Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year --                                                                     December 2014

Here are this year's health grades: Mary = pretty good for the most part. Me = close to good, but . . . . I still have leg circulatory problems, which limits my walking somewhat. But I manage. In late January, a bad medication interaction causing low blood pressure plus a very low heart rate (the nurse told me later it was close to stopping!) -- resulted in a 911 call & a brief stay in the hospital. Finally, on Oct. 27, I was diagnosed with Shingles -- but my case was caught early & was relatively mild (just used Tylenol) compared with the horror stories I've heard. Rash mostly faded now. Aside from the legs, I feel just fine.

Grandkid count remains at eleven as our big trip of the year (come to think of it, only trip!) was in late February-early March when we flew out to Arizona to visit Cindy and Israel and their brood. Noah, our oldest granddaughter, celebrated "sweet sixteen" this December and Jewel Grace, the youngest, was one year old in August. In between are five boys and two more girls. Nice visit. They are now in the process of moving from Maricopa to a "fixer-upper" about 20 miles away in Queen Creek.

With Steve & Jenny in southeast Virginia (about three hours away), we get to see their family more often. Last visit, however, was just Steve & the two little girls (Teagan & Elektra, who will be five & two, respectively, in February) as Jenny & her daughter Sarah (a freshman in high school) took a four-day mother-daughter jaunt to London. Andrew is in his sophomore year at UVA and doing well.

Mary is still volunteering at ECHO and is active in her church group. I'm still a soccer League Director for U19 Girls -- 49th season next spring! (One of my coaches once dubbed me "League Director for Life.") I'm also still vice-chair of the Advisory Council for the Burke/West Springfield Senior Center Without Walls. (Click on http://www.ldmark.com/Seniors.htm for a nice story on our efforts. I even got quoted!)

Licence plates of note: Two Camrys -- PWRTOY & TOYODUH -- QNOFHVN; LIK2BIK; TIM4FUN; KNITTR; 2 MAUI; ILN HOPR; WHOHAH; LIVWIKD; AAAUGH; NAWLANS; 6 HSBNDS; 3BOOMRS; SCCR CRZ; G FOR IT; HAVA FIT; K8YDIDS; CHCOHLC; UPNABT & RUN RG3.

In September I finally gave in -- hearing aids! My main fear was that "things" in my ears would bother me. Hey, they don't! And the "ears" work pretty nicely. Well, Mary and I quietly celebrated 50 years together on Nov. 21. Here's something to ponder: "Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened."

Since my 1997 retirement, I've mostly taken over the evening meal cooking chores. And though I will never match my sister Jane, I think I'm pretty decent. I recently asked myself (& you should ask yourself the same question): "What are the three things you have excelled at in your lifetime?" My answer: Ping pong (hey, I was pretty damn good!); writing; and cooking.

With that, I'll close this epistle & wish each & every one of you a very Merry Christmas & the best year yet in 2015. -- Mary & Larry
(PS - Check my website: www.ldmark.com)