December 4, 2005

Dear Family and Friends,

The year 2205 (or 5765 depending on whose calendar you are looking at) has been really busy, as I have been doing some home improvement projects, which are still not finished.

This year we started a new tradition. Julie, Merlin's Dad, stayed with us the whole month of February to get out of the New England cold. It was great to have the company of someone to appreciate my cooking.

In April Stephanie turned 30 so we went to Costa Mesa for her surprise birthday party. Jenn came from Romania for three weeks including the party, so seeing our two girls together was great. Being with the Slaton family was wonderful too.

In May we were in Atlanta for the Merlin Family Reunion. Too bad so many fun and interesting people live so far away.

Late May I found I have diabetes. Quit smoking, gained 50 pounds, got diabetes--no justice. So I went to a lot of classes and am still trying to lose the pounds.

On July 25 we started the kitchen remodel. The main part (appliances, counter tops, and cabinets) was done in three weeks. The tile work is still not done and we are still trying to figure out how to use the fancy new appliances.

In August Jenn and Mark came home from Romania and are now in Wisconsin. Their address is:

340 East Clarence Street

Milwaukee, WI 53207-1504

On September 25 the Denver family reunited perhaps for the last time to celebrate my dear Aunt Cleo's 100th birthday. She was glowing. The affair was beautifully done. Jerry could really be proud. I was so happy so many of the family could be there. Uncle Lou's three sisters were as vibrant as ever. I grew up truly blessed to be surrounded by such a loving family.

Merlin and I rushed back to San Jose for one day before leaving on a three-week trip to South Africa. My niece Wendy, Marsha and Peter's daughter, was getting married on October 1. Her new husband Tino is a doll. His parents and 84-year-old grandma came from Portugal for the wedding. Afterwards, Marsha and Peter went with us to a game park, Frank showed us around Johannesburg, and we went to Cape Town and then visited Marsha and Peter at their home in George, on the Garden Route by the Indian Ocean.

In November we went to Jenn and Mark's for deep-fried turkey (yum). I must say my daughter set a great feast for the 14 of us gathered. A great migration from Nebraska accounted for most of the guests. The only person who had a snow problem going home was Stephanie. Having such nice extended families has enriched our lives.

So to friends and family alike I wish you all health to enjoy all your blessings and peace in the new year.


Sandy and Merlin