Christmas 2004

Dear Family and Friends,


Looking back on 2004, we are overwhelmingly thankful for God's mercy through the safe travel He gave us. In 55 weeks, from the last two weeks of 2003 through the first week of 2005, we traveled a total of 46 thousand miles: 27,000 by car, 17,000 by plane, 2200 by train, 100 by bicycle, 100 by bus, 15 by boat, and many by foot. Through all of this, nearly twice around the world, we prayed for safety, especially before the big trips. But even when we sinfully neglected to thank God and pray for protection for the small trips, He still faithfully protected us!


During the year, we were able to safely drive from Connecticut to Montana and back in the winter, and our parents were able to meet for the first time. We all had a wonderful time together, sharing laughs and new experiences, ranging from Yellowstone to Hot Springs outside in the snow to underground caverns by candlelight to sledding at high speed on (and off !) the road to Priest Pass, to simply sitting by a warm fire and enjoying a cup of cocoa.


On the way to Montana, we enjoyed Walla hospitality in Chicago and Milwaukee, but mostly just drove straight. On the way back, we swung through Denver to see Lee and Steve Sutterlin, then continued our southern route through Saint Louis, then took in the monumental sights of the Capital City.


Spring was a studious one, with Stan continuing the physics Ph.D. program at Yale, and with Ira teaching Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, and Electronic-Business to students at Bay Path College in Southbridge, MA.


At the close of the academic year, we renewed our travels, driving all the way to Key West, FL, for a picture of our MT plates 90 miles from Cuba! As a side bonus, the flowers were beautiful, the air clean, and the water warm and clear. The only downside was that we never got to eat Alligator Burgers. We were hosted in Royal Palm Beach by our friends the Kershners, who opened their home to us even though they went to Russia. On the drive back, we enjoyed the Great Smokey Mountains and Shenandoah, as well as a few warmer days in D.C.


To relax from our long drive, we got on a plane to LA, where Angela picked us up at the airport and overnight drove us and Melanie to the Grand Canyon. What a magnificent sight! The scale is immense, unimaginable, and we had never seen it before. To contrast the grandiose tranquility of the void desert expanse, we stopped by Las Vegas on the way back, observing the rich indulgences accompanied by vast sums of money. Then, for the next week, Angela played tour guide, showing us the famed sights of Greater LA.


Our next flight took us to Montana, and immediately after arriving, we went out to the Madison river to try bravely floating its icy waters, and enjoying shashlyk, which my mom had marinated the night before. This Montana trip included a drive to Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, as well as a jaunt up to Glacier and the Canadian border, and a boat ride through the Gates of the Mountains.


From our base in CT, we took drives to Niagara, Boston, and Acadia National Park in Maine. After seeing Ira's parents to the plane, it was time for more work, and Stan spent the rest of the summer in a lab studying neutrinos.


Fall arrived, and along with the New England colors, leaves, smells, and cooler air, returned the academic schedule. Again, Stan studied, Ira taught. Stan's parents came for a seminar at the Steinway Factory in NYC, and we spent the weekends on both ends of the seminar with them. Thanksgiving was spent with the Days in Groton.


Along with the change in seasons came a change in churches. Our new church, Trinity Evangelical Free Church, is closer to our home, larger (400 or so attend), more active, and has a larger population in our age bracket. Plus, they have a choir, which we joined. Every Wednesday night we rehearse, and sing most Sundays. In November, the Christmas choir started up, with rehearsals mostly on Mondays. Four performances in December were packed, with over 1200 in attendance. It was quite a feat, combining multiple choirs, an orchestra, as well as actors.


Our final trip of the year was to Russia, requiring planes from NYC to Moscow via Switzerland, then the 22-hour train south to Rostov-on-Don. We didn't really do any sightseeing in Russia this time, spending time with family and seeing to other needs instead. On December 25, we stuffed and breaded a goose. By the time we ate the succulent bread which had surrounded it in the oven, we were too full for the goose itself, which lasted several days after that. For New Year's, we had many scrumptious Russian salads, including the famed "Herring Under a Fur Coat", and at midnight ventured outside to watch the fireworks.


Seemingly before it had begun, the trip was over. On the way back through Moscow, we saw our cousins Lena and Dima, then flew back via Zurich, Switzerland. Unlike the outbound leg through Geneva, our return trip included an nine-hour layover, so we were able to get out and see the sights. The forecast included freezing rain, snow, and fog, so we were reluctant to head out, but fortunately the weatherman was once again proven wrong, and we enjoyed a beautiful and mostly sunny day. The only rain was during lunch, so we dropped into a Swiss restaurant and relaxed until the air once again dried up.


This is only a brief glimpse of all that happened during the year. A slightly longer glimpse is stored in the pictures on the site, which we hope you'll enjoy.


We wish you a belated Merry Christmas, as well as an exceedingly Happy New Year throughout 2005!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

Stan and Irina Guthrie

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This page is created and maintained by Irina Guthrie, copyright 2004-2005.