Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - My Cousin Laurie

Christmas 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS, FELIZ NAVIDAD, GOD JUL, JOYEUX NOňL

Rules for a successful holiday:
1. Get together with the family
2. Relive old times
3. Get out before it blows

Funny and true for many but for me and my family thankfully not though it is like herding cats when trying to make group decisions! The only problem we have there is LOAO (figure it out all you iPhoneaphobes). That is why with a heavy heart I start off with the passing of the matriarch of our family, Doris (mom). She left us at Christmas of 2013 and took with her some of the laughter. She is with dad now who passed just after Christmas in 2012 ... what is the deal with that timing? I donít open with this to bring a Dickens feel to my letter, if I could just create some snow to go with it, but this is how my year started out. It can only get better, right?!

While trying to get things back to normal (and that is a relative term, and the relatives in this family are far from normal) letís see if anything else was going on shall we?

Paul is still plugging away at Lockheed 30 years; his plans for retirement have been greatly exaggerated, mostly by him. A new countdown clock has begun. No more remodel projects in the works.

-He still dabbles in golf and tennis and has taken to riding his bike again, something he did prior to the remodeling gigs.

-His parents turned 85! Thatís what nice Florida weather will do for you, heads up to you northerners.

Iím still hanging in with the academicians as frustrating as they can be but someone needs to show them how things really are!

-Also still working out at the gym, how old can you be before you can stop? Itís fun taking classes with Steph, so much easier having your emergency contact in class with you!

-Paul and I drove to VA to see Andrea in the spring that is always a treat, especially for her!

-We also went out to Taos later in the summer to clear our minds. That was accomplished by achieving zero oxygen when we did an 1800í vertical climb for fun, excuse me? This was followed by a trip to the Pueblo Indian reservation to see one of their religious ceremonies. I think the only thing Paul was praying for was air conditioning and a beer.

During all this fun Stephanie was still working away on the master bathroom mentioned in the last Christmas letter. However she finished it and it is beautiful! Donít be calling her to come do yours; she has had enough of that to last her sometime.

-Stephanie and Richard celebrated their 4th wedding anniversary. How fast time goes by, I still remember writing the first check... They are adorable though.

-She is still working at the University of Texas-Arlington.

I am serving on the Staff Advisory Council for UTA (a two year term) and was elected the Chair of SAC for my last year Ė this has kept me busy and involved in committees around campus and meeting directly with the President of the campus as a voice for staff.
Went to a work conference at Louisiana State University and was a presenter for one of the breakout sessionsí.

-Richard was promoted to Team Manager at Bank of America and is currently training in a different line of business to manage a team there. 

-They managed to squeeze in a trip to DC and Virginia to see the all the famous sites like Brian and Elizabeth and Andrea and possibly I think the Smithsonian.

-Stephanie also figured she wasnít getting enough attention so she had to go and get an inflamed appendix followed by surgery. Kids these days!

-This brings up another bullet point! Our ďkidsĒ no longer fit into that category anymore, except maybe to me. They have both crossed over to the Thirty somethingís, I KNOW RIGHT?! How could that possibly be when Paul and I are but kids ourselves?

Moving on-

Andrea lives in Yorktown and basically runs the hospital, ok maybe an exaggeration but I am a mom and she is an awesome nurse. If you get sick have them run you out to VA to her floor, just hold on as best as you can. She and her girlfriend took a trip to Mexico to bask in the sun and shake off the scent of hospital. She is also pondering more school and going for her Masters. She is in the beginning of a new relationship with a very nice young man and of course she has her cats (2). All in all keeping pretty busy!

In the fall Stephanie, Martha (sister) and I took on the ďSpa Girl TriathlonĒ. Yes! We each took a leg of the Ďtrií (swim, bike and run) and had a blast. It seems the idea for next year is we are all in- each does all three events. Youíre as young as you feel right? Or wished you felt? I will google that...

Paul and I managed one more little trip to Hill Country, TX (Austin area), Fredericksburg, wine country! Joined by Martha (Jeff had to work) we did what wrath we could to the grapes of Texas. Come on out sometime and we will show you how itís done! 

The next and last trip will be a cruise at Christmas through New Year of Doris and Bobís kids (and their spouses). This will be our first holiday season without both mom and dad so what better way to celebrate them- party, dancing, champagne, falderal and jocularity!

So to round out the year- Paul and I made it to our 34th anniversary- TCU is making short work of the Big 12 at #5- We survived the Ebola!

Tiny Tim lives! (Spoiler Alert!)

[Drop mic. Cue the snow!!! Exit stage right, err left]

Laurie (Loken)

MERRY CHRISTMAS!
LAURIE

Laurie Loken
December 05, 201
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