Greetings to all our friends and family –

2005 has flown by and 2006 already begun. The holidays were a bit of a blur this year. Karen came for Thanksgiving and lots of good food was cooked and eaten. Then the Gem and Jewelry Show beckoned. Next we knew – 2 colds later it was time for our Disneyland holiday and the Christmas visits. Then another round of colds/flu and it was 12th Night. Hence we are here in January trying to catch up will all our friends and family.

2005 was an odd mix of travel and projects. In January we went to Anchorage to visit friends and participate in the 20th Anniversary of our medieval group (SCA) up there. Robin had been part of the event 20 years ago so it just needed to happen. She also taught several classes while up there. It was bitter sweet having lost a good friend and our usual host, Kylson, in 2005.

February we were off to the Estrella War in Goodyear Arizona. It is the 2nd largest event of our organization and Will had never been, so off we went. The shopping was pretty good. The classes were great – Robin got to take some. Will didn’t. Robin taught a couple too. Will fought. Despite the rain, and there was lots of it (thank heavens for 4-wheel drive), it was fun enough that we are going back this year. Robin is teaching again; it will be Goldwork and Blackwork this time. It seems they lack teachers in the area and REALLY wanted her to come back.

Also in February, Robin started taking Pilates classes. Then we both started taking a private class in March. Think we found a form of exercise that we can do for the rest of our lives. In 6 weeks Robin was strong enough to actively help put up the big tent and encampment – a 3+ hour activity. We move better too. Since Pilates was originally designed as physical therapy it is great for strengthening all those parts that age and bad habits have let weaken.

On March 3rd, Will spotted a trip/cruise he wanted to take – leaving on April 20th – from the Amazon to Rome – for approximately a month. The flurry of activity began and we had a fabulous time. We did a trip log and are still in the process of back loading the additional photos and comments.

Also in March was the first of Robin’s competitions. In the West Kingdom there is a series of arts and sciences competitions. For the prior 2 years, Robin helped run the competitions as the Arts Officer. Now she took on a special challenge – entering with qualifying entries (51% of the points available) at least 8 of the 20 competitions over the course of a year, and at least one in each area -- Fine Arts, Performing Arts, Practical and Technical Sciences. She entered 11 entries in 8 competitions. Won 6 of the competitions and qualified to enter a special order – The Order of the Golden Poppy at 12th Night. The overall best winner enters the order and becomes Kingdom Artisan for the year or until another qualifies. Robin is the 25th person to enter the Order in the 30 years of the Order’s history. [Thanks to Will for his support and patience – R]

In April, before we left for the Amazon, was Prova Dura – a special tournament where the concept was more like the Royal Tournaments of “old” – lots of pomp and circumstance. Saturday was a round-robin tournament with 15 on each field and a feast with entertainment in the evening. Sunday was an invitational tournament for 10 of the unbelted fighters. Will was an invitee and acquitted himself well, and had fun, on both days.

July was Will’s birthday party and annual barbecue. Then off to Costume College in Los Angeles for a scant week. Also took in the Getty, you can never go enough times, and visited with a couple friends.

Labor Day weekend was spent in Fairbanks. After teaching in Anchorage, the group in Fairbanks asked if Robin would come teach later in the year. So they paid most of the duo ticket, and we trouped off to teach 7 classes in Fairbanks. Will also taught 2 classes – ha! They treated us really well and a great time was had by all.

Then it was time for Robin’s big 50th Birthday Party. The celebration commenced on the 21st with tickets to Dead Can Dance. Robin/Anne came down from Anchorage and Cathy/Maeva came down from Olympia on Friday. Food and drink was bought and Saturday it all happened at the San Mateo Masonic Lodge (where we were married and which has a sprung wood dance floor). The theme was Dance Through Time with music from medieval to “modern”. A friend did the DJ thing and another came and called the medieval dances. Cathy along with Robin/Anne took care of the kitchen. The family helped with decoration. 50+ people arrived and danced and ate and and…. Robin/Anne had to leave on Sunday, but Cathy stayed for the week and accompanied us to October Crown. Yummy food always happens around Cathy.

Robin continues with her needlework column in Needlepoint Inc – one every other month. She also continues taking classes to grow in the medium. A big step was taken in November when she embarked on a long desired project of a beaded sleeve. You can see the result here on her 12th Night garb. She also continues to blog about needlework and life – including design challenges and her approach to projects. In between, she teaches needlework classes – 17 last year alone. On the work front, Robin is primarily doing arbitrations – about 6 this last year, but 2006 looks much busier.

Will fought in a large number of the wars in our medieval group. More pictures of him fighting along with his war group – The Company of Gryphons Guard – of which he became a full member, will be forthcoming to the website. On the work front, he was part of a major project and installation that went right up to the November deadline (whew!).

The cats are settling in to sharing the house and us. Pete is 10 ½ years old and weighs in at 13 lbs. Pickwick is 1 ½ and weighs in at 11+ lbs. At first Pete let Pickwick play with him and get away with murder. Now that they are more equal, the play is more equal. Pete is still the senior cat and Pickwick acknowledges that, especially when Pete has him pinned with his paw holding him down. Most of the time play is fun and funny. Pickwick lives up to his name. Imagine an almost pure shiny black cat with a hot pink puffball in his mouth. Of course if you send him after a 2nd puffball, he gets this quizzical look on his face since he hasn’t figured how to pick up 2 at once. Wish we could get a picture to share. Kitty TV!

2005 was very full, but very rewarding. 2006 is looking much the same, but we will be doing a bit more to concentrate on more specific projects. Putting the car in the garage is still a goal, but it seems closer – maybe. The yard continues to evolve with the help of a friend who spends the extra hands on time it really needs so we can spend the time off at events.

Hope your 2006 is healthy, happy and makes your dreams come true.