Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Kimbles

….to all our friends and neighbors, to America, and to all the ships at sea. Wife and I are sitting here eating blueberry pie with black cherry ice cream. If you are having mood troubles, that will get you in the holiday spirit pretty quick. So here it is: 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 3 tbs corn starch, bring to boil, add 1.25 quarts of frozen blueberries or strawberries, bring back to boil, add to pie shell, bake 40 minutes. Enough for 2 pie shells. Twice the blue happiness!

If this Christmas has any warning or lesson for future generations it would be, “Don't fall on your noodle, eh.” Early this Spring, March 1, Marge was sick (2 degree temperature, pneumonia), and weak, called the doctor, under control, right? And she said, “I think I can make it to the restroom.” And I said, “Let me get the wheelchair.” To which she said, “No, I can make it.” And I said, “Are you sure?” The long and the short, she made it to the restroom but not from the restroom. On the way back to the kitchen she fell face first into the tile floor, I tried to catch her, it looked so bad, fortunately not as bad as it looked. nine stitches above the right eye, about a pint of red stuff, EMS, $40,000+ hospital bill, month of nursing home care, dumped the pneumonia. Back home, April 3. We also now have a lift chair (wouldn't release her without it, what?) and a walker, . Extension on income taxes, exercise at the hospital 2x per week for 3 months, some good upper body exercise and strength, but the lower body is still pretty weak, too much pain to exercise and no one wants to sign off on it (or diagnose it).

One thing that happens when your wife is gone: is you stay away from power saws, farm equipment and exercise with your dog, no back up! I became this stationary nerd guy, which has had its own negative health affects (hip troubles). Instead you build that low voltage electronics workstation in the kitchen, right? (learned this trick from Bob McCroskey summer of 1965?) Built a reporting thermometer and environmental controller, with about a 300 foot RF range, lots of little Arduino projects, microcontroller stuff, and a 3D printer. This was the year of the 3D printer for somebody, somewhere but not here. Do not buy a Twoup 3D printer, unless you just want to learn the technology and get it out of your system. I learned but I am still in love with the technology and I can't make anything, I can't even make up my mind which printer to get! The result, no lost wax castings, no little plastic relay bases, no toys, no computer add-ons, etc... And, the weeds took over. Raccoon break-ins and lots of broken windows at the old house. No tree projects this year. Bought a new Stihl chainsaw this spring (old one croaked) at the More farm store (nepotism, Grace More was my grandmother), but I haven't used it yet. And I may have lost my Zing. Anybody out there with an extra bottle of Zing, maybe a centrifugal lost wax casting machine, a CNC mill, 3D printer, a home aluminum foundry, FL condo, and maybe an ocean fishing boat, please report to..

One of the first things I did when Marge got back, was to take a long walk in the neighbor's woods with Zeus, our Labrador “run-off-with-it” retriever. He caught a huge fawn and killed it. So much for the relaxing walk in the sylvan glade. It's just been one of those years.

Rest of the family seems to be in mostly good shape. My sister, Sarah Thelen, visited a couple months ago, brought gifts and lots of stories about the cousins. Thanksgiving saw the Shirley girls, Marge and Nancy, come together in celebration. Meghan, one of Nancy's daughters took time off from skating and spent the summer in France in an education program. Not only can she now speak French but she seems to have much better perspective on life. Great high school scores run in the family (except for me, the day dreamer). Our daughter Jennifer came up, granddaughter Sarah is looking good, doing well academically, we've spent a lot of hours lately just sending stickers and emoticons back and forth on facebook, yeah, I know, super corny, but lots of fun.

Killed another microwave oven (Panasonic ) and a lot of LEDs and CFLs,. We now have a stack of them in the foyer. The magnetrons still work though (bwhahah!! Any suggestions?) I think the REMC had it in for us. Tom Sauter, who lived across the street from my parents home on Taber Street back in the 1950's, worked for a power company, and may have come up with the cause, just not a solution. We get a lot of single phase overloading here and the waveforms are awful.

Haven't heard much from my brother Matt but I hear a lot from the kids on facebook. And that's not quite true, his wife Mary Ann sent us a live Christmas tree, how cool is that? Have a couple of new nephews, up in Michigan, both named Andrew, one with Kevin and Julia Key (niece), the other with (nephew) Tom and Charity Thelen.

John's family in Minneapolis is also doing well, they stopped by in August while touring colleges. Jamie, our granddaughter just got a full ride academic scholarship to Northern Michigan University, books, housing, tuition, the works. She had been looking at sports scholarships and was traveling about to different universities. She has distinguished herself in swimming and diving, 7th in state, also did well in academics, a member of the National Honor Society, high marks, so she has been working hard.
Alex, had a good sports season in soccer but punctuated it with a nasty concussion at one point in the Spring. The picture shows her after a recent jazz band performance wearing her school soccer sport shirt. She is a trumpet player in the jazz band and orchestra playing for Prior Lake HS. Lately the band has been playing quite a few events. Both girls are beautiful young women. Hard to believe so much time has passed though. I really need to stop writing these stupid letters because every time I write one a year goes by. In deference to Alex, I was unfair here, I should have shown your sister in her fishing garb carrying a 30 pound sturgeon, but the nice college application pose won out at the last moment :)
All in all it has been an interesting year, Marge in July downloaded the Xbox jigsaw puzzle, won her first daily challenge on Aug 1, and is still undefeated as of Dec. 10. We're both fierce facebook and puzzle addicts. She very rarely if ever will post a political comment. I am just the opposite, Captain Marvel, the Michael Moore of Conservative philosophy, anti immigration, and pro Constitutional freedom defense. Being essentially shut ins, travel isn't probable. But you never know. In the meantime don't be afraid to visit, we have steaks frozen in the freezer just for such occasions.

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Margaret Shirley Kimble on FB, Kimble on FB,

Our Wonderful Granddaugters
The Fish



The real Jamie :)

The Granddaughters

Sarah at Camp

Alex and Jamie


The End of Grade School

Who needs fish when you catch one of these?