Colleen Meade
1997 Christmas Letter

December 11th, 1997       
Hello again ! Well, it was a relatively dull year - at least compared to our last two - but there were still a few interesting things we remember ...

Wasn't that snow at Christmas and New Year's incredible - wow ! I'm sure we're not the only ones who had their plans changed due to the weather. On the afternoon of Christmas Eve day, we took a taxi down to Safeway then walked back with our turkey and trimmings - a memorable experience. I couldn't even get my car out of the garage (it took three days to clear a path). Kathleen got stuck at her dad's later in the holidays and then we had to reschedule having her grandpa, uncle and cousin (and her husband) over - I'm glad we finally managed it though.

Starting the day after the snow melted, I had all sorts of problems with the pool heater, which seemed to go on and on. Still, I was lying out in the sun again by late February, so I didn't miss going to Mexico (well, not TOO much).

We had some friends who were going down to Disneyland in April, so that gave me the incentive to finally put together my album (and collages) from our '96 trip. They also borrowed our video camera - we hadn't had it yet when we went - so it was interesting to see their tapes when they got home. It really brought back the memories - especially of things like Fantasmic and the Lion King parade !

I spent most of the spring working in the garden (front and back) - it was much easier this year (and I got a new ELECTRIC lawn mower - the only way to go!).

In June, we went to see "Lord of the Dance". We're huge Michael Flatley fans, so this was a big thrill. It was also the first time I've taken Kathleen to a major production and I was happy that she enjoyed it. Fortunately, the live show was even better than the video (which we own and have watched many times).

Also in June was Kathleen's elementary school graduation - they did a really nice ceremony (lots of tears). On a separate day, they had a lunch followed by a dance, in the (decorated) gym - it was a medieval theme. I calligraphied the dance cards: 49 students, 10 partners in each (plus one on the front) totalled over 500 names !

For summer vacation, Kathleen went to Camp Elphinstone for two weeks in mid-July, including her birthday. Her step-sister, Vanessa, has been going there for years, so that helped her acclimatize. Vanessa also came over for a visit after they got home. While Kathleen was away, I mostly just spent the time lazing around, but I did go up to Whistler for a couple of days to help some friends work on the cabin they are building - boy, is it ever nice ! Curt is still at university, so he wasn't able to take Kathleen for any extra time.

We also went to the Abbotsford Airshow this year (the first time for Kathleen). We went with a couple of friends and their student boarder, who fortunately has an air-conditioned van, because it was really, REALLY hot ! We enjoyed it in spite of the heat and I took lots of photos (4+ rolls), and my friend used my video camera, so it was a worthwhile experience. We won't be doing it again soon, though.

Around the end of August, we had to take Snowball in to the vet to get an infection treated and they had this group of kittens who had been abandoned on Galliano Island. While I was in with Snowball, Kathleen was playing with them in another room and she really fell in love with one of them. By the next day, she had talked me into going back to get him. He is pure black and long-haired, with the bushiest tail that curls over his back and the most loving personality you can imagine. She named him Rascal, which is quite appropriate. Snowball and Mocha have adapted.

Kathleen started high school in September - the photo inside the card is her going off for her first day. It is much farther away than the elementary school was (a half-hour walk) and starts a half-hour earlier, so we're up an hour earlier than previous years - yuck ! She had a really good first report card - the teachers seem OK and she has some pretty interesting subjects (especially woodworking !).

In late September we noticed Snowball was having problems - drinking constantly (and going to the bathroom frequently - not always in the litter box - argh!), not eating, and losing weight rapidly. Sure enough, it turned out he had diabetes. We have only just now gotten it under control and stabilized. He gets insulin needles twice a day - both Kathleen and I have learned how to give them - and has special food (which is expensive, though the insulin is relatively cheap). It's nice to see him more back to his old self (and he's stopped peeing on the floor!)

Halloween was another beautiful night (had 90 kids again) and then we had some fantastic weather in November - 5 of 6 days in one week plus the 16th and 18th were spent by and in the pool. In fact, even this last Monday (the 8th), it was 71 degrees on my back steps and I was out in my bikini. The geraniums and nasturtiums are still blooming - made it hard to get into Christmas spirit. We've moved the main tree up into my room, so the new kitten (Rascal) won't wreck it this year like Mocha did last year (but I did - finally ! - get it fixed up). Not too much more to do now - just get these cards out (I didn't trust the postal workers to go back, so I've only just started making them) and wrap the presents. I'm feeling really good now - I think (hope) I finally found a medication that works - so I may even be able to go back to work next year. What a concept !!

Hope all is well with you and yours ...

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