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In the Foothills

An Alert reader sent this to me as an example of normal problems for some people being interesting to the rest of us. How many of us have problems with mountain lions, for instance?

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01 A practical joke
02 My grandparents die
03 English Tour
04 Barn swallows
05 Buying hubcaps
06 Group photos
07 Mr. Science
08 Backpacking, Middle English
09 Leukemia
10 Comfort Clothes
11 Marmots and Texas
12 Eagle, Turkey and Emu
12 Accident and Hike

From Alert Readers:
01 In the Foothills
02 Excess
03 Things unsaid
04 11 Kids
05 Multiple Choice
06 . . . bit my ear
07 Facts and Stats
08 Neiheisel Review
09 Family and Horses
10 Sing a Song
11 The Professional
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Erma Bombeck & Martha Stewart
Around the World
Coping with DUI
Defining Pretentious
The 12 McQ's

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Misc. Essays


Have those of you who, like me, are in your golden years (hah!), noticed that time seems to race by AND it takes us so much longer to get anything done? Bummer. Here are a few highlights from my year:

Last year, in the first big windstorm, two of my largest oaks blew down, partially uprooted, missing the house by less than an inch. Because of the on-going storms, no one could work on the downed trees for months, which meant I couldn't see out my bedroom window or use the stairs off the small deck. Chainsaw work, once started, went on until May, but the stumps were imbedded with rocks and nothing my yard-boy or I did made a dent in them. Finally, in September, I had them ground up by an expert. With no trees in that area, my bedroom was hot all summer, so, after researching pros and cons, I just had a red oak planted in that spot. It's a fast grower, but in the Spring, I'm going to have a lattice cover built over my bedroom deck to give me some shade in the bedroom.

In February, I got on the surgical cancellation list and on March 18 had a right total knee replacement. My niece, S----, and her daughter, M----, stayed here to take care of the animals while I was in the hospital and then take care of me for five weeks after I came home -- until Dr. Smith released me to drive. Kaiser sent an R.N. to the house twice to check on me as well as a physical therapist twice weekly for five weeks. I must confess: I stopped doing my leg exercises when the P.T. stopped coming -- I just didn't seem to have the time -- and I've had four falls since that time. When Dr. Smith replaced the knee, it straightened the leg after 10 years of being crooked. My left leg is at least 1 inch shorter than my right, so I'm off balance. When I start to fall, my legs aren't strong enough to interrupt the fall, so I go down like a ton of bricks. If I weren't so well padded with fat, I'm sure I would have broken something by now. So . . . I've started in on my exercise program again. But imagine! No pain after 10 years of pain . . . at least in my legs. The falls have made my shoulders pretty achy. I do worry that I'll fall, not be able to get up and no one will know until it's too late.

S---- worries about me, too, so she calls me every day to be sure I'm up and around. Plus, she and M---- come over every Sunday to take the (heavy) garbage can down to the roadside, change the kitty litter (the litter buckets are heavy), and any other chore I can't handle that I've put on the list. I don't know what I'd do without her and M----.

The day after I came home from the hospital, two mountain lions went on a rampage and, over a 6-week period, killed my Barbados sheep, two pigmy goats from across the road, and three lambs from the property just south of me. Although none of us in this area want to harm the lions, we couldn't have them killing our livestock (they kept coming back to kill). So men from Fish and Game killed one of the lions and the pigmy owner killed the other one. Then, there was one pigmy goat (Rosie) left and she found a way into my pasture to be with the two sheep I had left. So, with her previous owner's OK, Rosie adopted us and became top kid on the block.

My border-collie-mix dogs still take care of me as much as I do them (a lot) and my cat has developed into a hunter. She's killed a mouse, two BIG birds, brought two live birds into the house, de-tailed many lizards, and apparently, does chase the ground squirrels (which is what I originally got her for). I still see ground squirrel holes in the lawn, but I don't see evidence of them undermining the house and cement walls, etc., as I did before her.

My niece, A----, and her husband live nearby, work long hours, but are there if I need them. My neighbors are like family and part of the reason I'm adamant about staying here as long as I can. When B---- isn't off fighting fires, I spend all holidays and many Sunday afternoons with him, L----, W---- and L----. Add S---- and M----, and you can see I'm blessed.

I'm still involved with our Road Association and Citizens Against Reckless Driving. Election time is coming up in a few months. I hope I get re-elected. Since it's Christmas time, I won't say what I think of the state and national political scene.

My love and prayers to you and yours.

This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.

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This page updated: June 21, 2014