Totally blew the Christmas Card thing this year. So this is a New Year’s shout out to all my friends and family – and whomever else happens to stumble across this blog.
Last year, I talked my family into doing a themed picture Chrismas card – everyone needed to have a candy cane in the picture, and optional Christmas paraphernalia, including red Christmas hats. One of my children – I will not call him/her out here – balked. Andy said, okay, we’ll do the card without said child, and s/he came around.
This year, it was my turn to feel like that recalcitrant child. Andy, unbeknownst to me, purchased matching sleepwear for us all to put on for a picture. Okay, that could be cute, IF it wasn’t all men’s sleepwear. Gray, no less. I ask you, what woman looks good in gray? ‘Nuff said. So, anyhow, my dearest oldest daughter did a little Photoshop magic and this is what we’ve got for our family picture this year….
Oh, but wait! This isn’t our whole family! Where are the animals you ask? Oh, you didn’t ask?
We’ve actually had some changes in our animal family members this year.
Blackie is no longer with us, but will be remembered fondly as our most neurotically loveable pet. He lived a good long life…never got over his aversion to dogs, thunder, or walking through tight places, but loved people and cats.
Columbus is our new puppy. Born of Stella, Tracey’s Golden Retriever. Purebred. Possibly will be continuing Stella’s line, since Stella almost died and had to be spayed. He’s VERY mellow, a welcome addition to our family. Here he is in all his fuzzy puppy glory. He’s now 4 months old.
Koda is still with us. Beautiful as ever. Has decided she is NOT happy with the new puppy and is beating him up. Called in the big guns – a dog trainer – and we’ve got some techniques to work with but it looks like time is ultimately going to be the solution to this problem. And she is going back to school. Basically, life outside of work right now is working with the dogs.
Stella is living with us, too, and helping to raise the pup. They have fun playing together and it is gentle, golden retriever play as opposed to nippy, Australian Shepherd play.
As for the cats, we still have Gracie….
And Max. Max is Alex’s cat and Alex moved out a few months ago – to Brighton, to be closer to his new job – in an apartment where you can’t have pets. I think Max is pretty settled here and in his relationship with Gracie, anyway, so Max and Alex get visiting time when Alex comes home:
2011 was a great year. Alex moved out (new job in Cambridge, moved in with his childhood friend Sean), Kelly moved home (work-study this year at EMC doing event planning. Bought her first car. Is living at home to save money). Tracey is still at home, but periodically looks at houses closer to her job in Western MA.
Both Alex and Andy got new jobs and are both happy at them. Alex is at a start up called 9-Point Medical. Andy is working with his friend Craig, who owns Reliance Engineering. Still in sales, still in plastic manufacturing. I am still at IBM, but this year marked my 10-year anniversary and I got an extra week of vacation. Woo hoo!
Andy and I took a wonderful trip to Arizona – we hit Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Prescott. We hiked and mountain biked in Sedona, flew over the Grand Canyon in a plane, rafted the Colorado River in Glenn Canyon, which is the beginning of the Grand Canyon, visited the underground rock formations in Antelope Canyon with an American Indian guide, joined in Prescott’s celebration of Arizona turning 100 years old, went horseback riding through the desert, and hung out in Matt’s Saloon, a really cool Western bar, with live country music.
I also took a trip to Florida to help celebrate my great-aunt Helena’s 100th birthday. It was a special time of reconnecting with a side of the family I hadn’t seen in many years. Nice people who I’m proud to claim as family. 🙂 My parents went, too, so I got to spend some time with them as well. And my great aunt? She still lives by herself at 100. Sharp as a tack. Gentle as a lamb. Gosh, she’s special….
Andy took a golf trip down south with his buddies – looks like it may turn into an annual thing – and I took a trip to Florida with my friends – we are doing it again this year, too. We are blessed to be able to travel more now.
The last big event – actually probably the biggest event because it changed our lives – is that Tracey’s dog Stella had puppies at our house. Beautiful puppies. Win-over-your-heart puppies. After helping raise them from 4-weeks, when their momma wound up in the animal hospital and then quarantined from them, it was impossible not to keep one. And so here we are. I do believe 2012 will be our dog year. Half of 2011 was, but 2012 will be us integrating Columbus into our family, and getting him trained up properly. I am hoping he will be docile enough to be a therapy dog so I can take him into nursing homes for visits. And in a couple of years, if he has the right breeding qualities, he may be the reinstatement of Tracey’s kennel, which is her dream.
And so I close by wishing you all a wonderfully blessed 2012! Love you all.
Chris (and Andy)