Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

And that was the message, "Peace on earth, good will toward men." It was a message of respect and love now spread out over more than 20 centuries, over 100 generations. And that last scary little bit, "toward men," as if there might be Klingons or Thermians or Wookies just peeking in, helping and hoping for the best.

Here, so much to say, so little digital rope with which to say it. It has been the best of times and the worst. Outside it's snowing, the trees are glazed with ice and hoarfrost, the temperature is plunging to 10 below and there is a stiff wind over almost 10 inches of snow. Marge and I will have turned 70 before the year is over. And our dog Zeus has passed away. But there were still many blessings this year. For, as I sit here, Marge sits across from me, doing computer stuff and we have fond memories of 49 years of marriage.
I started the year doing the usual tasks, scraping snow, mowing grass, cleaning clothes, washing dishes, running through the fields with puppy, and then suddenly things changed. Our best friend Zeus got sick, didn't eat for a few days, then ate and seemed to get better. But he started to show a very odd symptom and he couldn't get in the car, that should have made us seek help but it was the weekend and we didn't. Next morning he was gone, arms folded, eyes open, as if waiting for our help. Sadly, our neighbor, with a backhoe could only help to bury him. And two very sad weeks passed.
And then it happened all over again, Marge was sick and didn't eat, she complained of abdominal pain and asked to go to the hospital. It was about 10PM on a Wednesday in July. Four hours later, on IV and pain medication, she said she wanted to go home. So we did. Two hours later, we were back. And it took the nurses almost two hours to insert another IV. The emergency ward doctor chose to send her to Parkview in FW but by then there were no beds available and her symptoms were worsening. By 2PM Thursday she was critical and finally a bed opened up. That evening she was in extreme pain in FW waiting for diagnostics. Friday morning, a now familiar symptom appeared, same as our puppy. In addition, she had no sleep and was in extreme pain. The ward doctor insisted she was "resting comfortably" and was in no immediate danger. He pointed out her citric acid levels showed no sign of problem. I pointed out her citric acid levels were off the charts and I was angry. He had been reading old levels from a day before!! An hour later, she was in surgery, another very few hours she would have died. Her colon had ruptured, cause unknown. And thanks to Zeus, we had a few vital minutes of warning.
Ashton Creek nursing home, colostomy, a lot of hobbling about with various medical things attached, gallons of antibiotic, and then back home. Ashton Creek was testing a new remote transmitter sensor from Philips, Marge volunteered. Who knew, taking a BP by surprise at hourly intervals during the night, is not a great idea. At this point I took up the art of chain saw trimming, I trimmed trees, and brush, and rosebushes (not recommended), and grape vines, and lots of Eleagnus angustifolia with its 1" inch thorns and millions of berries, and poison ivy, and wild currants, all growing out of or near our foundation. Found out chain saws hate cement, it dulls the chain in about 4 seconds. But, good news, house suddenly emerged from its long overgrown cocoon. Then I started trimming brush along the road. In theory, the colostomy can be reversed and meetings with the surgeon are scheduled soon. But I can't imagine. That much stress seems far too much for ordinary humans. She will need prayers and a lot of support.
The good news, Cubs won the World Series and we have a brand new walk-in shower from Bath-Fitters. The bad news, I thought someone might want our old whirlpool tub (smile), & it's now frozen in the tundra outside our front door, plus a pipe broke pipe under the new shower! Replaced and fixed 12/29, yea!

Then the election happened. Normally, I don't care, I like regular and extra crispy. But as the vote narrowed, one candidate promised, among other things, a 65% death tax, late term abortion, and open borders. As the list grew, I finally just wrote it down in a web page, popping the URL in wherever I could. Just facts mostly, but in my mind that old struggle seemed to have re-emerged, do powers derive from man or from the state? Two ways of looking at people: the Jefferson and Lincoln Republic, "all men created equal," the Judo-Christian man vs. the French and Russian Revolution progressive man; the nanny state; made equal, "to each, and from each;" of, by, and for the state! Do we give from the heart or do we have our hearts ripped from us and reallocated by the state? And then it was over, thank heavens, a little Peace on Earth (we hope), a little Good Will Toward Men (maybe!), and perhaps the salve of time for the wounds to heal! I expected Trump to lose.

Jenny and Wayne came home for the surgery. I don't know about Marge, but I needed that. You don't get that close to the grim reaper without some serious shivers. Thanksgiving was a good catharsis too, lots of good food and cheer. Didn't get the house cleaned up, but close except for floors & final dusting.

On a lighter note, the family is doing interesting things. Sarah is growing up fast, plays violin now, does a lot of activities in school, and it's fun to get updates. Wayne is trying his hand as an independent attorney, no longer a judge. John's family is busy too. John has been doing a lot of traveling as an environmental engineer for Saint-Gobains. Granddaughter Alex has been playing trumpet, busy in school, but had some surgery troubles earlier this year herself, seems OK now though. With everything, Marge and I have pretty much lost track of events for the entire year. Good news. Jamie is in college, diving team at Northern Michigan University, near lake Superior. She will be a junior in January because of accumulated hours from HS. And we keep getting these wonderful pictures thanks to the doting parents, that really helps.

John's family 2015; Jamie's senior prom; some Wildcat friends at NMU. And below, Sarah at sister Sarah Thelen's ranch in Buffalo.

See for this years picture of John's family.

We hope you are all doing well. Marge and I went to the Chemistry Dept. Holiday Party at IPFW. But, keeping ahead of the Kimbles should be easy at this rate. Doing a lot of reading here, business and investment stuff mostly (I'm an addict). Bought a couple C.H.I.P. computers on Kickstarter (yeah, I know), 9$ Linux computer on a postage stamp sort of thing. Drop by if you are in the vicinity, will demo if I can figure out how to turn it on. Marge and I wish you the very best. and Happy Holidays to you all....

"If you should see a black dog running free, well, you know that he's mine."

And if you like watching people fish: