"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

Monday, December 23, 2019

God bless us, one and all

If you did not get a Christmas card from me, my apologies. Either you didn't give me your address, you gave me the wrong address, or the postman didn't ring twice. At any rate, here it is. First, the family photo.

After two of my horses retired in Temecula, I gave up on the whole family photo thing. But here are some shots I included on the card.

And of course, the obligatory letter.

For those of you who can't read the fine print, here is the text:

Every Time a Bell Rings

…someone tells me to take off that stupid elf hat.

Where has 2019 gone? For a while, it felt like a long year, but now I’m thinking, wait—come back here. Half the time, I barely knew where I was or what was happening.

We had another year of not traveling far, but traveling well. At least that’s the spin I’m going for. The annual trip to the Gold Lakes Recreational Area was just as glorious as ever. There was still snow to be found in July, which was a treat. Dale got in some golf, and Marcus hiked a chunk of the Pacific Crest Trail…alone. Amazingly, he was able to update me with his location via Facebook Messenger. Even more amazingly, I stayed calm. Mostly. I mean, he could’ve gotten eaten by a bear.

We went to a couple of weddings this year. In May, Dale and I traveled to San Luis Obispo for Gabi and JT, and in September, our whole family went to the Sacramento area for Mindy and Dylan. Both are sweet, young couples—younger than Marcus, which freaked me out a little. In each case, we got to spend time with friends, and went wine tasting. It was a win-win-wine weekend.

Dale did his usual trip to Angels’ spring training in Arizona in March. He also went to Massachusetts for the yearly golf tournament. He and his team represented the West Coast, and happily won the tourney. The Placentia Parks and Rec department still counts on him to coach at least two basketball teams of youngsters, but they do appreciate his service. This year they awarded him the Placentia “Do the Right Thing” award, established by our current mayor. So far, he hasn’t let it go to his head. He still golfs as often as he can, and gardens the rest of the time. At the moment, he’s working with a company to install solar panels on our house. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I went to a lot of horse shows and a lot of library events this year. Dale accompanied me to the ALA Conference in Washington, DC, where we had a lovely dinner with our niece Ashley. She’s in the Navy, and we don’t get to see her often. The big event for me was our library’s renovation to celebrate our centennial. As the president of the library’s board of trustees, I found myself presenting our plans and progress to every group in town. I nearly cried when I spoke at the ribbon cutting—I’m so proud of our library staff. Our library looks fabulous.

My horses are still alive and kicking (sometimes literally). Snoopy and Frostie spend their days being horses in a herd. Dhani and I are beginning to show well together, and I’m looking forward to 2020. I’m also looking forward to 2020 because I will be releasing the 5th Peri Minneopa Mystery in February. Look for MURDER BYTES!

Marcus seems to find a new job with a new group every day. He’s still handling recital hall duties at CSULB, but in the meantime, he’s in several choral groups, an acapella group, a doo wop crew, and does a lot of random singing with other musicians. This year, he managed to sing in a choir with Pete Townshend. The first concert I ever took him to was to see The Who, so it felt like full circle to me.

In the movie I quoted, Clarence says no man is a failure who has friends. We are thankful to have many, and no matter what kind of ups and downs we experience, I feel as successful as any billionaire.

We wish you all a wonderful life, however you want to define it.

Best wishes from our house to yours,

The Carlines


Merry Christmas!
Happy Hanukkah!
Happy Kwanzaa!
Happy New Year! 

Oh...just...be happy.



MarlynB said...

Merry Christmas to all of you!

Jennifer Silva Redmond said...

Wonderful as always. Happy holidays!

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