Thursday, January 08, 2009

Round Robin 2009

Every year a big brown envelope arrives, filled with pictures and letters from 10 members of my high school potluck club, the SLGs. After reading all of the latest news and admiring pictures of all the grandchildren, I try to put a year of my life down in a letter. Looking through 400 or so photos, I always pick 4 or 5 of my favorites to send along in the big brown envelope. Here is my letter for 2009 ************************

January 7, 2009

Hi Everybody,

The Robin arrived while we were spending a few weeks in Florida, near our kids. Now I'm back home, sitting by a blazing fire and watching the snow fall on our three foot drifts.  Quite a contrast from sitting by the pool in sunny Florida!  As usual, I enjoyed reading all of the news, and especially looking at the pictures of the grandkids.   This time I especially enjoyed the old pictures - such good memories we all have!  It's truly hard to believe that those pictures are now 50-60 years old!  Yikes.

My life is very much the same as always - we stay busy with volunteering, travel, Vital Step gym, day trips, and hobbies- reading, geocaching, scrapbooking, and computer games.  In fact we keep in touch with our entire family on the computer game called World of Warcraft - we can talk and type over the internet for as long as we want and it's free.  Sometimes all seven of us are logged in at the same time, and it's very satisfying to "see" everybody every day.

One of the major highlights of our year was a Princess cruise of the Baltic last May.  We went with friends from Belleville, and it was a spectacular experience!  Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Poland and Norway - whew - all in ten days.  There are so many places we would like to re-visit - especially the Hermitage in St. Petersburg - we could spend a week looking through those rooms of  famous and astonishing works of art.

 In June, we took a whirlwind tour out west to add the western States to our geocaching total.   This is the trip that caused us to miss the 55th class reunion.  There just weren't enough weeks in the year this year for us to do everything that we wanted to do.

We had another terrific northern Michigan summer.  We had house guests  (all family)  from  late June until Labor Day Weekend.  The kids were here for the Cherry Festival - we all enjoyed the Blue Angels,  the midway, and the Big Parade.  We took a day trip to Beaver Island - a first for all of us. It was a glorious summer - the weather was great, we all went to our grand-nephew’s wedding and Dick’s annual family reunion (GenFest).

Since we are trying to find a cache in every State, in early September we took another whirlwind road trip to New England.  Even though we went before the fall colors were out, it is a very beautiful part of the country, and we relished the mountain scenery. New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine - well, you get the idea :)   We have sixteen States left to visit, including Alaska and Hawaii.  We've been there, but we have to go back to find a cache.  What a shame!

We stayed in Ann Arbor again this year - this time for the month of October.  It was extremely enjoyable in every way except for the miserable football season.  But we enjoyed just being in Ann Arbor, re-connecting with old friends, adventuring  around the area looking for geocaches, discovering new places and  going out to eat with area family and friends.   The only downside was that I was rear-ended in our little Subaru while we were there.  The car was totaled, but I was fine - the only damage I suffered was severe bruising from the seatbelt.  My body looked like I was wearing a deep purple sash! That little Subaru really protected me. Now we're driving a 2007 Toyota Rav4, and we're satisfied with it.

We headed for Florida for the holidays - rented a house for a month just ten minutes away from our kids.  Thanksgiving, Dylan's birthday, Christmas and New Year's - we were there for all of it, and have decided that Florida is a very pleasant place to be! Of course, as many of you can testify, we’re not the first to reach that conclusion.

Our Florida kids, Laurie and Chip, are still flying with American Airlines - now there’s an industry with all kinds of problems - labor, fuel, and on and on. They are both based in Miami and living in Palm City. Tom is in San Diego - he’s a senior scientist with Cymer Corp. He’s single - says he doesn’t want to marry and have kids - where did we go wrong?? He’s had several lovely girlfriends over the years - right now he’s been dating a girl half his age for the past year or so.

Dylan, our one and only grandchild, is still the smartest, best child in the Western world! He is now eleven and in the fifth grade. School is not his favorite activity - he’s good at everything except spelling. Spelling is a real bugaboo for him. He loves computer games, biking, hiking, tennis, and chocolate cake J.

Freda - I checked my addresses, and everything is correct. Can’t explain why your email bounced! You must be so proud of your very accomplished pooch - but I know that it takes a lot of time and effort on your part, so congratulations to both of you.

Junie - Didn’t like hearing about Jerry’s Chronic Kidney Disease, but it’s good that he’s seeing a nephrologist. My doctor told me that sometimes CKD can be caused by a medication that the patient is taking that becomes toxic to the kidneys…but then I guess a
nephrologist would think of that! (Blush)

Mary - So nice to know that Charlie is comfortable and productive in his surroundings, even though he has such dramatic memory loss - his situation should be a comfort to you.
I’m so glad that you have found happiness again, and still are watching out for Charlie. I think it’s unusually sweet, miraculous and wonderful.

June, Nan, Debby and Sandy N. - you figured out way before I did that Florida is an excellent place to spend some time during the winter. We have only gone for a month each year, but even that is so pleasant and rewarding. You are a bunch of smart cookies!

Margo - It sounds as though you have bounced back from double hip replacement in grand style - what a trooper! I don’t envy you those procedures, but I’ll bet you feel terrific now, right?

Donna - I love the way you talk about your “support” groups of friends. It really is important to stay connected and it sounds like you are super-connected with some really great people. Hooray for you.

Sandy M. - did you get your deck stained? Were your hands brown for a month afterwards? If you’re like me, you got more on yourself than on the deck.

Debby - Fifty-seven years ago, on February 2, 1952, Dick and I had our first date. I went to the dance with you, and Hermie Cox went with Dick. During the dance, Hermie asked if he could take you home from the dance. You said, "Well, I came with Nancy..." and Hermie said, "Well I came with Dick so let's all go together." So that's what we did. We had burgers and fries at what is now Round's, and they took us home. And that was the first date for Dick and me, and I think it was the last date for you and Herm!

Nola -It seems that our families are all affected in one way or another by the economic slow down.  I'm really sympathetic for people who have lost their positions - it's a bad time to look for a job.  Our daughter Jana had her position eliminated and is now at loose ends.  She got a good severance package, but she is single and worries about the future, as we are all worrying for her. She lives in Washington, D.C., right in the District. I’m hoping she can get a job with the Obama Administration. I’m wishing for the best outcomes for all of our SLG kids who are in the same  boat. Good luck to you and yours - don’t lie awake nights - it doesn’t help at all!

Betty - I know you didn’t have time to write much - you had quite an influx of friends and family! Maybe we can hear all about it next time, even with pictures!

Nan - Now we know why Florida is so attractive to so many Michiganders! I know you’re having a great time down there right this minute, while Dick is out snow-blowing the driveway! That climate down there is one of life’s major pleasures.

Dick and I are in fairly good health.  We have creaky joints and crampy muscles, but we're still using our original knees and hips :)   It's wonderful that medical people can fix up almost any problem these days.  My brother has had double hip replacement, as have other friends of ours.  I sincerely hope that all of you are aging as comfortably as possible.  Our doctor keeps telling us that we have gray hair disease - which means that we're not getting any younger!