone and Rachel went over the bars on the way down. Fortunately she tucked her head and rolled, managing not to be hit by other riders or rocks, etc. That turned out to be fortunate as two other riders in our group ended up with pretty serious head injuries taking similar spills. Harper and Sam are both taller than average, so they didn’t get Rochelle’s genes. They are also very funny, smart and cute. Harper is adept at politely explaining why things should be done her way. Sam is learning how to manipulate things in his own quiet way but both are very well behaved. Rich penned the text of a children’s book based on one visit, but can’t draw well enough to make it real.
Arrin, Marcus, Juno and 5/9. Only one is a dog, and the lady of the house/apartment doesn’t evidently believe much in rounding. The bank required a lot of investment; so will a sprog. One of the 3.556 is lanky and curly, kind of like Marcus, who does the run, splash and roll. He also does Y-Gnacio regularly, and maybe even goes to Manning’s occasionally – he’s in the right part of the world often enough. By April, there should be no more need for rounding, some people really are named Gomez, or Smedly, but nobody is really named Enzyme as far as we can tell, so that’s out, so is Chocolate Zane.
Arrin and Marcus moved from Mountain View to Walnut Creek, CA midway through the year. They got a puppy (Australian Shepherd/Standard Poodle mix) named Juno. Juno is a lanky dog who loves being with Arrin and Marcus. Arrin and Marcus take her to the dog park often and she is pretty well behaved. Arrin also expect to add to the grandchildren in March of next year, but is showing absolutely no externally evident signs of that. She hasn’t been sick, and the ultrasound confirms that there is a little Marcus cooking, but you wouldn’t know it. After a little more than a year, she decided the investment banking world wasn’t for her so she is looking for a more family friendly place to work. She seems to have some interesting prospects, but no deal yet. Marcus is doing well at his job, traveling a great deal to Asia and other places (Mannings, by the way, is a pharmacy chain in Hong Kong), and earning lots of frequent flyer miles. He also runs marathons and triathlons regularly. I don’t understand how he manages that. They are stumped for names for the bun, but don’t seem very impressed by Rich’s efforts to help on that front.
Chris, Kasey, Banjo, Scout. Only two are dogs, but one was an Eagle. Where does he live? Sodium Chloride Big Hydrogen Dioxide Body, The Old Dominion (that was a really big storm that wrecked that game), That City That Might Be In Maine? Take your pick, depending. He got the red to go with the dark blue and hopes to add plenty of green to go with them. He talks to a lot of people, helps with the homework and cleans up some, especially after the Scout. Kasey spends a lot of time with Gru, Cmu and Gre. She's almost done being red, and is deciding what color to be next and for how long. Banjo is better than Scout, but that depends on whom you ask.
Christopher finished his MBA at the U of U in June and has moved from SLC to Virginia to Oregon and back to SLC over the months since. He was profiled nicely in the Eccles School Alumni Magazine and has had several interesting job prospects, but hasn’t found the right one yet. He is doing part time work for a couple of start-ups while he continues the search. He and his dog, Scout, traveled the country together, with Kasey (Chris’ girlfriend) and Banjo (the other dog) staying put in SLC. Kasey has been very busy at school and working as a nanny. In May she will have completed her degree in civil engineering and is applying to PhD programs now. Scout and Banjo are relatively good dogs who listen to their owners most of the time.
Ben. None is a dog. He’ll be taking off the tag before 14, actually probably on 17. He’s been quiet for so long that it isn’t clear what Harper will think when he starts talking. How will he adjust to the cold, the snow and the letter on the mountain? Will they still use the same colors, the same light, the same numbers? Will it be an all-boys school? I guess he’ll just have to find in or out?
Elder Ben Manning returns from his 2 year mission for the LDS church on December 17. A full-sized cutout picture of him has been standing in the corner of our house for the past two years and it will be great to see him and have him home in the flesh for a few weeks before he goes back to Provo to continue school at BYU. Harper (remember she was just barely 2 when he left) has commented on Ben’s cutout by saying, “Ben is being quiet, he’s on a mission” – funny. Ben will continue working on a photography degree and thinking about other majors to go with it to broaden his appeal on the job market someday. Will he find a girlfriend on a campus with lots of girls his age out on missions of their own? Stand by till next year.
Merry Christmas! Check us out at rrmanning.blogspot.com
The Green version is really boring, but Merry Christmas anyway.