Sunday, December 06, 2015

Christmas Letter 2015

To all those we know, don’t know, don’t care and can’t seem to purge from a mailing list that just seems to continually grow like a fungus.  Here in the wilderness of Ohio the Carters are flourishing as we embrace all the new technological marvels like wi-fi, blu-tooth and even electricity.  It has been a year of highs and lows, so time to get into it.
Overall for the clan things have been relatively stable. No family trips this year, as these are getting much more difficult to do with the kids all spreading out and living their own lives. Mike and Diane flew out to see his parents and sister in Colorado before Thanksgiving and we did enjoy that.
Mike continues to attempt to tell these computer thingies what to do – and enjoys it because at least computers do what you tell them, unlike children. Nothing always does what you want it do, but you take what you can get. He is still dabbling a little in home brewing, though he found it sad that his Kegerator was actually empty for most of the year. He continues to play with toy soldiers, organizing events both locally and a little further out, such as the national championships in Chicago and a big tournament in Nashville.
Diane had a bit more excitement this year, going under the knife for a gastric sleeve procedure, and so far has managed to lose over 40 lbs. Her sewing and quilting have continued to invade more of the house, recently taking over another room as she acquired a huge quilting frame with long-arm machine. I’m not quite sure what that means, but it was ten feet wide and required an entire rainy afternoon to bring it up from Cincinnati. She has also become very involved in some local dog rescue operations, doing many dog transports to help them get to their furever homes.
Becky has gone back to being a freelance sign language interpreter full time (because who needs a stable, steady job anyway?  FREEDOM!!!)  She has been doing a lot of work in Rochester with the Mayo clinic (and her step-father keeps wondering why they need a clinic for mayonnaise?) and she and Eric are looking at moving out of the cities so that they will be closer. She continues to play volleyball, and has even started coaching her old team.
Jon continues to work at the call center, and finally managed to get a new apartment with his brother Erik and another roommate. And though he doesn’t remember, it is actually in the same complex that he lived in about 25 years ago, just around the corner from their former apartment in Centerville.
Katie is still enjoying the great northwest in Oregon. She and Sam have postponed their wedding plans (though they are still on). She continues to sell her dragon sculptures, and has even started working with a shop that wants to carry them. Her health has improved, and things continue to look up.
Erik graduated as everyone expected, and then went and got a job, a fancy job, smacking at a keyboard at the same company as his father (who was told that Erik interviewed better than he did!). He and Isolde (Z) broke off their relationship a few months after graduation, and so he is now figuring out
how to deal with life after college with a good job and even a little money in his pocket after student loan payments.
Matt continues to matriculate (in public even) at Miami of Ohio, getting into a program this upcoming spring to do an internship down in Cincinnati. He changed his major and is doing much better now that he moved out of the engineering program. He also managed to find a sweet geek girl to hook up with, and so far Megan has managed to even meet his brothers and parents without running away screaming in fear.
One of the sad lows of the year was when we had to help Scout cross the Rainbow Bridge back in June.  He was diagnosed with cancer earlier in the year as well as heart issues, and the consensus was that he would not have been able to survive the surgery to attempt to remove the tumor. So we just kept him comfortable and happy. Once he started to suffer we let him go.
Fate of course always surprises you, and only two weeks after Scout passed Diane gets a call from one of the rescue organizations she works with. A stray puppy was found collapsed in the heat, and when they took him to the vet he tested positive for Parvovirus, so he could not be around any other dogs. They knew that we did not have a dog in our home at the time, so asked if we could foster him. When we picked him up he was so sick he couldn’t even move, eat or drink. We did notice in the car that he had a very long, thin tail, and Mike said that it looked like when he grew up and was happy that tail was going to whip around – at which Diane and he instantly knew his name should be Devo. Suffice to say we failed as a foster family, as we could not give him up.  Nursed back from the brink, his is a very happy and healthy addition to our family. 
We did discuss the idea of getting a second dog to play with and be a little more sociable than Scout was. Again Fate intervened – we took Devo to the dog park for the first time once he hit six months old, and there was no one else there. We then looked back at the car – and there was another dog up on the car looking in the window. He had obviously been well taken care of before – was clean and not even hungry. He, however, was not chipped or fixed and no one claimed him, so Tip also joined our home. He unfortunately turned out to have heartworms, so he is undergoing treatment for that.  However we have decided that two is definitely enough.
So 2015 had its highs and lows and ups and downs.  But it isn’t the ‘normal’ days that make the memories, it is the best and the worst, and what does not kill us makes us stronger.
May love and laughter light your days,
And warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
Wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
With joy that long endures
May all life’s passing seasons

Bring the best to you and yours!