The Farmer’s Christmas 1997 Newsletter

Dear Family and Friends,

I am late at getting this out for I am rushing this out at 4 AM on Christmas Eve Day. I hope there are not too many typos. .Bob

News: Our Cathy and her boys, Jeremy, 10 and Jake 2 moved in with us in May. They will be here till Cathy can get it together and make it on her own. For the present, we have a full house and never a dull moment with 4 adults, 2 kids, and many pets.

Bob’s Dad had a couple of small strokes and is struggling with the side effects. He gets around OK but has some serious speech problems.

In October, Carol's Mother, Margaret fell and broke her hip. She was in the hospital for 3 days and rehabilitation center for 11 days. She is in Anderson Nursing Home in Seattle.

New arrivals: My brother Frank and Dorothy became grand parents for the first time-Tom and Stephanie had a baby boy Anthony Michael born on November 16th.

Carol’s family: Except for my mother the rest of the family is doing well. Helen and daughter Bonnie still run their daycare. Brother-in-law Ralph enjoys skiing with their tribe, including some of the very youngest. Frank and Dorothy are busy putting kids through college.

Bob’s family: In January, we celebrated Agnes’ 80th birthday with many friends and relatives. In August, Bob’s sisters Marilyn and Carole came for a rare visit together. Sister Carole’s son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Samantha Gillespie also came from Nome, Alaska. We had lots of fun going on a picnic to Pt. Defiance and a trip to Mt Rainier. This fall Perry has been rewiring the whole house. Mom with John’s help had the living room remodeled with a new bay window and Perry found the wiring to be unsafe. It is a very big job that is still in progress. Walls had to be torn out and resurfaced. It is an old house.

Carol: I'm on my 8th year of taking piano lessons and love it. Now I'm learning "Ecossaise" and "By the light of the silvery moon", soon to be revised by my teacher. With lots of practice I hope to be ready for our adult recital in January. I'm still a lector at our church and Stephen Minister. I find time to get together with friends for coffee, lunch and sometimes a day off away from Bremerton. My friend Joanne and I look forward to the musicals at the Fifth Ave. D; my housekeeper is a tremendous help with the household chores, don't know what I'd do without her.

Every month I publish and mail the Lady Elks newsletter to nearly 300 ladies. Bob does the address database and prints the labels. He helps me put the words into the computer and print them out. I couldn't do it without Bob's expertise help on the computer.

Bob (by Bob): It has now been over four years since my bone marrow transplant for leukemia. I have been enjoying relatively good health for a couple of years. Last winter I returned to skiing and during the warmer season I made several flights in my hang glider. One of my flights was the best and most memorial ever. Skiing was also great fun. I skied with Cathy and Belinda for the first time I can remember. I even got Belinda up to the very top of Crystal on the advanced ski slopes.

Carol and I go dancing nearly every weekend with our close friends at the Elks and the Legion. For exercise we slowed down a bit because of the energy we use to deal with the grandkids but I usually have a daily walk with J. D. Next year I hope to play more tennis and return to my old weight training schedule to remove a few pounds and inches.

I spend much of my time in my computer room. I do the Internet, build personnel web pages, computer graphics and photos, and build systems. The last weekend I upgraded my system by building a new computer and updating the old one. I now have an AMD K6-200 and a Cyrix P150 system. Both are fast and the K6 is really fast. I have two computers’ in a network. The main one has more power, the Internet and a scanner. The other one is for training myself on networking and for the grandkids. Little Jake loves to play the programs "Just Grandma and Me" and "Lyon King". Jeremy likes "Solitaire".

Cathy and I built a big new super shed in the backyard this fall. Real jobs are hard to find in Kitsap County. Someday I may have to move to get a good job. They Navy downsizing has ruined the county’s economy. I still think I am a good electronics technician and should be able to get a job in electronics or computers some where, but I hate the thought of moving at my age.

Cathy, Jeremy, and Jake: Cathy still earns her living baby-sitting so we often have a few extra kids around. She has been a great help to Bob rebuilding our shed that was wrecked in last winter's New Years week storm.

Jeremy is in the fifth grade. His most favorite things are roller hockey and music. He started playing the clarinet this school year. We enjoyed hearing him play for the first time at the school Christmas concert. He is using Cathy’s original instrument and it was fun to see him perform in the same school with the same clarinet as Cathy some 25 years later. His main activity is roller hockey. His team won the Nationals in Iowa last summer although he didn’t get to make the trip…maybe next year. Last summer he went to Tennis camp and often plays and gets instructions from Dave.

Little Jake is more than a typical two-year-old boy, constantly learning and picking up new words. His favorite things are Mom, Grandma, and Bob’s computer. J

Belinda, Robert and Larry: They still live in Poulsbo. Belinda left her job at John Patrick Salon after being there 10 years and is now renting a chair at Jeanne Renee' Salon and is doing just fine on her own. Larry is a 2nd grader and doing great and like Jeremy enjoys roller hockey. Robert works in the computer field. He is focusing on training so he can better position himself for work. He has been frustrated trying to make a living as a computer programmer in our small county. He is moving his office to Seattle and is working as a contractor for a company as an instructor and taking classes to become certified as a Windows NT professional.

Dan: He is serving in the Peace Corps in Mlowe (a small town in northern Malawi on the shore of Lake Malawi, He teaches African and American history and lives next door to the school. His house and school are on the shore of the big and beautiful Lake Malawi. We receive very interesting letters from him every few weeks.

For the past few weeks he has been on a special assignment teaching guitar at the University of Malawi in Zomba. From there we have been getting email almost everyday until he went on a Christmas holiday to Victoria Falls. It is possible he will spend more time teaching music at the University. Some of his music has been played on National Malawi Radio. Dan is already well known as the Piece Corps guy with the guitar. Bob often gets flattering email from people that have met Dan or trying to get together with him. Depending on finances and Bob’s health we are hoping to visit Dan before his tour is up next year.

Dave: He has been working at St. Vincent’s for six years now. He enjoys being an uncle to Jeremy and Larry by taking them out for treats and to the mall. He still loves tennis and you'll often find him on the court with friends, his nephew Jeremy, and also playing men's doubles. He still sings with the Holy Trinity church choir and we hear many compliments about him.

Vacations and Travel: For ten days Bob and I camped at Ft. Flagler (one of our favorite spots). The kids and grand kids joined us for a few of the days. In August. we went to the Long Beach kite festival and really enjoyed it--Just leave your worries at home and go fly a kite!

Bob spent the week before the 4th of July with Ralph in Chelan hang gliding. They had some fun flights and repeated the ritual of flying together for the first time since Bob’s illness. Bob mostly drove chase for Ralph but also made one flight. They also made several hang gliding trips to Dog Mt. Bob had a couple of fantastic flights in June.

In late winter/early spring, Bob went skiing four weeks in a row, once with Ralph (first time in five years), once with Belinda, and once with Cathy and Belinda (first time ever) and one time with some old skiing friends.

I took two fun trips to Reno- didn't hit the jackpot but had a wonderful time and especially the shows-Kenny Rogers, New York, New York and the best one was Smokey Joe's Café.

Pets: We still have JD the wiener dog that is now 11 years old and slowing down and Fantasia the cockatiel. They both have to compete with the new arrivals, Cathy’s cats: Mittens and her two big kittens, Fluffy and Bossy…also Jeremy's hamster.

May you have a Blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with love, happiness, peace, and good health.

Bob, Carol, Cathy, David, Jeremy and Jacob