Monday, December 26, 2011
Christmas Letter 2011
Merry Christmas from San Diego! I write on a beautiful Sunday morning of 70 degrees and a cloudless sky. I know it is winter because I’m wearing my long wet suit when I paddle out for winter waves of 57 degrees.
Jeanne and I are on our way to Temecula to spend time with her son Daniel’s family who are now real in-laws as he married his lovely girlfriend Danielle this year. We got an instant grandson named Dylan (7) from her previous marriage. He is the greatest little guy who has captured our hearts with his gentle spirit and intelligence. This summer he got to meet and play with his new cousin Danny when Renee (daughter) and Ale visited this summer. Danny had a 2 yr old birthday party and he and Dylan enjoyed the little wading pool together. Danny loved his new cousin instantly as an inventive playmate who was patient and kind and fun all afternoon. Kids are such an example of acceptance of others if you pay attention! Dylan has started to spend a weekend with Grandpa Warren and Grandma Jeanne when he is out of school. He loves the beach, and scooter and bikes and LEGO!! He also has a new baby sister Daylin who came into the world just the day before yesterday (12/23) ! Grandma Jeanne got to be there, and this morning I anticipate holding this precious gift from God. Pictures on my blog at: www.hotelkellyfornia.blogspot.com.
Early last January my manager called me into his office to give me a new assignment. He promised a challenge for me. I now serve as the sole customer facing consultant to the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District. This is the local arm of the EPA in our county with about 300 staff, mostly chemists. They are pretty set in their ways and are having difficulty adapting to the software we have installed and customized for them. The APCD IT manager is a sharp guy who works hard and demands a great deal from his consultant – me. Together we are automating their operation and soon will be making it web automated for permit review and renewal via internet including paying annual fees etc. To complicate things, on May 1 this year my contract to do this work was bought by Hewlett-Packard. SD County extended the contract to 2017 (which is great) but I had to squeeze in the on-boarding activities, including a large dose of company Kool-Aid and a new management culture. So far HP is leaning on guys like me to keep the customer happy until they can take control of customer issues.
Jeanne is working for a female dentist 1 to 3 days a week these days. In fact their whole staff is female. She works hard there as they see a lot of patients per day. On days off she hits the gym and has done a lot of decorating, and organizing along with the usual chores so we can enjoy our time when we are home together. I simply cannot tell you how she has “decorated” my entire life in so many delightful ways. We also enjoy prayer and scripture and inspirational books together. We watch movies and read to each other. Our favorite this year was Ken Follett’s “Fall of Giants”. Book one of a trilogy starting with WWI Europe to continue through WWII and into modern industrial age.
This spring Jeanne and I acted like little kids and went to Disneyland for a couple of days. She has not been for a long time, and I had not seen many of the new attractions. It was good for both of us, as we relaxed and enjoyed the entertainment at a leisurely pace. Jeanne has a penchant for making me laugh as we explored our childhood views of Disney, movies, siblings, family culture and misbehaving. July 10 we celebrated 2 whole years of marital bliss with a special evening at Donovan’s on Fifth in the Gas Lamp District downtown. We have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly trust and emotional compatibility have grown between us. We also started dance lessons at Balboa Park Dancers nearby. We got into East Coast swing, foxtrot, and were introduced to others. We really enjoy this engaging activity and the exercise. No surprise I’m still surfing on Saturday mornings with my buddies at Tourmaline Surfing Park.
As mentioned above Renee (my oldest daughter) and Alejandro and grandson Danny made a trip to San Diego. It was great to see them, play with Danny and catch up. Alejandro has his handyman business going full time and is pretty busy. Renee continues to enjoy working from home as a Mary Kay consultant and full time mom. Her blog is amazing: http://www.miqueridafamilia.com/. Family and recipes to boot.
Lisa is still engaged (since last Christmas) to Ray Villegas. They will get married Feb 29 and we are looking forward to Renee and Ale getting out for that. This year her prayers and hard work resulted in promotion to manager and AMC theatres in La Jolla. We like to meet for dinner then free movies from her family tickets benefit! Lisa still is passionate about film and has competed with a team in preparing short subject entries. She also joined our church: Eastlake Community Church.
Speaking of church, last August Jeanne and I volunteered with about 100 others to plant a satellite church in Rancho San Diego. EastLake Chula Vista is designed to accommodate 10,000 and we are about 7000 now. So in anticipation we have planted an internet church, and 3 satellite location churches. We have separate live worship team bands, and local pastor, but share the preaching from Chula Vista or one of the satellites or one of our out-of-state plants. Isn’t the internet handy? Christmas Eve was our first service in the new location: the new Theatre Arts complex at Cuyamaca Community College. We had about 200 attend. I’m back to playing guitar in rotation at the Rancho satellite. Quarterly I contribute to our Email Devotional that goes out M – F to those who subscribe online. When did Jesus get this techie?
Alas Christmas is a little different this year because Ken flew in and scooped Kate (Mom) up on Dec 16 and flew here back to Oahu for celebration with himself and Violet and son Chris (and dog Kona). That dog is gonna be spoiled! Jeanne and I will fly out on Martin Luther King holiday and bring Mom back with us after two weeks of much needed get away. She continues to live where I grew up with help from our dear Charlene Cole-Young. This has been a tough year for Charlene as she lost her husband Orson, and recently here dad. Still she and her daughter have provided steady sustaining help to Kate in spite of family difficulty and a knee replacement which was very successful! This holiday season she is on vacation well deserved.
Jeanne’s brother Pierre moved up on the property her family owns in Cohasset California which is the site where her mom, Lorae has her home. He checks up and is a help with various needs that arise. Jeanne has more peace of mind with him keeping an eye on things up there.
That rounds out the family news from us. We genuinely care that you have a connection to us as we move into 2012 together. Merry Christmas and God bless you!