Xmas Letter 1994

Christmas '94 - Good Cheer and Then Some

To friends and foes, loved ones or not - if this Christmas isn't going quite as planned, remember you could be in Bosnia or worse yet Bosnia could be in your neighbourhood. Now that's what I would call the Nightmare before Christmas. Don't worry I'm not drowning in my own pool of self pity yet, I rolled over just in time and realized it's only two inches of water. But for a non-swimmer, even that can be frightening.

Putting things in a global perspective helps me see how round and green and blue the world really is. But enough sermonizing, or is that demoralizing or perhaps simonizing (I refer to waxing eloquently not menno simonizing, although that might also fit in this case). Anyway, on to other cases, or six-packs or even single bottles. By this time of year I would even settle for an old used pipe, a wine cork nose and two eyes made out of bottle caps.

Lief Haasbeen (a 40 year old Norse friend of mine), Barry Gootome (another friend in the soon to be club) and I have reviewed both the state of affairs and the affairs of states but neither reviews were worth more than a 4 out of 10. On the other hand, this strike has been going on so long I found myself dreaming of a table hockey match between the Colorado Rockies and the Oakland Seals (they even had white skates on). Now that's Entertainment.

It's amazing how calm life has been this year. Things have been very peaceful around here. It is an even and steady path we tread upon. An unhurried pace is our lot in life. We roll along with nary a care. Please don't wake me up, I must be stuck in a Norman Rockwell painting or I fell asleep in the back of an Amish buggy.

On to reality. What, five kids is enough you say - well . . .maybe . . but . . . Yes it is. (Ha, almost had you fooled). Not many mind you - just enough. At least that's what I always say - 'Enough, Enough, that's Enough already.' But the kids don't seem to hear me. Must be my voice that's going because they can hear a coke can open or a candy wrapper tear from anywhere in the house.

On the material front, it has been a good year. The new company has been doing well, trying hard to keep in step with the economy (the part of it that is moving forward). Personally I didn't do as much travelling, which has been good according to the rest of the family. Although in the summer I did get to New Orleans, one of the cities in the US which I really wanted to see. A Cajun good time was had.

This year we are pushing the kids real hard. They have to do homework, clean their rooms and wash up before dinner. Tough life, according to them. They are getting used to it, but I don't fear them becoming non-social, over achievers in those categories. Be

sides having other fun, they are also involved in piano and choir. Joan and I actually paid to see our kids sing with the Bach Choir at the Orpheum. Now if I can just get them an agent and retire. That I could handle.

Four kids in school and Joan has it so easy she decides she's got time for more work. So she bought a cappuccino maker and provides specialty coffees for anyone who drops in to chat. The pay's not great but at least the customers don't complain.

Holidays are always an annual highlight. We spent part of the spring break at Tigh Na Mara Resort (near Parksville on Van. Isl.). We walked on the beach when the tide was out and spent some time in Cathedral Grove. We also did the annual Oliver trek. This year we held it to a week and tried to fit something else in as well. For the something else we went to Whistler on the Labour Day Weekend. Hence the enclosed picture. Now my children can say that they too have been to the mountain. And future generations will think that I was also true to my west coast roots and spent a lot of time outdoors with my family hiking. The pictures of me in the doughnut shop didn't turn out. Didn't have my wide angle along.

Rachel had her ears pierced and Bethany paints her toes. Usually it's the kids who try and pierce my ears. They're far too young for this kind of stuff. Next thing you know they'll want to cross the street by themselves. This is going much too fast - I am losing control. Actually what I am losing is the perception that I had any control.

Hannah has started piano and swimming while Tabitha still enjoys the unstructured life. Hannah is able to read as well as Tabitha is able to talk. They spend numerous hours playing and drawing together. I have a number of original art works available at a good price.

Natalie has just turned two. Say no more, say no more. The adventure begins. It's nice living with such a benevolent dictator. We only have to supply her every wish when she is awake. So Joan and I do have some time to ourselves. Ten minutes before we fall

asleep and some Saturday mornings when the others take Natalie with them to watch cartoons downstairs. We tried for something educational with real people but after watching the early morning news I decided cartoons were OK. What ever happened to Scooby Doo or the Three Stooges?

We have already had lots of Christmas this year. We spent a weekend in Seattle with my Mom and her other offspring as part of our early Christmas present. Then Joan's folks came here for an early Christmas celebration. Good times on both occasions.

Here's hoping that your Christmas is also a good one and that above all, the memory of God's Son breaking into our earthly sphere in human form will help each of us think about those around us, as we each pass on some of the good cheer we receive from others.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

John, Joan, Rachel, Bethany, Hannah, Tabitha and Natalie.
P.S. For more publications of this nature, please send a stamped, self addressed envelope and you will receive the next three instalments at no extra charge. Americans please send some cash. All correspondence should be addressed to the Head Psychiatrist. Or if you really enjoyed this, you could walk over and give it to her in person.

P.P.S. If all goes according to plan we will be moving to the quaint fishing village of Ladner. We had originally applied for 'Refugees from the City' status but now we have decided to become 'landed immigrants'. We hope to arrive there before Easter. Our address there will be 4985 53rd Street. Our postal code will be there too but we don't know what it is. Our names won't change.

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