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Holiday Letter 2010

Its been another event filled year here on Leslie Lane. Not all pleasant or easy but each day an opportunity to grow, learn, and be more engaged in the world around us.

We rung in the new year quietly at home. Began the trend of 2010 of not going to social events even if I had said I was going. Even planning in advance couldn’t get me out of the house to socialize this year. But when I got out of the house I got out of the house. In March John, Shadow & Smokey came through picked me up and we drove on down to FLA. We went all the way to the bottom camping at Big Cypress National Wildlife Refuge, moving on to the Everglades, and day tripping down into the Florida Keys. We hit some national forest in the north and some beach on the Florida Pan Handle. It was a great trip and made the oil spill more poignant having just seen the area. Again my biggest impression was the incredibly rich biodiverse Everglades with the near desert like monoculture of our present day agriculture. Night and day the incredible shrinking of life. We are all criminals and murderers. I still bought oranges.

I got home from vaca with a bit of a stiff neck which evolved into intense back and neck pain which was ultimately diagnosed as a pinched nerve from some bulging discs (C-4 & C-5 i think). Physical therapy adjustments seemed to do the trick and haven’t had too much problems with it. It was scary at the time, made me thankful to have two arms that work.

Work-wise the beginning of the year was fruitful. I enjoyed my role of trying to foster a Dual Recovery Anonymous meeting. I also continued working with the Missouri Cadre for Co-Occurring Excellence and enjoyed a strategic planning retreat at a really cool resort. Saw a bluebird thanks to the new license plates (they’re our state bird). Ultimately resigned my leadership position with the Cadre, too much happening at the agency.

In May we celebrated the end of Lost. Until then we had a house full every Tuesday to watch, same as last year. We didn’t do costumes, theme food, or Dharma stuff because we did all that for the season premiere party. We just watched TV together. In retrospect I thought Lost ended pretty good, not perfect but good enough.

Myrtle died this year. That was sad as hell. We dug her a deep hole and planted some Greek Myrtle. She was a beautiful dog, quite a character for her only three years. Dad took some solace in Oni, but to be frank she was a piss poor primary dog. slept all day, pissed on the furniture. mostly my bed and the couch. one night she pissed my bed pretty good and i was headed to bed late and suddenly had to go sleep on the futon in the living room where dad was trying to watch a movie.  i grumped some and he took her to the humane society. We followed her on the internet she was in foster care with second chance. Just looked for her and couldn’t find her picture, hope she got adopted.

June was interesting because I seized an opportunity when the agency burned through its contract prior to the end of the fiscal year (huge huge budget cuts once the federal support to state stimulus was used up) and i was granted a few weeks off without pay at my request. gardened up a storm and did some ozark adventure. went to johnson’s shut ins, elephant rocks, all that stuff. had some nice camping with Oni.

2010 was also a year for making new friends in far off places. We had some exchange students from Taiwan who were observing the batterer intervention program i worked at my part time job over for a couple of barbecues. Took them to the Devil’s Ice Box (a local cave) and down to the Lake of the Ozarks for outlet mall shopping with John when he was visiting (saw a lot of John in 2010). They’re enthusiasm was infectious. Also spent a lot of time with Amy’s friend Belen who visited for the summer from Spain. Took her to Jefferson City to see the monuments and we broke into a Catholic Church. Very cool seeing the familiar from fresh perspectives and breaking things down to communicate with very smart women but whom English is a second language. Learned a lot about myself and my world.

Speaking of Amy, I was flattered to be asked to officiate she and Michael’s wedding. It went very well and was a charming affair. The only down side was the AC was on the fritz and I sweated like a pig. Drenched my shirt clean through.

Dad had some health issues early in the year. A lot of unexplained weight loss. Turned out to be celiac disease forcing us to go gluten free. We’ve made a lot of adjustment. Bread is probably the thing Dad misses the most. There’s just no adequate substitute. Corn tortillas come the closest. For me its been good. We eat a lot less processed food. Buy stuff a lot more in its natural condition. No more hamburger helper.

In July work picked up when I switched from doing the co-occurring stuff to being the senior counselor. With state cut backs  its been a bit of a mad scramble. We’re trying to make some changes and it seems to be getting doable. Very engaging overall, love my education groups, love being a part of people making good changes in their lives. Not a hint of boredom yet.

Myrtle’s death and Oni’s eviction left a dog shaped hole but only for a couple few weeks. Dad saw an add in the free classifieds and picked Fido up at 4 months. He’s half Bichon Frise (the little teddy bear looking poodle dogs) and half Cocker Spaniel or Cockechon, although he was advertised in the paper as a Cockapoo and that is what Dad will tell you the dog is.

Fido’s first road trip was back to the homeland to meet everyone at the family reunion. He got a little car sick but enjoyed meeting all the people and dogs. He’s continued to liven up the house and we like to walk the piece of the Bear Creek Trail by us.

The Big Muddy was high most of the summer so didn’t float a lot. Did float at the flooded out Overton Bottoms and enjoyed the heck out of canoeing through the woods. Whoop, the brownies need checking…… Not too bad for gluten free.

The Fall was pretty uneventful. Brought a bigger and homemade compost bin on line, thanks Dad and ended up with a pretty decent garden harvest. Brenda, Heather, and John made it out for Thanksgiving which we did up right with all local made from scratch dishes including our pasture raised bird. Ended up using a lot of my holiday energy to pull that off so we are taking a minimalist approach to Christmas. It will be our first Christmas at Leslie Lane breaking the last five or six years of spending the holiday camping or in a hotel.

On Christmas Eve we are going to Outback and perhaps go see True Grit. Christmas morning I’m working. I got permission to show A Charlie Brown Christmas for my ed group and I plan talking about cultivating our inner Linus. Dad is making a ham for the big day and I’m having a former homeless guy over for dinner. Its his birthday and he doesn’t have anyone and a guest will make it all the more festive. Boxing Day we plan on spending with Amy and Michael for more ham and such. Bought a Norfolk Pine and decked it out as the holiday tree as part of my adding more houseplants to the mix. Also picked up a nice Christmas cactus.

The new years is then upon us and i am gearing up for a major new resolution. Details TBA. Hope your holidays are filled with peace and joy light and love.

Categories: dogs, gardening, travel, work
  1. December 21, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Sounds like a pretty full year, curious about the major new resolution.

    Glad I came for Thanksgiving, the weather looks frightful for traveling now.

  2. December 21, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Yeah I was surprised at the level of activity. I was also struck that I had blogged about everything and almost everything i blogged about made the letter excepting the garden and drugs and the brain.

  3. colleenanderson
    December 23, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks for reading my post. I can relate to losing a personable pet and the celiac thing. My sister is celiac but we had no problem in Ireland, the second highest number of celiacs per capita in the new year.

    I’m really curious about breaking into a Catholic church. 🙂 Happy holidays.

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