Happy Holidays!

Christmas is going to be a little different this year as we will be hunkering down at home with virus rates skyrocketing in Texas. We will miss the kids but know it’s for the best. I’m enjoying playing Christmas tunes and putting up my few decorations after paring down over the years. I’ve been working on holiday cards and you may be here because I suggested you might want to come look at photos of the kids and grandkids. If so, feel free to browse around and see lots more details of retirement life in Dallas than you ever really wanted to know! 🙂

We wish you a Happy Hanukkah, a Merry Christmas, very Happy Holidays, and all the best in 2021.

This will be photo overload and I apologize in advance but it is very hard for me to pick just a few pix of the kids! First up, Sarah and Miles with Elle (12), Beck (10) and Jack (6).

Next, Bonnie and David with Emery (11), Luke (8) and Ada (6)

Susan and Corey with Aidan and Ally, our teenagers! Aidan is 17 and Ally 13.

The cousins all love each other, which warms my heart!

We wish you love, peace, hope and happiness as we wind down this difficult year. Stay safe and healthy, friends!

Friends and Family Make Life Sweet

The coronavirus drones on; we have been staying home for months and months now, wearing masks when we go out, being careful. We don’t want to get ill and we certainly don’t want to get anyone else ill. My daughter Bonnie and her three kids all got the virus in Amarillo, thankfully it was a mild version and they are okay after quarantining for two weeks. Surprisingly, her husband did not get it. We have heard many stories of extended family members, friends and acquaintances having varying levels of sickness, unfortunately I have several friends who have lost parents recently. It’s all so sad that wearing a mask has become a political statement and that people still claim that the virus is a hoax and the numbers are exaggerated. Here in Dallas, we are seeing growing numbers once again, as is the whole state of TX.

I’ve always enjoyed “snail mail” but it’s even nicer since we are stuck at home much of the time. Emails and texts are instant and I mostly keep up with people that way–it’s great. But there’s something very intimate about receiving a handwritten message that gives me a little glimpse into someone’s life on a particular day at a particular time when they sat down to communicate. Every day I wait for the mailman and excitedly check our box. You can imagine how thrilled I am at Christmas time when we tend to hear from more people than usual. 🙂 ‘Tis the season!

Here are a few things we’ve received in the last month or so. Cards, notes, a little jar of paper stars, several new masks, including kitty cats, flowers, RBG and a “social workers are essential” (thanks for that one, Susan!), my mom sent Rich a new cookbook she read about, and she likes to send me news articles she knows I’ll like, my new hoodie from my favorite radio station in Alaska, KUCB, with a note from my former boss, my Christmas cards came in so I am working my way through those. Many thanks to all of our loved ones for keeping us in their thoughts and hearts. It means a lot!

Thanksgiving

This was supposed to be our year to have all of the girls, hubbies and grandkids at our house for Thanksgiving. But….covid. I reluctantly told them that we couldn’t do it; we don’t have enough room in our house for 16 people to socially distance, nor do we have a big enough yard to try to eat outside, plus they would all be coming from out of town, so where would they stay? They thought they might go to their dad’s instead but he made the same decision. Later, Sarah called and said she wondered if Rich and I would want to come to Lake Tyler, just us, where we could distance and eat outside if the weather was nice. They recently bought a camper and said we could spend the night in it so we wouldn’t have to be in the house. After some discussion, we decided we’d do it as long as we were strict about “the rules.” Hard for me because I want to hug the kids and be in their faces. LOL Rich made gravy and a nice salad, we pitched in together on pies and pumpkin bread, and drove over on Thanksgiving Day. Thankfully the weather was beautiful and Miles opened up the big glass garage type doors on the back of their house so the air could flow through. The dining table is right at those windows so it felt like we were eating outside. We had a lovely meal; Sarah had turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans and rolls. She was laughing about it being the first time she’d ever had to get a Thanksgiving dinner together on her own.

Afterwards we took a walk out on their land and let the kids and dog Clyde run around for awhile. Back at the house we sat on the screened porch with the ceiling fan whipping furiously around. I needed a blanket but it was my own fault for wanting everything to be so safe. We slept in the camper and had breakfast together before heading home. I was very thankful we were able to be there after expecting a quiet and sad Thanksgiving alone. Just missed the other kids and wish we could have all gathered…maybe next year.

We gave Beck his late birthday card and money. He asked “why do you always give us cards with dogs on them?” I’ve been sending them little chatty cards lately and they’ve been dog themed. I said “because you like dogs!” Why else?! Oh, the Elves on the Shelf arrived and they were in quarantine. 🙂

November

I have certainly fallen off my posting since the election. I think I was just exhausted physically and emotionally from all of the months of working so hard on encouraging voters to get out and make their voices heard. I continued to greet at the polls on Election Day and the mood was upbeat. Although I expected Biden to win, or at least held out high hopes that he would, I was still nervous going into the evening when the votes started coming in. We did have tacos and flan, so that made me feel somewhat better. 🙂

Of course now we know what a baby Trump is and that he can’t find it within himself to concede even though it is obvious that he will be leaving on Jan. 20. The elation I felt on Election Day has given way to more exhaustion and frustration with the way it has all played out, the people who encourage Trump in his worst instincts, those who value power and influence over what’s true and real, the direction of the country in general…it’s all so unending. Here in Texas, we were disappointed that we didn’t gain more seats in the state and national legislatures and I was shocked that so many people actually voted for Trump again. I don’t get it. We have a lot more work to do, obviously and unfortunately. But on the happy side, we have a female VP, a female of color, and it looks like Biden is making some diverse picks in his Cabinet, even if he still hasn’t been offered the courtesies usually given to an incoming President. Okay, enough on the election. Let’s move on!

Grandkids and cousins Emery and Beck celebrated a shared birthday; she turned 11 and he turned 10. She is super creative, loves to read and write and draw, and is currently the “creative writing” and “jokes and riddles” contributor to the 5th grade newsletter at school. 🙂 She played volleyball this year, loves her family, friends and animals, and knows all the lyrics to the songs from “Hamilton.” I asked her mom “even the curse words?” and she said Emery just pauses on those. 🙂 Beck is likewise very creative, can put together any Legos project in record time, enjoys reading, videogames, and hanging out with his family, has joined an acting program in Tyler and is rehearsing for a show to be held in January. They are both very inquisitive and ask lots of interesting questions, as well as being silly and funny and full of life. We love these two so much!

I got to see Angela Davis speak in a virtual event put on by the SMU Human Rights Council. She was so interesting and all of the students asked great questions. Davis said something to the effect that “the arena of struggle is where you find yourself,” and it seems very fitting.