Empty Nesters!

This has been a year of several milestones. Alan and Belinda arrived in the US temporarily (they thought) in 1987. For financial reasons and to participate more fully in their local community, they have now taken US citizenship.

USA flag

Another milestone was Jason’s graduation from Bellaire High School and the end of his career as Drum Major of the marching band.

Jason graduation  Jason as Drum Major

So now Jason has gone off to college, to attend the University of Texas at Austin. As a freshman he’s not entirely certain of his degree choice, but his current plan is to take a double major in Economics and Mathematics and also to become certified as an Actuary.

Jason senior photo

Meanwhile, Dan is in his final year at University of Texas at San Antonio. He should graduate in May 2013 with a degree in Computer Science (with a concentration in computer and information security) and a minor in Anthropology. His plan is to work somewhere for two years and then to enter business school to get an MBA.

Job referrals and professional connections are welcomed!
Dan has a web site, LinkedIn profile, and public Facebook page.

Dan at UTSA

An exciting event for Dan this year was the opportunity to be a bone marrow donor through the Be The Match program. Stem cells were extracted from his circulating blood (following several days of injections to stimulate stem cell production), which was less painful than having holes drilled in his bones. Somewhere, a young man with lymphoma is very grateful for Dan’s gift.

Dan marrow donation

So how are the parents celebrating their “empty nest” status? Belinda has fulfilled a long-time dream to join the Houston Symphony Chorus and this particular photograph was taken before a performance of the Brahms Requiem. To sing with the Houston Symphony Orchestra is a challenging and exhilarating experience, and the Chorus will also be “Chorus in Residence” at The Festival of the Aegean on the Greek island of Syros in July 2013.

Alan and Belinda

Belinda also continues as both a performer and Executive Director with Houston Choral Showcase. In fact, there is one particular video on YouTube that features her as a hip-hop dancer. Who would have thought?

Belinda with Houston Choral Showcase  Belinda with Houston Choral Showcase

Alan rides his bicycle when he can — on his own, with local riding buddies, and in longer formal rides. This year he rode not only the Houston-to-Austin “MS150” but also broadened his horizons with the “Bike Around the Bay” ride, which follows a loop around Galveston Bay. Each of those rides was 2 days and 180 miles.

Alan on bicycle

And speaking of horizons, Alan uses his telescope to see further afield, although options at the house are limited given the nearby buildings and light pollution. Here he has his telescope set up in a neighbor’s yard to see the transit of Venus across the face of the sun on June 5, 2013.

Mark your calendars! The next opportunity for this event is December 10-11, 2117.

transit of Venus  Alan with telescope

Dan mostly stays in San Antonio because of college and work commitments. However, Jason has found a couple of opportunities to visit home, usually for some specific event. Once was to usher for a Broadway show touring through Houston and another time was to go to a local Renaissance Festival, complete with archer’s costume. As you can perhaps tell, Jason is not exactly thrilled about posing for photographs.

Belinda and Jason ushering  Jason and Carol in costume

Belinda continues to ride her motorcycle when weather and cargo limitations permit. Here, she demonstrates that she can replace a turn signal (which involves removing the seat first). However, she has found to her cost that if the bike is not ridden at least once a week then the fuel system clogs up and repairing that is beyond her current expertise. Fortunately she knows a good mechanic.

Belinda motorcycle

Here are a couple of photos of Dan taken over the Christmas break.

Dan  Dan

The one remaining pet member of the family is Tex the Bichon Frisé dog, who is now about 8 years old. Xena the Cornish Rex cat (seen with him here) eventually ran out of strength to fight her cancer and Zeb the Zebra Finch, who lived years longer than any of us expected, also died earlier this year.

Tex and Xena

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For your entertainment, here’s a funny holiday video that Dan made through Amazon/JibJab.

This video should appear in a separate pop-up window when you click on it.
If it seems to behave oddly you might try updating your Flash player.
If you still have problems you can view the original here.

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