Every year I think I should do a nice Christmas letter like so many others do. Every year I am overwhelmed and behind and think, well, wouldn’t it be nice to start the New Year with a keep in touch letter. Or a nice Valentine to loved friends. … Next thing you know it’s Christmas time again and if the mail box had to rely on me, it would have starved to death.
There are problems with me and the annual letter
1. As you know, I have time/energy management problems.
2 2. To write an interesting, amusing, and/or inspiring letter it really helps if you and/or your life are interesting, amusing, and/or inspiring.
3. 3.When you get so far behind, it’s hard to know where to start.
However, never-say-die – let’s give it a whirl –
I am still living in the same house I have lived in for the last 38 years. Both of us are showing signs of age. Most of our time together, I wanted my house to have a name, but nothing seemed to suit. About 10 years ago, it came to me. I live at The Patch.
The Patch is indeed a work in progress. Many repairs need doing, but she still stands and shelters. With the 5 year California drought, we let the rough weed patch that we laughingly called a lawn die. Andrew tore out the sod. We are slowly, very slowly and, hopefully, surely replacing it with rockscaping. We do not really know what we are doing and are making it up as we go along, slowly in our spare time. Ha ha. Fortunately, neighbors are extremely patient.
Currently also at The Patch are 3 of my children. Miriam returned home a little over 2 years ago when we finally all realized that her Lupus was making it impossible for her to work and maintain her independence. Joseph and Andrew have simply never left as we all find it mutually beneficial to be together. The guys are especially good at helping Miriam.
Miriam is now on disability. She is active on her computer when energy allows. She helps coordinate family plans by email, researches questions, and is studying art.
Joseph works for Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair, is interested in guns, and mildly in local politics.
Andrew takes classes and works as a writing tutor at Sacramento Community College.
Andrew and I teach Primary children at church. He has 8 or 9 year olds. I have 3-4 year olds. Hard to say which are the least orderly.
I have been working at California State Parks, Accounting Services, Travel and Revolving Fund for about 10 years. Most of the time I have liked it well. We are going through a rough spot now as the department transitions from CalSTARS (California State Accounting & Reporting System) to Fi$Cal and also my unit has a new supervisor. Work is less joy than it once was. Surely, this too shall pass. But I do have great co-workers.
Some fun stuff.
This last spring, Andrew and I went on a road trip visiting up north. Quick visits with my sister Lainee in Klamath Falls, Oregon on the way up and my aunt Robin in Florence, Oregon on the way down. Visiting lay overs with Sariah and family both ways. And a few short days with my friend Pam up in Oak Harbor in Puget Sound, Washington. We went on a whale watching cruise which was quite cool in more ways than one. Saw gray whales and lots of other lovely wildlife, but, alas, no orcas. I think Pam has yet to see orcas, but we know they are there. We saw also lots of tulips (but not while on the cruise). Washington is major tulip growing country. Who knew?
In July we enjoyed the Elk Grove Strauss Festival made all the better because my daughter Ruth, her husband Tom, and their 3 oldest children Esther, Jared, and Naomi all danced in it. In return, for helping watch the little guys Samuel and Peter, we got premium blanket seating at the Festival. Beautiful music, costumes and dance. A wonderful summer tradition.
My ex-husband passed away in September. To my great surprise, he had left me as beneficiary on his life insurance! This enabled me to pay off my mortgage at long last. I am grateful that he did right by me financially at the end. Now, I can use former mortgage money to do some repairs.
My daughter-in-law, Bethany, graduated from college, became a qualified aircraft mechanic, and got her pilot’s license this year. This girl loves airplanes almost as she loves Benjamin and almost as much as Dieter Uchtdort loves planes.
We enjoy many Sunday dinners with David and Teresa, not a few with Benjamin and Bethany, far too few with Ruth, Tom and the kids, and Debi, Lucas and Molly. To say nothing of my daughter of the north, Sariah and her family whom we don’t see nearly enough. I really need to learn to Skype and to give up on me or the background looking good. Then we have to coordinate schedules! Argh. Speaking of Sariah, her oldest, my oldest grandchild Acadia went away to college – BYU Idaho.
I am getting old. In fact, that was part of of the reason for our Disneyland trip. I had dreamed of driving on at least part of Route 66 for my 66th birthday, but that was not reasonable. So, I thought I would spend time on Route 66 in Carsland in California Adventure, sister park to Disneyland instead. The timing didn’t work for my birthday, so the week after Thanksgiving Miriam, Andrew and I spent 4 fun-filled days at Disneyland! Sariah flew down to join us, so we had our own personal guide. She knows her way around! With her skilled use of Fast Passes, knowledge of what and where and how long, and Miriam and I on scooters getting a little bit of special treatment, we spent very little time in line. We got to play and see and ride pretty much everything we wanted to. Miriam likes the thrill rides. Andrew gamely rode them all with her (whether he wanted to or not). I rode a couple, but I don’t love being terrified nor feeling ill for hours afterwards, so I like to stick to mild roller coasters and other less wild rides. We had great fun. Two of our favorite rides were Radiator Spring Racers in California Adventure Park and Big Thunder Railroad in Disneyland (as wild as I like roller coasters to get – Andrew, too, I think). It was great fun seeing characters out and about among the people and meeting the Mouse in his house. And eating a Mickey Bar every day.
I wish you a wonderful year and hope that you tell me a little bit about it (wonderful or not).