Christmas Letter '13

Nadolig Llawen!               Merry Christmas!                      Buon Natale!

Christmas 2013.

From our home to yours, Family and Friends,

What a pleasure to share a little bit of our lives over the past year at this very special time of year.  I am slow getting this out, more of a New Year greeting than a Christmas greeting.  We hope you are enjoying a full and restful Christmas/New Year season.  2013 has been very much a typical year for us, a happy year with very ordinary challenges.

Tina has settled into her retirement but still takes the occasional casual shift, nursing at VGH.  Ted's health continues as stable, with only occasional colds.  He continues to alternate 3 days of swimming (2000 m. in roughly 40 min.) with 3 days of cycling (nearly 14 km. in roughly 40 min.), with this exercise and prescribed medication, Ted remains well.

Angela completed her studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in May.  Her graduation show presented more of her remarkable ceramic objects.  She joined the Delta Potters Association and, since graduation, spends much of her time on a potting wheel, at a working table, or with a kiln at either the guild studio in Tsawwassen or her own studio here at home.  Angela still loves to carve her ceramic pieces and the results show ever growing sophistication with freed imagination.  She presents some her works on her ceramics web site, http://angelahopkinsceramics.com.  She and her ceramics classmates from ECUAD remain together as the Dusty Babes Collective (http://www.dustybabes.com/artists.html), taking part in as many art and craft shows as they can enter, including the Yellow Crane Festival at ECUAD last summer and the big Got Craft? Christmas market early in December.  She had the privilege to get selected as the “featured artist” for the month of September at the British Columbia Gallery of Ceramics on Granville Island and had two mugs accepted at the Autumn Cup Show at prestigious Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  Angela also participated in the Delta Potters Association Autumn show in October.  Before Christmas, Angela also completed a small two piece commission from Australia.  Now, out of school, Angela and the Dusty Babes strive to find their place among British Columbia ceramic artists.

In May, David completed his mathematical studies at Langara College, earning an Associate of Science degree.  He remains on very much a part time studies program as he moved on to continue at Simon Fraser University in September. David excels in his Mathematics courses, especially with pure Mathematics. Course work of a more pragmatic nature continues to give him more of a struggle.

David continues very active with his music, still studying viola, clarinet, and piano.  He has now moved on from the Delta Youth Orchestra to play with the adult Richmond Orchestra but remains welcome to return as a guest alumnus with the youth orchestra, as he did this Autumn for Classical Cabaret and the opportunity to play Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony, “The Pastorale.”  This symphony holds a very special place in our family’s memories of David’s growing up.  When David was two and a half, Ted gave Tina a CD of the Sixth Symphony that immediately caught David’s fancy.  Every day, at least once a day for two months, our little David would ask to have “Dakoven” played and would stand, enthralled in front of the stereo through the entire symphony.  This was our first indication that music would hold a special place in David’s life.

For the 2013/14 orchestral year, Ted now serves as immediate Past President of the Delta Symphony Society, the sponsor of the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra (the Society changed the orchestra’s name last spring in recognition of the participation we draw from Richmond).

All of us felt loss when Ted’s half-brother Bud (Edward Joseph Hopkins) died in June at eighty years of age after a long bout of illness that had put him in hospital in January.  We were prepared, yet found this unexpected as he had shown good recovery for weeks prior.  Bud went through a very good day’s physiotherapy, then quietly died in his sleep the following night.  At his specific request we held no memorial service, but, in September, Norman, John, and Ted, along with David and Angela met Bud’s request and took his ashes and those he had kept of his much loved horse, Swedan, up into the Cascade Mountains along Whipsaw Creek off the Hope-Princeton Highway, Bud’s favourite wild place get-away, and scattered them.  We miss him but feel confident he has found a better place.

Our getaway this year was again our usual escape to Cusheon Lake resort on Salt Spring Island, a trip early in the summer for Canada Day, another at the end of summer, and a third, quick trip for the Salt Spring Apple Festival at the end of September.  I had the privilege to find and reconnect with an old schoolmate, John Sutherland, now living on Salt Spring.  We always make this a relaxing time, paddling on the lake or swimming, fossicking at Beddis Beach or Beaver Point, and visiting in Ganges.

Catinka remains very much queen of our house, while Angela’s ducks hold authority over our back yard.  Jemima and Rebbecah have turned out as prolific egg layers, keeping our home well supplied all year long.  Tango remains convinced that he should not let any of us exit the back yard from January to August.

Ted continues to seek players to experiment with his invented team sports of Two Ball and Delta.  His first approach was to schools as their Physical Education and intramural sport programs likely offer the best chance of drawing sufficient groups of players together.  This proved very disappointing as no schools have taken up either game yet.  Ted also gives the games a web presence at http://twoballanddelta.org and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TwoBallAndDelta.  These have caught the attention of well over three thousand people, world-wide, but he still awaits word of any of them actually playing either game.  You are most welcome to have a look and draw the games to the attention of sport minded people you may know.

And now we look forward to 2014.  This will be a remarkable year simply because Ted will mark a half century since his graduation from Southern Okanagan Secondary School.  Wow, amazing!  Just for that occasion he is including more of his former classmates while sending these greetings.

Recent weeks, of course, have filled us with Christmas preparations and Christmas itself.  We hope yours have gone well and we hope you had a Merry and Blessed Christmas and wish you all happiness in the New Year.

With our love,
Ted, Tina, David, and Angela.

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!                  Happy New Year!              Felice Nuovo Anno!