If you’re curious about our tradition of “delegating” our annual Christmas letter to the family pet check out the post A Canine Christmas Card.
For many years Dennis and Laurie have had a family pet pen their annual Christmas letter. But Rascal passed away at the ripe old age of 107 last February and they’ve asked me, Cuddles, the cat next door, to step in.
Dennis calls me Felix the Fearless because I roam the neighborhood with impunity as if it’s mine (it is) and he’s had to chase me out of the garage more than once. Hey, with all the clutter in there I’m sure there’s at least one mouse in residence. He’s just lucky I don’t have opposable thumbs and a bottle opener for those brews on the shelf.
I have had to keep a closer eye on these two because Rascal is no longer on duty. Punching out a letter (with the promised fee of treats) is part of the duty of the neighborhood sentry.
Laurie is closing in on her 17th anniversary at Starbucks headquarters. She finished up some big project to put new computer systems in stores all over the world this year. No major goofing off this this year, unlike last when she took a six month sabbatical. Shortly after coming back from her six months off someone asked her, “Don’t you feel guilty about being gone when we were working so hard on the project?” She said, “It was the best six months of my life.” I like that attitude.
She started off the year with a “milestone” birthday. In an effort to score sorely needed husband points Dennis arranged to take her and some of the family up to Canlis, one of the nicest restaurants in Seattle, in a limo. Beats the ride in the Saturn she was expecting. Plus her aunt and uncle met them up there. I’m sure he scored a few points but expect he still runs a deficit.
Laurie’s dad worked at Canlis as a salad boy back in the late 5o’s because he wanted to open his own restaurant and needed good recipes. He did open his own place and I’m sure that what he did would nowadays would be classified as corporate espionage. She says that it’s hard to believe that her dad has been gone ten years. She’s blessed that Patti, her stepmother, is still going strong and even walks two hours on the treadmill each day. Time better spent napping, if you ask my opinion.
Dennis has been doing some writing and speaking this year. He was the emcee for a local arts program where got to tell stories about the city of Auburn. He also taught at a few writers conferences and had an article, Give Just a Little Respect, Please, published in the local newspaper. He spent most of the year rewriting his novel based on suggestions from his agent and a publisher. While he’s waiting, hoping, and praying to get it published I think he should be planting a catnip garden. He also has some kind of day job to support his writing habit.
They skipped big vacations this year and did local trips visiting friends, taking out their new tandem kayak (water—yuck!), hiking, biking, etc. They did go down to Santa Barbara in May where they met up with Lee and Michelle, friends from Air Force days. They also spent time in eastern Washington with Laurie’s college roommate and current and former neighbors. I understand that fish were caught at a lake cabin but not one came my way.
They spent time this year helping to raise money for a young man in their church who will need a double-lung heart transplant. The goal was $75,000 in one year. With four months to go the group was far short. Thanks to some persistent and creative people they topped the goal by about $4,000. They said it was a great experience to help out and see the local community come behind the kid and his family. That’s him in the middle of the picture to the right at a fundraising concert.
It’s back to the couch for me and then maybe a quick neighborhood patrol. Hope you have a great Christmas and remember what really matters this season: Christ, cats, and catnip (in that order). In Laurie and Dennis’ opinion you need to say faith, family, and friends. You be the judge.