2010 Christmas Letter

Dear Friends,

Besides the usual, the Zabels have some big news to report for 2010.

The first big news is that Alan has retired from Northrop Grumman after 32 1/2 years of service.  He is actually an official employee until January 1, 2011, but his last day of work was December 16, 2010.  This is a wonderful thing.  Retirement is a big change and full of great opportunity.  After only a few days, Alan is still getting used to the idea.  Next year’s letter will let you know how we are doing in our new life.  (By the way, we are not moving.  We live 3 blocks from the ocean in southern California – why would we go anywhere else?)

The other big news is that Cheryl released her 3rd CD, “morning star,” this year. The album’s styles range from folk, country, blues, gospel, southern soul, rock-a-billy to classical.  The CD features Cheryl (of course), Dawn Brooks also on vocals, Dawn’s husband, Cory Johnson, on piano and organ, and highly acclaimed instrumentalist, Greg Leisz, on about 9 different string instruments. We encourage you to visit Cheryl’s website (see above) where you can stream three tracks for free.  The CD is available on Amazon.com, CD Baby, and iTunes – see Cheryl’s website for links. There is something that everyone will love on this album of hymn arrangements, spirituals, Appalachian songs, and two original songs by Dawn and Cory. 

Of course we had our usual vacation trip this year.  In March, we returned to Yorkshire, England, this time staying in the North York Moors area.  As usual, see our website for some photos if you like.  We had a wonderful time, seeing many abbeys and castles, doing some great walks, and experiencing the local culture.  We were actually almost stars of quiz night at a local pub, when as local American “ringers,” we propelled our team to an early lead based on a question about US states and capitals.  Alas, that lead couldn’t hold up as the inevitable questions about the colors of the upholstery in Parliament (and the like) managed to stump us.

With retirement form Northrop Grumman, we won’t slow down our traveling one bit.  In 2011, we plan to spend most of March in Italy – one week in an apartment in Rome, followed by 15 days in a rented house on the Tuscany/Umbria border (it looks out over a castle which is lit up at night!).




Cheryl and Alan