Friends and Family,
Well… for those who have made it another year… congratulations!!! Hopefully we can catch our breath before the next exciting times hit us, eh?
As usual, this annual missive is being written by me (Jay). Not sure if it is really all that much of a tradition as a guilty admission that, over a decade ago, I got tired of all the stress and fuss of Christmas cards and getting addresses, spouses names, events, etc… just right. I figured that a one page recounting of high points would suffice for friends and family and for the really important stuff, I probably should have sent something long before (I come by my grinchiness honestly!!)
Starting with the somber… It has been a little over a year since ‘Grandpa Larry’ passed, and I still catch myself at times starting to call him or thinking how much he would like some football play or other. When Ditka got recognized as a coach a few weeks ago, I remembered that he was Larry’s favorite player. Tried to make it a happy remembrance, but sometimes you just can’t fool yourself… Still, when the grandkids recall him, we manage to put a good face on it and talk about how cool he was (even if a little scary… ) I wish to express our sadness at the passing of Emma Gay this November. She will be missed.
My mother, Grandma Sandi, is still at the Cottage of Spring Branch – a memory care facility that I think highly of. They take very good care of her and forgive her easily for her difficult periods. I try to visit once or twice a week, but can’t stay for more than 20 minutes without agitating her. Well-meaning friends and family try to push me to take her out to dinner, movies, etc… but each Alzheimer’s/dementia sufferer has their own needs. Hers is stability and as little stimulation as possible.
That said… I took Christopher’s twins, Michael and Alexander up to see her and we had a great time. They somehow knew to scale back their natural whirlwind tendencies and I think she was very happy to see them. After all the fun I have had… might have been the scariest ten minutes of my life!!!! :)
Ned came by in November and I took him down to see her. It was heartening/heartbreaking to see her look at him for about 15 seconds, then break into a great big grin and say, “I know him!!” I am pretty sure she has a much harder time with my kids, not always sure who they are (although she asks after them every time I go up…)
God bless her friend Susan, who still goes to visit her on a regular basis. Others are too far away, or just don’t know how to handle the situation. Luckily, she does not ask after anyone…
Valerie is still working at Holy Rosary in the office. She seems to enjoy her job quite a bit. She is becoming quite an expert on the various eateries in that area of downtown.
Christopher is back on night shift, working the Midwest part of town. He has a four day workweek, so gets to spend more time with the twins then it sounds… He and I have had the opportunity to work a few extra jobs together which has been a treat.
Nicholas is stationed in Pearl Harbor and is currently under the water… I believe his cruise lasts at least six months. We have all gotten a few e-mails, so know that he is doing okay. Flo came back to Houston for the Holidays and I imagine she is at Christmas Eve dinner with everyone as I am typing.
Emily graduated with her Math degree from ASU in May and is now a 2nd Lt. in the Air Force, training to be an Air Battle Manager at Fort Tindall in Panama Beach City, Fla. She has a good group of classmates and has been doing well on her own… learning how to cook all kinds of exotic paleo foods and generally growing up well!!
Katherine is still living at the house, and is a Math major at U of H. Since she is in the Honors College, most of her classes are much smaller than one would expect at such a big university – she seems to be learning a lot and her grades reflect that she always was the one who did her homework. I might be just a bit proud…
Katherine and I got the opportunity to go out to Arizona in June. I thought I was going to do the Cops On Top climb in memory of Tim Abernethy, but timing and fan belts took care of nixing that idea. We left a week early so that we could go by to see Grandpa John and Evy… had a great time with them, and health and the Good Lord willing, I will be back on the mountain next June. While there, we went to Kevin Hearne’s book signing. In my usual fashion, I got my book signed by him, but then learned everything I could have ever wanted, by talking with his mother (bad officer… no donut). Katherine is at the age where she is starting to learn when I am using my ‘negotiation’ skills in various situations… doesn’t mean she isn’t embarrassed that I do it… but she generally keeps quiet about it… until she doesn’t!!
Mr. Hearne (who writes the Iron Druid Series btw…) was in town for a book signing about a month later and got some bad info on where to go for lunch. He posted this on facebook and I immediately suggested he try Cadillac Bar for dinner… not wanting to sound totally stalker/creeper (I know… hard for me), I made the suggestion and indicated that I knew he had writer business and all, but if he or his entourage needed help getting reservations, getting people there… I could help) Next message was, “What time we going?”
So… we are sitting at my favorite restaurant, where everybody knows my name (psst… I worked an extra job there for four years… ) and we are trading stories. I related one about someone figuring out what I do for a living and Katherine busts out with “I’m calling Bullshit” (or something to that effect) and correcting how cool I was during the story. I am not saying who was correct, her or me… just relaying that the brat got a fist bump from the Hearnester himself for jumping all over her dad, when she thought he was exaggerating… That’s OK Kevin… you too have a child, who will one day correct you while your being a fanboy!!!!
Can’t have a Christmas note where I did not brag on the excellent officer I work with. We have been working trend analysis on types of crimes and have really gotten a good start on this “jugging” phenomenon. Made the news several times (all good) and have put LOTS of bad guys where they belong. Can’t imagine a better job… wouldn’t want another one. Thank you gentlemen and ladies – take a bow!!!
This is the year where I must want to sound like a fan girl… Got to love Facebook and understand my life to get this…. Sometimes my job is sitting in the back of a van or in a car for hours waiting for the 20 seconds of fun… Perfect time for an IPad. Weston Ochse and I had some great discussions right before we went busting in on a 15 location simultaneous for search/arrest warrant. I am sure he thinks I am some kinda nut job, cuz I love messaging with him. Every time we start, the *(&t drops… (He’s good luck that way…) Weston’s book ‘Seal Team 666’ is being made into a movie – starring “The Rock”… Can’t wait!!
I have more (Saranna DeWylde is a heck of a smart and funny person and I found out that Rob Thurman (Cal and Leandro) is actually Robyn!!!) but…., I have a fever, can’t breathe and look like I am crying. As Patrick, the officer I work an extra job with every Sunday said, “It’s not a very good feeling when everyone around us is wearing masks and nobody will tell us why…” Well, now I know… and I am not very happy about it. Sigh…
So, I am going to go make tea while my family is down south eating French onion soup, baked brie, and all that good stuff. Time for another horror movie… that or the last season of Breaking Bad!!
Thankful that, this illness aside, we are doing pretty well in the health department. Thankful for you, our friends, and family. Praying that you are well and the coming year goes the way it should.
Peace be with you.
P.S. Unlike years past, I have not burdened your e-mails or mailboxes with my veritable profundity of photographic memoribilia (or flotsam and jetsam… you decide).. Rather, they are in albums on facebook if you decide to peruse… Rest assured… we ALL look one year older… sigh. :)