Dear Friends and Family,

I apologize for getting my holiday letter out to you so late. It’s my very first, but after reading about the exotic trips, accomplishments and darling grandchildren shared in all of your picture-packed greetings, I didn’t want you to feel as if I’m not keeping up.

First off, congratulations on how young and vibrant you all look. I’d buy my next house from any of you just judging from your unaltered photographs. My own professionally taken portrait didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I had practiced my “special look” for my photo shoot at the DMV, but the lady behind the camera didn’t tell me exactly when she was going to press the button. I peaked a moment too soon. The lady said the only way she would take another, more flattering, photograph was if I lost my new driver’s license. I’ve been leaving it all over Carson City, but unsympathetic strangers keep returning it.

Over the last two months I’ve followed my grandsons around waiting for them to say something very funny or super meaningful that I could include here. I think I’m either annoying them or frightening them but no scintillating quote has come out as of yet. I know all five boys are bright and engaging children. I think it’s the pressure I’ve placed on them.

One note of possible interest: I’ve spent more time in my walk-in closet in 2012. I walk in and, darn it, I can’t remember exactly why I went in there. I look around and always find something of interest to do, like count my ironed shirts, straighten up my pairs of shoes or shut off the light I had left on in my previous trip. But, deep inside, I know I had a greater purpose in mind, which may explain why I keep returning.

Boy, all the trips you guys have been on in 2012 sound just fabulous. My only lengthy journey was traveling in a U-Haul truck from Milwaukee to Carson City, almost all on Interstate 80. The wind, rain and snowstorms added an element of adventure between truck stops. Geographic discovery: Nebraska is a longer state than most people imagine it to be.

There is one helpful skill I’ve mastered in 2012: I’ve learned to fall better. This comes in handy when I’m hiking the mountain with my dogs. It’s happening more frequently too, so the additional practice has definitely improved my landings. Before, my dogs would gather in concern after the rare stumble. Not so much this year. They just glance back with looks of pity and annoyance.

In all seriousness, 2012 was a fun and engaging year for me, chock-full of many joyful moments. I hope to see each of you in 2013. It’s going to be a great year for all of us.