Thursday, December 08, 2016

Annual Christmas Newsletter

Well, here we are. 


My thoughts about this year right now are so heavily tied to the election that I find it difficult to say or find anything positive about the rest of the year. It is as if a cloud of despair has settled over everything and it is so thick I cannot see through it to the other good and amazing things that happened. But I will try because I don't want to forget those awesome things. 

Colorado skiing
Early this year, Darren went on what can only be described as an epic ski trip. Four mountains in four different states, including a flight to kick it off and a road trip with friends to get back home. One member of the group - not Darren - ended up tearing his ACL, which sucked. But the fact that these guys took off for a couple weeks to travel around the country hitting hot ski spots is pretty fantastic. Darr was tired but ultimately happy to have gone.

Henry F
Henry is in third grade (third!) and doing really well. His favorite subjects are art and P.E. He loves recess, too, but realizes it doesn't count as a class. His Hebrew teacher tells us Hen's accent is excellent and that he speaks fluently. He continues to love books and nature and wildlife and the beach and playing and LEGO building and... He really is someone who seeks the joy out of life. He played spring and fall soccer, returning to last year's team, The Annoying Squirrels. This season was a building one. They now have a goalie, an official referee, and are learning how to drive the ball down the field but there is more work to be done for next year. 

We bought a new car. Her name is Congresswoman Chloe Lobster Treehorn. Guess who helped with the name? She's a Subaru Crosstrek and is perfect for car adventures, which is good because Hen and I enjoy taking those when he's not in school, and Darren is super relaxed about us leaving. Over spring break we drove out to the Alvord Desert near Fields, OR. Along the way we saw a lot of gorgeous land, the Painted Hills, and even stopped at a hot springs to go for a dip. A few months later, we hit the road again, driving to Wallowa Lake for camping and one treacherous ride up the side of a mountain in a rickety gondola, and then heading all the way down to Crater Lake. Between the two and a couple trips out to the coast, we hit all of the 7 Wonders of Oregon - Crater Lake, Painted Hills, Smith Rock, Wallowas, Mount Hood, Columbia River Gorge, and the Oregon coast. Oregon is really beautiful. The Steen mountain range is a new favorite and we'll definitely make our way back to the Alvord desert. It's a long haul to get out there but it is like nothing I've ever seen before. Plus, at the Fields Station they have the best frickin' milkshakes. Seriously. Real ice cream and everything. You can stop there and get whatever you need for the night and then drive to the desert and set up camp after taking a dip at the Alvord Hot Springs. 
Megan, gorilla, & me - Congo
For me, the biggest, most wonderful thing happened when my fantastically awesome friend, Megan, invited me to join her in Africa for a safari. Wow. I am quite confident in saying that no other trip I take will ever compare to this one. We trekked to see gorillas in the Congo, we fed giraffes at the window of our room at Giraffe Manor in Kenya, we stayed at Hôtel des Mille Collines in Kigali, Rwanda, the same hotel where Hutu and Tutsi refugees hid during the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, and later toured the Kigali Genocide Memorial. We visited the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and saw the last three Northern White Rhinos on the planet. We got to pet Sudan, the only male left, behind his beautiful ears. It breaks your heart but I also felt so honored to be there for that experience.  Did I mention we visited the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and came away as foster parents to two elephants? Because that happened, too. We were blessed to have the best drivers - Ole and Moses - and the best spotters - Blackie and David. With them, we saw lions, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, cheetahs, warthogs, elephants, buffalo, antelope and wildebeest. And most of that was just on the ride from the airport - a dirt path in the middle of a field - to the lodge where we were staying.

So, that was our year. 

In lieu of printing out this year's newsletter and including it with our holiday card, I took the money I would have spent on color copies and donated it to Planned Parenthood in honor of Mike Pence. 
Giraffe Manor - Nairobi, Kenya
Half-heartedly charged our car shortly after taking this photo - was protecting a baby elephant
Maasai Mara
Wildebeest migration
Not a stellar year for soccer
Me & Hen at Wallowa Lake
Growing like a pumpkin
Eitan, Owen, Eliav, Max & Hen - ninth birthday party 
Greatest voting moment of my lifetime - so proud #drumpfisnotmypresident #imstillwithher

1 comment:

B. E. Busby said...

A stellar year rocked by an anomaly. Embrace the good, work to change the bad. Do not let this keep your voice silent; that might very well be the hope of those who seek to repudiate the groundswell of Bernie, et al. The parties (yes, both), they are a changin'.