Dec 12, 2011

our "Year in Review"

One of the blessings of this time of year is the opportunity to connect with treasured friends and family. I write this Holiday Letter with fond thoughts, good memories and the hope that the coming year brings you the gift of joy-filled times with your favorite folk.

The past year brought a blend of sadness and joy to the House of Good Living. Yet, even with the challenge and sorrow, we were blessed with fun adventures and celebrations with family. Delicious, drawn-out times with good friends helped to make the roughest of times bearable. We're immeasurable grateful for the kind words and thoughtful gestures shown us. We've been taken such good care of.

2011 began with a month-long RV ramble down the California coastline from the Bay Area to Santa Barbara and then over to Palm Springs. Fine weather, biking, hiking, golfing and being hosted in style by the Foleys and Gustafsons were the highlights of the trip.

A bit of advice for anyone contemplating such a drive: Take your time, walk the beaches, spend at least a night in one of the ocean front California State Parks and don’t even consider passing up a day’s visit to Hearst Castle.

Photo taken in front of our firepit on the beach at Carpenteria State Park, just south of Santa Barbara.

Spring brought us precious time with my mom who daily modeled a grace and dignity which awed us all. Her release from pancreatic cancer came mid-June.

Edie Dietrich was a most amazing woman. She was a nurse, musician, teacher, truck driver, gardener, great friend, dear mother, beloved wife and an extra-ordinary grandmother. She is deeply missed, particularly now during the holidays - her favorite season of the year.

Here's a Picassa album with a few of my favorite photos of mom. Photo on the right is of mom and me, on the beach (of course) just a few days before my little (now 6'5") brother Scott was born.

Summer found us balancing time on the boat with visits to the hospital. Greg’s open-heart procedure in May provided him with new aortic and mitral valves but also revealed a greater degree of radiation damage to his chest cavity than expected. The resulting complications required additional surgeries and hospitalizations.

Greg wasn't about to let the inconvenience of stitches and IVs slow him down. Nope, not him. We enjoyed cruising with the club to Port Townsend (where he golfed) and Port Ludlow (where he golfed some more) and in the San Juans (where he crabbed). We credit Greg's recovery to the care and compassion shown us by our outstanding neighbors and friends from the Shelter Bay Community. (Though, his stubborn, resiliant character likely played a part, too!)
photo: "Patient and Nurse Finch" at SBYC's October dinner ... note the patient's beverage container!

By the time autumn rolled around our routines were back in place - leisurely walks with Ray the dog, dinghy trips, themed dinners with SBYC. A much-anticipated Thanksgiving visit with the nephews (who are the smartest, coolest 10 and 12 year olds EVER) was a highlight of the season.

Planning our winter trip to Maui was as easy as putting a couple of swimsuits in the carry-on bags and then - whoosh! - we were back in residence at The House of Good Living.

As much of a cliche as it may sound, it's true: Life is good.

The blessings bestowed upon us outnumber the troubles.

And the best gifts of all has been the presence of beloved friends and family.

We wish you peace, joy and comfort in the coming year.

Maui Christmas!

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