For our special friends, family, and colleagues,
For us, the year 2015 was exceptionally busy with numerous ups and downs. We were actually outoftown nearly a third of the time during the year, 117 days to be exact. Most were Clark's scientific business trips, but several trips were true vacations elsewhere in Colorado and once in Kauai. The trips provided chances to greet and have fun with many of our dispersed, special friends and to spend time in Berkeley, where Clark's parents both grew up. We especially enjoyed being in and around Frascati, Italy, an exurb of Rome, visiting several ancient ruins, dining and drinking well (of course), and enjoying the special patio we had on the top floor of our hillside hotel overlooking sunsets and Rome. Over Labor Day weekend, we once again had the special chance to get close to such people as Meryl Streep, Michael Keaton, and Neil Young at the Telluride Film Festival and to watch many fine films that have just been released more recently (we especially liked "Room", "Carol", and the underrated "Steve Jobs"). Not at Telluride, but fine on 3D IMAX screens, we watched "The Martian" and the latest "Star Wars" movie. Our film hobby stems from Y's studies long ago in New York City and Clark's long interest since high school.
We were busy upgrading our Rancho Europa home in the Colorado foothills, chiefly for wildfire safety; it was an expensive endeavor but most worthwhile. Unfortunately, this meant cutting down halfadozen trees near the house, but we still have hundreds more on our property. And the entire perimeter of our house is now encased in copper sheeting and/or a sheet of river stones and rocks. We now proudly have a certificate and frontyard sign from Wildfire Partners of Boulder, Colorado. Y finished having our third bathroom upgraded so beautifully that she dubbed it "Trump's Corner" (based on Trump Tower in Manhattan, but we now, of course, think that the name should be changed). We continue to enjoy watching many species of birds, moose, elk, fox, coyotes, etc. in our neighborhood; a bobcat walked into our carport just a few days ago. Yet we continue to fear and oppose attempts by the Forest Service and Denver Water to cut down most of the trees in the neighborhood and expand Gross Reservoir to quench the thirsty bluegrass in Denver lawns. As in much of the world, the weather has generally been unusually warm at Rancho Europa during 2015. We watched the two total lunar eclipses, the more recent one with a group of neighbors assisted by Clark's commentary.
Clark's formal employment is in the process of winding down, though he intends to remain an active researcher for many years to come. The MESSENGER spacecraft crashed into Mercury in April, as it inevitably had to do after an extraordinarily lengthy and successful mission orbiting the innermost planet. During the final year of funding, Clark is leading the preparation of a major chapter for the book the Science Team is preparing on MESSENGER's discoveries about Mercury. At the end of May, when the funding runs out, Clark will drop below 50% funded work and expects to officially retire from Southwest Research Institute. Clark and Y remain active in the B612 Foundation, which is developing a prototype deepspace spacecraft (Sentinel) to survey in the infrared for potentially dangerous asteroids. The Foundation also remains on the forefront of educating the public about this particularly unusual highconsequence but verylowprobability hazard. Y is now a member of the B612 Founder's Circle.
As is inevitably happening for the "baby boom" generation, we sadly lost some of our treasured friends and colleagues; we have great sympathy for their survivors. We've had bad problems with our Citibank AAdvantage Visa card and, after more than two decades, have said good riddance to Citibank and moved away from this member of the clique of criminal corporations that ruined the world economy several years ago (see the fine movie "The Big Short"). We watch with dismay as logic, reason, and civil actions/discourse are being tromped on by purveyors of fear and bigoted people in the political world. Yet again the terrorists win because of our overreactions. Ever more frequently it seems, the good people lose ground, are being shot, or are being jailed...in our neighborhood, in the country, and in the world at large. We hope that Bernie, though a long shot, may win and help to change the direction.
After almost two decades of wishing for better transportation, we've made our dreams come true the last couple of years. Y (lmc) is thrilled with her amazing wheels and Clark's brand new Subaru turbo Forester seems to function perfectly in our snowy mountains. Y has been busy attending to neighborhood issues, celebrating her godson's tenth birthday, exercising, and planning future travels.
Our granddaughter, Camille, is evolving into a curiositydriven, cheerful child. Our Manx, Rocko, lost half his weight this year, but after some ominous prognoses prior to his ER procedures, tests have now revealed that he has a treatable IBD diagnosis and he seems to be on the mend at year's end with daily oral steroids. Our own health remains reasonably good.
With kind regards and wishes for peace and reason in the new year,
Clark, Y (LMC), and Rocko
Telescope of the Observatory of Rome (Campo Imperatore) in the Apennines.
Hadrian's Villa: ruins east of Rome.
Cathedral in Frascati, Italy.
Clark & Y dining in Italy.
Mosaic floor in Ostia Antica: ruins of ancient seaport of Rome.
Granddaughter Camille at Rancho Europa (~1 year old).
Car trip in Colorado, northwest of Silverton.
Abundant waterfall viewed from downtown Telluride CO.
Dining in Telluride at LaMarmotte.
Butterfly next to us at brunch, Telluride.
Tree being hauled to chipper as part of fire mitigation at Rancho Europa.
Visit to Berkeley house in which Clark's mother grew up.
Pacific Ocean from Sutro Heights, San Francisco.
Y visits Trudy, the corpse flower, at Berkeley Botanical Gardens.
The 100yearold Campanile tower at U.C. Berkeley.
Pro Challenge cyclists race by near Golden CO.
Garrison Keillor at Red Rocks.
View from north of Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains CO.
Clark & Y get card numbers 1 and 2 in queue to see "Son of Saul" at Telluride Film Festival.
Grey jay taking flight at Spruce Saddle Lodge, Beaver Creek CO.
East side of Independence Pass, west of Leadville CO.
Y's birthday dinner at Splendido at The Chateau, Beaver Creek CO.
September lunar eclipse, after totality.
National Wheel, National Harbor MD.
Dove sunning its wing, Hanalei, Kauai HI.
Young redcrested cardinal, Kauai.
Kilauea lighthouse, Kauai.
Endangered monk seal sleeping on Lawai Beach, Kauai.
Waipoo Falls, Waimea Canyon, Kauai.
Limahuli Garden (National Tropical Botanical Garden), Kauai.
Bird on banana flower, Kauai.
Nene, State Bird of Hawaii, near Hanalei River, Kauai.
Suggestions for Visitors to Rancho Europa, including directions to our ranch, motels and other accommodations, restaurants, suggested activities in the area, recommended hikes from our ranch, and more distant trailheads reachable by car.