Here we are in 2015, and Karen still wants a Christmas letter, even though everybody who could possibly care, already knows everything we’ve been up to this year. That’s especially true since I joined Facebook this fall. So, here’s a little missive, or more likely, to use a baseball metaphor, a swing and a missive, about our year.
Last New Year’s Eve, was my last day working for the Postal Service. I’ve settled right into retirement, but even after almost a year, I still feel like I’m getting away with something when I stay up late or sleep in.
We spent a few weeks last winter traveling through the Southwest avoiding winter. As it happened, Alaska had one of the warmest winters ever, and it snowed in Las Vegas, but as I used to say to people when they first arrived in Alaska, “It’s not the cold, it’s the darkness that will make you kill yourself.”
Of course, it wasn’t all sleigh bells and sunshine. In March, we were in Tucson. The day before we were scheduled to leave, Karen's brother called to offer her a chance to talk to her mother. A few minutes later he called to say that she had died. It's comforting that practically the last thing she heard was Karen telling her she loved her. We changed our plans and our flights; instead of going home we went to Iowa for the funeral. At the visitation, Geraldine looked beautiful and at peace. Seeing her so, along with the dignified funeral provided some comfort.
Then, in August, a guy asked me, "How's it going?" I told him "Fine, except it's a thousand degrees and I'm at a funeral." Karen's dad died, just after we arrived in Iowa. She got to say goodbye, and attend the visitation and funeral.We didn't know how long we would need to be there when we booked our flight, so we ended up with time on our hands. Idle hands, of course, are the devil's playground, and we booked a play date at the sinfully delicious Iowa State Fair.
In November, Karen and I celebrated our fortieth anniversary. Our two daughters and my sister joined us in Seattle to celebrate that, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas, or as we have come to call it, Hotel Holiday. Afterwards, Sarah and Leah gave us an amazing trip down the coast. We stayed in lovely resorts, inns, and even a paddlewheeler. We experienced clouds of butterflies at the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove while staying at the luxurious La Maison in Palm Springs and felt the fin de siècle sadness at the lost glory of the Space Age in Gila Bend.
Now, full circle, as I write this, we’re holed up in Tucson where we’re enjoying an extra five hours of daylight compared to Anchorage. That’s five hours extra every day!
By the time it starts to be hot here, we plan on being back in Anchorage hiding from the desert summer. As for next year, well, who knows? There are plans afoot, hints and rumors, but nothing is certain. Of course, nothing is ever certain. So really, we’re right on track for whatever is going to happen next.