Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Ratch Christmas letter


December 2017

Merry Christmas everyone

So another year flew by.  This past year included a LOT of travel, lots of work on our house and lots of developments on the work front for both Sandi and Noel.

Getting away from the snow early in 2017 was a great idea, so we all headed down to the desert north of Palm Springs to visit our good friends Steve and Sarah.  And guess what…it snowed.  WTF?  The snow didn’t last on the ground very long there (15 minutes once it stops), but the weather fronts we experienced also included some flash floods and scary moments.  We tried In N’Out Burger one day before visiting The Living Desert Zoo and Garden during a very cold downpour.  It was great to see Sarah and Steve and take in the sites along with a hike at Joshua Tree National Park.  After visiting them we drove down to San Juan Capistrano and then headed to Disneyland. 

San Juan Capistrano Mission.

The rest of the year included a lot of travel, including both Sandi and Noel going on trips with our Dads.  Sandi and Roy headed up to the Yukon to finally get Roy there after many aborted tries in the past.  While they got to Whitehorse and Dawson, the fires that they were experiencing at that time made things very hard due to Roy’s breathing problems.  Still they made the trip and had the experience - and memories to share.


Summertime brought around a road trip through the states for Noel, Daniel and Mel.  They whipped through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Idaho and Washington and saw all points in-between.  Some stops included: Little Bighorn, Devil’s Tower, Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, Mammoth Hot Springs, the Buffalo Bill Cody Centre, Butte, etc.  It then ended off by seeing Willy Nelson and Kacey Musgraves in concert in Spokane.  Willy is old and it was more a pilgrimage than a music experience (especially for Daniel).

The year also included Daniel’s school trip for French Immersion to Quebec City and Montreal – Noel went along as the male chaperone and had a great time.  Amazing that they don’t really talk French in most of the places the group went – more Franglish than anything.  


Sandi had to stay home for that one, but then got to do Palm Springs and Disneyland again with her sister Heather in the fall.

When we got to stay at home we were able to take in some great entertainment.  Lots of local festivals,football games and concerts including Matchbox Twenty, Imagine Dragons and Jann Arden’s Christmas Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.


This year also brought Daniel’s start in high school.  That brought some anxiety and things to work through, but Daniel is doing well in his grades and has made a bunch of new friends (while still having his French Immersion friends that he has been with since Kindergarten).

We did a lot of work on the house, some by choice, other not so much so.  While we did a great deal of painting (inside and out) and rebuilt the top of the front porch.  A massive hail storm meant replacing  18 window panes, getting a new roof for the house and garage and even repairs to the car.  Thank God for insurance.

On the work front Sandi has continued to work away on the build of the Royal Alberta Museum – a three-month job that has now stretched to three years of sometimes full time work.  That plus trying to work on her book and doing archaeological contracts made for some very busy times.  For Noel, 2017 brought the announcement of the payoff of ten years of work and lobbying – a $40 Million dollar expansion to the museum’s onsite collections storage in the guise of a huge publicly accessible collections facility.  Now they have to design, build and load the thing over the next five years – big project and then some.

In addition, after twelve years of working, Noel finally saw his efforts come to fruition with the Western Museums Association coming to Edmonton for their fall conference.  It saw over 500 delegates from the western states and provinces come to town to be entertained and educated. This year also brought the Reynolds-Alberta Museum’s 25th Anniversary, meaning a day of celebrations in September and visits from many former staff members, some of whom have not been back for over twenty years.  Although adjustments to the hierarchy have meant that Noel has taken on a larger role in the Ministry (than just his museum), 2018 will mean some great experiences, learning and projects to be involved with.

2018 will start off with a trip to Washington and Oregon for Sandi and Noel (Noel has to attend a meeting, but the rest should be fun).  Also hopefully the year can be a bit more of focus on home and garden for Sandi after many years grinding away on the Royal Alberta Museum build work (it ends in March). 

Oh yes, and Daniel will be getting his learner’s license sometime this year … (gulp!)

Love and Merry Christmas to you all,
Noel, Sandi, Daniel, Jack, and Rusty

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