Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Blog 2008

As I get older, I am terrified at how quickly time seems to pass. I now measure weeks like minutes and gasp at how the last 10 years have shot past like a lightning bolt. It seems like yesterday that we were all worried about Y2K (remember that?) and I simply cannot believe that I have been living in the same place for the last 13 years.

This time of the year is always a reflective time for me. The Christmas cards and blog make the process more formalized, but I think reflection is a psychological process that takes on greater importance the older one gets.

So as I reflect upon 2008 there is the good and the not so good, the happy and the sad, the scary and the comforting, the troubled and the hopeful. I suspect that many of you are nodding in agreement.

The New Year began with the “cold from hell” that seemed to make the extra long winter of 07-08 all the longer. This necessitated several trips to the clinic, meds, more docs, more meds, and a new appreciation for people who experience chronic diseases. It didn’t help that I was running a fever during Super Bowl Sunday and also working at a conference in Rockport. For those who are New England Patriots fans, we want to forget that day. For those who are New York Giants fans, we want to never forget. And, for those like me who are both well, let’s just say I was too sick to care.

We got some sad news in late February that Uncle Bob Brandt had passed away. Uncle Bobby - as I prefer - was my father’s youngest brother and one of the happiest people I’ve ever known. The sadness of his passing was elevated by the opportunity for just about all of the Brandt cousins to get together with Aunt May to celebrate Bobby’s life at a wonderful memorial service that was held in Bristol, Connecticut. Though none of the “Bristol Brandts” live in Connecticut anymore, it was a central location and close to where Uncle Bobby’s many friends were.

You may recall that Sister Mary celebrated her 50th birthday in 2006 and we were not able to pull together the family reunion she had requested until this summer. With the aid of Cousin Ralph and his wife Schley, we were able to secure a beautiful cottage at Point O’Woods in South Lyme, CT. As kids, this is the place where we spent two weeks each summer and so two weeks in August 2008 – 40 years later - seemed like the right thing to do. The Brooklyn Brandts, aided by some of the Wethersfield Brandts, Bristol Brandts, the Ivoryton Astles and the Merry McShanes (aka the Merry Macs from Ossining) helped to make the time special and enhanced the celebration of both Sigrid’s and Mary’s birthdays.

The not so pleasant experiences of the year included one of my two jobs evaporating, astronomically high energy prices and the general queasiness of the economy. All of these came about in the last quarter of the year and has made for some interesting conversation. And that’s all I’ll be saying about that!

I will spare you any political commentary other than to remind you that it was an election year (in case you forgot) and with that there appears to be – at least for now – a sense of hope and renewal. I am not ready to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I am having a good feeling about things to come and I hope that this feeling is contagious.

So here’s to wishing you and yours the Merriest of Christmases and the Hope and Happiness of the New Year. As I extend my best wishes to you and yours, may you all be safe and warm; and may God Bless You.


PS: The image on the Christmas card this year is from some old 8mm home movies that Sister Sigrid converted into DVDs for Christmas last year.

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