The Carline Family Christmas Card!
Here it is, in its entirety:
"Seeing isn't believing. Believing is seeing."
Ten points for the person who can name the movie I quoted above. Much like that film, life at the Carlines is often about believing the unbelievable. From Santa Claus, to Christmas miracles, to pretending the house is clean and the dogs are well behaved—why accept reality when fantasy brings so much happiness? Not that reality is always bad.
Marcus really is in the first of his two senior years at Cal State Long Beach. Confused? Apparently when you have a double major in Vocal Jazz Studies and Composition, it takes you an extra year to get the job done. He’s sharing an apartment near the school with a friend and is so buried in classes he barely comes up to ask for more money. Dale’s fantasy is that his son will have time for a haircut. I’ve begun to call him M.C. (Mushroom Cloud) Marcus. I’m not certain what he’d say is the highlight of his year, but for me, it was that he turned 21. How could he become an adult in reality, when I’m still pretending not to grow up at all?
Dale’s big news is that the stars finally aligned and the figures added up, making his dream come true. In other words, he retired from Raytheon this year. What’s he going to do now? Well, according to him, he’s got a list of home repairs for both houses, he plans to continue to coach kids who want to play basketball on the Placentia Youth League, and I may or may not have some suggestions. In other news, he went to the Frozen Four NCAA Hockey Championships again, and did a little final traveling for Raytheon before saying his goodbyes.
I just keep writing books, riding horses, and attending to the needs of the Placentia Library as one of their trustees. My latest book is a memoir. Not mine, but my horse, Snoopy. (He tells a darned fine story.) I’ve done some special events with this book, from horse shows to large expositions, and they’ve all been fun. I can’t decide whether I fit writing around all my other activities, or fit everything around my writing, but I somehow manage to get it all done.
With Marcus’ schedule, it’s getting harder to plan family stuff, but we still made our annual trip to the mountains of Northern California with most of the gang. It’s becoming a bittersweet voyage for me. I’m so proud to see all of our kids growing up, and yet I miss the days when they were little. For other trips, Dale and I scampered off to Cambria for our anniversary, and he tagged along to a library district-related conference in Monterey. Fine meals were consumed and wine was purchased.
The animals are all doing well. Lady Spazz and Duffy entertain me daily with their full-contact wrestling. Now that Dale’s retired, perhaps I’ll take my laptop to Starbucks and let them entertain him instead. Katy the cat is getting very old and spends all day sleeping, after which she rests. Frostie and Snoopy are wonderful, as usual. In addition to his own blog, Snoopy now has his own Facebook page and YouTube channel. That horse loves an audience.
I’m looking back at my calendar to see if I left anything out, but the year has whipped by so quickly, I’m surprised at all we’ve done. It almost looks like we time traveled, and maybe we did. Perhaps it’s because I write fiction, but I like to believe in magic. I think we all should go out on a limb, bet on the underdog and reach for the unattainable, at least once in a while. And when it feels like the world is sucking all the joy from our hearts, we can all follow the instructions in the movie: Shake our snow globes and “Remember!”
For those of you who don't want to read it, here is a badly narrated version for your listening enjoyment: