in Denver, Colorado: July 26 to December
(Pictures are thumbnails. Click on them for a larger view.)
wish you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS,
A WORLD OF PEACE AND TOLERANCE IN 2002!
Back Home in the U S A !!!
Every person on the planet now recognizes what were the World Trade Center buildings in New York City. We visited New York in June of 2000 while on our Odyssey through North America. We pray that the disaster of 9-11-2001 and all the actions since awakens a spirit of cooperation and tolerance in all mankind throughout the world. We visited many countries and saw many diverse cultures. But not once did we find people who were unfriendly or intolerant of us or other people. We are all different, and it is the world's human and cultural diversity that made the Rich Family Odyssey so enjoyable and fulfilling. If the 'advanced' countries of the world can help lift up poorer, oppressed peoples through education and aid, while letting them determine their own destiny, we know the world can become a place where all human beings can live together in peace.
We have now been back home for almost five months and are still reflecting on the wonderful time we had in our 14 1/2 month Rich Family Odyssey. We treasure our memories and especially the many, many new friends that we made along the way.
Since we have returned, we have been busy getting our home lives and affairs in order. And lots of exciting things have happened too. So, check out this update: Denver, Colorado, USA We'll share some thoughts along with a few pictures and comments from our little corner of the world. Thanks again for following along on our Rich Family Odyssey.
Here are the top two highlights since we returned. Daughter Leslie Wirtz and husband Kevin had baby Julia Christine on September 28th making us grand-parents!! We were glad to be back for this blessed event. Julia is a cutie!! Now that we are home, we fulfilled another long-held dream and got a Golden Retriever puppy, Jake, born on September 1st. He is a cutie, too, but in a much different way!
When she is not playing with our new puppy, Jennifer has been busy writing a book about our Odyssey. She is finding that it is harder and takes longer than planned, but progress is being made. She has also written an article for her Smith College Alumnae Publication and we have provided the first draft for you to read. The article describes our experiences getting ready for and actually traveling on our Odyssey. Check it out: JMR's Odyssey Article. We will update this article on the web site and possibly provide some information from the book as Jennifer completes the work. Stay tuned!!
We would love to see any of you as you have opportunities to visit the United States and our city of Denver, Colorado. A bedroom is waiting for you to visit!! E-mail or phone calls (1-303-779-8364) are always welcome.
This will be our last formal update to the Rich Family Odyssey, but the web site, covering all our travels, will be up for a very long time to come! And, we WILL update Jennifer's Odyssey Article as it is finalized in the weeks ahead.
The pictures below will give you a snapshot of our 'normal' life now that we have returned home. It is a change from our long days and weeks of traveling, but sleeping in our own bed does have its advantages! We won't bore you with a lot of text, but hope you get a sense of where we live, especially for our friends around the world who have never traveled to the United States. Again, we extend to one and all a warm welcome to visit us in Denver, Colorado!!
We arrived home and found our home still standing. The renters, who are now friends, took very good care of our house while we were gone. This is a shot looking at our front yard as the fall leaves are starting to turn, with Cherry Creek State Park to the east. Next, a shot out our kitchen window of the sun coming up in the east. We get to see a lot of sunrises now that Steffi has to leave the house at 6:50 AM to catch the bus to school.
It was nice to see our daughter, Leslie, and son-in-law, Kevin, on our return. We are having a dinner on Grandma Doris' patio. You can notice that Leslie is looking VERY pregnant in August.
Son, Tim, paid us a visit in August. It was nice to see him too. The last time we saw him was when we rolled through his home town, San Francisco, in our RV, Betty, in October, 2000. He and Steffi enjoy a nice moment with our cat, Java, on top of some New Zealand sheepskins. Tim likes cats and has two cats of his own in his apartment in San Francisco. Much shorter Grandma Doris gives Tim a big hug.
After returning, Steffi hooked up with her good friend, Katie Hooten, for a trip to our amusement park, Six Flags at Elitches. Yes, Katie and Steffi are in the same grade! They try out various rides and 'scams' before going to the swimming area for some waves and tube rides.
