Title of Christmas letter

Luke 2:10

Part of the tradition is to exchange greetings with friends, and for some, to write long, tedious Christmas Letters. So, I begin.

Einstein postulated that as one's velocity approaches the speed of light, time slows down. That may be, but empirical evidence shows that as one's age exceeds 60, time speeds up. Our older grand nephews are getting drivers licenses now and are looking at colleges. The younger grand nieces and nephews are settling into certain sports and playing strikingly good music. Our peers, like most of you reading this, are mostly on the retirement rolls and many are using the time to catch up on travel, something we enjoy vicariously on Facebook and in your e-mails. Meanwhile, weeks fly by, which I measure in how quickly it's time to roll out the trash again.

Pat and I traveled less this year, mainly due to health issues that were enough to make enjoying this beautiful area just a bit more inviting. Pat did have a surgery in October and is recovering nicely. However, with family and friends here, there was always plenty to do and we never suffered from loneliness.

Mom, Flo, turned 88 this year. Her dementia rose to the level where she was moved across the street to the memory care unit. While this was concerning, the move proved to be a blessing. The staff-resident level was better, and she felt more at ease spending time in the group areas with the other women. In May, Hospice evaluated her and decided that she was indeed a candidate for their assisted care. Part of the Hospice program is to remove most medications that are not essential and only use those essential for chronic conditions and pain. For Mom, this involved removing a substantial list of medications and supplements. Again, we were concerned. However, over a month, Mom's clarity was much improved. While her short term memory is bad, she can carry on a complex discussion and certainly remember things in her past. Claudia is a Hospice volunteer who would visit Mom once a week and play the harp. She, too, was a former missionary and knew many of Mom's favorite hymns. I was astonished to hear Mom sing to her music, often singing three or four verses, certainly more than I could remember. The reduced medications worked so well that in September, Hospice could no longer justify keeping her in their program. She is still doing pretty well on the reduced medications.

 

Flo singing with harp.

Mom singing to Claudia's beautiful accompaniment.

 

Watching our granddaughters in these precious years has brought us great joy. One can study learning theory, but to see it in action is fascinating. Dad and Mom might include the adverb, frustrating, as each goes through the process of exploring boundaries and learning inhibitions through trial and error. Soon enough, these preschool years will be history, so we enjoy them now.

Kate will soon be in kindergarten, while Lauren is already in a Chinese immersion day-care setting several days a week. Their personalities are quite different, with Kate more spontaneous and Lauren quite focused. Grandpa and Grandma remain perpetually proud.

Eric continues to work in finance while Irene is busy raising the girls and continues to be actively involved in a group with similarly aged children that works together to provide additional social and learning activities for the kids.

 

Kate and Lauren in a box

And then there's the box.

With Eric, Irene, Kate and Lauren on our trip to the Bay Area in January.

 

Corey is getting into the final throws of his Berkeley PhD in Molecular Cell Biology. He is producing the last of his data, and is now writing the research into his thesis. He hopes to get his degree in May and then move on to the next phase of his life. It has been all committing for six years, and he can almost taste the freedom that will come without having to spend six to seven days a week in the lab.

We got to have time with Corey in July during several days of celebrating Mike and Kathy's (Pat's brother and sister-in-law) 50th Anniversary. It was one of the rare times that both families were fully together and we made the most of it.

We are looking forward to Corey joining us here in Anacortes for Christmas.

 

Corey and Uncle Mike

Corey with Uncle Mike, who inspired Corey's deep love of checks.

 

Eric with Gallaghers

Eric with Uncle Mike, Aunt Kathy and his cousins, Ryan and Jean.

 

Pat with Tom, Corey and Don

Pat, with her other brother Tom, enjoying a rare family reunion, along with Corey and Don.

 

Wheaton College claddmates

In May I attended my 50th Anniversary of the Class of 1968 at Wheaton College. There is a bit of trepidation at going to an event where you know you will continually apologize for not remembering a name. But, we were all in the same boat, and I was surprised at how many names came back, and how many stories I heard that I'd totally forgotten. It turns out, I was not quite the innocent scholar that my mind created over the intervening years. It was a great time.

 

Oregon motorcycle trip.

In June, Lope (orange shirt) and I took a motorcycle trip to Oregon, where we visited squadron mate Bill and his wife, Marty. I rode on to Brownsville, Oregon, to see college friend Ralph, and his wife Roxie. Then up to Vancouver, WA, to stay with my cousin Bob and his wife, Ginny, and a passel of other relatives in that city. Thanks, everyone, for the great hospitality and some scenic day trips.

 

Lauren and Irene

We love how Irene has made child rearing into a commitment and a skill set. She sets goals and manages it, with plenty of love, but plenty of purpose.

 

 

Don and Kate getting the mail.

Don and Kate get the mail.

 

 

Solstice Campfire

Our family still finds ample ways to get together. On the last day of school, we had a Solstice campfire and BBQ at Ed and Dorothy's house. It offered our students the opportunity to take their least favorite homework and throw it into the fire

 

Sorensens Moehls and Don

In October, Larry and my sister, Darlene visited. Here we are walking the Swinnomish Channel with my sisters and brothers-in-law. Pat does not do longish walks, so she tended the fires at home.

 

Dinner at Lucky Chopsticks

Our recent, pre-Christmas dinner at Lucky Chopsticks with the "Adults." Tony and Sylvia, next to Pat, are good friends who joined us for the occasion.

 

Blessed Christmas