Wednesday, January 01, 2014

To be absolutely clear. Happy Holidays!

And so, here it is, the New Year is upon us and still no seasonal letter, no card, the least I can do is blog.

All in all, it's been a good year, but not without its up and downs. The early part of the year kind of had the oxygen sucked out of it by the declining health and the death of my father.  This is, as you all well know, a big event. My father and I were not all that close, as he was a challenging guy to be close to, but still he was my father, and it took a lot out of me.  On the last day of his life, I learned a fair amount about his childhood, and that was both saddening and enlightening, and brought an odd closure.

As the year wore on, we had to watch a close friend lose a child to cancer, which was.... ( insert words here), but put everything in perspective. Where we strive to keep it, that everything.

The highlight of the year was without a doubt our trip to northern California.  Until this year, our kids had been virtual prisoners of the East Coast, venturing as far as various parts of our northern neighbor Canadia, but easterly nonetheless.  So we took them out west, to San Francisco (where we were hosted and vehicled by a good friend and constant grousereader through the years), and as far south as Big Sur.  Of this highlight trip, the absolute pinnacle came from a day when we drove south from Monterrey to Big Sur. As we were walking back from one of the several astoundingly beautiful beaches we sampled, Natalie turned to me and said "Thank you so much for bringing us out here" As those of you with teenagers and those who were once teenagers may recall, they don't say this kind of thing every day, so that was special.  Then a couple of days later she scared the crap out of us when she almost got killed crossing the Pacific Coast Highway at another spot.

(click on the picture to see it bigger and get a better idea of how lovely my family is!)

Natalie extended her time out west with a week in the desert with my mom, who took her to the Grand and other canyons, as well as the Hoover Dam and whatever else they could drive to.  Natalie also did her last summer as a camper at Gwynn Valley, which was a little sad, because it's a special place for both of us. Back at home, it was a big year for Natalie as she tried out team sports, both ultimate frisbee and field hockey, and enjoyed the team part, if not always the sports part. She is doing so well academically that it would appear vain and boastful to provide any detail at all. She has basically read all the books that are written for kids her age, so any suggestions for further readings are appreciated.

As for Graham, he continues to astound us with his drive to command incredible levels of detail around military history and technology, which he shares with his uncle George in conversations of prodigious length.  He has sucked up a wide range of random other erudition while watching the Military Channel and H2 and while reading whatever he can get his hands on. And he's expanded his taste for foods tremendously, and moved forward in his martial arts classes, all while maintaining incredible cuteness.

Me and Mary, we're fine.  We've settled into the renovation, the garden is mostly filled out, thanks entirely to Mary's yeoperson efforts.  Mary has gotten more and more involved in the local autism and special needs education community, while I have spent the year transitioning into the investment advisory profession, and am happy to have moved from serving corporations to working with individuals. Due to Mary's consistent efforts, we're eating less meat, especially during the week, and I am increasingly getting to a place where I am not only at peace with this seeming deprivation, but appreciate it, because as time goes by we come to better grasp the concept, long espoused by people of a certain age, of being thankful for our health.

In closing, let me thank all of yall who continue to take the time to stop by and read my blog. I am always astounded and delighted when, in this context or that, somebody tells me they read it.  There is no end of text in the world, so much to read, so the fact that you make the time to read mine is a great honor and privilege.

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