Saturday, December 20, 2008

Prescription for Fun

As the holidays approach, I have spent some time reflecting on everything that has happened in the past year. I cannot believe how much has changed and that we survived the year!

I had lots of good things happen in ‘08, once I recovered from the accident that almost ruined every Christmas to come: the “Costco Caddy” incident on December 20, 2007, when a runaway Cadillac crashed into our local Costco food court. I missed severe injury by inches, but my leg wounds ultimately resulted in surgery and a long recovery from the “disabled list.” Since "the winter of my discontent", I was part of a relay team that participated in the Big Sur International Marathon. Although I didn't run as much as I would have liked, I was able to participate and finish. I also went back to school at UC Davis for a professional certification in Land Use and Environmental Planning. My activities with St. George’s Episcopal Church and Native Daughters of the Golden West added more fun to my life.

After two years of intense work and 17 years of mentally baking an idea, Route 66 Railway—El’s coffee-table book about Route 66 and the Santa Fe Railway in the Southwest—arrived in late October. We’ve sold a bundle of signed copies in less than two months and overall sales are climbing thanks to tremendous word-of-mouth. The media coverage is just beginning: El is acting as a one-man PR agency, but that’s a small trade-off for having a book that looks so good. More signings and author talks are scheduled over the next four months, so watch El’s book website: He also started a personal photo blog, “Outside is America."

Our daughter Kathryn is an 8th grader at Monte Vista Christian School. We’re all so proud of the fine young lady she has become. She joined the leadership class, sings in the middle school choir, went to MVCS’ summer equestrian camp, and continues as a Girl Scout. We took Kat to Disneyland for her 13th birthday, which fell on Mother’s Day this year. (As a bonus, Elrond and Kat got a cab ride on the Disneyland Railroad!).

As a family, we still found time to have fun, topped off by an Amtrak trip to Portland and side trips to the Oregon Coast, Columbia River Gorge and elsewhere. In September, El and I finally got to meet our longtime favorite SF Giants shortstop, Omar Vizquel, at his first West Coast art reception (see my September blog post). We reunited with old friends John and Debbie Scott and their children. El and I spent memorable evenings listening to Bruce Springsteen in Sacramento and the Police. I had been waiting to see both bands since college!

Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Tess, our Calico kitty, who passed away in November after more than 15 years of bringing us joy. We’re still in mourning, along with her sister Zoe, but Atticus is doing his best to keep our spirits up.

We have a new arrival: a gray kitten named Lucy, who slowly adopted us during the past few months. Atticus finally has a little playmate/ henchman.

Despite a year that started out so terribly, I managed to bring the fun back into my life. I have so much to be grateful for. Despite the many challenges and struggles in our world, I have a renewed spirit of optimism for 2009. I hope your holidays are happy, and that life brings you great joy in the coming year.