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With the noise of a too long election finally receding, it is nice to turn, instead, to friends, family and Christmas. Writing a Christmas letter is a forced review of the year and a chance to relive some of its moments.

Below are some photos of the year past with brief descriptions of events in our lives.

 

Corey continues to work on his Neuroscience PhD at U.C. Berkeley. The challenge is not just learning the science and doing the research, but also understanding the regulations of the lab, the university, the state and federal agencies. It requires working with seniors and managing subordinates, understanding the agencies which track and fund such research and submitting proposals in specified formats. Finally there is publishing the research in a way which accurately and usefully conveys the data while protecting proprietary information. Corey has had a busy year, enjoying substantial success and some disappointments. Advancing new knowledge in an area as elusive as the brain is not easy, but it is exciting.

Corey had to say good-bye to his dog, Kobi. He was old and everything just started wearing out. He now has a rescued dog, Ramon, who is thriving in a setting of love and attention.

We are looking forward to having Corey with us over Christmas.

 

Out of Darkness

Corey on the all-night, "Out of Darkness" walk, honoring the memory of his brother, Brian.

Eric, Irene and our grand-daughter.

Eric and Irene were able to buy a house this year, just a block away from where they had been living. They have enjoyed personalizing a home for the longer term. Keeping the same location has meant that friends, schools, church, shopping and organizations all stay the same. In the Bay Area, it also means no long commute, which in the words of our new leader is, "huge."

The exciting news is that Irene is well along and we are preparing for additional grand-parenting responsibilities. Their home decorating has included the preparation of yet another little girl's room.

Christmas dinner with Flo at Rosario.

Don, Ed and Dorothy having Christmas dinner with Mom at Rosario Assisted Living.

Mom (Florence) continues to live at Rosario Assisted Living. A brilliant and active mind keeps well ahead of what her body can do, which is a difficult combination. She has more medical issues on her plate than anyone should have, and while that is discouraging at times, she continues to revisit God's promises and spend time in prayer and then she is restored, refreshed and setting new goals.

She had glaucoma surgery to her left eye this summer, and now the pressure is building in her right eye. She was hospitalized for another issue, and her Parkinson's has entered the late stages. She greatly values the prayer of many friends who intercede for her.

This is a woman of great faith, and even in her current situation, she finds the energy to counsel others.

 

Flo painting with water colors.

Despite very poor vision, Mom loves the exercise of mixing hues with her water colors and seeing what she can make.

 

Pat at the counter

Pat enjoying a family birthday party.

Don and Ed discussing

Don discusses weighty issues with, brother-in-law , Ed.

Except for a couple of trips to the San Francisco Bay Area to see the kids, we did not travel much this year. I traveled with other family members to enjoy the wedding of nephew, David, to his lovely fiance, Ashley.

Pat had back issues which eventually lead to the decision to have back surgery. It was a major surgery, including a rack with six screws, performed by a local surgeon here in Anacortes. When Pat woke up, her sciatic pain was gone and it has not returned. We are grateful to the surgeon and to the Lord for getting her through what can be a perilous procedure.

I did get in a couple of weekend kayak trips, one to the Canadian Gulf Islands and one to San Juan Island. Ron and I also had a few good days of crabbing with our kayaks.

 

Ashley and David

An Iowa wedding, in a beautiful old church, brought many families together to witness Ashley and David make their vows. It was a very special weekend.

 

Orcas

A day paddle on the east side of Whidbey Island brought us in contact with eight Orcas of J Pod, the resident pod of the San Juan Islands. This was noteworthy, as ever since 1970, when five calves were drowned near here during a Marineworld Orca capture, the pod has stayed away from the east side of Whidbey. Apparently, that corporate memory has faded to the point that they are exploring here again.

Clans

For July 4th weekend, we invited extended family members from Southern Washington, Montana and California to join us for our first, "Gathering of Clans." Many cousins had never met, or had just crossed paths once or twice. It was a great time of getting better acquainted.

Alumni of the CAT School.

Another spontaneous reunion occurred when two classmates of the one room school that my sisters and I attended in Taiwan came with their spouses. We had not seen one another for fifty years. Our long conversations dredged up memories we had repressed many years ago.

 

Debbie and Dan beach.

Friends Debbie and Dan came for a visit.

Dianne and Mike

As did Eric's classmate, Mike, with his mom, Dianne, good friends.

Graduates

In June we recognized the family members who were graduating from one school and moving on to the next level. With such a big family here, it's never hard to find a excuse for another party.

 

Playing poker

Of course, we all view our grandchildren as precocious...

Pat, Don and grand-daughter

but, I guess, as grandparents we can be forgiven.

 

May the Lord give you a wonderful year ahead. Hopefully, we will cross paths with many of you before too long.

 

Title Merry Christmas.