Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Greetings, 2011

Carolle Trembley and John Palmer

#602, 19 King Street

London, Ontario, N6A 5N8

December 10, 2011

Hello again

In our letter last year, we talked about our plan to travel on the Via Rail Canadian across Canada for Christmas. The train trip was fabulous, with good service and great food. And you can imagine the pristine snowy scenes we saw along the tracks as we travelled across the country in the year that so much snow had fallen. It was beautiful and restful.

2011 has involved many changes for us. While in Regina, both of us recognized the joys of living in a city and, unusually (and unexpectedly!), arrived at the same conclusion at the same time—we wanted to move back to London. So we put our house up for sale and began looking for condos in London. Pretty quickly we were sure we had seen the condo listing for us. Indeed, immediately upon viewing this one in person, we put in an offer. Mission one accomplished. But we still had to sell our house. Within two weeks we received an offer for our house from a family who had decided they would like to move back to Clinton, but only if one particular house was for sale—ours!! Serendipity. Carolle swears her Mom and Dad were involved, as it did appear we had help from angels. June 15th we moved, from a 1½ story house to a 1-floor condo. You can imagine how much purged stuff we had to ‘share.’ Our children received mucho stuff, some of which they even wanted/needed. Friends were also encouraged to take some of the valuables!! And still our storage locker is quite full.

We have found our home—a spacious condo in downtown London with large windows overlooking local parks and river. We face west, into the sunset. The 6th floor presents a different view of the world, especially of the sky, storms and changing seasons. Most of the residents in the building are our age or older and have lived here for many years. They are very careful, with strict rules to protect privacy and security, so this building feels very safe. We are still not quite over expecting the bill under the door in the morning. We do miss our friends in Clinton, but John maintains contact with his friends on Facebook, and Carolle continues her e-mail contacts and visits with the Bookers and other Clinton friends.

In London we get to see our children and grandchildren more often. Rachael is still Manager of the post office at Shoppers’ Drug Mart. Two weeks ago they moved slightly further north of our condo, but we can still walk there within 10 minutes. Rachael is now working longer hours, which has some benefits and some difficulties—more money but less time for herself. She and Veronica recently moved from Union to an apartment in London. As usual, they redecorated it. It looks great and they are thrilled with it. Kayla and Veronica are both working on finishing their high school diplomas and looking for jobs. We are so pleased we will be spending Christmas with Rach, her girls and Matthew


Matthew was promoted to a new position at 3M. He says it is a really busy job, but he enjoys it. He and the girls like our condo’s salt water pool. Both girls have grown so much they are almost as tall as Carolle. Cordelia is enjoying high school and doing well there, including on the swim team. She is a beautiful swimmer. Phebe is doing well in school and in the Amabile junior choir, where she has she has been chosen to sing some solos. What a great voice she has. Here are a couple of YouTube links to her singing. --- Phebe is the 2nd soloist. --- a competition solo

Jacob and Melinda have had a difficult year. Lara, their 3½ year old daughter, has cancer and has been in treatment for several months. With the assistance of his committee, Jacob dropped out of graduate school to tend to Lara. Melinda is still working full time, in addition to caring for Lara. Luckily, the treatment center in Houston has a special team for this type of cancer, so she has the finest care possible. Lara has managed all the various procedures with great strength and resilience. Jacob and Melinda are looking after Lara very carefully and sensitively and keep us all updated. They say that, when she arrives home after a hospital stay, Lara seems to get back to normal quickly. What an amazing little girl she is. It looks as if she could be home for Christmas—hurrah!

John was persuaded to return to the University of Regina in September this year for only one semester. He refused to spend another winter there, remembering the -30 temperatures last year and roads that were not salted or cleared of snow and ice. He is much appreciated at UR for his teaching and his irrepressibly humorous suggestions and plans. And he has been pleased to renew his friendships there. Luckily, his teaching schedule—Tuesdays and Thursdays and finished by 1 pm—has made it possible for him to fly to London and Houston regularly for extended weekends. He rejoined the Saskatchewan Roughrider PepBand and we were provided with many photos of him in green, this one from the Grey Cup festivities in Vancouver.

Soon after the move, Carolle had eye surgery to remove cataracts and correct astigmatism. Her new favorite phrase is “I can see.” She is happy to be back in London and resume contact with family and friends of years ago. She has quite an active social life now, especially lunches at an excellent restaurant up the street. A block past the restaurant, John has already had a show of his photographs at the local Red Roaster. Our condo walls are adorned with 63 of John’s photos and some of Carolle’s Dad’s clocks (3 of which chime, but not usually at the same time, unfortunately—yet!!). Our main balcony is a cherished spot where we like to have our morning coffee and admire the view. We have watched the leaves change color this autumn and are in awe watching the sunsets.

2011 has been an active year for us with many changes. We wish peace for everyone. Many people have suffered too much this year. We hope that you have found peace and awe in your life this year and we look forward to hearing from you. We wish you a Merry Christmas, and hope 2012 is a good year for everyone.

carolle and John