Another year gone by, and it seems like a good idea to mention a few highlights. Everybody knows the low-lights (they emanate daily from Washington, DC), so I won't go there, in this holiday season.
1. We spent 5 months on Whidbey Island this year (May-September). We were lucky to stay in a house belonging to our wonderful next-door-neighbors, so we could spread out and entertain, have visitors, cook real meals, etc. Hallelujah!
2. A new little pup, Django (above), joined our family in late August. He is like an animated stuffed toy, adorable and spritely, full of mischief. Having him gives me an all-day huge grin and expands my heart with happiness! He has become best pals with our other dog, Zuma.
3. Daniella (above with Zuma) had a great art year, with many honors, firsts, publications, and sales. You can read all about it on her blog (http://www.encausticopolis.blogspot.com). Her art work just gets better and better. She's now working on some sensational, big installation pieces.
4. My favorite niece, Amy, (above, who lived with us a few years back) gave birth to a beautiful daughter on my birthday, April 18. I met Kasey for the first time in early November when we went to a family wedding (my nephew) in Annapolis, Md., and she is off-the-charts cute and smart. That wedding was a major family reunion - all my brothers and their families together for the first time in many years. My nephew, Peter, married a young Indian woman, Priya, and there were 3 days of fabulous parties.
5. I found out that I will become a grandmother for the first time in 2008! My daughter-in-law Megan, and son Phil expect a baby in July. The photo above shows them together at Phil's graduation about 1 1/2 years ago. Let the spoiling begin!! Whoooohooo!
6. My son Tom (above) rediscovered school this year, after may years away from it, and has been studying at our local community college. He has done really well and should have straight A's for the year. WOW!
I plan to celebrate the holiday season with my three grown children (and their partners), in a vacation rental house north of San Francisco for a few days. I think it will be great for all of us to go away together to a place where we can relax and just enjoy our time together without anyone having to be the "host". We're not big on the "christmas" thing, but we are all looking forward to the time together.
Every day I celebrate the joy of living (now 33 years) in our Santa Cruz home (we have the most amazing and generous friends and neighbors), and in our Whidbey Island home (where we have made many new friends). It is truly the best of both worlds, and life in both places is rich and full. I'm getting old(er) but my health and energy is still great, and I love the "retired" lifestyle. Never bored, moving at my own pace, enjoying every day.
This message comes with an abundance of good wishes and love for you all during the holidays. Let's try to brighten the world in our own special way in the days ahead, with kindness, generosity, and caring for those who don't have much to celebrate. Please, also, send healing energy to my beloved brother, Dick, in Florida, who is battling metastatic renal cancer. We're all hoping for a big miracle for that sweet guy.