Change Wind Direction + Stop the Snowfall

  • Progress!
  • We had a ton of great things that happened this year:

    • Completed the ADU! Both Travis and Alex moved into it and are loving it.
    • Things opened up and we started meeting in person again!
    • Helped Janet move to her new house in San Diego
    • Went to Megan and Chris’ wedding in Florida.
    • Ricky bought a house in KC! We got to visit and help move him into it.
    • Lynda retired (bet you didn’t see that happening).
    • Trip to Colorado and remembering Rick
    • Wine adventures


    The biggest thing that happened this year is the ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) — a.k.a Granny house in the back yard.

    Gosh, is that our back yard? Lanscape is complete. Crater is for the fountain.

    If you remember from last year’s letter, we started construction with BWB Builders, Inc in October of 2020. Fantastically, we passed final inspection in April 2021! Check out the slideshow. After that we had Bruce Hamilton re-landscape the back yard. Most weekends this year were spent in doing something on one of these two major projects. The great thing is that the family worked well together, and we still like each other! We divided up the homeowner tasks so that every person had their specialty. It is with awe that we contemplate how well this project went and the result seems like it’s a fairytale.


    In our area, we were quite closed until spring when things started to open up again (Yay). Mask wearing indoors was lifted only briefly. It was strange to walk into Safeway and not be wearing a mask. But that lasted only a few weeks. We were allowed to start meeting inside at church in May and by summer we had no occupancy restrictions. Still we only have around 1/3 of the in-person numbers. Classes started again in the fall and while everything is smaller, we have resumed most of the events we used to do – albeit smaller groups. While everything is smaller, it does feel more intimate. But God is good and we have seen him bless his people throughout the year.

    Janet’s New House

    Janet was planning to retire/move for a couple years now and finally was able to pull the trigger (beat her sister to retirement by almost 6 months).

    Cat’s not too sure about Janet’s new house yet

    We drove to SoCal in late January and helped Janet move. Took the cat a while to get used to the new place. We lost him for a while only to find he snuck into one of the cabinets to hide. Spent a week working on projects around the new house and visiting Raymond and Emily who live a few blocks away (uphill both ways!).

    Raymond and Janet display the new cabinets at Raymond’s house

    Christopher & Megan Wizansky

    Spent a week in April in sunny Florida. Saw many of Ray’s relatives and got to meet Chris finally.

    Megan and Chris get hitched!

    Their original wedding was due to be 10/10/20 but got postponed due to Covid. Was a really great time seeing everyone. Stayed at a nice resort near the wedding venue, saw alligators,

    Resort we stayed at in Mt Dora in Florida

    visited Aud and Terry’s new house and golf club (well, new to us!). Really fun get away with family we haven’t seen in quite some time.

    Ricky’s House

    Since Travis and Alex got a new house, why not Ricky!

    Ricky’s House

    We spent a week in KC moving him from his apartment into his new house. Lots of trips to Home Depot (which is close) and other stores too. Ricky started seriously contemplating this at Christmas when he was here visiting (actually helping paint the ADU). Six months and 3 offers later, he got the house! We get regular updates on homeownership from Ricky which is great since we used to hardly ever hear from him. There’s a spare bedroom so we’ll be seeing more of him in 2022 we expect.


    Finally, Lynda pulled the trigger to retire. She’s still doing some part-time work for PBCC but it’s hours per month which gives her plenty of time to think of things for Ray to do! 🙂 Actually, I’ve never seen her more relaxed and content. Super glad we were blessed such that she could do that. She walks more now than ever and (not surprisingly) keeps busy with projects. Mostly, she’s been clearing out, organizing, and getting the house looking better. The house took a major hit over the past couple of years while we focused on the backyard projects. Slowly, the interior is getting back in shape again. The boy’s rooms are now a guest room and her “design studio/exercise room”.

    Trip To Basalt, CO

    In October the whole family traveled to Basalt, Colorado to Aunt Debbie’s house. Janet got us a big house in town where 9 of the Behrens/Leavelle side of the family stayed together.

    The view outside Debbie’s House!

    Got to share meals together and hiking at the Coral Bells where we got some snow — flakes only tho. It was bittersweet as the main point of the trip was to scatter Rick’s ashes up the hill in his backyard and share memories.


    In May we got away for our anniversary to Paso Robles and we like to say we “accidentally” joined another wine club.

    Actually, we’d visited them several times and always liked their wines. We figured it’d be a good excuse to get away once a year to get our wine club shipment. We went there again in December for that reason and got to visit Daou winery which, while a bit chilly, had fantastic views. A great getaway.

    Earlier this year we bottled our 2019 vintage of Sangiovese and Syrah. Both are really nice but the Sangio is my fav. The harvest in October was relatively uneventful considering how tough a year it’s been for grapes. Yields are way down due to the drought. But we were able to snag our usual Syrah and the reserve Cab grapes from Martin Ranch. We love their wines and can never compete with the finished product but it’s such a blessing to have them help us with our wines each year. We love talking with Dan, Thérèse and David. They are such great people!

    Of course, the Five Guys Wine Club is just an excuse for us to get together at least once per quarter to drink and talk about wine.

    Thanks for taking time to catch up. Wish we could do it in person. If you are ever in the neighborhood, I’m sure we’d love to share our back porch and a bottle of wine with you!

    Merry Christmas!

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