Winter New Moon of the New Year
Consider this our annual report to the board of directors of humanity.
We spent a week in Denver in mid-January attending the Great Western Stock Show with the grandkids, Ruth and Gabe.
That’s Gabe on the left and Ruth on the right.
A year of transitions. As all years are, of course, but some major ones came our way. Kate retired from full-time practice in January and we celebrated with a big party at the Art Institute. Lots of folks attended and Kate showed off her various talents useful outside the exam room.
In late March, early April we got the two Denver dogs, Sollie and Gertie. Jon and Jen had begun a big remodel (see right pic) adding lots of space and the dogs would have been underfoot.
In April we got a distress call from Thailand. Brother Mark needed a place to crash for a while he got his life back together after leaving a job in Bangkok. I picked him up at MSP a week later.
Mark stayed with us over the summer, helping out with gardening chores and learning how to live with our six dogs. Four of ours with the Denver supplement.
In early May we installed three packages of bees in Katy Did-It woodenware. Tom and Roxann came out for the morning to watch. Later in May we planted our garden anew, uncovered the garlic and the asparagus and settled in for another growing season.
In June Kate had the second hip replaced using Mark Heller’s minimally invasive technique. As usual, she weathered the difficulties with aplomb and got up and moving about well before our guests came in July.
In mid-summer we had an unusual confluence of visitors. My cousin Diane (left with Joseph), who lives in San Francisco and was my best woman when I married Kate, decided to stop off at our house on her way to her sister’s in Kalamazoo. (Great name, Kalamazoo) Sister Mary happened to be on her way to the States from Singapore for a visit. Joseph had just finished a long deployment in Bahrain.
So. We got everybody here. The first time Mary(below with her back to the camera), Mark and I had been in the same place since, gosh I don’t know. Maybe the late 60’s? It meant I had my whole nuclear family here at home. A great feeling. A moment difficult to repeat with the very global spread of our few members.
Mark worked hard all August at job hunting in the worst job market since, gosh I don’t know. He ended up with job offers, both in his field of teaching English as a second language and both in Saudi Arabia. Just as the Arabic spring had begun to blossom.
He accepted and moved to Ha’il, Saudi Arabia in October.
Both grandkids started school in September, Ruth in kindergarten and Gabe in a special pre-school. We visit them over Skype once a week and one or both of us is out there once a quarter. [We go next on January 13th for what has become an annual visit to the Great Western Stock Show.]
(Mark, Kate, me, Joseph)
Over the summer we added mulch, weeded, harvested, tended our garden. In early September we harvested honey from two colonies of bees, a sticky, messy affair made notable this year by my decision to try a quick return of wet honey frames to a colony without benefit of veil. Hmmm. Thirty or forty stings and much use of the language God gave us to express ourselves while in pain thanks to something stupid we’ve done later my head calmed down.
Kate smoked my head. (keeps other bees from swarming after the attack pheromones) She told me to get in the shower with my head under cold water. And she gave me benadryl and prednisone. This was my most memorable moment of the year.
Joseph spent most of September and early October on deployment (again), this time stationed on Crete. He managed military aircraft over Libya during the campaign to oust Quaddafi and support the revolutionaries. As a result, he became one of a handful in his career field, air battle management, to have actually managed aircraft in combat.
In mid-October we drove the dogs over to Armstrong Kennels, went to MSP, flew to New York City and took a town car to dock 89, boarded the MSS Veendam and sailed away for a 40 day vacation celebrating Kate’s retirement. (thank you, Merton.)
Lots of memorable times on the trip. Feeding leftover steak to street dogs in Santa Marta, Colombia. Transiting the Panama Canal. Crossing the equator. Seeing the archaeological legacy of Peru, riding a funicular in Valparaiso, spending time in the wonderful archipelagos of the Chilean fjords, visiting the southern most city in the Americas, going to the Falkland Islands and seeing those awfully damned cute rock hopper penguins, eating a wonderful hunk of tenderloin in Montevideo and walking the beaches of Rio. Much to write home about.
We ate Thanksgiving dinner, two empanades and two chunks of Brazilian cheese bread, in our gate area at the Rio International Airport waiting for our plane to Atlanta.
Since then, Joseph has invited a dog into his home, Kepler, whom I showed here not long ago. On the 28th he goes to Romania to stay at Nicoletta’s house. He met Nicoletta on Crete while deployed to Libya.
Meeting the family in a foreign environment where he does not speak the language (he’s learning some though) of Nicoletta’s mother and father is a challenge, but one he anticipates with surprising (to me) relish. She will move to Georgia in January to see how things might go with them together.
Fingers crossed here.
The end of the year is upon us now with today Christmas Eve and a week from now New Year’s Eve. To all of you I wish a good night and very happy New Year.
(me as Carlito, dressed as a gaucho)