Sunday, December 18, 2005

Our 2005 Christmas Letter

Seasons Greetings
December 14, 2005

Thanksgiving lingers into Christmas with us more each year as our Christmas letter resists being composed. Alice and I are more appreciative each year for our life together on this beautiful northern California coast, yet increasingly I am at a real loss for words to express our “thankfulness.” It’s not that I don’t have a lot of words at my disposal. Maybe I have too many. After 63 years, my words all have “tried and true” meanings, many of which don’t seem to fit as well as they used to.

Now, many of our friends and relatives are struggling with illness or injury. We are particularly thankful that they, like us, have lived in the most freedom and in the most prosperous times mankind has ever known. We wish them the best, especially in this sweet time of year.

We began this year with a trip to Thailand just a month after the Tsunami. We were in Bangkok two weeks, then took the Orient Express through Malaysia to Singapore for a couple of days, and returned to Thailand. We had planned a week in Phuket, but changed to Chiang Mai. For once I lost weight on a vacation, 6.6 pounds to be exact. I had help from a lot of fine folk at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. Alice luxuriated – daily massages, Oriental Express opulence, Singapore Zoo night safari, The Four Seasons in Chiang Mai, Monk Chat, elephant bare-neck riding – and I had fun, too.

We came back to Alice’s Reseda High Reunion (45 years) in beautiful downtown Burbank. After the reunion, I came home and Alice stayed in Canoga Park to help hostess a gala 90th birthday party for Ella Kittleson.

Alice then embarked on the Great Addition project to our house. We now have a 900 square-foot deck on the south side, an 800 square-foot sunroom with Endless Pool on the west side, and concrete retaining walls lining the driveway. It’s all finished except for some carpet, tile, and cabinet work, more plants all over the place, and decorative rock facing on the retaining walls. In other words, there’s still a lot more work to do.

We didn’t run for reelection to the School Board, so last week was the last meeting of our four-years in office. It was interesting and enjoyable, and we are proud we contributed to education improvements. Now others get a chance, and Alice will have more time for her first passion, her book club. I continue to indulge my passion, being a political “lightning rod” here, mostly through letters to our local paper. I have posted the letters, and other writings, on, my blog. I also enjoyed being interviewed for an hour on our local radio by a liberal friend, and will gladly share an audio tape of the show when he gives me a copy.

Next big trip - The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador in Jan-Feb, our first time to South America. Before we leave we will continue our perpetual Honeymoon with a week at the Donatello Hotel in San Francisco.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Chanukah too.

Michael, Alice, and sweet little Buddy

Merry Christmas
Happy Chanukah

Buddy took the timed picture of us with him on the new deck by the redwood trees.

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