2011 Christmas Letter

Hello dear friends and family!

It has been a great year here on Lake Woebegone, or rather, in on Cranberry Hill Road.

For some time, several of our children have encouraged us to tear down the log cabin Bob built 39 years ago. I was resistant because I loved the cabin…I suppose mostly because if I wanted to hang something up on a wall, I felt totally free to just hammer in a nail and up whatever it was went. In the addition we put on two years ago I did not feel as free. In fact, the paintings we have by family and friends are still awaiting places to reside in the addition because of concerns with sheet rock and holes and other issues.

Well, during April Bob emptied the log cabin completely, putting the boxes into a 20-foot storage container, though we had wanted a 40-footer (the driver said he could not get the larger one into our driveway. We did get a 20-footer in place, which was soon filled absolutely full with excess stuff going in the garage.

The third week in May was our regular week to serve in the Boston Temple but it was also the week that weather was agreeable when the demolition guy could come, so I went to the temple alone and Larry Godfrey moved his heavy excavator into the yard. While I was tat the temple the deed was accomplished and the cabin came down, the logs were put into a huge pile, burned, and then the ashes and leavings buried. I came home to an empty cellar hole.

The builder who did most of the addition came back and with Bob’s, Chase’s, and Owen’s , Al’s, Liz’s, Rik’s and Robbie’s help, the house has gone up. There were times during the summer when Bob fought the elements, carrying hundreds of gallons of water out of the living room and dumped them outside. It was amazing to see how much water could collect in a relatively small space and pour down through tiny holes.

At one point in the summer Bob took some time off to finish hiking The Long Trail with his friend Al. It was a difficult week with rain, and culminating the weekend when Hurricane Irene came up the coast, and then into the Connecticut and White River Valleys. They came off the trail in time to be safe and were glad to have completed their goal.

In late June Pattie went to Utah for granddaughter Anne’s baptism. Everyone was disappointed that Bob could not attend as well but there were issues with the house at that time which necessitated his remaining at home. Christopher got Pattie set up with Facetime and Jonathan had set up an outside camera for a live video feed on the house so Pattie and the various grandchildren and children could watch what was happening at the house. Addison was particularly thrilled when Grandpa came to a window and waved to her from Vermont. Christopher and Shellie purchased an iPad to help them with their bowling ball company (JetBowling.com is the place to go to see what is going on with that.) and Addi was very very happy to Facetime Grandpa. Taylor took her turn with the iPad, too. Technology is such a treat.

Pattie had a wonderful time visiting in the home of each one of the children and spent some time grandchildren-sitting, a fabulous time…though Shellie may not want her cooking in their immaculate kitchen again, due to burned food in the microwave. Taylor pointed out that you only cook thing ‘”a little while”. Taylor started a bug collection, with a moth she found in the window. She actually gave the moth to Anne for a baptismal gift, with a note to give it back when it “was almost dead”. Anne was happy to give the moth back way before it was almost dead…!

In the fall Bob and Pattie went on their annual time-share vacation, this time to Williamsburg, VA and Myrtle Beach, SC. They were particularly happy that Jessie and Johnny Mullinex came down to Myrtle Beach to spend a weekend. The resort was lovely and the beach was great. Bob walked every day on the beach, even though it was a little cool.

Last winter Pattie was released from her calling as the Gospel Principles teacher at Church, a calling she had thoroughly loved and hated to see go, but realized that someone else needed the blessing associated with that work. She was called to work with the visiting teachers in the women’s Relief Society where she administered the program to some degree. In June she was called to be a counselor in the Relief Society presidency, a responsibility that will really stretch her talents and skills. It is joyful, but never-ending work. Bob serves as secretary to the High Priest Group in Hanover.

In March there was a followup get-together for the women who had come to the house six months earlier for a spinning workshop. We were to have completed our projects so the workshop director could gather information, photos, and statistics for her book that Interweave Knits is interested in publishing. We all hope that we did well enough that Kate could succeed with her book deal.

Also last fall, during one evening Relief Society meeting many sisters were taught to knit, or reminded how to knit and work was begun on a blanket for a homeless shelter. In February the squares were collected and given to Pattie to turn into a blanket. When the deadline loomed for completion, Pattie realized that she could not do all the hand-knitting that would be required to complete the blanket so she put out a request on Freecycle in the Upper Valley to see if anyone hand a knitting machine that she could borrow for the duration of the projection completion. The very next morning an email came from Springfield, VT with the offer of an Incredible Sweater Machine by the Bond America company. When Pattie went down to pick it pup and inquired as to how soon she needed to return it, the generous lady said she did not want it back! Pattie was flabbergasted with gratitude and began work right away. There was a pretty strong learning curve, but eventually the necessary strips were complete, the blanket was put together and delivered on the deadline, but not a moment earlier. Since then Pattie has made her first sweater, her first vest, and several socks: a Christmas Stocking, and a pair of socks to wear in the temple over her regular shoes and braces, which braces keep her tendonitis and plantar fasciitis in check. As we speak Pattie is working on Christmas sweater – which may or may not be completed by the correct date.

In September another knitting machine came up for grabs on Freecycle and Pattie was the lucky “winner” of that machine as well. It is a much more complex machine with many parts, including a ribber. Because Pattie likes to knit so much and because carpal tunnel seems to be an issue, this “new” machine may satisfy her need to produce. Of course, with the hectic fall scheduled, she committed to not even opening even one of the four boxes until the New Year. That has not been a problem! Living in a construction zone added to the many necessary activities makes adding one more thing just too much – maybe in January. The machine is patiently sitting in the “fiber studio” which is what Pattie is calling the bedroom that she is going to use for her projects. There is a bedroom, which Bob will use for his projects, too.

In October, just before leaving on vacation the Family History Conference Pattie had been working on all year took place. It turned out that Bob’s IT services were needed with the various technology issues that came up. Every one of the presenters seemed happy with the Internet and projection services. Pattie taught a class on blogging as well as moderated the Brick Walls panel. It was a wonderful event with more than 150 people attending from throughout New England. The blog Pattie set up during the conference addresses Orange County, Vermont genealogy. So far it does not have many entries, though her Country Wife blog has been a little more active.

On December first Pattie hopped on a plane to go to Beaufort, North Carolina where she helped Jessie with bookkeeping and billing. Of course, Jessie had to spend hours training her but in the end a certain amount of work was accomplished and they had a lovely time together.

With love and best wishes to all for a happy, healthy, and peaceful new year.

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