Happy Holidays!

Well, I would say something clever, sarcastic or sardonic about the election, but all the good jokes have been taken. So which do you want for Christmas--a star named after you or a chia pet??

India trip (Nov. 22-Dec. 5) summed up: Dust, dung, people- people-people, cattle (wandering--and pooping--freely), motorscooters, bicycles, dogs (also seemingly ownerless & as irresponsible as the cattle), cars, buses, trucks, carts drawn by camels, horses or tractors, people-people-people and the modern & ancient side-by-side--Internet access via a "cyber cafe" along with dung & straw paddies drying by the side of the road to be used for heat and cooking, the same way they've done for centuries. We saw the Red Fort & Gandhi's cremation site in Delhi plus many temples, mosques & palaces.

Unfortunately, midway thru the trip, Mary lost feeling on her right side & had to be rushed to a medical facility, where she was stabilized. We took a train to Delhi, then went by ambulance to a hospital with cat scan capabilities where they discovered that she has a benign brain tumor. Five days later, they let us fly back home (accompanied by a nurse) & we're now in the process of scheduling the necessary surgery. She's on medication to keep things under control & feeling fine. Prognosis appears good. (Jan. 2 addendum: Surgery on Dec. 28. Back from hospital today. Doing o.k. Lost some feeling in lower right leg, but can walk o.k. Dr. says it may come back -- or may not. Time will give us the complete story.)

The high point of the year was the birth of our second granddaughter, Mary Margaret (Maggie) on Valentine's day in Tiberias, Israel, and the subsequent visit of Israel & Cindy plus Maggie & her older sister Noah in September. Pictures at 7 & 21 months, respectively. It was particularly nice to have son Steve (engineer with Honda) visit also over Labor Day from his home in Columbus, Ohio.

A sad note: We lost my Aunt DeeDee this past April. She was 95. Things just "gave out." A few weeks before she died, she said "Life just isn't that much fun anymore." Anyone who knew her knew she had a lot of fun out of life.

Soccer-wise, I'm 10 years into being League Director for Senior Girls with the local youth group & almost have it down. Our U-19's won top honors at the All Star Tourney this fall & both the U-16 & U-19 teams won championships last spring.

Our poor cat Henry had to be put to sleep this fall. Liver disease. Didn't eat (or hardly drink) for 2 1/2 months. Went from 21.5 pounds to just a little over 11. He was a good cat.

License plates of note: B THBEST, ARIVDCI, LIV4PCE; Now the N's: NGR8, NEGO C8, INTGRT, NCLINED, JSTNTIM; The X's: X DOGGI, X GRUNT, B26 WW2; Cars & their plates: CUUL MOM (a van), MAS CAH (probably from Boston), WIFE LFT (Toyota Forerunner), 4 SUN N (red convert), FUN2B IN (silver Corvette), A THANG (orange weird boxy style convert with VW hubcaps).

No progress on the patio. If you have e-mail, please drop a line to ldmark@erols.com so we can keep in touch during the year. And, you can check my website (www.erols.com/ldmark) for developments with the Mark family.                   -- Mary & Larry