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A Christmas Letter

written December 8+
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,
In the olden days, people sent out Christmas letters to explain, in a page or two, family happenings for the year.  Nowadays, with all the social media, it seems we expect all our friends to already know and remember all that went on in everyone's lives.  With our Trotter Diary, we certainly have provided the opportunity to "know", but "remember" - no way.  For friends and family, that's probably OK, not everyone needs (or wants) all our gory detail, but it has occurred to me that WE need to have a way to more-easily remember and reflect.

That's why I am trying this diary, a summary of 2014.  At the bottom of the page are links to each diary, but here's the 2014 story as I remember it today (December 13)

The event-of-the-month needs to be moving and settling into our new house, of course.  That really does seem like years ago!
After three months in transit, our car finally made it.  The decision to import an 11-year-old car remains one of our bigger mistakes.  More importantly, we had a chance to see family in California and Colorado.
I wrote six diaries in March, mostly documenting our work at arranging the house and yard.  For us, it's good to remember how far we've come, but for you??  We did manage to visit Sequoia National Park, the type of local travel we hope to resume soon.
The monthly diaries started with our local social life, with family and neighbors.  We ended the month with yet another house and garden story.  That theme repeated itself for much of 2014!
The big house event was a new paint job.  This started out with simply power washing the sides of the house, but when the old paint flaked off, we had to transfer to serious painting.  The house color looks nice and it should last longer than we will.  Our travel was limited to a hop over to the Bay Area for Sam's third birthday and a few days of fun babysitting.
By now, we had a normal routine, dominated at home by yard and garage construction, and flavored by visits to or from Ava and Sam.  Toward the end of the month, we took Marianne's mom on a trip over to the Paso Robles wine area, near the coast.  At 94-years old, she was introduced to the fun of wine tasting!
The Fresno summer hit this month, day after day with highs well above 100F.  It takes some adjustment after always-cool Bavaria.  Despite the weather, I managed more yard reconstruction while Gary Catron's guys did the heavy work on the garage extension.
August always starts with birthdays; mine, Gabby's and Chris's. This was quickly followed by a visit from grandson Rich and his folks, giving us a chance to see some new Fresno tourist attractions. This visit included an overlap with another Sam and Ava visit.  Finally, Marianne and I headed up into the Sierras for a couple of days in the gold country.
In the first part of September, we stuck around greater Fresno, from a Shaver Lake Hungarian gathering, through a drive through raisin fields and fruit orchards.  The hot summer sun is good for the irrigated farms, even as it bakes us. Later in the month, we took a chance to cool off with visits to family in Monterey and Los Gatos.
October started out with normal, around-home activities.  Mid-month, we managed a visit over to the Bay Area for my 50th high school reunion, and some more time with family.  Right after that, our life took a turn as Marianne's heart reminded us that health may be more important than everything else.
Diaries since then have served up a mix of family gathering stories and medical status updates.  We reminded ourselves that there is plenty to be thankful for, even if Marianne's saga seems only partially complete.
No real news or events so far (written on the 13th), but we do hope to work in a couple of neighborhood parties in the next few days.  Mamo's 95th birthday on the 23rd and Christmas right after will provide even more opportunity for bright and shiny pictures.  Meanwhile, Marianne's medical story got a bit more complicated with the discovery of a gallstone.  Bummer.  It seems like 2015 will start with yet another set of visits to Kaiser hospitals, locally for gallbladder removal and down in Santa Clara for heart ablation, but that's for future diaries and next year's Christmas letter.

2014 was a busy year, for sure, and not completely as we had planned.  We hope your year was busy and filled with more smooth road than bumps and 2015 will be even a bit smoother.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

John and Marianne

2014 Index
January 1-9, New Year
January 19, Move In
January 26, First Week in House
February. First Half
February 19, Kids
March 5, Fresno
March 7, Ava Birthday
March 9, John's Weekend
March 17, Family Gathering
March 21, Sequoia
March 24, Mamo's New Power Pole
April 4, Around Home
April 7-10, Ava and Sam Visit
April 13, Car Show
April 20, Easter Week
April 27, Another Week
May 3, Painting Week
May 17, Luau
May 26, Babysitting
June 6, Week at Home
June 11, Ava and Others
June 22, Bocce Construction Week
June 30, Mamo Wine Tour (Paso Robles) July 15, Half a Month, Garden and Garage
June 20, More July Garage and Garden
August 8, Birthdays, Kids, and Grandkids
August 15, Rich and Ava/Sam
August 24, Gold mountain B&B
Sept 1-7, Local Scenes
September 1-21, Wine, Bocce, and Balloons
September 22-24, Cool Coast (Paso Robles, Monterey, Los Gatos)
October, through the 12th, Events: Harris Ranch, Bocce Party, and Jazz
October 16-26, Guests, Reunion, and a Pacemaker
October 31, Halloween
November 8-24, Cars and Hospital Visits
November 29-30, Thanksgiving and A Grandkid Visit
future (Mamo birthday and Christmas)


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