Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - My Cousin Laurie

Christmas 2006 - A Letter from Paul & Laurie Loken

FELIZ NAVIDAD

Well, here we are another year come and gone, as they seem to do so much faster every year. Maybe that is just my observation since our daughters are now grown. It could be that all the folks who told us, "It goes by faster than you think!" could have been right. I am pretty sure I was just writing a Christmas musing a short time ago. Ah, well…

I sit here at home since the college is closed due to inclement weather. Which here in Texas means it's freezing rain and snowing and life as we know it stops. So that's fine with me since I might not have taken the time otherwise. Therefore, sit back and I will try to make a short missive long.

The new year started slow Andrea still in school, nearing her last semester she still had some summer classes to finish off. She was working at her internship as a case manager at the Presbyterian night shelter Women and children building. At the end of August she was finished with college, was hired by the shelter as a case manager and soon became a Child Advocate (she is a Social Worker) she is now a LBSW! Andrea will "walk" in the graduation ceremony this December with all the grandparents there and then plans to move to Virginia to be with Tony, her boyfriend of several years and to pursue graduate school. (This is where that whole time moves quickly thing really sucks)

Stephanie hired on at Central Market, a store that I find hard to describe if you are not from here and can say, "Oh yes, of course" I know that some of you have a Whole Foods and it is akin to that. She is in catering and is working in other areas also. She hopes to learn enough to be able to step into management. She works very long very hard hours and for some reason is not very open to cooking for us when we ask. What is up with that?

Much to the chagrin of the girls, this was the first year they did not go on vacations with mom and dad. Well, for heaven sake, who was gonna feed the cats? Geesh! Paul and I took our first (yes we were quite the gadabouts this year) trip in the summer back east to New Jersey for his brothers 50th birthday. And then up the Rhode Island and Maine. We then went to California in October to visit my sister and to do some wine country touring. That is always a profitable trip, mostly for the winery though. And then we went to NM in November to see my folks and see TCU play UNM in a football game (side bar, we won). Our next venture is in a couple of weeks on a cruise through the Hawaiian Islands. What can I say, when you don't have to buy coloring books and crayons to keep little kids happy on car trips you can save some extra bucks!

This year saw the loss of a wonderfully dynamic woman, my aunt Ruth. Thanks to my cousin Tom I was able to attend the services and spend time with my east coast families who I love and hold so dearly to my heart.

Flying home was long and if not arduous at least taxing (that is a long story that would stay a long story) but it gave me time to reflect on what was important at this time of year (and truly all year)

I know that one thing it isn't is sitting in a line for days on end out side of a store to be sure you can buy a computer game so you can sell it on line for 4 or more times more in price. It's about slowing down that clock that wants to push time and those we love and are close to us past us. It's about getting snowed in on a work day with your two grown daughters, lounging in your p.j.'s and tormenting the cats, putting up Christmas decorations, scrounging around for munchies and wrapping your arms tight around time.

We here in Texas wish you all the joy of the Christmas season and the happiest New Year…

Paul, Laurie, Stephanie and Andrea Loken

Laurie Loken
December 13, 2006