November 29, 2010


Dear Friends and Family,


It’s that special time of the year to reconnect and share our doings over the past year.

Last March Merlin and I got to go to Maryland to be with Jenn and Mark and our granddaughters Emily and Kate.  Keeping up with them is a little tough but so very much fun.

In May Stephanie and her husband Ryan brought our beautiful granddaughter Samantha to live at our house.  The move was precipitated by Ryan’s belief that he was more likely to get a job in Northern California.  It took five months but he is now back working as an architect in San Jose.  (Hurray!)

In July, Merlin and I went on a great cruise to Alaska.  Fabulous is the best word to describe it.  However one evening about 60% of the passengers were too seasick to eat dinner.  (Me too.)  The land part of our trip included Denali.  The ten-hour school-bus tour of the park was unbelievable.  The tour guide warned us that we would probably not see all of the animals.  I told her that for some unknown reason the wildlife comes to me.  Well, true to my prediction, we saw grizzly bears and cubs, great moose, caribou, eagles, red foxes, and all kinds of birds.  At that point she said our tour went to #1 of all the tours she had driven and we could go home, but I said that “my wolf’ hasn’t come yet and as they laughed, around the curve walked an alpha male gray wolf, and on the way back we saw the entire den of 16 sunbathing in the meadow for us.

In August Merlin and I celebrated our joint 70th birthday party.  My sister Marsha came from South Africa.  My brother Gene, niece Lindsay, cousins Marilyn, Bart, Bob, and Alicia came.  Merlin’s family was well represented by his sisters Peggy and Zena and cousins Joan, Rich, Dina, Matt, and Rachel.  Our daughters, sons-in-law, and granddaughters rounded out the group.  My sister went back to Africa on the last day of August after a great four weeks.

In September Merlin went to Boston for the unveiling of his father’s headstone.  His sisters, Jenn and Emily, Steph and Ryan, and many cousins and close friends attended.  This ceremony traditionally brings a close to the period of mourning and is a celebration of what was in Julius’s case a long and eventful life filled with loving family, good friends, and good works.

Halloween was great fun this year as Samantha let me go trick-or-treating with her.  She was dressed as her favorite thing in the whole world, a “quack-quack” (duck).

Having an angel in the house who looks up every morning and says “Hello, Nanny” makes every day worth while.  Some adversities turn out to be blessings in disguise as Merlin and I get to bond in a special way with Ryan and Samantha.

I am hoping you too find unexpected blessings in the New Year.  You are always in our hearts.



                                                                              Sandy and Merlin (and Samatha)




 The travelers aboard Holland America         Sandy and the bears in Anchorage





         Moose feeding in Denali Park                              Ancient Hoffman Trio                    





Grandpa in the pool with the three angels      Sandy with Samantha the Duck