The year was one for us of ups and downs with a sense of a quiet steady underflow, kicked off with our tradition of three foreign films per day with friends the Butchers at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
The first quarter of 2014 was taken up largely with assisting Milan’s Mom to prepare for her final life transition. Visits by daughter and son-in-law Leslea and Jim Sullivan and cousin Jan O’Grady and phone calls from other relatives and friends filled her last few months with happy memories, and the April memorial service at her church, followed by burying her with her colorful beads showered over her casket, made for a most appropriate celebration of Opal’s life.
Leslie Temanson’s two-month “furlough” from Thailand is always a trip. This year our gang got to help celebrate his niece Rebecca’s marriage to Moshe. No sooner had he returned to the elephant camp where he now lives, we learned that he began building a house nearby, and has bought an elephant, name of Loong T.
We capped off the first half of the year with our annual celebration of our anniversary (38th) and Linda’s (?) birthday at Hotel California in Palm Springs.
The summer found us hosting granddaughters Sami and Kayla from Iowa. Highlights for us were Sami’s American Girl tea party and creating a “fairy garden” with furniture built by Grandpa Milan, and several author book-signings with blogger Kayla, who we found was known to many of the authors because of her reviews of their books. A special day trip to Los Angeles allowed us to visit the Museum of the Holocaust for the first time.
Celebrations included Frank Knutson’s 80th, Thanksgiving in the mountains with our gang and a surprise birthday for Frank’s son Kyle, our usual Christmas Eve at our house playing charades and “Balderdash,” and New Year’s Eve at Tomi Olson’s, watching the Times Square ball drop at 9 p.m. and in bed by 10.
Other activities during the year included trips to Portland to enjoy our fun granddaughters Katy and Grace (and their parents), Linda’s Tai Chi teaching, regular Tuesday night meditation group, Milan’s weekly memoir writing class and blog postings, Linda’s volunteer facilitation with Corazon, a terrific organization working with poor families in Tijuana (Milan even helped out with their Christmas party attended by 450 people). Milan was especially gratified that he helped elect a Democrat to Congress from our district (first in history he thinks). He also was elected to the board of directors of our Braemar Cooperative Apartments, which Linda was appointed to chair the newly formed landscaping committee. And we were especially happy to welcome friend Maxine Nacsin, who finally moved into her Braemar apartment.
Finally, we share some favorites:Movies-“Pride,” an inspiring 1984 story of gays and lesbians of London supporting a community of striking coal miners; “The Imitation Game,” and “Ida.”TV mini-series: “Grand Hotel,” “The Roosevelts.”TV shows: “Madame Secretary,” Bluebloods,” “Major Crimes.”Books: Linda is reading prequels to “Dune” and Milan is catching up by reading “Dune.”