Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to our good friends.
I'd like to say that the biggest thing that happened around here was See's candies opening a store here in Davis, but that's not really true (and probably nobody cares but me). Actually, a lot of big things happened this year AND See's opened a new store here.
First, does this woman look to be 100 to you? I should look so good.
Yes, she made it "to hunnert," the thing she was so excited about happening when she moved to Davis years ago. Sadly, her dementia has reached the point where "100" has no meaning, nor does "birthday," so there was no big celebration, but all three kids were here, Walt's sister and brother were here and everybody's respective spouse. I made a small cake and we took pictures.
Eventually she began to realize that it was something big, but her dementia did not allow her to feel excited about turning 100, nor does it mean anything to her that she is not only the oldest in the family, but the one who has lived the longest. She had a cousin who made it to within a month or two of 100, but she's the only one who actually did it.
She is healthy physically, though sleeping more and more. My "visits" now usually consist of sitting and watching her sleep. She usually does not know who I am. I'm used to being her sister or even her mother but to hear her tell someone that of course she knows who I am -- I'm her husband was a little surprising.
But the biggest thing for her was that she was about to be kicked out of her facility for being so aggressive (my mild-mannered mother), but we managed to find a wonderful new place. It's just a regular house, with six beds and she has her own room. Within a month her aggression had just about disappeared and they learned how to work with her. We are so incredibly fortunate...and best of all, it is $2,000 less than we had been playing at the other place.
As far as everyone else goes, Jeri is on sabbatical this semester. She is working with a friend on writing a musical. It has given her the ability to take more "time off" because she can work from anywhere, so we have seen more of her this year than we have in previous years. Phil is working right now on putting lights up on the Boston Christmas tree in Faneuil Hall Square. Jeri takes dog Lester for a walk each morning and makes a little video to send to all the family. It's a great way to start the day. She and Phil go to Red Sox games and have a beautiful vegetable garden in their back yard.
Tom turned 49 this year. For most, 50 would be the big birthday, but Tom has been such an avid 49er all of his life that we made his 49th The Big Birthday. I made the most fun cake for him that I've made. (that's an edible top that I ordered. I'm not THAT clever!)
There were some 70 people at his big birthday barbeque on the beach in Santa Barbara, and it was a grand celebration.
Laurel changed jobs this year, getting a wonderful promotion, so it was a good year for her too.
Brianna remains very athletic and both her soccer team and softball team won their championships games. Lacie got a new bike for her 8th birthday and can now ride her bike to school. She also reads very well, which makes sitting thru Bri's games more pleasant for her, and is a good refuge for when she feels uncomfortable in at large events. (I can relate...books were my refuge at her age too!). She also likes cooking with her dad.
The biggest change this year was for Ned and Marta, as they began what we are calling "The Ten Year Project." After our health problems last year, Ned began thinking about our inevitable increasing decrepitude and our eventual need for his help. We had a meeting and decided that it would be best for all if they moved here. They were just renting their house in Sacramento and we decided this would work. Starting in August, they began the big move and it has been a humongous project. They have taken over remodeling this house and it looks better than it has in 45 years. But still we are trying to blend two houses into one and they are downsizing from a multi bedroom house to two rooms, so it's quite a task. The big 2-day yard sale they had in September helped. They were selling some furniture for as little as 50 cents. Despite that they still made $1200 on the sale. We donated more than 25 boxes of books to the used book store where I used to volunteer and two cars-ful of leftovers to the shop in town that raises money for mental health projects in Davis. Ned is convinced that all the remaining boxes of stuff will have been put away by Christmas, when everybody will be here. They are working very hard at making that happen.
Dogs Polly and Bouncer are getting to know each other. They are both grumpy old ladies and occasionally tempers flare, but mostly around meal time.
As for Walt and me, nothing much is new (other than Ned, Marta and Bouncer filling our empty nest). We still see 50-60 shows a year, but we have not traveled much this year, other than to Santa Barbara twice. I am reluctant to leave Davis while my mother is still alive and, quite frankly, I am not comfortable with the thought of travel these days for all sorts of reasons.
Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas and may you have a wonderful 2020. Whatever you do, VOTE. This is not the place to express my preference, but this is a year where everyone's vote is more important than ever. Ned would like you all to vote for Yang.
Walt and Bev
Jeri, Phil, Ned, Marta, Tom, Laurel, Brianna and
And all our sponsored children through Compassion, International:
Henrique and Karya (Brasil), Dilan
(Colombia), Leniel and Anyeliz (Dominican Republic)