Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holiday Gratitude List

Dear Family and Friends,
We are about to close out 2010, a year which for me has been full of wonderful blessings and joys. I know this is not the case for huge numbers of people, across the globe, and even in the midst of happiness my heart aches to know that so many are suffering. Let's hope that 2011 will turn things around and head in a more positive direction.

Mostly I am ecstatic to be lucky enough to live close to my grandson, Desmond, who is a bright light at age 2 1/2. Throughout the year, I've spent two afternoons a week with him regularly, as well as many other non-regular times together. I know how lucky I am! Here he is on his 'kateboard, in his blue "cow boots", about to head out on an adventure.

One highlight of the year was a day when our entire family had an outing together in Sausalito, at the Children's Discovery Center. Tommy and Annie joined us, and afterwards we went into San Francisco for a little visit to the Museum. The photo below shows all of us just after our picnic: Daniella, Kim, Megan, Phil, Tommy, and Annie holding Desmond.

The biggest personal sadness of the year was losing my beloved younger brother, Dick, to cancer in early June. We went to Florida for his memorial service and spent time with many family members there. I still miss him every day, and think of things I wish I could share with him.

Daniella had a year of gypsy living, traveling all over the U.S. teaching encaustic painting classes. She also published two teaching DVD's and a book. In April and May we went together to Holland (where she taught a class), then Berlin, Frankfurt, and on to Turkey for a wonderful vacation trip with our friends Wendy and Judy (same sisters who were with us in Korea the year before). We enjoyed every minute of this journey, seeing exotic new places and meeting great people. I wrote about all of it, and posted photos, on my (sporadic) blog, Her Secret Garden, in the April and May 2010 archives.

Because of so much travel, and the desire to stay close to Desmond, we barely made it to Whidbey Island this year. I think Daniella went twice, briefly, and I had only one very quiet week in October - not nearly enough.

Oh, and a big deal for me was joining a gym, hiring a fabulous and inspiring personal trainer, and spending the past year working out, as well as doing water aerobics several times a week. This tends to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks! I am getting stronger each week, and it feels great. Better late than never, I guess!

There's so much more, but I want to keep this short. We love getting news from each of you, and thank you for the many wonderful holiday greetings we have received already this winter. I am so grateful that YOU are in my life. Wishing you holiday blessings and joy, and a heartfelt wish for a Happy New Year!
Much love,