December 2016

To our good friends.

And so how are we all feeling this holiday?  I suspect some people on my list are looking forward happily with hope to the new presidential administration, but I also suspect most on our list are still reeling from the hateful year+ long election and the disappointing, somewhat frightening outcome. All we can do at this point is hope for the best, and be grateful that our friendship(s) can remain strong despite diametrically opposed political views.

It's been a quiet year and little has changed for us.  Walt and I are still doing the same things.  I will stop volunteering for the book store next month, though, as it is closing its doors.  I will miss it, but I have enjoyed the past five years or so.  I continue volunteering at the hospital, and Walt continues on the board of Citizens Who Care, the group that advocates for the frail elderly.

We took no vacation this year.  My mother's dementia has progressed to the point where I feel uncomfortable being away from her for long, so we took separate trips to Santa Barbara.  Walt went down for Lacie's 5th birthday party and I went down a few weeks later to watch both girls play soccer and to be there to give out candy while the family went trick or treating.  They will all be here for lunch with my mother on the day after Christmas. The week after I got home, we received word that Brianna's soccer team won the championship.  It was a big deal. Tom was coach for Lacie's soccer team, but sports is not really her thing.  She's the avid reader.  More like me and Aunt Marta.  I was glad to visit them and see the gorgeous, extensive house remodel they have just finished.  After a year, they are delighted to be not quite, but almost back to normal.

There were big changes for Ned and Marta this year.  After surviving many "reorganizations" at the radio station where he'd worked for more than 20 years, Ned finally fell victim to the changing face of radio.  He and his boss were both let go.  He spent the first weeks after being unemployed helping everyone.  He worked on Tom's house-remodel project, built a gorgeous new office for me, and did some work on our Tahoe condo, among other things.  Marta, who has been running her own massage business took the opportunity to go and get a job with the State of California, so they don't lose out on medical coverage. The time was right for her to change careers, so the gods of work smiled on the two of them.

The photo was taken in Jamaica, where Ned and Marta spent last Christmas along with Walt's sister and her husband, and Jeri and Phil.  The trip seems to have been transformative for all of them.

Jeri is so busy it's hard to keep up with her.  What with teaching at Berklee  and being very involved in its musical theater program, plus playing it seems almost constantly in pit orchestras for local musicals, I don't know how she has time to sleep.  She also performs a yearly clarinet concert which is live streamed, so we can sit here in California and watch her concert in Boston. She and Phil are dedicated to yoga and healthy eating, especially what they grow in their little garden, which yields a lot of vegetables.  (She's a kale fan.)  And of course, they go on long walks with my "granddog," Lester. They still find time to visit here a few times a year, so she can spend as much time with her grandmother as possible.

Jeri turned 50 this year, an event she celebrated with four other of the "Pinata kids," whom she has known since before she was born.  It is wonderful that they have remained friends and family all of their lives!

My mother is now 97 and her dementia is worsening.  She's basically healthy as a horse, except for some neurological problems.  She will probably make it to 100, which was her goal 3 years ago, but sadly she no longer remembers how old she is. Ned has been a godsend this year and is so good with her.

This has been a year of ups and downs for us, and for all the country. What's the saying? "May you live in interesting times"?  I'd like 2017 to be a little less "interesting," please.

All our love to all of you and our wish for health and happiness in 2017.

Walt and Bev
Jeri, Phil, Ned, Marta, Tom, Laurel, Brianna and Lacie
Lizzie and Polly
and, in absentia, Paul, David and Sheila

And all our sponsored children through Compassion, International: 

Anjali and Venkanna (India), Annie Rose and Fred (Philippines), Edilsar (Mexico), Henrique  (Brasil),
Leniel and Banesa (Dominican Republic), Theresa and Emmanuella (Ghana),
Lovson, Miche and Briana (Haiti), Brayan (Honduras), Joham (Colombia)
Josphat, Erick, Samuel, Emily, Mwogela, James, Lavenda, Mercy, Brightone, and  Michael (Kenya),
Rifaldi (Indonesia), Divine (Rwanda), Eunice (Tanzania), and Alone (Uganda)
Link to Bev's blog