"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

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Merry Christmas letter to you

I've gotten them all sent out, so I can now post the annual Christmas letter and photo for everyone's enjoyment. If you read the blog, you get the added extras -- the outtakes!

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!

The Carlines


Joo said...

Such a heartwarming letter, I often think of our visit together with great fondness. Which reminds me, gotta get a pic of those cowboy bridal boots together for ye! Love the photo and the outtakes :-) Sending much love to you all always and especially for Christmas! Jolly Holly Honey --Chrissie

Unknown said...

Always look forward to your letter and photo. I am glad you had time with Mark and his wife. You are so right - wish we had more time to spend with those we love. Wishing you the best Christmas ever - new floor or not. - Carol, Tom and Tommy

Dane Jane said...

Your "boring" life sounds like heaven to me! And up here in Northern California, we are getting quite a bit of long-overdue precipitation. Hopefully it will drift your way! Happy holidays.

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