So it is officially four years since I did a holiday letter. I used to be famous for them. Or maybe it was infamous. Don’t remember for sure.
Once again, my big ideas and oversized ambition got the better of me. Three years ago I decided to make a holiday video instead of a letter. So I did. Well, I shot and then edited a bunch of footage, put it to music, and only had the narration left. Still need to do that narration. Guess there were just one too many steps in the project.
So, as our friend Patrick used to say, we’ve got a lot of catch uppin’ to do. But you do realize that my memory ain’t what it used to be, so there’s no way I can reconstruct three years of activities at this point. So what you’re gonna see here is what you call a quick rundown and overview…
I’ll take it family member by family member, beginning with the doggies. Did I mention they were Doggies of the Month at D’tails in the Pearl grooming salon?
Okay, so much for Bichons being insanely healthy dogs. Since we last talked, Pippi has had a few challenges: surgery for an infected anal gland (sorry, TMI), surgery for bladder stones, then she was in the ICU for more than a week with pancreatitis (we almost lost her), and then another bladder stone surgery (turns out the special diet she was put on after the pancreatitis caused bladder stones?!?) (As I always say, why stop at having human family members with a disability, let’s get goddammed dogs with disabilities!! Hell yeah!!)
So now we make their food, using only organic ingredients. Every month Ric sets up a production line in the kitchen and whips up a bulk recipe, using 5 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breast, two number 10 each of cans of yams and carrots, brown rice, whole oats… He freezes them in individual scoops and give the dogs 1-1/2 scoops each every morning and night.
When she’s not suffering from an ailment, Pippi is a very happy little pup who continues to welcome every human visitor with her tongue up their nostrils, immediately after closely sniffing the butts of every canine visitor.
She just turned 7, and so far has only cost us about her age in years times 1,000 in medical bills! We love her very much, and she thinks she is Ric’s wife.
Unlike Pippi, Poppi has always been our healthy dog. There was only one exception, but it was a really really big one: last year she had a herniated disk, requiring neurosurgery and an extended stay in the ICU as well. She just turned 6-1/2 and yes, that’s about how many large she’s cost us in surgical bills.
Not only that, since she’s not supposed to jump anymore, look what Ric built her so she could still sleep with the humans:
It’s an unfortunate fact that a Ukranian refugee family partly depends on watching us to understand Americans. Upon seeing the dog ramp, Domke asked what it was, and when I explained it to her, her eyes widened and then she asked, “You use too?”
We love our Poppi, she has the sweetest and most adorable disposition, probably partly from being constantly kept in check by Pippi, who considers Poppi her bitch. Poppi may think I am her wife.
In June, Blaine celebrated five years of service to Free Geek, his home away from home. There’s a lot more about this in a recent blog post I wrote. He is a true and utter geek and contributes a lot to the place.
He’s still into chess, but hasn’t played in a RL (real life) tournament in a while. He plays on the Internet and kicks chess geek ass at Free Geek once in a while.
Blaine has the gambling gene. As he explains it, it’s one of the few ways he can really take risks, which apparently is something men like to do. Go figure. He and Ric go to the casino a few times a year. I’m so grateful they don’t make me go along, I get to stay home and snuggle with the dogs (and visit them in the hospital).
Blaine is a pureblood Blazer fan. As far as I can tell, he is in charge of all sports forums on the interwebs. He’s VERY active in all sorts of discussions, both on and off topic. For example, here’s an interesting and revealing recent discussion you might enjoy reading.
He and Ric have purchased half-season Blazer tickets for the past two years and have a blast attending the games, especially now that the Blazers actually win and no members are doing time (that would be a jail reference).
Blaine’s health has been good (knock wood!) and we’ve had a REALLY ginormous development along those lines in the past few months. A wonderful woman named Francesca has been helping him with his personal care! And it’s been a completely liberating experience for both Blaine and me! We feel so much gratitude to her, I can’t even begin to tell you…
Blaine’s resolution for 2009: to get a resolution.
Ric loves the Blazers almost as much as Blaine does, and he loves to get in on the gambling action too. He claims he’s going to the casino to give Blaine a ride, but I know better.
A couple of years ago, he started a handyman business, which is going gangbusters. He only advertises on Angie’s List and by word of mouth, but he’s always booked about a month ahead. So many people need the kind of help he can provide, and he has the tools and the chops to be very versatile. In fact, he has SO many tools he had to switch out his van for a bigger truck. And boy is it ever bigger (a Sprinter)! He even wrote a love song for it (which will be on his new CD).
