Well, I finally finished this year's Christmas letter, and will probably start sending it out in cards Monday (after I get stamps). Anyone who might read it here is getting an early look. Even though there are always a lot of jokes about Christmas letters (people usually emphasized the good things), I've always enjoyed receiving them and writing them is a way for me to capsulizeing and share a year of my life.
A winter storm is blanketing the area. It only snowed a couple of inches yesterday, but I just talked to my sister Laurie and it's snowing there now, and the forecast is 100 percent for snow in Joseph today.
My son Matt was supposed to carpool with other National Guards guys to La Grande for drill yesterday, but after seeing the forecast, they decided to drill in Woodburn instead. As coincidence would have it, a bomb went off at a bank in Woodburn last night, killing two police officer and making national news. I doubt they called out the National Guard, though. If Matt had come to La Grande (70 miles away) I would have met him there for his unit's family dinner tomorrow afternoon. Since I probably won't see him for Christmas, I'm sorry to miss that chance to give him his presents, etc. He's not a big Christmas fan, though; his big holiday is Halloween.
Finally have the lights on my tree. Am off this afternoon to take photos of Santa after the kids' matinee at OK Theatre, and also Santa, Mrs. Claus and kids in Joseph. Tonight is the Chieftain's Christmas pizza bowling party; it's women vs. men in the bowling arena, and I'm afraid I won't add a bit of clout to the women's team.
Reading my December entries from two years ago makes me think my life is like "Ground Hog's Day" movie at Christmas time.
Here's my 2008 Christmas letter:
Written between Dec. 3 and 13, 2008
In the blink of an eye, another year has passed and Christmas is fast approaching once again. I’ll have to admit that it was a very long blink and it was another eventful year, full of milestones.
For one thing, I celebrated my 60th birthday on July 31 -- that’s a real biggie for someone who once decided that old age started at 50. Jenny had a very nice get-together for me at her house in Tigard, attended by my kids Jenny and Matt, sisters Laurie and Caroline, friend Marilyn, nieces Petra and Andrea, granddaughters Lily and Addie, brother-in-law Pat and son-in-law Lawrence, who presided at the grill in their backyard.
Another milestone: my nephew John Joseph Blanchet (in cowboy hat) married Kristin Lorenzen in a beautiful beach wedding in August near Depot Bay, with the waves creeping closer and closer as they exchanged their vows in front of lots of family and friends. Larry and all four of my sisters were there for the momentous occasion, which included a fun reception in a gorgeous beach house.
I have three new great-nephews and one great-niece born during the year, by far the most ever: Colton (mom Grace, grandma Sylvia), Demetrius (dad Titus, grandma Marianne), Marley (mother Amy, grandpa Larry), and Elyssa (mother Andrea, grandma Laurie).
In February, in the midst of a very, very long winter, I took an annual use-it or lose-it vacation week, spending part of the time with my lovely granddaughters and part enjoying a seaside interlude on the Oregon coast, one of my very favorite destinations.
My second vacation week in June I flew to Washington, D.C., and spent a week sightseeing, seeing Arlington Cemetery, the Capitol, the Holocaust Museum, the war monuments (WWII, Vietnam, Korean), the National Archives, the Library of Congress and on and on. Got caught out in a rainstorm waiting for a bus and got absolutely soaked, finally flagging down a cab I could barely see through streaked glasses. Though I like living in my little town, I also love visiting big cities.
I spent part of my third vacation week helping out Jenny in September after she broke her foot (the night after returning from their ocean-side vacation in North Carolina with Lawrence’s family) and was trying to cope with kids, house and work, unable to walk or drive.
The Herman family visited Joseph for the 4th of July, which included the old-time Independence Day parade in Wallowa and a 1st birthday party for Addie (her birthday is July 2). Addie is such a sunshiney little girl, with an emerging personality that is a joy to watch. Lily, who turned 4 in October, loves being a big sister and is, of course, at the top of her pre-school class. She still reminds me so much of her smart, non-stop talking mom at the same age. It’s so fun being a grandma!!!
Other highlights: a 90th birthday get-together for Aunt La France at Hamleys in Pendleton in June, and the annual Blanchet family campout reunion in August at Hilgaard park, complete with songs around the bonfire with cousin Coyote Joe. The annual ranch LLC meeting was delayed from Memorial Day until September this year because of nephew Dylan’s h.s. graduation, and enjoyed by all us siblings (and many of the younger generation). 2008 was truly a year of family gatherings.
Both my kids are doing well. Jenny keeps busy being one of the best moms ever. She was also promoted at work and has two employees under her in the accounting department; nurtures many close friendships; and writes a wonderful blog, titled “Addie and Lily make Four” on blogspot.com.
Matt spent the summer in Joseph, earning rave reviews as #1 breakfast waiter at Wallowa Lake Lodge, adding to a long list of work skills. He was promoted to sergeant in National Guards; so far he hasn’t had to go to a war zone, for which I am thankful. He’s a great uncle and one of Lily and Addie’s very favorite people. He’s back living in Eugene now, about to go to work as a security guard.
My work is as chaotic as ever. We now have only six employees, with one new reporter and our second new editor (who just started) since last November. Another milestone: as of September, I have worked for the Wallowa County Chieftain for 30 years, half of my life. That is so, so hard to believe.
After a wonderful Thanksgiving in Tigard with my whole family, Jenny, Lawrence and girls are traveling to a white Christmas in Joseph this year. I can’t wait!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all,Elane (aka Elaine and Lanie)