We have missed 'real' camping in tents in the real outdoors. (We don't consider living in an RV to be real camping.) Steffi invited two friends, Emma Carpenter (who has been on two parts of our Odyssey), and Chelsea Simon to go camping with us. Here they are trying their luck at getting our campfire started. With some time and a lot of newspaper, they DID finally make a roaring fire!
Some typical Colorado scenery as we went on a long hike into the Lost Park Wilderness area. Here the girls cool their feet in a nice COLD mountain creek.
Steffi watches Dad blow out a few candles on an ice cream cake while celebrating one of his 'ancient' birthdays in August.
We have been Denver Broncos (USA NFL Football) fans for years. While we were gone, a new stadium was built to replace the old Mile High Stadium. This NEW stadium has the unlikely name of 'Invesco Field at Mile High.' Yes, there WAS a lot of controversy. The next picture shows us in front of a statue of a bronco wild horse rearing up. Steffi's friend, Emma, went with us to a pre-season game. At this time, the Broncos are out of the race to make the playoffs. Too bad.
In September, Jennifer decided we needed a garage sale to get rid of lots of accumulated stuff that was occupying our basement. Here you see some of our stuff on our driveway. Next, a sign directing people to the garage sale. Jennifer's signs were certainly the most elaborate we have seen for a garage sale. They worked because we DID get a lot of customers and got rid of a lot of stuff we did NOT need.
Here are a couple of shots of Leslie at her baby shower. The quilt is one Grandma Doris made and was actually started by her when she was only five years old! That was a long time ago, but we won't say HOW long ago. There were a lot of teary eyes when Leslie opened the present.
We love the mountains in Colorado (one of the reasons we liked New Zealand and Switzerland so much!) and here are a few shots along the front range of Colorado at the top of the Continental Divide.
Fall is the time to resume lots of things we missed last year. The first shot is of Steffi's soccer team getting ready to take on an opponent. Steffi is the short one with her back to the camera. Next, Steffi and Emma bury themselves in some of our piles and piles of raked leaves. And, last, Halloween night. Steffi decided to dress again as a colonial lady (see the shots from last year's Halloween in the West Coast update when we visited Denny's sister, Nancy, in Southern California). Emma was dressed as Scarlet O'Hara from Gone With the Wind. Quite a pair!
Well, the BIG event this year was the birth of Leslie's baby, Julia Christine Wirtz, on September 28. A couple of peaceful baby sleeping shots with Grandma Doris in the center.
The ladies wait outside Leslie's hospital room while some things are getting settled. Grandma Doris, Nana Pat Marble, Jennifer and Steffi. Here is Julia's first bath in the hospital. She apparently did NOT like it.
Here is Steffi holding her new niece and a nice shot of Julia in her Mom's arms after a couple of weeks. Last, a four generation shot: Grandma Doris, Son Denny, Daughter Leslie, and Daughter Julia. Wow!
Certainly, one cannot compare the excitement and wonder of a new born baby, but our puppy, Jake, was in second place for fun this year. Here you see a bunch of puppies from the litter with their mom. Here is Jake, as a six week old, climbing up on a flower pot and Jennifer deciding this is the one to pick. All eight in the litter were adorable, but we quickly decided that Jake was the one for us.
After coming home, Jake met Java, our cat. Here they are outside with Java keeping a careful eye on this new creature. A few weeks later, they are used to some friendly batting back and forth with their paws. Jake has actually learned to try to 'fight' just like Java does with his paws.
Jake grows very fast. He is now 16 weeks old and weighs about 30 pounds. He is about three times bigger than he was when we brought him home at eight weeks. The last shot is of Jake with us when we went to the mountains to cut down our Christmas Tree. He got cold, but he loves the snow as you can see from his nose.
Steffi is in the choir at her school and here is a part of their group singing at a shopping mall. Steffi is the second person from the left in the front row with a blue sweater and black skirt. She is getting quite grown up and is very serious about her singing as you can see from her expression if you click on the picture.
Again, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New year! Steffi is getting ready to hang a friendship ornament which Emma gave her. Next, a shot of the tree we cut down in the forest (actually it is the top of a much larger tree since the lower part of many forest trees are lacking branches). And, finally, a typical shot of Jennifer with her new and much loved dog, Jake, as they watch Steffi hang ornaments on the tree in our living room.