Every year, my father-in-law, an avid (if not rabid) reader of this blog, writes a killer Christmas letter. This is too good not to share. I’m beginning to think he’s Garrison Keillor in disguise…
We are oatmeal people – rather bland, but certainly healthy and hearty. That pretty well sums up our year. And we like it that way.
Debbie still hasn’t quite been able to grasp the concept of retirement. Yes, she did retire in June as Director of Early Childhood Programs with the Sauk Rapids School District. But with two part time jobs — teaching at St. Cloud State and working at the Initiative Foundation in Little Falls, along with some consulting / training work — it looks like real retirement will have to wait.
Larry, on the other hand, has mastered the subtle nuances of retirement, taking much care to pace himself. His life is slow and relaxed, with bouts of biking, camping, birdhouse building, and live-trapping tribes of maraudering squirrels that persistently attack our gardens. This past summer he diligently captured 38 of those smarmy rodents, and stealthily returned them to freedom across the river. Squirrels have a strong homing instinct, but can’t swim, so it should all work out. Yes, the glass is indeed half full.
We did a fair amount of biking this summer, including a chunk of the quite hilly Gitchi Gami Trail along Lake Superior. We also biked to Sauk Centre (into the wind), spent the night, and biked back the next day (also into the wind). We must have looked pretty bedraggled when we got to the hotel, because the desk clerk upgraded us to a jacuzzi suite. For once it paid off to be stinky and sweaty.
Elizabeth is thriving in Minneapolis. She claims that she now loves winter, even after the 17 inches of snow that just fell. Of course, not owning a car in a world covered in ice and snow certainly helps. Lucille, her gracefully aging cat, has lost the last of her teeth, which along with having no claws, renders her to be pretty much useless as an animal of prey. But her role as an ornamental companion is quite secure. We would guess that a steaming bowl of oatmeal would suit them both just fine.
Miss Nora, The Princess of Portland, is now 3½. She gathers eggs from their chickens daily, but has been dismayed recently because Colonel Sanders (yes, the Colonel is a hen), who lays blue eggs, is temporarily not laying. But when Nora can’t have blue eggs for breakfast, she enjoys a big bowl of oatmeal. That’s our girl! A few days ago Nora proclaimed that when she grows up she wants to marry Santa. Mrs. Santa might have a thing or two to say about that.
Ben and Sue continue to live an oatmeal-worthy life of contentment in Portland. Ben has been taking some amazing photographs with the last rolls of Kodachrome color slide film that are available. He also just finished custom building a bicycle for cruising around America’s most bike-friendly city. Sue, with a sharp pencil and sharper wit, writes a blog called Mommy’s Pen. She also has had several magazine articles published on parenting and chicken care. On her blog, she describes herself as “a business systems analyst, freelance writer, mother, wife, gardener, knitter, spinner, and chicken keeper.” But never too busy for oatmeal.
So all in all, our life is good. Our financial advisor urged us to celebrate our retirements by going on a cruise. Nope. That’s just not our style. We went to the Dairy Queen instead. Now if they only made Oatmeal Blizzards, then we could really celebrate.
Have a Merry Christmas, and be sure to make time for a little oatmeal in your life.