Dear Friends and Family,
This year was less like a year and more like a decade. A lot of stuff happened this year.
Way back in February, Gary and Carolyn headed up to visit with Betty Petroski in Iron River, MI. Gary went to high school with her kids. The skiing was wonderful, visiting was wonderful, we had a great time. Suki & Zephyr came with us, although Suki officially retired from all mushing back in December 2011. The warm winter canceled most winter events across MI and WI; it was good to get in a least a bit of winter, and Carolyn skied while Zephyr and Gary skijored.
Things were still pretty sane in March. Carolyn went to Milwaukee and Chicago and the cities turned out with bagpipes in a party mood on her 17 March birthday in summer-like weather. She spent quality time with friends and family and it was one of her best birthdays ever.
Then came the rest of the year.
Some really important stuff happened. Here is a sampling in no particular order.
Carolyn's friend Kath came in from Wales in October and stayed with us for a week filled with Second City, sightseeing, wonderful meals out, great weather and great meetings with friends.
Carolyn took a trip to Prague and Krakow in April with her mother. The cities were beautiful, but the trip did not offer sufficient accommodations. Pat is not as mobile as she use to be, and this trip was extremely taxing on both of them. Carolyn came home exhausted and took some time off work.
Gillian graduated college in New Hampshire on May 19th with a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology. Pat, Gary, Carolyn, and Ryan were on hand to watch her. After graduating she accepted a job teaching in Korea, where she is currently living.
There were way, way too many deaths in the course of the year. One of Pat's best friends for decades in Britain died (Muriel). One of Carolyn's recent clients and friend passed away unexpectedly. Gary's father (Robert) died, although the eulogies at the funeral did not bear much resemblance to him. Gary's co-worker (Bryan) died too, he was only 24, victim of a drunk driver. And Zephyr, our beautiful Samoyed, passed away unexpectedly from a relapse of his liver problems. He went from clinically completely healthy to dead in about a week.
The husband of one of Carolyn's best friends
(Erica & Wiley) had an unexpected stroke. It proved to be minor,
but was a wake up call for all of us. Erica introduced Gary and
Carolyn; we have, somehow, become the older generation, beset with
the problems and blessings that implies.
But of course debilitation is not the exclusive province of the old. One of Ryan's young online friends has recently been diagnosed with stage 2 lung cancer.
Work was also tumultuous. Carolyn has had a great deal of difficulty finding adequate work in home health although she finds it very rewarding. She is now looking in other areas of Speech Pathology. Gillian's position in Korea was at risk because the company that brought her over to Korea was having financial difficulty; however, another company nearby in S. Korea ended up offering her a job. Gary lost his job at Infinium Capital Management as a result of a layoff, just about a week or so before Zephyr got sick in May. The folks at ICM gave him a very nice leaving package, and even nicer letters of recommendation. Gary did manage to find another job after a few months, this one in Tinley Park working for a company that makes equipment to fold and glue boxes. Two weeks after getting hired his co-worker Bryan was killed, leaving Gary scrambling to get software ready for an upcoming trade show in October.
Ryan's life has been fairly predictable. He is doing well at COD and has recently been accepted at NIU in the fall and plans on studying computer science.
After searching for many months, Gary found
another dog to adopt. It was unexpectedly difficult and ended up
involving more than half a dozen different rescue organizations. We
ended up adopting a Golden Retriever / Sheba Inu mix we named Vita. Gary
has started training her to mush, and has already entered her in
Gary attended his 40th high school reunion with Carolyn. A few months later we spent a very nice afternoon visiting with Jackie Rappaport's mother, who is now 92 and in robust health, with her faculties intact. She has taken to giving presentations to relay her experiences during the Holocaust, something she manifestly refused to discuss years ago.
Carolyn's brother Bill and sister in law Joanne are expecting the birth of a baby boy any time now, with a due date of 12/12/12. Gary, Carolyn, and Ryan will be heading to California to join them for Christmas along with Pat, who will be staying with us for about 3 weeks.
That is a lot of stuff to happen in a single year. The humans here at 2207 were all blessed with good health, and further blessed with excellent prospects for a wonderful 2013, which will hopefully be a somewhat slower year than 2012. Carolyn continues to pursue her Jazzercise, Yoga, Bookclub & Church activities; Gary continues to go to the gym, Mushing (and is occasionally teaching formal classes!) & still teaches Judo on Fridays, and Ryan is still gaming whenever he can. Gillian is enjoying S. Korea and started her new job December 1st.
We hope your year was less unsettled than ours. We look
forward to a calmer 2013 that will only last a single year, and hope
that you'll take the time in 2013 to be in touch with us.
Our emails are: Gary@Hughes-Fenchel.net , Carolyn@Hughes-Fenchel.net, Gillian@Hughes-Fenchel.net, and Screwbucket@gmail.com. Our comcast account, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org are still active but we recommend you use Hughes-Fenchel.net .