Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Christmas Letter That Didn't Get Sent

December, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I am delighted to write Christmas greetings to all of you.  Christmas letters get a bad rap but they are the perfect way to catch family and friends up on life here in Sebastopol .  It was a year packed with adventure, learning, and accomplishment and it’s fun to share that with you.

Alex graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in June!  Because he changed his major and because it is difficult to get into classes these days in CA state universities, he had to focus for six years.  In the end , he earned a degree in Social Sciences with a concentration in Environmental Planning.  Additionally, he used those six years judiciously and was able to supplement the degree with four minors:  psychology, anthropology/geography, city and regional planning, and sustainable environments.  He is now working as an independent contractor creating disaster management plans for CalFire and continues to work part time as a firefigher/EMT for the County Fire Department.  He is also in the process of applying to grad school for next fall, in the field of Geography or Environmental Studies.  We are looking forward to having him home for a few days later this week.

Meg continues to knock our socks off with her determination and perseverance.  She is majoring in psychology at Sonoma State University and is running into many of the same issues that Alex ran into at Cal Poly.  She cannot get the classes she needs to graduate but she too is putting the time to good use.  She is earning a minor in Criminal Justice and, although she is still a year or so away from graduating, she is investigating graduate programs as well.  She works several part time jobs and is highly involved with an intern program that serves families transitioning out of homelessness.  She shares an apartment near campus with her friend Priscilla and her cat George as well as Priscilla's cat Dancer.  Meg is quite the busy college student but she does find time to visit with us often.

Michael continues his work at Sonoma State University and the County Office of Education.  He recruits math and science teachers as well as assists teachers and districts in implementing science and environmental education programs.  Additionally, he has been writing grant proposals to fund another writing project.  This time his focus is on producing a guide for teachers whose curriculum includes coniferous forests.  He continues to enjoy gardening and playing with his fruit trees on the property.  Last summer, our tomato plants took over the front yard (the sunniest spot on the property) and we had a bumper crop!

I had a great year!  First, I still love my work as a guidance counselor at the local middle school.  I expanded things a bit this year by taking on the creation and production of the school yearbook - a great opportunity to broaden my photography skills as well as my layout and production abilities.  I had fun and learned so much from that work and I am doing it again this year.   I also got to travel quite a bit and was able to document all my travels with my camera.  In April, I went to Hawaii with my siblings and many of their family members.  We enjoyed a wonderful week playing and visiting together on Oahu.  In May, I visited NYC for the first time.  I went  with my brother Brian and had an awesome adventure!  I LOVE NYC and can’t wait to go back.  So energetic there!  So much to see and do! In June, I once again accompanied about 40 eighth graders to Washington DC (my fifth trip - I LOVE that city too!).  And in August, Meg and I went to Boston and stayed with our niece/cousin Myra.  Our days were packed with touring, laughing, a little shopping, and lots of visiting.  

My travels came to a screeching halt (literally) in late August. I was letting off steam from a tense day at work by taking a bicycle ride when I was right hooked by a truck pulling into a parking lot.  Yikes!  Nine fractures and one surgery later, I am on the road to recovery.  I learned a great deal through this experience and, as painful and frightening as the whole thing was, and as odd as this sounds, I would never trade it away.  I now have a 4” plate and 12 screws holding my clavicle together and know more than I ever thought I would know about bone grafts.  I also discovered the value of sleep and realized that the treadmill that life had become really could stop.  Quite a lesson, actually.  Most poignantly, I discovered how many people care about me and how the love of family and friends can really sustain a person.  For all of these lessons, I am deeply grateful.  My right arm still has very limited movement but I get to start physical therapy next week and hope to be back on the bicycle by March.  Wish me luck!

Although I believe 2009 was my friend, I can’t wait to see the surprises in store for 2010.  I hope to travel more (Michael and I are going to Santa Fe after Christmas and plan a spring trip to Yosemite), take lots of photos, do some more painting and write up a storm.  AND, continue to appreciate a slower pace of life, my renewed health, and the love of family and friends.  Merry Christmas and Happy 2010!


  1. I think you should post some pictures, especially from your trips!

  2. Good idea! I have to figure out how!