Thursday, February 13, 2014

2011 Christmas Letter - Tsunami and A Death by Train and life changes again

Merry Christmas and Happy 2012 to you
from Dixie and Greg, Austin and Emerson

December 3, 2011
     I was just looking at a collection of photographs called, “the most powerful images from 2011.  There were pictures of tornado’s and tsunami damage and starving children, and protesters being pepper sprayed and sad people at memorials.  I know that all of those Images had a place in this turbulent year, but I also know, that all around this big, beautiful planet, there were images of love and beauty, and I still believe that there is much to celebrate about being alive in this time and place. 
    I crawled out of my warm bed this morning into a house that was frosty and cold, and stuffed my feet into slippers to go out on the front porch and raid the kindling box and get firewood to start the woodstove again.  The sun was glittering off frost on the maple, with it leaves just starting to turn reds and yellow, the green grass that is back after the dry brown of September meets the rain of November here.  Even 28 years since I lived in Wyoming, has not cured me of the amazement I feel at seeing green grass and having a Christmas tree at he same time.
     2011 has been a different year for our family, a year of change, a year of memories and anticipation.  I know that life is about movement, and watching my children grow has shown me an ever steady progression from a tight, warm nucleus out in steadily expanding circles of exploration.  At first the babies were the center of everything, and went no-where except cradled in our arms, then they crawled around the room, and stood shakily and walked and fell and made it out to the bigger adventure of exploring the yard.  Next they ran to the neighbors and picked apples, and dug in the ditch and rode their bikes up and down our little road.  But still moving out in circles of experience with our home at the center, they began to ride the bus to school, and their bike to the market and even the 6 miles to school, and they went on trips to Washington DC, and Nebraska, and Portland and San Francisco and Disneyland.  Then they began to drive and now Austin has moved out and Emerson is a senior and has completed several college applications and the circle keeps expanding.
               A few things that impacted us this year,
    The March Tsunami in Japan also hit Crescent City and demolished out commercial boat harbor, but the repair is underway now and the way the community has worked together on this is mostly good things for a lot of people, still the damage will be there and has hit some families much harder than others.

    Austin met his birth father, and his birth mom and oldest sister have moved out here close to us.  That has added some drama and confusion as well as answering a lot of his questions.  I’m glad he has the chance to get to know them, and glad too that he was grown and already his own person before this happened.
     He graduated from high school in June and moved out and got himself a puppy.  He spends every moment he can on the river and is doing OK now but he had some difficult moments.  He broke up with a very serious girlfriend and had to have 4 wisdom teeth extracted and was basically homeless for a time.  Being an adult isn’t easy, but he’s managing.  He has always been a great person with a passion for the outdoors.
     Emerson has been doing well in school.  He gets good grades and is the senior class treasurer, and he has a very nice girlfriend and a group of friends with his own style of humor.  His life is moving fast toward graduation himself but he seems to be handling it with grace and a smile.
View from Klamath Bridge

     This summer we had a lot of great days, good company three times, and a grey whale and her calf that took up residence in our Klamath river and stayed for several weeks.  Greg’s Sister Wendy, and her family came and we had the time to explore our redwoods and beaches with them, plus take a jet boat up to see the whale.  My friend from high school brought her husband and daughter and we got to visit and explore even more and then we had a friend here for Band Camp, but Thomas is more like part of our family than like company.
     I managed to publish book 2, Duffy Barkley: Seek Well  so now there is actually a “Series” of Duffy Barkley Books, and I am working on number three.
     Greg and I are feeling the aches and pains of nearing 50, our 30th anniversary from High school graduation was this year.  There were a lot of expensive medical tests and frustrating Dr. visits but we’re doing fine, just not as young as we’d like to be and far too young to feel this old.  So once again, the New Year’s resolutions include getting healthier.
     This summer will be 2 years since we have been back to Wyoming, and there have been some sadness and changes there as well.  The biggest, saddest change is that we lost our first nephew when he was killed when hit by a train, walking home from the grocery store in Nebraska.  RIP, Cody! Our family there has otherwise survived and is doing about the same as far as we can tell, but it has been so long that we have to make it back this 2012 summer.
     Have a great Christmas with all the friends and family that you can manage to gather around you, and thank you for being a part of our lives.

Greg, Dixie, Austin and Emerson
Austin's new puppy, Ford (pronounced Ferd)

The old lady of the sea

our tree was blown down across the road to the neighbors homes

neighbors working together to move tree

Emerson and Austin helping

Austin and both his Moms

Emerson and Greg went to Blue Man group in San Francisco


Austin's High School graduation

Book 2

feeling accomplished

Ford by Summer

taken during Jet boat ride

Emerson, Lula, and Greg's brother-in-law John

Emerson being all laid back and cool

Just, No words  

Emerson and Shira (A good friend) in Fern Canyon

Make a wish

playing cribbage and waiting on the turkey to bake
Emerson and Greg in the Redwoods


Our nephew, Cody and his children
RIP Cody

Cody, at age 11
Cody and the other Grandsons

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