Colleen Meade
1993 Christmas Letter

December 9th, 1993       
I was just re-reading my last year's letter - this year certainly has been dull by comparison. We're still in the same house, with the same car, Kathleen at the same school and me at the same (i.e. no) job. Much more relaxing than last year, though that's not to say we haven't been busy - can't quite believe that a whole year has gone by.

We never did make it to Mexico last winter - I just didn't feel any huge need to get away. All that snow we had was lots of fun - tobogganing and stuff - though it was a real nightmare for driving: all these hills and a really low car - I kept getting into trouble. I spent most of that time doing more painting and decorating in the house, finishing off my bedroom and starting the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen area. I did have a Fashion Party, just after spring break, to give me the incentive to keep at it.

When I was in my usual panic getting ready for that party, a friend helped me to make the frame that I needed to stretch one of my Club Med silk scarves on and he brought over his jig saw. I'd never seen one before and I thought it was just the cutest thing - so I got one of my own (London Drugs: $49.88). I'd already bought myself a drill and a stapler last year - it's a regular "Tool Time" around here now ! I wanted to build this complicated planter/trellis to put on top of the fence between my yard and the neighbor's, where my back deck was very exposed to the view from their kitchen. I'd cleared it with the neighbor the previous fall, but then she decided to sell her house (which, unfortunately lost us the nine-year-old next door - and her 15-year-old babysitting sister), so I was in a big hurry to get it up before they left, since I'm certain it isn't quite legal. Took ages to do - multiple trips to Lumberland and the neighborhood hardware stores - but it turned out just the way I planned it. Then I got involved in making a bunch of really neat planters for myself and a friend, then I decided to make an extra bed for Kathleen's room, so that her friends wouldn't have to sleep on the floor when they stayed over, and some extra cupboards for over the fridge in the kitchen. I really got into it !! You should have seen the Miata with an 8' x 3' trellis in it, or a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood on top - the guys at the lumberyard were VERY skeptical, but I got it all home by myself !

Then around June, I realized I missed working on a mural (the Mermaid one was so much fun to do), so I decided to do an Aladdin one in Kathleen's playroom, which also finally forced me to put away the stuff from the move that we'd stored in there from a year before. The playroom is also on the lower level, beside her bedroom - that's part of it in the picture inside the Christmas card (and the picture on the front of the card is of a Santa that she made at a Christmas craft day at Maple Grove school when she was in kindergarden). I also made a bed/couch and an end-table to go in there, as well as starting to work on a headboard for the bed in my room. Of course, each of these projects got more complicated than the last, as my abilities (and my confidence in them) increased.

Kathleen's birthday party (she was 9 on the 19th of July) was a barbeque/sleepover/brunch - I had nine girls for eighteen hours, with no assistants. I must have been crazy !! Worked out OK though - the weather was great (clear, but not toooo hot, like last year) and we didn't run out of food. That was a near thing though - I had no idea these guys could go through it so fast - they were like a pack of frenzied pirhanas ! That weekend was also the date of Kathleen's first horse show - she's been riding (at Crescent Stables in Ladner) for over a year now. She's even doing jumps these days !! That was fun - it was a lovely, sunny day and the whole family went down: Grandpa, Curt, his brother and sister-in-law and me. Only Kathleen's cousin was missing - she'd gotten married back in April and inherited two sons ! We had a second birthday celebration there.

The following week, I got sick and stayed that way for the next six weeks, so August is not a happy memory. I think it was just some kind of flu bug (nausea, cramps, constipation, muscle aches, exhaustion), but it kept persisting and I kept relapsing, and, of course, the weather hadn't been the greatest (I never did get the garden (pots and planters) finished) and I got really depressed. Then you don't know if you're feeling down because you're or sick because you're down. Finally snapped out of it the week before school started. Fortunately, Kathleen had been at daycamp again for the summer, though I don't think their field trips were quite as good this year as last. That was also the time of the great "ant" infestation - I've never seen anything like it - argh ! Thank heavens for poisons - amazing how any concern for the environment goes right out the window when umpteen gadzillion ants come in the door !!

Also had a bit of a scare at the beginning of August when Kathleen's grandfather ended up in the hospital unexpectedly for a while - he's better now, though it is a chronic (lung) condition that will continue to bother him. Then Curt wasn't very well for a few weeks around the end of the month and had to miss some of his times with Kathleen - all in all, not a great time for anyone (except Kathleen, who is still a really healthy, happy kid - at least as well as could be expected in these circumstances - thank goodness !).

September was luverly - perfect weather, Kathleen back in school (she's in Grade 4 this year), feeling human again. Decided not to spoil my "vacation" by having a Fashion Party. I spent pretty much the whole month out on the back deck just relaxing in the sun with a stack of books, working on my (politically incorrect) tan. Actually, with the sliding doors to the sunroom open, I was still out in it right through Thanksgiving. Then it was time to make Kathleen's Hallowe'en costume again (she was a ghost this year, although Mommy had this brilliant idea to make it out of silver lame, and she ended up looking more like a space alien. She took it very graciously though). I was also making the Jasmine costume that she is wearing in the photograph and doing a bunch of other sewing as well. I'd finally bought my own sewing maching in September - what a luxury ! - now I can stop bugging my friends about borrowing theirs.

As soon as Hallowe'en was over, I started getting ready for Christmas. Even if it doesn't feel like you should need to, it always seems to creep up without you noticing, so I wanted to be prepared for once, rather than in a panic. Particularly as I have no excuse for not being ready, since, as I mentioned above, I'm still not working. I can't imagine how I ever coped with a job, a house, a yard and a daughter, let alone had time left over for any kind of a life ! I haven't been looking at all; however, I'll have to do something in the spring, since this money won't last forever - unfortunately. Haven't decided whether or not to do a trip to Mexico this year; I'm still debating. Still lots of work to do on the house - finish the Aladdin room and the kitchen, and there is still the balcony room upstairs, which I only just managed to get tidied and started on last summer. I do hope to have a Fashion Party in the spring and/or at least a Moms Group supper. Won't quite compare, though, with the two weekends away that the Moms Group managed this year (without kids or husbands ! ) - one at the end of June on Bowen and one at Whistler at the beginning of October. Great fun !!

Well, I hope this gets to you fairly early this year. Sorry about being so late getting my cards out last year - I'd wanted to be in plenty of time to let you know our new address, but I didn't do a very good job. Now I'd better run or I won't do any better this year !

Hope all is well with you and yours ...

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