I enjoy reading Christmas newsletters. How refreshing that the art of writing has not totally disappeared. In lieu of facebook and other modern ingenuities, this is one way we know and can see a summary of what friends and relatives, living far and wide have done throughout the year. Sometimes they include amusing anecdotes and family photos. I always appreciate the effort. I know it's not easy to do because I've tried. Yes, sure, there are the social networks, but many people, particularly the elderly are not as accomplished or literate in this form of communication...nor is it always the best, safest or most private option.
I didn't create a letter this year. I'm not even certain that I did one last year. I suppose it's partly because I didn't think there was much relevant to share that people didn't already know. Perhaps I didn't want to come across as a show off, or the opposite, pathetic and sad. So I am writing this now. I'll use it as a year in review for myself and a summary for anyone who doesn't already know about my/our year from the rest of this blog.
Taking a deep breath now. Well, as deep as possible in my current condition which continues to be a daily struggle for air. That's some of the pathetic and sad part. Done now.
January began with the hype over the Vancouver olympics. We posted ourselves in several of our small downtown locations and were fortunate to see the "flame" go through town not once, but twice. In fact, I must have been mentally obsessed with the torch (as per the book "The Secret") since over the next few weeks, it followed me incessantly...through streets of other nearby villages, as I drove home from work, and even to church. Later in January, I did it! Imagine, me, at age 60 going into a mini marathon run. I finished, wasn't fast but did it!
February I went to see Donny & Marie in Vegas with my friend Mona. I also squeezed in a conference at the Royal York Hotel. That was hard to take...not!
In March we celebrated dad's 80th birthday...a milestone. Who knew it would be his last? Since we had planned a Christmas trip to Oklahoma and were ice stormed out, we went for March Break instead. We celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, the New Year and Easter in one fell swoop. What fun we had with Matt, Sharita and the family and on the way home, drove through one of my new favourite places Frankenmuth Michigan.
We initiated "Saturdays with Dad" and although we saw him often, this gave us extra time. For the most part, I picked him up and made plans for him each week. How he enjoyed going to Heidelberg for pigtails and beer, Father's Day at the Makimono Japanese Restaurant, sitting in the sun on our deck, going down near the lake, and reminiscing about friends and family as I showed him old photos. I even cooked his favourite "camping fare". Yes, those canned Puritan pressed meatballs do still exist! Oh and the tins of cubed fruit with the half cherry...yummy. Arggghhhh! I learned so much about dad during those final months, something that can always be cherished.
Adam spent Easter in Vancouver with the Elyse, Grant and the girls. I stayed home, planted flowers, dog sat, entertained family and eventually worked for two weeks scoring grade ten provincial literacy tests. Family and friends visiting, birthday celebrations and the like continued. There always seem to be birthdays when a family is large. We enjoyed the company of Karen and John who visited from New York. Then in June, Adam finally did it! After 3 nagging wife years, he donned the red shoes and "walked a mile" for charity. It was a day that lives in infamy. I was soooooo proud.
During July, we had company. Sharita and Amanda stayed with us prior to our big lake tour and visit to Thunder Bay. We were hosted by the fabulous John and Aili....saunas, food, fishing, fun in the sun and of course fabulous photos. We then toured the northern U.S, saw lots of natural and unnatural wonders (Mall of America) and bid Matt's family adieu in Chicago. I couldn't convince Adam to join me in Nassau for Labour Day weekend, but did have a lovely time there hanging out with Ingrid and Phil. Not only that, I flew, in a plane, all by myself. Gulp! Later in the month, we went to NY and met niece Nancy's now fiance Doug. Lovely man...congratulations. Looking forward to the wedding.
October was sad. Dad and Marianne were out celebrating their 21st anniversary when my father was taken to hospital. He passed very quickly surrounded by family. The rest of the month saw a burial, a trip to Germany to sort out issues and a memorial service.
In November we once again had company. John and Aili visited from the north. What lovely friends. We played some games, had great chats, and quite a few laughs mostly over the joys of aging. Later in the month came our long awaited cruise. Fabulous is all I can say. I loved the weather and the diversity of climate and culture. I think Adam was most pleasantly surprised and often commented that he could easily move to the Caribbean.
Although we had planned yet another trek to Oklahoma for Christmas, it was not meant to be. Weather conditions were once again unacceptable for driving plus I became quite ill prior to Christmas. We celebrated Christmas Eve with Ingrid, Warren, Phil and Marianne and then on Christmas Day, I dropped Adam at the airport where he flew to Vancouver to be with the Beaton clan for the week.
So now, on this rainy and incredibly mild evening, I have retrieved Adam from the airport and created a light meal of mulligatawny soup, bread, brie and grapes. We are watching the mobs at "Times Square", discussing some of the new and old stars...BSB and NKOB, Ke$ha, Train, the eternal Dick Clark.
I confided in Adam, "Going there is not, nor has it ever been on my bucket list. "
"It's not going there, it's how to get out of Time's Square after it's all done," he responds.
"Good point." I answer thinking how nice it is to be sitting at the fireplace at home sipping Henkel Troken and looking forward to the new year.