Holiday greetings to you and your family. Reflecting on what has transpired in the last year – we are grateful everyone in our family is healthy (at this moment) and happy (for the most part). With children, many of our life milestones are anchored by the school year – June seems so long ago. Will try to cover the entire year (briefly) since it is already January 2014.
Zack – finished his freshman year at University of Arizona in May deciding this school was not the right fit for him. He spent his summer as a camp counselor at UC Berkeley Strawberry Canyon – his fifth year. Zack enjoys the “dress up” days related to camp themes – shows his creativity in costuming and allows him to clown around and get paid. He is now studying at Santa Barbara City College and enjoys the school and the beautiful city of Santa Barbara. He found a great living situation near campus – walks to school. He has gone camping a few times on weekends and also caught a concert or two in LA.
Note from Karen: the little girl with Zack is his second cousin Beatrice – not his daughter!
Grant – now in his senior year at Miramonte HS with a challenging work load. Grant was also a summer camp counselor but at a Galileo camp in Lafayette – he really liked it and came home tired each day. He is our second driver when I am away at work – one of the reasons he likes me being home is he gets more time to hang out with his friends. He played Lacrosse again his junior year in the spring but has not decided if he will his senior year (he does not intend to play in college). Grant has all his college applications submitted – applied to west coast schools and U of Colorado. We had planned to visit Southern California schools during Thanksgiving break but Grant was very sick – first had his appendix out and then came down with mononucleosis. We will visit schools in the next couple months depending on where he is accepted.
Andrew – finished 8th grade with strong grades, and was rewarded with a faster computer to support his video gaming hobby (obsession?). He also was a junior counselor at summer camp – at the same UC Berkeley camp Zack works at. He enjoyed it – we hope he is hired there again this year. He has struggled so far in his freshman year – his study habits are not the greatest and he enjoys goofing off in class with his friends. We are hopeful his extra efforts he has recently been making will pay off in the second semester.
Claudia – continues with dance, school and friends. She has been at the same dance studio the last two years. She really likes it and has made many friends there. She takes about 15 classes a week – sometimes 6 or 7 days a week. She also applies herself at school – doing well her freshman year. She has several dance competitions in the spring and summer – last year she and Karen went down to Southern California for about a week; more coming up this year.
Karen – continues as single parent for half the year without complaint. She keeps it together but is glad to share the load when I get home. She did have spine surgery in the spring on her neck, and was off work for 4 months. She still has some discomfort in her lower back where she had previous surgery but continues to work 4 days / week at the Kaiser Pediatric Clinic in Walnut Creek. She has joined a book club, and enjoys a glass of wine (or two) when we get together with friends.
Our families are all well – Marc’s mother Gloria is still going at 86. She has health problems but continues to bounce back. Karen’s father Dick visited us over the Holidays – he has lower back surgery scheduled in January. If all goes well he will be skiing again, at age 78! All of our siblings and their families are well – you should be able to find a link to some photos somewhere on this blog where you can see their smiling faces.
Finally, Marc – Just finished my 17th rotation in Kazakhstan. I am certainly used to it, know the people, know the job, know the routine. At times it still feels unnatural working 28 days straight, living and breathing work every day with my family a half world away. But we have phones and internet – we used facetime to connect with everyone on Christmas day. I continue to be healthier than my days at the Richmond Refinery (diet at work, exercise when home) and I absolutely enjoy the quality time I spend with our family when I am home.
In close, hope this message finds you well. We wish you a warm and healthy 2014!