The Canterburys – Christmas 2011

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Merry Christmas y’all!  Well, we don’t really say “y’all” even though it’s our fourth holiday season in North Carolina.  The interesting thing about the part of NC we live in is that nearly everyone here is from somewhere else – over half the people in our county were born out of state!  So around here, the first thing you ask folks you just meet is, “Where are you from?”  It’s rare to find anyone who’s a local.  The net result is that we don’t have anyone from who we can learn a Southern accent!


This year has been a bit more exciting than most for us!  It started with a bit of a surprise in January, when I can down to breakfast to find Nancy googling the Internet while looking a bit peaked.  I asked “Do you feel ok?” to which Nancy said, “No, my abdomen hurts right here.”  Before long, we were off to the doctor and then to the emergency room as Nancy needed her appendix out!  It was certainly a surprise for us, but Nancy has fully recovered since.


Our February adventure was a bit happier, as we headed to Dallas for the Super Bowl!  Well somewhat happier, given that Dallas had an unusual snow storm during our visit.  We were hotel-bound for a day or so, not quite the trip we planned.  We did eventually get out though, and got to see Dealey Plaza where JFK was assassinated and the museum there.  We did make it to the game, where we had to wait in line for security to get into the stadium for two hours.  We’re glad we went – check that off the bucket list – but honestly, the best place to watch the Super Bowl is on TV.


Jerry in front of the Big Sign (and the snow) at the Super Bowl in Dallas

 Nancy (strapped to front of instructor on left) jumps out of a perfectly good airplane


Back on the ground, still in our skydiving suits



April 16 brought a different adventure, as a tornado passed about a mile from our house.  We saw it from our back porch, but it was so, so big that we didn’t even recognize it as a tornado, just a very large and dark cloud that came all the way down to the ground.  We were fortunate to not have any damage to our house but there was a lot of damage around us – the local fire station was destroyed as was a Lowes Home Improvement store a few towns away (you may have seen that on the news, even where you live).  We didn’t get any pictures ourselves but we found plenty of videos online.  Caution: some of the language on these videos is a bit salty, as you might expect if a tornado was bearing down on you!


Tornado Video 1     Tornado Video 2     Tornado Video 3     Tornado Video 4     Tornado Video 5     Tornado Video 6


The month of May found us “up in the air” as we went skydiving for the first time ever!!  This was another of those “bucket list” items we’d always wanted to do, so when a Groupon popped up to do it at a substantial discount, we took advantage of it.  We drove to a small airport way out in the country where we signed release forms that said literally “This is a dangerous activity; if you do this you might die.”  Undeterred, we went through our pre-jump orientation and boarded an enormous cargo plane.  The jumps were tandem jumps, so we were each strapped to very experienced jump instructors, who were responsible for taking care of all the very important tasks such as pulling the rip cord when the time came.  When the instructors asked who was going first, we just looked at each other.  We solved the conundrum via rock-paper-scissors, and Nancy went first.  I can think of few experiences that match the sheer drama of watching your wife fall out of the back of an airplane!  We both landed safely and found the experience to be exhilarating.  We plan to do it again.


Nancy’s Skydiving Video     Jerry’s Skydiving Video


The month of May continued with a cycling adventure as I and a group of friends rode our bicycles 150 miles in a single day, from Cary to Wilmington, NC – an adventure called “The Crazy Ride”.  Nancy served as our support vehicle, ensuring we were well-supplied with food and water during the trip.  We experienced three flat tires along the way.  I nearly quit after 100 miles, but three cheeseburgers later I was feeling much better and pushed through to accomplish one of my most challenging physical exertions ever.


June brought our annual vacation, this time to Alaska.  Our first visit to Alaska was in 2000, a land-only tour of the interior.  For this adventure, we joined an Ohio State cruise which departed Vancouver, toured the Inside Passage, and ventured further north, all the way to Kodiak Island.  The views of the ocean and the snow-covered mountains were great and the wildlife was all around.  I was literally speechless when a whale surfaced just 10 yards off the edge of the beach we were standing on.  We made great friends on the trip and enjoyed our time on the cruise.  For 2012 we’ve already booked a cruise to Greece and Turkey so are looking forward to that, especially as we’ll be going with some friends on this vacation.


August brought another storm our way, this time Hurricane Irene.  While this storm caused great damage on the NC coast, we’re about two hours inland so didn’t experience much more than 30 mph winds.  Still we were unsure until the last couple days before landfall if we would experience severe weather or not.


August also brought a return to North Ridgeville, Ohio for my 30th high school reunion, while September brought another return to Ohio, this time to Columbus, for the annual Ohio State University Marching Band reunion.


The focus of this year was my desire to complete an Ironman triathlon.  Although the most famous Ironman race is in Kona, Hawaii, there are actually a number of such events throughout the world, including one in Wilmington, NC.  It took a year of training to build up to this event, with its 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile run.  Six days a week, sometimes multiple workouts a day, and often up at 4 or 5 a.m. to get in some training before heading to work.  The training also required lots of support from Nancy, as I spent so much time training that there wasn’t much time left for me to help out with chores around the house.  After all the training, I successfully completed the Beach2Battleship Iron-Distance Triathlon in late October.  I am an Ironman!


Crazy Ride, with just 150 miles to go!

 Nancy and Jerry, somewhere in Alaska

Mission Accomplished



Our careers are still continuing.  Nancy is still a contract IT project manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina through the end of the year.  We’ll see what the New Year brings for her.  I am still at IBM and spent about five months working in Charlotte which was a convenient drive from home, plus also projects in New York City and Chicago.  One cool part of working in NYC is getting up at 5 a.m. for a training run through an empty Times Square on my way to Central Park.


Nancy has also kept busy with volunteer activities.  She served on the executive planning committee for The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run, a 5k running race that is also a fundraiser.  She also has been active in coordinating events for Project Management International (PMI).


Our kitties Jackson and Spookie continue to keep us amused.  They are indoor cats although Jackson has an obsession with the garage, and both would like to break through the window screens to get at those squirrels in their yard.


We hope we can keep in touch with our friends more frequently during the year.  If you are on LinkedIn or Facebook please find and connect to us using the links below.


Happy Holidays!

Nancy and Jerry Canterbury



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Last updated 2011-12-16