Holiday Newsletter 2015

Somehow it’s already December 2015
Greetings and Salutations! I never know how to begin these things. The first paragraph is always the most difficult. It sets the tone. Oy, the pressure! I’ll just start with paragraph two.
I suspect that this year was missing a few months here and there. It went far too quickly. Something’s up. Or maybe I slept through it. We pretty much accomplished nothing. Nadda. Zilch. Rich agrees. I would like a do-over. This is going to be one very boring letter.
Welp, the big news is that Jason and Amy are engaged! (I don’t recall giving him permission to grow up.) It was all very romantic – Kauai sunset on the beach and everything. We love Amy and her family and we’re thrilled! Of course, this means that I have only about six months or so to lose thirty pounds. (Somewhat inconsiderate of them. Maybe they’ll plan a Hawaiian theme so I can just wear a moo-moo.)
Jason (esq.!) completed a clerkship with the federal District Court for the Southern District of NY and is now employed by NYC. Next year he’ll be clerking for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. He and Amy live in Long Island City and have been traveling the continent attending wedding after wedding. (They were even invited to a few of them.)
(Dr.!) Scott graduated, passed his boards, lives in Philadelphia, and is a physical therapist in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He’s officially a real person. To commemorate his personhood, he and fellow Temple grads celebrated in the Dominican Republic. He just loves that every time I speak with him, I ask him to diagnose various ailments. (I paid for it, right?) So if anything ever even remotely bothers you, a neighbor, or even the cashier at Walmart, please contact him ASAP. It will make him feel important. (OK, Scott? Scott…?)
Kevin is now a junior at Umass, Amherst, Commonwealth Honors College (what a mouthful) and (this week) he plans to become a bio-medical engineer. Thanks to his girlfriend, Marianne, and her kind and generous family, he vacationed in Antigua and Disney World. Over the summer, he interned with a pediatric medical facility and he has since moved off campus with his buddies. (It’s cute that he thinks he’s a grown-up, too. I would really like to spy on him, but my suit of invisibility is still a work in progress.) Kevin is joining Birthright on a trip to Israel later this month!
Jeff and I (and sometimes respective family members) have been collecting frequent flier points by making repeated trips to Boynton Beach. In fact, I believe I’m singularly responsible for keeping Jet Blue in business. My parents think that I’m there to visit them, but, in fact, I’m there for the Flakowitz breakfasts – specifically the early morning specials. The entire deli could serve as an interesting sociological experiment. The Flakophiles are all ex-New Yorkers who instinctively arrive at the establishment in one of two shifts (early-8am, very- very late-9am – There is no “right on time” shift – sort of like the Jewish holidays). Although the place went through the trouble of printing menus, no-one uses them. Patrons (above mentioned Flakophiles) MUST order the morning special, which consists of oatmeal and a scrambled egg with a bagel. Here’s where the regulars are separated from the newbies. The bagel has to be placed in a bag (untoasted) “to go” and the diner is obligated to throw in any food item that remains on the table after the meal is consumed (ex: cream cheese-screw lactose intolerance, a guest or neighbor may want it-, raisins, complimentary sponge cake squares… leave the salt and pepper shakers. We’re not animals.) Rich ONCE made the mistake of eating his bagel right there in the booth – in front of all the Flakovians. A hush filled the room. He WON’T be making that mistake again. Another interesting aspect of this Flako-culture is that everyone in everybooth knows everyone in all the other booths. They chat, “schmooze, kibbitz,” and tease the wait-staff. (Speaking of wait-staff, when you visit – and you will- ask for Maria. She gives you extra oatmeal and throws in additional “to go” bagels. However, Matt is better at snatching the elusive bottle of sugar-free maple(less) syrup. It’s a toss up. Go with your gut.) These Flakofriends only communicate within the confines of the restaurant. If anyone actually spotted another outside of this environment, I’m not really sure what would happen. I’d rather not go there.
Hmmm. I made the error of reading my last paragraph. I might need an intervention.
Back to the family…Daisy is still the weirdest canine on earth. We actually paid for a DNA test to verify that she’s 100% dog. (It wasn’t totally conclusive.) Then we took her to a dog psychologist. I used to make fun of people like me! That was a waste, but at least we found out she’s not crazy. Just “spirited.” (Duh!) Daisy still enjoys pulling inserts out of shoes (she creates nice, neat piles of her contraband) and de-rolling previously rolled socks. Oh, well. She’s lucky she’s a cute whatever she is. Daisy loves playing with Jason and Amy’s dog, Penny (her niece?), and the Becker’s dog, Gramm. I’m not sure Penny and Gramm are as thrilled, but they’re good sports.
Rich can still be heard cursing out the NY Giants. No matter where you live, I’m certain you can hear him. He’s annoyed when they continually screw up in the fourth quarter and he’s annoyed when they win because “They didn’t deserve it!” But it seems to make him happy – he must enjoy the adrenaline rush. He’s still IBMing and futzing around with computers.
I’ve been really getting into oil painting and I’m trying to enjoy water color – but ugh. (Been stalking my teacher – her “order of protection” notes will one day be collector’s items), and I’ve participated in a few exhibits. Sometimes complete strangers buy something! How about that! (Of course, I’m so grateful that I try to give them back their money – but still!) I dabbled with mosaics, but I wasn’t really into the bleeding part. My prismacolor pencil group finally came up with a name – “8 of Arts” (not to be confused with 8 Old Farts – that’s a totally different group) and our first show went well. I’m also a member of an intimidatingly talented picture book critique group. It keeps me very humble. Besides “hanging out” with my birthday bunch and survey sisters group (we taste and smell things for money), I continue to work part-time with friends and coworkers for the Lakeland School District.
See! I told you it was a ho-hum year. But you made it through the letter (even though I know you skipped some parts). I’ll try to be more interesting in 2016. Thank you for your time and tenacity.
We hope your year was full of love and laughter and we wish you a Happy Chanukah, a Merry Christmas and a tremendously Joyful New Year!
With love,
Nancy, Rich, Jason, Scott, Kevin, and Daisy (whatever she might be)