Yes, he’s putting out a new CD in the next month or so. And trust me, it’s really good! I think one of the songs on it (“Hear Me”) is his best ever! The new CD is called “A Thousand Songs.” He’ll let you know when it’s available, it will be on iTunes, of course. Ric has been especially productive musically this year, with topics ranging from new trucks to lost and found love to colonoscopies. Okay, never mind…
Ric’s health has been good too (knock wood again please) and he stays very active! That’s my Ric! (Although he hasn’t made many entries since he got busy handymanning, his blog remains a rich archive of some of our activities from earlier years.
All the spaces in his commercial building are finally rented (Cha!Cha!Cha! Taqueria, FaceBodySoul day spa, Alexander’s Goldworks jeweler, and Edconline math teacher training/tutoring business), after Ric spent several months fixing up a new space from the former warehouse storage area.
We only got to take our Airstream Toaster Moon out once this year, but now that Fran is in the picture, we plan to do so more often next year. We can’t wait!
Ric’s had four birthdays since we last talked, and the most recent one was number 60! Wow! He’s a sexagenarian!! And that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Ric wishes he could visit daughters Stacey & Tim and Amy & Gary and grandchildren Joe, Colin, Owen, Calla, Caitlyn and Ellery more often, but we love it when they come down! They visited for Christmas last week just before the big snow storm hit, thank goodness they didn’t wait til this Snowpocalypse weekend! We went to a performance at Do Jump! theater together and Caitlyn got to dance with a cast member on stage! They are growing up so fast, and we are so very proud of all of them. They are the best grandkids evah! Which can only mean they have the best parents!
Ric’s resolution for 2009: to learn how to use a router.
Marie continues to work as director of communication and learning at Meyer Memorial Trust. Her biggest project over the past three years was connec+ipedia, a shared learning tool for the nonprofit community that is a wiki with database capabilities. She’ll be working on a major redesign of the MMT website over the next few months.
Marie also serves on the board of directors of Free Geek, partly as a way to support the organization that means so much to Blaine, and partly because it’s the most amazing nonprofit she’s ever met.
She’s been trying to fit in more quilting, having now finished six quilt tops that she is beginning to actually get quilted. She and her mom spend a week or two quilting together every summer, something we both enjoy so much! Her mom is a quilting wonder woman, and Marie wishes she could inherit just 10% of her talent and patience. Marie also took a rug making class and just finished her first ever rug, likely the smallest rug in the history of the world, but it’s for the bathroom floor in Toaster Moon, which itself is the size of two size 10 feet.
Speaking of small, Marie loves being in the World’s Smallest Book Group with Joyce and Reba and Darcy. We’ve been meeting monthly since September 1990! That’s a lot of book discussing, and a boatload of conversations about every possible thing under the sun. Decades-long friendships with women FTW!
Marie wants to make more movies, but finds it hard to fit in. Maybe someday she can retire and do that! She certainly is way full of a lot of documentary ideas! But Marie did finally start making semi-regular posts in her personal blog (after many many many false starts), where you can keep up with her randumthots in the future. She also frequently tweets on twitter.
Oh yeah, one more thing: Marie is now a member of the clergy. Whisky Tango Foxtrot?!? I shit you not! And she has married people even! And did you notice her clergy outfit!
Marie’s resolution for 2009: to turn 60, get her fitness back (no more excuses, just get off butt!), to reconnect with long lost friends she’s neglected in her correspondence (like you maybe?), to finish all the quilts she’s started, to finish at least one documentary, to walk the dogs more, to spend more quality time with Ric and Blaine, to not watch any more reality tv except Project Runway and Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, to never forget another birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc. for the rest of her life, and to become the kind of person who doesn’t set ridiculous unattainable goals.
Okay, so now we’re cool, right? Starting with a clean slate next time? Good. You have no idea how relieved I am right now. The holiday letter thing has been on my to-do list for the past four years, and I feel like such a failure when I can’t ever cross it off and I start the new year with a hangover from the prior year.
My mom and Sarah, Dave & Jeff and Curt & Velvet and Denny, Tammy & James are supposed to come for Christmas dinner, if the weather cooperates. That will be a lot of fun, and I can finally give James the present I got for his graduation from high school last June and his November birthday. See what I mean?
The three of us are counting down the days and hours until Jan. 20, 2009, if you catch our drift. And speaking of drifts, please let us know if you need any snow… we had another six inches last night on top of the foot from yesterday, and it’s still snowing.
So here’s to you and yours. Have the holiday season you dream of…
Marie, Ric, Blaine, Pippi, Poppi