I’m writing this as I sit in Alex & Caroline’s sunroom/office, watching Buddy and Cashew play on their porch. It is Tuesday, and on Tuesdays I come for a 4-hour visit to give these two besties a playdate. It’s for the humans as much as the dogs, because the next day the pups are tired! Well, I think Cashew is more tired than Buddy, but he’s slightly younger. Buddy is just about to turn 15 months. Still a big puppy, but he did pass the Canine Good Citizen test. He’s actually really a good dog, just a bit much for me at times with his 70 pounds of exuberance. He loves people, and he loves dogs, and he is a very good-natured guy who likes to stick close by his humans. He is also a master of the nose boop and uses it to point things out—the door handle when we are going to the door, his collars when they are hanging on the newell post at night, new things that are in the house or things that are out of place. And he is fascinated with slippers and bringing them to you. Or bringing them someplace he thinks they should be. Usually just one, though, so we have to ask him where the other one is. I never thought this “dogs bringing slippers” thing was really a thing, but it must have started with a dog like Buddy (as opposed to a dog like Columbus who would chew up human shoes).
Okay, time for family updates!
Andy & Chris
Andy is retiring at the end of the year! He is currently at half time, which is giving him a taste of what is to come and he’s looking forward to it. It’s been nice having him around more, and I’m getting used to remembering that he’ll be home on Mondays and Fridays and home early on Thursdays. This retirement thing happened earlier than anticipated and was his choice, but he was ready, and he’s already started studying for a series-something test to be a financial advisor (which he does already on the side for a bunch of people, including both our moms).
I never did revive my herbal business and I’ve done a couple of websites in my short-lived web business, but I’m officially retired now, too. And I am freeing myself up from some commitments to leave time to write (which I haven’t done much of) and be there for the family. I’ve started knitting again, and sewing a bit. I love to create. So that’s what I’ll be doing—whether with words, needles, paintbrushes, or plants. Also, I love the idea of creating community—real, live human bodies—and have started a once-a-week knitting circle with a few friends and quit Facebook.
Andy and I just bought an RV and have a few travel plans in the works. We rented a space at a local campground and look forward to bringing the grandkids there when we aren’t on the road. Our big around-the-country trip will probably be in the early spring of 2023.
Lastly, 2021 brought a few home improvements, which is always fun to do. New-ish kitchen, new bedroom rugs, new gazebo, new patio….
Tracey, Roberto, Landon Leiana
Tracey is now a VTS-certified anesthesia tech! She has worked really hard for this designation and was accepted to sit for the test this year, which she passed with flying colors. Now she has plans to teach at conferences and to help raise up qualified anesthesia techs in her company. She has always had that inner teacher in her and loves to help people succeed.
Roberto finally was able to get his hip surgery. Two separate surgeries, one for each hip. He is still in recovery mode, but we are all happy for him that he is on his way back to a normal life of tennis and more.
Landon is back to in-person school (2nd grade) which he really needed. (His school is taking great COVID precautions and hasn’t had any outbreaks.) He’s growing up so fast and we got to watch him play soccer this fall. Now he is playing basketball.
Leiana is 4 and a storyteller at heart. She cracks us all up with her dramatic renditions of made-up tales, which she tells with her whole body. We have a couple of videos of these sessions and just watched one the other day. She intoned “boom, boom, boom!” as she entered a “scary” part of the story. Give that girl some drama camp! Leiana will be entering kindergarten next year.
Lastly, the Mahoney’s welcomed a new family member—a rescued poodle they named Ori (short for Oreo, and yes, she is black and white). She’s very sweet.
Alex & Caroline
Alex and Caroline continue to work on Their Old House. It’s a lovely home but lots of work! One of the biggest jobs was putting in a fence for Cashew, which she keeps figuring out how to breach. It’s really too bad, because now she’s back on a long rope in the yard unless Alex or Caroline is right with her. Reminds me of my days with Columbus when I’d say to him, “you’d have so much more freedom if you’d just be a good boy.” Alex is at the same startup as last year and working really hard. Caroline is back to in-person teaching. She tells some doozy stories of her teaching escapades—like dealing with cheating. And parents. God love teachers. I could never do it.
Alex finished his masters program in Business Analytics and Caroline threw him a party on their back porch, complete with a cake decorated to look like a spreadsheet. And he finally got to play in Princeton’s Labor Day tennis tournament after a couple of years of not being able to and won the mixed doubles title. He and Greg have been playing tennis together, since. And, as I understand it, they are both improving their game. Watch out next year!
Kelly & Greg
Kelly and Greg are expecting a baby in March! Woo hoo, another grandchild! You can’t have too many of those, right fellow grandparents? We are so happy for them. I am planning on helping them out one day a week but just recently processed the fact that I’m also going to be traveling. But Kelly said, “don’t worry, Mom, both of our jobs are flexible enough that we can deal with you being away some.” Gracious, she is. She just has to have the baby on time because we are going to head to Hawaii 10 days after her due date for 2 weeks. Bad timing. But babies happen. Kelly is still with Tough Mudder, Greg is still with Wellington, and both are doing great. They are doing house things, too. Next up, refinished floors throughout. Their house is a great gathering place.
Now for the year in photos….and may 2022 bring you all much happiness and love.