starshine%20mug.jpg Dearest Friends and Family,

We hope this holiday letter finds you merry, gay, and all the
other pleasant emotions the season demands of you. Whew! What a
whirlwind year it’s been for us. The baby is quite active these
days. He likes to bang his head on things and spin around until he
falls down. We assume this is because he’s so smart, and he’s
trying to slow his poor little brilliant mind down to a more
comfortable level.

He has lots of new words and calls Pa and Junior by name,
although he won’t say “Mama.” He speaks of trucks, socks, even
trash, but no “Mama.” Never “Mama,” not once. Kids are funny,
aren’t they? Pa coached Junior’s soccer team, and though they lost
nearly every game, those boys really soaked up the great lessons
that crushing defeat has to offer — including some valuable
first-aid training. I found that providing really sugary snacks
after the game helps them forget their humiliation so much faster.
And Pa was amazing, the way he defused those awkward halftime
situations when other children’s fathers used inappropriate
language while threatening to beat him up on the field.

You may have heard that Junior was suspended from third grade
for throwing mudballs over the fence at passing cars. We’re not
worried this will affect his academic prospects. Au contraire, we
believe it may foreshadow a triumphant career as a pitcher — he was
actually able to hit several of the vehicles which, if you’ve ever
tried it, is not easy.

We had a lovely vacation in Cabo San Lucas. ¡Olé! When the baby
caught pinkeye from a crowded kiddie pool, a roadside farmacia sold
us a tube of something that looked very much like antibiotics, plus
a bottle of prescription-strength sleep aids that was simply too
cheap to pass up. We recommend not chasing the latter with
margaritas if you plan to attend a hotel breakfast buffet the next
morning where there are mariachis playing.

My mother’s divorce went through, inspiring my Jewish stepfather
to move to the Bible Belt to live with a woman he met via the
Internet. Such an adventurer! We tell the kids not to think of it
as the family busting up, but to be grateful that there are new
strangers to send them presents.

Did I mention the dog’s gone stone deaf? Poor dear.

I lost my job in October, which was hard, but spending more time
at home has turned out to be a blessing. Remember how ghastly our
kitchen pantry used to be, with the cans and boxes all willy-nilly?
Now it’s organized alphabetically, from almond extract to zucchini
bread mix. It’s really something. You should come see!

Pa and I are on this new health kick and we’ve never felt
better. We make a point of consuming vast amounts of anti-oxidants
every night — him via red wine and me via chocolate.

It’s been a rough year, but my therapist said I’m handling it
remarkably well. Of course, she doesn’t know I’ve been numbing the
pain with shopping binges, which are never a good idea for an
out-of-work shoe horse. When the credit card bills start piling in,
we may be dipping into our family vacation fund to pay them off! Ha

But seriously. Please call us if we can crash at your place over
spring break.

Much love, Us


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