Greetings on what would appear another spring day – at the very end of December – it’s almost balmy in these parts. Hopefully you’re anticipating the New Year celebration. May you have both Hope and Positivity; resolve that these escort you through the coming year with health, peace, and courage. Face even difficulties with joy and a sense of invincibility.

The practically mild weather being horrible for the gang from Austin. They came equipped to go to our nearby Northern Slopes for a little skiing and snowboarding.

Now, since it’s still quiet in the place and the coffee is done, let’s continue:
There is a famous phrase, ‘Old is Gold,’ Just like that our family are gold for us; we can’t afford to lose them at any cost. So, always try to reconnect with family even we meet after a long time.

“Happiness is meeting an old friend after a long time and feeling that nothing has changed” ~ Cris Dar

What did change is the totally renewed fascination with our old vintage Speakeasy Pinball machine. Game after game, wherever in the condo we happened to be, the ‘flippers’ slapping and the bells dinging could be heard as points were scored. Since I kept loading fresh games on the machine I am accurate in saying that over 160 games have been played so far during this past week. This has never happened since we’ve owned the thing. It’s great!

Photos – Marcia prepared for the gatherings this week by surfacing boxes filled with old family photographs. Adrianne found a place with photo albums on sale and bought four. We all sat on the floor digging through the piles, with many a “Oh NO!”, or “who took this’, and “you weren’t that skinny were you?” Anyway, each family went home carrying their newly treasured album. And yes, we still have a more left than Marcia had hoped for. That’s how it goes.

White Elephant – If, at your end, you do not have a White Elephant gift exchange you should. At our end it’s the most requested thing and provides the happiest chatter.

Doing things – I’ll let the pictures say it all; walking the Purple People Bridge across the Ohio River into Kentucky. Time spent at the Newport Aquarium. Stopping by Dewey’s Pizza to embarrass Marin at his work (it’s next to the Aquarium). Enjoyable moments spent at our Zoo. And later, streetcar travel through town to the 21C Museum and Hotel and to the Contemporary Art Museum. Even Derek getting his hair cut at probably the town’s hippest Barber Shop.
The rest of the weekend appears to be just as busy. I do believe that tomorrow there is even a trip to Columbus on the schedule.

Fini – Tevita, safe and sound in Tonga, has managed to do ‘face-time’ with the kids. Considering the days Adrianne spent in Tonga just a few years ago and the difficulty we had communicating with her, things have changed even in that remote nation.

The kids are growing. Dinah is now recognized as the family’s Ramen Noodle specialist and makes a very ‘mean’ broth. Delicious!

As the video shows, Marin took over the kitchen last evening. Deftly doing some high-speed slicing and dicing he prepared an array of toppings and then proceeded to prepare the crust for several, fabulous, pizzas. He’s more than just a ‘pro’ at this, he’s become a magician. By the way, Marcia was aghast as flour ended up on counter, floor, and most everywhere (and this morning I noticed that it had all been magically cleaned up).

And for those wondering, I did just fine on the 2019 Egg Nog Jog coming in 12th place out of 71 in my age category.

Till next week, Happy New Year and stay safe!
Dirk

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