Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our good friends.
I love this background and logo because it reminds me of the many years that our kids were involved in Davis' famous Children's Nutcracker. They were in the very first production in 1977 as performers and performed for several years, and then went on to be directors and technicians. Ned was working the show well into adulthood, with his friend Greg. In fact, Ned met Marta in that first production of The Nutcracker, though neither remembered that until they found a photo of the two of them together in an album.
This has been a strange year for us. If you asked me to use one word to sum up our year I would probably say: "Kaiser," since we have spent so much time going to doctors' appointments for one or the other of the three of us. My mother has been rushed off to the ER several times, whether for one of her fainting spells or injuries, the most serious of which was a broken bone in her wrist, the more minor a urinary tract infection, plus just doctor visits for one thing or another. Her dementia has progressed so far she doesn't remember that she hates to go to the doctor, so it's easier to get her there now. There are a few perks of dementia.
Walt has had his own health problems which involve one minor surgery, one sorta minor but more major (still ambulatory surgery) and lots and lots of in-between visits. I developed an overwhelming weakness that left me unable to even lift a coffee pot without using two hands and had four falls, so I now walk with a walker. Turns out that my body had reacted badly to a statin drug I had been prescribed, one negative side of effect being "muscle weakness." I've been off the medication for a few months now and am getting my strength back but I still can't drive. I hope I'll be able to by the end of the year.
Add to all that "routine" doctor visits for things like updated eyeglasses and blood tests (I get tested every 2 weeks now) and check of blood pressure and in a two week period, Walt calculated we had been to Kaiser eleven times.
Our godsend through all of this has been Ned, who stays with us after Walt's surgery and takes him to all his appointments, who cooked for us until I could do it again, who has taken on the task of organizing the house (always a thankless and overwhelming task), who takes me to visit my mother since I can't drive there myself. I truly do not know what we would have done without Ned this year.
He is not working at the moment, which is great because he's been doing lots of stuff for others, like flipping his mother-in-law's house for her to sell, helping a couple of friends organizing their houses, helping us, and other miscellaneous things with musician friends. It's been a good year for the beneficiaries of his help! In the summertime he took a bunch of kids up to Tahoe for a week and worked with them on writing and filming a movie, which had a red carpet premiere and which was really pretty good! Later he made a short video featuring Lacie. He's really good at these videos and the kids love making them, though it's the hours and hours of editing that make it all work..
Marta now has a supervisory position with the state government, much more interesting for her, and they live close to the office, which makes the commute easier, as she can ride her bike. Both she and Ned spend time, when they can, with the grandkids and are always a big hit -- grandparents don't count if Ned and Marta are around! Both Ned and Marta are into physical fitness these days.
Jeri has been able to find good deals on plane tickets and is able to be out here surprisingly often either to visit the grandkids (she, too, is a big favorite and there are emotional goodbyes each time!) or to come north to visit with her grandmother, us, and her No. California friends. We've enjoyed watching her concerts at Berklee streaming live from Boston, the next best thing to being there. And she and I text pictures of all of the shows we attend each weekend (I see them and she plays them). Phil is working at repairing wheel chairs and other things for the disabled, while looking for another job, since his time taking care of a kid with cerebral palsy for many years ended when the boy aged out of the program. He does work in an activity program for the disabled.
I don't know how Tom and Laurel do all they do. The girls are involved in lots of activities, including karate, music and cooking, and both parents have busy jobs, but manage to be coaches and other supportive things as parents. Brianna is looking well as a softball player and Lacie is finally figuring out that it's not so bad to actually play soccer. Both girls are avid readers and Lacie, who turned 7 this year, has read all of Harry Potter. Brianna entered double digits on her 10th birthday.
My mother is now 99-1/2 and other than her diminishing memory and inability to carry on a conversation, she is pretty healthy. She never knows if I've been there 5 minutes before or a month before, so I'm seeing her less and less, which is less stressful for me. The other day, I visited with her, then went to the bathroom, and when I came back, she was thrilled because she hadn't seen me in so long. Ned is great at keeping jibberish conversations going and making her laugh, and Jeri tries to call her and once in a great while she will connect so they can chat.
Sadly, she no longer gets excited about an expected Jeri visit, but she sure is happy to see her when she gets here.
It's going to be a very low key Christmas. Walt is still post-op and I don't know how long he will feel the need to stay home. Tom and family will be here for a pre-Christmas visit and I still hope that my Christmas present from God will be the ability to drive again! An unexpected "Christmas present" is that I just learned that I have a very small basal cell carcinoma on the bridge of my nose and I, too, will be facing surgery in the next month or two.
Oh yeah -- and the dog died this year too, so we are down to only one dog.
All our love to all of our friends for your holiday season. May 2019 be a year of health for all of us.
Walt and Bev
And all our sponsored children through Compassion, International:
Annie Rose and Fred (Philippines),
Henrique (Brasil), Eunice (Tanzania)