This Christmas Letter is the first such annual missive of Sandy's that includes Dick in the picture! Photos from many of the trips that are mentioned in this letter can be viewed by clicking on the appropriate link. The links are in bold to help you find them.
This year was, as Frank Sinatra would say, a very good year. Both Christy and Rob moved along with their educations and I got in a lot more travel than I have in many, many years.
Christy completed her second year at Lesley College in Boston and her work at Strafford Guidance and went on to her final year, with her present internship at Simmons College Counseling Center . This past summer she went to Costa Rica with a friend and played with monkeys in the Cloud Forests and sunned on beaches. To get ready, she began reading the Harry Potter series in Spanish. Now she can see the light at the end of the tunnel and is looking at returning to the real world come graduation in May. Until then, she's working part time for MIT and hoping to get in another trip or two before she settles into a job.
Rob is into his second year of studying network security and living on the seacoast in Portsmouth . He turned 21 this fall and is really enjoying his independence! He delivered pizzas to make a little extra money this summer and into the fall, but as the semester wore on and the threat of winter driving loomed, he's decided to become a studious person and pick up another job later. Last Christmas he got a DAT recorder and has enjoyed being able to record concerts and share his tapes. With should-long blond dreadlocks and a red beard, he looks like the character he is, and that seems to suit him just fine.
I've had an unexpectedly pleasant year. I spent my March break in Hawaii with my sister Chris and her husband Bill. Interspersed with sightseeing, luaus, and snorkeling, we went through inspection of the house they had just bought, appliance shopping, and termite checks- which came out fine! It was a great trip with Kauai just as lovely as I'd heard. Just before I left, I'd begun a relationship with a man who lives about an hour and a half from me- and it's become better and better through the months since.
Dick and I spent a week in July on his brother's boat cruising along the canals of NY and across Lake Ontario to Kingston and Gananoque. It was a neat introduction to a different kind of life.
Then in August we flew to San Francisco and stayed in his daughter Cindy's apartment We traveled all through that region.
It was hard to come back to the everyday life here- especially since Dick's been retired since he was 47 and has gone off to Martha's Vineyard and Paris this fall. But it may be that next year (all things going well) I'll be able to travel more too.
We're down to two cats now- Beauty- an orange Maine Coon cat (actually named Jamie) and the Beast, a small feisty tabby (Cleopatra). Teaching continues to be really rewarding. Two of my students this past year chose to write their psych journals from the points of view of a housefly and Harry Potter- really fun to read! Writing grants to get money for the single parent and displaced homemaker students continues to be challenging, but I've been lucky thus far.
The events this fall were very sobering, but seem to have produced a real appreciation for what we have in this country. I've never seen lovelier Christmas decorations than I do as I travel home each night. The spirit of the country seems to have rebounded and renounced the fears and negativity, and the lights of America shine as brightly as ever.
I hope that the stars (and Christmas lights) brighten your spirits and enflame your hopes for the New Year!