Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Holiday Newsletter, 2012

96 and 98 at Yellowstone
Greetings from our home to yours!

Oooh, boy, I'm late this year. Given the cookies that need baking, the ingredients that need assembing into our traditional Christmas lasagna dinner, the presents that need wrapping, and a house I might more easily bulldoze than clean before company for the holiday, I'm pretty sure this will be a January newsletter and not a December one. Alas.

This is not the part where I was going 85 ...
this is the part where I was going 3
Continuing my policy of "travel domestically and ignore the complaining", our summer vacation this year took us first to Yellowstone, then on to scenic Billings, Montana, where we met up with my sister for the Mt. Rushmore leg of our journey. Continuing another theme, the "teenagers, let me tell you a story about teenagers" theme, the highlight of Yellowstone for the boys was the day each, separately, got to stay alone in the hotel room, without having to see the lake, or the Continental Divide, or Old Faithful, or Mammoth Hot Springs, or a single bison or any of the myriad wonders boring nature stuff to be beheld within the country's first national park. Yes, that would be the hotel without a landline, or cell service, or wifi, or tv, or fm radio, or air conditioning. Honestly, it's hard not to take this stuff personally, but then I remember that my favorite part of the vacation was the 48 hours of no bickering and no poking while I toured alone with one while the other stayed at that hotel without a landline, cell service, or wifi ... although the long, straight, empty stretches of Rte. 90 with its 85 mph speed limit (aka, "a few miles below optimum speed" friendly advisory) came in a very close second. 
Nick Clifford, author and carver;
98; 96

At Mt. Rushmore we met Nick Clifford, one of the monument's original carvers. He worked on it from 1938-40. Yes, we bought the book. Autographed!

Agent 96, at 16, is midway through his high school junior year and has started looking at colleges. On the short list at the moment are Columbia, Brown, and Cornell. It looks like we may take a trip to Chicago this summer to see Northwestern, too. He's investigating journalism (heh, heh) as a major, but ask him this question again next week.

98, Graduation Night

Agent 98, almost 15, ended 8th grade with a bang this past June, getting his braces off the day before graduation; achieving a science award for straight "A"s in the subject; and earning the Amelia Chebator Award, which came with a small scholarship. He earned the award, in the words of the presenter, for being "always ready with a friendly smile, a kind word, or a caring deed." His favorite class this, his freshman year, is world history. He's decided to drop bowling for a while and this year has taken a spot on the debate team at school.

The animals continue to entertain, comfort and irritate ... occasionally somehow simultaneously. Zoet's unbridled enthusiasm keeps her ever-charming; Scruffy's growing purr, once barely audible is now almost a small bellow, I hope signalling his contentment; Momo's decided she's now an indoor cat and spends most of every day in a sunroom window, looking out. But not in a longing to experience it way ... more like an "I can't believe those silly cats forget there's a bed and food in here. Oh, snap, more for me" kind of way; and little Pixel divides his loyalties evenly among us all, leading each of the humans to believe he or she is his favorite. Clearly only Pix and I know the truth.
Gene Display inscription
DFCI, Boston, MA

We wish you the very best this holiday season
 and throughout the New Year!

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