Family > The Golubs > Holiday Letters > 2020
New Year's Card - 2020
2019 ushered in, at long last, the truly empty nest. Alison and I found ourselves with both extra time and extra money on our hands, now that the kids are out on their own and in very large part, off the family payroll. We took advantage of this new flexibility and worked a little less while traveling a little more.
Alison spent two week-long stints in San Diego, enjoying time with Ian, his large circle of friends and her new AirBNB hostess friend. Alison and I took two weeks of vacation in May and toured the national parks of Utah: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon and Zion. Ian drove in from California to meet us, as did Cousins Laura and Mick from Arizona. Our favorite park was Canyonlands, which is vast, unspoiled and largely ignored by tourists (thank goodness). The better-known parks, like Arches, Bryce and Zion, are so overrun with tourists that it is hard to take in their natural beauty.
As the end of July rolled around, we packed my mom and Sophie Grace into the car and headed to Bar Harbor, Maine for another two weeks with my extended family. We rented two somewhat rundown homes, but ones that were the tiniest hop and skip from the main drag. We spent most of our time hiking and exploring in Acadia National Park, and the vacation culminated in the marriage of my sister Susan to a truly wonderful man, Kevin Cole.
We do keep tabs on the kids, of course. Ian continues to live the highest of lives in Southern California. He has a challenging job working on the F-18 with NAVAIR, a large circle of very good friends, and sufficient disposable income to fund his lifestyle. Cameron is entering his third year as a Physician’s Assistant in Charlottesville, Virginia. His wife Nancy will graduate in the spring from the University of Virginia as an Acute Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She and Cameron hope to move to Richmond later in the year, once they’ve both found jobs in the area. A quick note about Nancy: she is one of the most wonderful human beings that I have ever had the good fortune to meet. The way she lives her life is truly inspiring. Cameron has married well.
Eli, the youngest of the four and the last one out of the house, took a job with the National Optical Astronomy Observatory and is stationed at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. He was hired to work on the NEID project, an astronomical spectrograph developed as a joint effort between NASA and the NSF and intended to be a state-of-the-art tool for detecting exoplanets. He’s learning up a storm and enjoying his new opportunity very much. Lastly, Nathan spent three months as a volunteer with the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership. Stationed at a field station ten hours from Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo, Nathan spent his time monitoring the health of the greater bamboo lemur and black-and-white ruffed lemur populations. He hopes that this new experience on his resume will propel him into graduate school next year.
Lastly, I’ve been reading up a storm lately. I strongly recommend any of these: Desert Solitaire and Abbey’s Road by Edward Abbey; Magnitude: The Scale of the Universe by Megan Watzke; Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray by Sabine Hossenfelder; The Lives of Tao and The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu; The Cello Suites: J. S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece by Eric Siblin; I, Robot by Isaac Asimov; Big Russ and Me by Tim Russert; Frontiers II by Isaac and Janet Asimov; and The Human Experiment by Jane Poynter. I have another list of books, just as long, that I don’t recommend 😎, so I won’t.
Borrowing a phrase from Garrison Keillor: “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.”
Joshua and Alison
P.S. Eli is pictured with a Hollywood star that was visiting Kitt Peak. Special points to those who know who it is!