December 24, 2008

Christmas 2008

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"I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" and it is actually snowing as I write. However this song which has been a holiday standard in my head each year has been replaced by "I'll Have a Blue Christmas Without You" . Now although Elvis is sooo much sexier than Bing, I'd rather be having that White Christmas. Thank you very much !!!

I hope this letter finds all of you in a loving and healthy Christmas Spirit. We here in New Jersey are thinking of you all and missing you.

The year has been a veritable roller coaster ride. And although my usual advice in that case is to strap in and enjoy the ride, I would really like off right now.

Last November 2007 my Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer with brain metastasis. She battled for four and a half months losing the fight on March 17. It is a "Blue Christmas" without her. I was able to be with her for the last three weeks. A truly loving and moving bittersweet time for us. Thanks to all for your generous outpouring of love and support to the whole family. We couldn't have done it without you.

Up we went shortly after that lovely diagnosis with the winning of a trip to Australia. You can imagine the skeptic in me giving the prize awarder a hard time what with all the identity theft and money scams going around these days. Turns out it was real and when we finally went, a really great time. Steve highlighted our adventures below.

Still up on that roller coaster and strapped in because this year we have been awed by excellent report cards due to Alec's increased efforts. He'd never admit it but I think he likes school. Let's ride this one as long as possible. Alec also enjoys all things computer and game related. He is also quite a talented little artist with the tools available through Apple. Alec and Steve are planning a ski trip in addition to their occasional weekend jaunts to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. Their big adventure this year will be learning to scuba dive. Woo Hoo count me out.

Then down again with the deployment of Lance Corporal (LCPL) John G. Vanderfleet US Marine Corps to Afghanistan. OOh that got the old gut wrench going again. He is currently in the Farah province in a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in what is described as an austere place to be. His main base is Camp Bastian in Helmand Province. He is involved in counter insurgency operations for the next 9 months and we expect him home sometime July 2009. He can receive mail at 3/8 Kilo Co., Unit 73260, FPO AE 09510-3260. My Mom promised she would watch over him and if anyone can do it she's the one. Let me share here a little Christmas story. John, Mary (his lovely girlfriend ) and I were at the Mall the day before he left (he was AWOL). The two of them thought it would be fun to visit with Santa. You should have seen Santa's face when he asked what a couple of twenty year old's were doing these days and the answer he got from John was "going to Afghanistan tomorrow". Well it turns out that Santa is an ex Navy man, don't tell the little ones. Santa had some very good advice for John and wished him well, promising to look out for him. My Mom and Santa on your side can't get any better.

Still a "Blue Christmas".

And so all of you joined us on the ride of our lives with the economy going for a beep. Strap in friends and family it's another spin, drop and blah before we smooth out again. Thankfully Steve still has a job and is working hard to keep it that way. Steve has also kept himself busy with gardening, took the plunge and installed a sprinkler system. He embarked on a stain glass project with a quilt challenge to match for me. Steve mainly enjoys logging the miles on his bicycle.

On the level and boring part but certainly not the end of the ride there is my quilting. Still at it with a passion that has kept me sane. There is nothing like sitting around the table with a cup of tea, your friends and your hands producing some beautiful work. And those friends slapping me upside the head when they can hear "I'll have a Blue Christmas without you" streaming out of my ear.

Merry Christmas to all with love and cheers from

Barbie, Steve, John and Alec

Posted by smartin at December 24, 2008 12:34 PM