Xmas Letter 1995

Greetings from Us and Ours - to You and Yours,

Another year, another house, another member of the family. Relax it's not what you think. Joan's safe and since we finally cleared the diaper stage and quickly got rid of our baby stuff, we thought we'd get a dog. Yeah, really. No point trying to catch our breath or anything.

Our dog came with the name Suzie and unlike Johnny Cash, she's a she. Let's see, that makes the odds 7 to 1. We have a major testosterone deficiency here. Suzie is 5-6 years old and came with her own house, food, leash and water bowl. Her parents were left homeless and couldn't take her with them. It's only been two weeks but she's fitting in quite well. What type of dog is she? Well, she's medium size, brown and white, and three parts dog - we're just not sure which three dogs. She currently functions as our exercise machine, ensuring at least someone has a daily walk. She seems to be adjusting and tends to think she's special, but then I guess I would too if someone walked behind me and saved my waste in a bag.

I've tried writing this letter a few times and it's just not very funny. I guess that's because I turned 40 this year and nothing seems funny anymore. My job's not funny, my life's not funny, my kid's aren't funny, in fact I'm about to go over the edge. Oh, excuse me - I was writing this while watching TV and someone had switched it to the Parliamentary channel. Depression for your alpha waves. We will now resume our regular programming.

We had a short family vacation in Victoria during spring break. It doesn't matter where we go we have trouble getting a room for us. We have to sneak the kids in in two shifts or we're too full for the fire regulations. We confuse everyone by having the kids wear the same clothes.

In June we all flew out to Altona. Actually landed in Winnipeg and had to drive the rest of the way. Joan's roots were calling her home, it was the 100th anniversary after all. The town doesn't feel a day over 80. We went to the Mennonite Village Museum in Steinbach. The kids saw how to grind wheat into flour and had an ox cart ride, just like when I was a kid. Hey that's not true - must be an automatic reaction once you hit 40.

After nine months of trying we finally sold out house in July and then had to vacate it within 2 and a half weeks. During this same period I had a business trip to N'awlins and Joan joined me for a few days at the end of it. We had a good time, taking in Bourbon St., blues clubs, sightseeing, etc. Went to the House of Blues for a nice gospel brunch. Once we got back we had 6 days to move and pack. Had the moving truck booked for Friday, took Thursday off to help pack up and the truck shows up a day early. So we went for it. Got it all done somehow. We only got it all moved, we still haven't got it all done. Actually being 40 isn't too bad, especially when I consider the alternatives.

Since we missed our usual Oliver holiday, we went at the end of August. Campsite was empty but we had a good family time. Even went horseback riding, horseback sitting for some. Took the long way home via Merritt, Lillooet and Pemberton. Spent the weekend in Whistler with friends.

So here we are out in the charming fishing and farming village of Ladner, which is part of a southern 'burb of Vancouver called Delta. We thought we needed and now have, more space inside and out. Getting to work for me is anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on the traffic. We're all getting used to things but it'll take a while to get fully settled. Big changes in the fall as the kids all started a new school. Things seem to be going all right. We're comfortable with the house and yard but it'll take a while before it feels totally like home. No plans to move back, or anywhere else for that matter.

Joan and I also managed to get in a 10 day trip to Australia, courtesy of the Grandma and Oma Tag Team Baby-sitting Duo. Spent some time at Surfer's Paradise and a couple of days in Sidney. Oh yeah, also attended a conference and tried to sell some of our software. It was a business trip after all.

I really have hit 40. I'm starting to do things I wouldn't have done before. As I type this on my computer, you would not guess that I am listening to DC Talk's new album (make that CD - I am old) - That's right I am listening to Xn Rap Music. It's time to get retro - got to find my bell bottom overalls, my frilly paisley shirt and listen to some Fat Mattress or the Turtles. Even CCR or Larry Norman would do right about now.

As far as the kids go, they are each developing their own personalities. Perhaps even redeveloping. Sometimes we have too many personalities here. I've decided I don't want to listen to any one with teenagers. I'd like to be surprised, or even better I'd like to be gone fishing. I used to think the first ten years would be easy. What can I say - won't get fooled again. It seems like after 40 you want another shot at everything. Either you're at peace with yourself or your self is in pieces. I'd like to say I made that up but I probably read it on a bottle of hair restorer.

As I finish this I realize it won't get to you (or you or you) by Christmas using snail mail. Aren't computers wonderful - by the way our e-mail address is jwg@portal.ca, and if you were on-line I could wait until the 23rd and still not be late.

Let me be the first to wish you a blessed orthodox Christmas and Happy New Year and say that, and I paraphrase, May you find The Peace in the Season. I am sure we will.

Greetings, hugs and kisses (after 40 you also get mushy and emotional) from

J.Werner, J.Lucille, R.Elizabeth, B.Christine, H.Kathleen, T.Marie, N.Grace and Suzie Q.

P. S. Blame it on the computer, it lost our first names, except the dog's.


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