Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Unstirred 2011 De Young Christmas Pudding Letter

Volume XXXVIII                                                                                                                                                December, 2011

                   Christmas 2011

This is year number 38 of Jim and Jan’s Christmas letter.  I can’t believe I am still writing this thing.   Retired should mean retired and I believe that someone who enjoys work so much that he refuses to retire must be just plain nuts.  In spite of that I am going to make an exception for Christmas and carve out some time from the typical retired person’s week of six Saturdays and one Sunday to compose this note.  I am even going to dress formally while writing, which for a retired person means wearing shoes with laces.  Given the economy it’s always good these days to begin with a prayer,  so  “Oh, Lord, Please give me a thin body and a bigger fatter bank account for 2012.  You got it reversed last year, and  I am getting tired of being defined as an adult who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle.  Amen.”  

Now the family : Our daughter and her family still live in Iowa.

  Our oldest Grandson is a sophomore in high school.  There is now a drivers license in his wallet and a strange little jeep like vehicle in the driveway.   Need I say more!  He is taking an interest in aquaculture and environmental management.  With his love of the outdoors, this may turn into an important career direction. Unfortunately his foray into baseball was stopped cold this summer by a hamstring injury.  

Our youngest Grandson at nine shows no sign of being tamed by the 4th grade, but we do have hope.  He still loves Lego projects and is participating this year in something called Lego League.  We enjoyed having him stay with us this summer while he attended College for Kids at Monmouth College.   He studied Physics, Art, and Clowning.

Son- in- law Todd has been busy rebuilding the interior of a mobile home at the campground near the Mississippi where the Brown family spends many a summer weekend.   He will also be starting a new job come the first of the year and we wish him well. 

Then there is Amy.  She is teaching, mothering, doctoring, and going to the gym while also taking classes for her Master of Arts in Teaching at Coe College.  There seems to be no end to her energy, devotion, and love for her family and her students.  No one could look at her and still believe that  teachers work only for short days, long vacations, big salaries, and bountiful retirement packages.   

Now a short break for seniors joining the “Texting Revolution.”  Here are the latest abbreviations you need to know:   OMG: Ouch, My Groin!   IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?  BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth.  LOL: Living On Lipitor.  DWI: Driving While Incontinent.  And LWO: Lawrence Welk’s On.  

Jim and Jan continue attempts to balance home town activities with their love of travel. Jan still works on her beloved AAUW  Art Presenter program and serves on the Warren County Library Board. 

I have moved off the Buchanan Center for the Arts board,  but both of us have found a new interest in working at the Warren County Historical Museum, where I am now 2nd Vice President.  

Travel  this year was a January trip to Cancun with a college classmate and a chance to explore the  famous Chichen Itza archaeological site. 
Later in the winter we hit Arizona for visits with a friend and two of Jim’s cousins.  High points on that trip were driving the Apache Trail outside of Phoenix and experiencing an unexpected snowfall in Tucson.

   In July a Road Scholar trip took us for our first visit to  Alaska.

We spent a week on the ground from Fairbanks to Denali and then a week cruising the inside passage complete with whale watching.

  It also completed our goal to visit all fifty states.  Lots more  pictures and full details can be found by looking at the blog archive on the left of the screen.  Why not sign up to get all of my posts? Occasionally they will be interesting or intriguing. Occasionally they will set your hair on fire and occasionally they will be just plain silly.  But what the heck, they are always free.     
Our son David gets the position of honor this year as the person who has engineered the largest and most significant change.  Readers of last year’s letter (and who would have the nerve to deny that they didn’t read last year’s letter) will recall that we mentioned that David, aged 46,  had met a young Finnish woman and that we were going to get a chance to meet her at Christmas.  Well, we did meet her in December, 2010.  She is delightful and we are pleased to announce that David married her this past summer and will be moving to Finland sometime in the next year. For us it not only means a chance to visit Helsinki this coming summer,  but to meet a whole new family.  Congratulations to David and Lotta!    

And that’s the way it is here in  Illinois in December, 2011.  To you and yours this holiday season may the following three blessings accrue. We wish you good health, a loving family, and OOPS . . .  doggone it!  What was that third thing?  Oh yah.  


Jim and Jan De Young

P.S.  No wiener dogs were hurt while composing this message!