Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016

In-laws, out-laws, relatives and friends. And even those three people that we still don’t know how they got onto the mailing list in the first place. Here in the wilds of Ohio the Carters continue to find new and exciting ways to describe our dull and humdrum lives. This past year has been one for celebrations and for mourning, as we have both lost and gained members of our family.

This July saw the passing of the matriarch of our clan – known to so many of the extended family as Aunt Shirley, but to Michael simply as Mom. She died in her sleep after a short illness and after the many accidents and injuries of the past few years is finally out of pain and at peace. We think of her often, and can’t quite express the pain knowing that she is no longer at the other end of a quick phone call.

Mike, Diane, Erik and Matt were able to fly out for the funeral and to visit with Dad a bit. It was intentionally kept very small, though Margaret did come in from New Jersey, and a few cousins did drive out for it.

In September, Dad fell again with (we believe) some more TIAs (essentially mini ‘warning’ strokes that resolved themselves). While not always happy about it, he is now in an assisted living facility and we hope will be in a new apartment soon. Norma, cousin Greg and Mom’s friend Millie have been invaluable helping out with everything there.

Mike and Diane went back out again to visit Dad in November, and will continue to try to get back to Colorado more often.

In much happier news, the clan also grew by one as we welcomed Eric into our hearts as Becky married him and became Mrs. Lukkason on the 10th of December. Diane, Mike, Jon, Erik and Matt braved the drive up to Minnesota for the wedding, and the even longer drive home in the snow the day after as well. The happy couple had already purchased a house together in Pine Island MN earlier in the year, and Becky is continuing her sign language interpreting in the Rochester area. Eric transferred to the Rochester HOM Furniture store in the sales lead position.

Jon’s work at the call center continues, and even though people are very happy to be able to understand his accent, he hopes to be able to move upward soon. He and Erik no longer share an apartment, though he continues to play miniature games with his father and friends.
Katie is still with Sam in the metropolis of Lebanon, Oregon. She is continuing to work on her art, and continues to get some commission work to keep her busy. Mike and Diane were able to fly out and see them in the spring and enjoyed seeing the sea lions as well as trying the notorious Voodoo Donuts! They are in the process of packing up the cats and moving to a new apartment after Christmas.

Erik continues to show up his dad at work, enjoying himself and now living on his own. He bought a new car and enjoys having a little bit of spending money. He and his best friend have started a small venture company providing video game consoles for rental at events large and small.
Matt is finishing his degree at Miami University before Christmas, after having a successful internship this past spring. He is still living with Megan, and she somehow manages to tolerate the madness of the family when she comes over for the holidays.

Diane continues her amazing success after her surgery, now having lost more than 130 pounds and is feeling wonderful.  She has had a few part time jobs to start getting back into the work force, and continues her volunteer work as well, as well as her quilting and crafting.  The amount of energy she now has is amazing, and Mike seems to have replaced her spot on the couch.

Mike continues to talk to computers and the little toy soldiers that have invaded the dining room table (and even though they retreat for the holidays, they are soon back in even more numbers).  He continues to do a little bit of home brewing (four kegs for Becky’s wedding plus another one for his work Christmas party) and a bit of travelling to game tournaments.  He continues to throw a few words up a couple of times a week on his gaming blog – which at least keeps him out of the girly bars.

Devo and Tip continue to fill our lives with their young energy, of course constantly wanting to go out so they can come back in again so they can go back out again so they can come in again so they can go out again . . .and Tip helps to keep the neighborhood feral cat population down whenever he can escape the house.

As we say goodbye to 2016 and the rollercoaster ride it has been, we are still thankful for the family and friends around us, and wish everyone a better new year.

There are 4 things you must never do: lie, steal, cheat, or drink. 
But if you must lie, lie in the arms of the one you love. 
If you must steal, steal away from bad company. 
If you must cheat, cheat death. 
And if you must drink, drink in the moments that take your breath away.

Mom & Dad

Katie & Sam
Devo & Tip with Santa
Jon, Erik, Becky & Matt the night before the wedding
Becky & Eric, Mr & Mrs Lukkason
Mike & Diane
-Mike, Diane, Becky & Eric, Jon, Erik, Katie & Sam, Matthew, Devo and Tip