Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all –
It’s almost two weeks before Christmas as I write this, and clearly I’m setting unrealistic expectations for the future. To keep the bar appropriately low, let’s just say this is our yearly Fourth of July status message and I’m a little late.
Amy has finally come to her senses and retired, although she insists that she just “stopped working.” As someone who is expert at not working, I can tell you she is definitely retired, and loving it. She misses one or two of her former students, but she has the consolation of spending all her time with me. What could be better? We’re taking the opportunity to do a little traveling, and she continues to work on her book. Yes, the book that was supposed to be finished last year and the year before. She and her co-author intend to give birth to a fully formed 4-year-old toddler of a historical tome by the summer of 2016, and her publishers (always optimistic, the fools) expect it to be available at fine booksellers and obscure university libraries by, ohh…say, 2025. Amy loves doing historical research; I’ve suggested to her that she could occasionally finish a line of inquiry and let it out the door, but she has always had trouble separating from her babies and this one is no different. She tells me that Margaret Mitchell, the author of Gone With The Wind, only wrote one book in her lifetime and it was fairly successful. I think it’s just her way of telling me to mind my own business.
Amy and I are having great time traveling together. We’ve been to Boerne, Comfort, Leakey, Utopia, Uvalde, Brownsville, Eagle Pass, Laredo, Hondo, D’hanis, Castroville, Tarpley, Sabinal, Knippa, Brackettville, Harlingen, Zapata, and Carrizo Springs, as well as a few places outside of south Texas. Their common characteristic is that they have piles of dusty documents and moldy-smelling books, and you can browse to your heart’s content. My job, apparently, is to hold her purse while she browses.
Rebecca is a professional baby-catcher. She has caught no fewer than three of them on her own as a labor and delivery nurse in Austin, and she loves almost every aspect of her job. She is, however, looking forward to working days instead of nights (in roughly the same way that a vampire looks forward to sitting in the shade for a while). She fought her way through a scary period of illness (scary for her parents, at least), and as it turns out, she only had mononucleosis. Only. It could have been much worse, and we’re grateful that she’s on the mend.
We took a family vacation together to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park in the fall, and somehow came home with a larger family than when we left. Rebecca brought her “little friend” (as Amy still calls our childrens’ acquaintances) Chris Mahler, and Chris proposed to my little girl at the top of Glacier Point, overlooking Half Dome. We were honored to be there for this momentous occasion, and Amy got some outstanding photos of the event as it occurred. The happy couple got a round of applause from onlookers, and Rebecca even said, “yes.” Everyone but me teared up – I’m too tough for such nonsense. Chris is one of the reasons I’m no longer convinced that Texas Aggies are the scourge of the earth, but that may just be the Parkinson’s talking.
Rebecca and Amy are hard at work planning an October 2016 wedding. My participation in the process is already complete. I set the budget. I’m completely unconcerned that Amy refers to it as “an amusing little target figure.”
Andrew and his friend Willa were in attendance in Yosemite, too. Willa is one of the other reasons my heart has softened toward Aggies. She’s an A&M PhD candidate in gefargicological frannistanition (or something like that). I don’t know what it is, but it has something to do with teeth and dead people. She and Amy have dead people in common, although Willa’s dead people have been dead longer and are presumably more valuable.
Willa knew Chris before either of them knew Andrew, and Willa then met Andrew, and Chris met Rebecca, or Chris met Andrew, or Rebecca met Willa…I’m confused again. All I’m sure of is that Andrew and Rebecca have known each other for some time. Willa proved herself to be a capable mule-handler in Yosemite, which I suppose is a valuable skill in a relationship with Andrew. Amy says, “I like that girl; she stays with her mule.” I couldn’t have said it better.
Andrew is still a bike riding, skiing, rock climbing, hiking Renaissance man of a mechanical engineer. He lives in Houston (hates it) and works for Lockheed Martin on contract to NASA (loves it). The mountains call to him, though, and who knows what the future holds? He’s a Millennial, after all (I say that a lot). He’s happy, healthy, astoundingly good-looking (like his mother), and scary smart (like his…ah, mother). He also has hair sprouting from his ears, so I suppose he’s like me, too.
Izzy is still the best dog in the world, but she has some competition – a new (previously stray/feral) cat named Skitter. We’ve been feeding her for about 6 months, and I finally trapped her and had her spayed (cats love that). She is MY cat, according to her, and she and Iz disagree about who has preeminence. It’s a burden to be loved by everyone, but I’m bearing up.
They haven’t cured Parkinson’s disease in the last year, so living with it is still my full-time job. I’m working on a novel (it’s really bad, but at least it’s still short), and I am still relatively active in volunteer work. I may soon be responsible for setting up the electronics in a new house – we have ours on the market, and although we’re staying in San Antonio we’re looking to downsize.
Hoping and praying for a Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2016 for you and yours from us and ours,
Corey, Amy, Andrew+1, Rebecca+1, Izzy, and Skit