"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merry Holidays!

Okay, that doesn't work nearly so well as Merry Christmas. Whatever your celebration at this time of year, I hope your joys are many and your troubles are few. Here is the Carline Christmas card to wish you a wonderful holiday and fabulous New Year.


Once again, the Carlines have had to be flexible, adaptable, and agreeable to everything from the unpredictable weather to our changing lives. we might as well welcome the holidays with happiness and cheer. Welcoming them any othe way would only bring coal to our stockings.

Marcus is in his third year at Cal State Long Beach. To say he is thriving in the Music Conservatory is an understatement. He is now a member of the top vocal jazz group Pacific Standard Time, he wrote and produced a song for an album collection (yay, royalties!) and he's keeping his grades up so far. This year he's also learning about living in an apartment and having to deal with roommates and landlords and neighbors. It's been a real eye-opener.

Dale is still at Raytheon and still going over the figures on a daily weekly basis to see when he can retire. He did a little basketball coaching this year with the Teen Hoops, who were “3peat Champions.” The Placentia Youth League also lured him back to teach two teams, one first-thru-third graders and one fourth-thru-sixth graders, who finished their seasons 0-2 in the championship games. Tearing his Achilles slowed his own activity down this summer, but he is obeying doctor’s orders and the leg seems to be healing. He went to the Frozen Four NCAA Hockey Championships again, this time in Florida. Currently, he’s on business travel to Massachusetts for a month, but he’ll be home in time to wrap presents.

And me? I haven’t been doing much. Showed Snoopy at three horse shows, wrote and released another mystery, attended a few conferences and conventions, wrote my column, and was elected a Placentia Library District Trustee. Speaking of eye opening, I found out early this year that I have cataracts. The left one is teeny, but the right one finally got so huge, I had it removed and a bionic lens installed. It’s wonderful it is to see again, after spending the year trying to look through a fog in that eye. I feel like I can see for miles (and miles and miles —cue rock song).

This year’s trip to the mountains of Northern California with our friends seemed brief. Most of the kids were able to go this time, but we didn’t take any side trips along the way because everyone had to get home and back to work. It was also hotter than blazes up there. I’m not sure if we had record heat this summer, but it was mostly uncomfortable for a large portion of it. Good thing I have a little pill for my internal summers, or I might have been writing this letter from behind bars.
You might have noticed a new addition to our family in the photo. The red dog next to Dale is a rescue, who wandered up to the ranch. I decided either I needed a hole in my head or another dog. Dale voted for the dog. Her name is Lady Spazzleton. Dale calls her Lady and I call her Spazz. I believe this is because Dale is optimistic about her and I am practical. She’s a sort of golden retriever, with perhaps a soup├žon of something else. Perhaps Muppet. At any rate, she keeps Duffy entertained by careening through the house, wrestling. I’m thinking of selling tickets.
So that’s our year. As usual, there are changes. Marcus is in an apartment, Dale is in Massachusetts, I’m a library trustee, even today’s weather is not a sure thing. I used to hate change (and still howl when anyone moves my things around), but then I heard Willard Scott say something that adjusted my thinking: “When you’re green you’re growing, and when you think you’re ripe, you’re rotten.”  So now I’m trying to embrace the differences that time brings. I hope you all keep growing, too.
With Love and Good Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday,

Dale, Gayle, and Marcus (and Snoopy, Duffy, Katy, Spazz, and Frostie)


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