You’ll be doin’ all right with your Christmas of white…
Oh, for Pete’s sake, somebody send some precipitation to California, please! If I’m very lucky, that statement alone will ensure a deluge by the time I send these greetings.
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first, having to do with our photo. You’ll notice a new look to the background this year. In September, we moved the horses to a new stable, two ranches down from our previous location. It was an opportunity for my trainer to grow her business, something no one can afford to pass up these days. Although we miss the Silver Rose Ranch, we love our new digs at Hillcrest Equestrian Center.
You’ll also notice we are missing a family member. Katy the cat succumbed to kidney failure this year. She was 18, and I swear, some nights I still feel the weight of her at the end of the bed.
As for the rest of us, Marcus completed his undergraduate work at Cal State Long Beach. He now has a Bachelor of Music, with majors in Vocal Jazz Studies and Composition. His studies took an unexpected turn, causing him to spend one more semester at school. That, in turn, gave the Vocal Jazz Director an opening for him to sing in Pacific Standard Time one more year. So he’s spending a year with one foot in and one foot out of school, still getting music-related jobs wherever he can.
I asked Dale what he wanted to talk about in the letter and he said, “I’ve done too much, one letter won’t cover it.” I will tell you that retirement led to a lot of travel for him this year. He went to Angels’ spring training in Arizona, the Frozen Four in Boston, golfing in Maine, a family reunion in Louisiana, and even a spur-of-the-moment trip to Denver to visit a friend. When he was home, he coached two youth basketball teams, golfed, and played softball. He’s one busy retiree.
I’m still boring. Write a book, ride a horse, go to the library and make decisions, repeat as necessary. This was my 10-year anniversary of writing for the newspaper, so I released 3 books of columns on various subject matters. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my year, but the highlights all included friends, from the time we got to spend with Michael and Chrissie in Oregon, to having dinner with my high school buddy Mark and his wife Marjie, to our infrequent get-togethers with others. If I could request more time on this planet, I’d want to spend it hanging out with the people I love.
As for family trips, we did our usual mountain getaway. One of our dear, young (Marcus’ age) friends couldn’t make the trip because she was stuck in the hospital due to a recurrence of cancer. This meant our trip was modified to accommodate a visit to her in Sacramento. We love her, and we hate cancer, and we can’t wait for the day when it can all be cured without going through such painful processes.
Although we’ve had a lot of fun times this year, it sometimes feels like an enormous chore to keep the bad news of the world at bay. I’m not looking forward to next year’s election and all its negativity. All I can do is remember to breathe deeply, love greatly, and do my best to be kind.
So we wish you a Most Merry Christmas, and a Highly Happy New Year!