Christmas Letter '15

Nadolig Llawen!                     Merry Christmas!                              Buon Natale!

Christmas 2015.

From our home to yours, dear Family and Friends,

Again it is our pleasure to share a little bit of our lives over the past year at this very special time of year.  We hope you enjoy a full and restful Christmas/New Year season.  2015 has been very much a typical year for us, happy with very ordinary challenges.

Tina continues to take the occasional casual shift, nursing at VGH  while she enjoys her retirement.  She continues with cello lessons at the Delta Community Music School under the tutelage of Bo Peng, accepting gradually increasingly more challenging music to learn.  Although Tina intended to resume taking harp instruction as well, that just did not work out for this year.  Perhaps in the new year.

With exercise and prescribed medication, Ted's health continues as stable, with only occasional colds.  He continues to alternate 3 days of swimming (2500 m. in roughly 50 min.) with 3 days of cycling (nearly 14 km. in roughly 40 min.), sometimes substituting a good stiff walk (a little over 4 km. in 40 min.).  With David well moved on from the Richmond Delta Youth Orchestra and Ted’s term as immediate Past President completed at the end of August, he is no longer active with the Delta Symphony Society.

Angela’s news is most exciting as she and her friends in the Dusty Babes Collective found a studio in which to work.  One of the major British Columbia ceramic artists had retired and sold his studio property to a developer who was not developing immediately but offered the site for lease as ceramics studio space.  Angela discovered the notice and the Dusty Babes promptly took up the lease; they have it for at least a full year from last June and she now spends most Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays working her art there.  Angela continues part-time work at Spawts, a ceramic studio that specializes in ceramic family pet paw print impressions, working Mondays and Fridays.  She enjoys this work with the very small staff that includes one of her Dusty Babes friends.  In January she added another part time position as Saturday ceramics studio technician for Vancouver’s West End Community Centre.  Occasionally Angela also teaches school break concentrated children’s ceramics classes at the Delta Potter’s Association studio.  Tina and Ted both remain in wonder at the beauty of Angela’s ceramic creations which range from hand crafted ceramic buttons through cups and bowls of various sizes to large vases.

David continues his musical studies as a founding student in the new strings music program within the Music Department of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, commuting to the Langley campus.  His focus remains on his viola, giving him great success while he really enjoys his studies.  The strings program remains very small which means that no large ensemble (required by the Kwantlen Music Department) exists, so the university continues to send him and the cello student to play with the Trinity Western University Orchestra. Kwantlen and also requires music students to participate in small ensembles and we enjoyed the end-of-term recitals and concert performances by David's string trio (David, the violin student, and a piano student from Kwantlen Music’s piano program) in April and by his quintet and his duo in December.  Outside university, David also took up private study on his viola with Robert Hirschhorn Rozak and occasionally fills in with his viola for the Stradivari Ensemble.

Although studying music at Kwanten, David continues private study on piano, at the Delta Community Music school, in Garth Preston’s studio.  He also continues to play with the adult Richmond Orchestra; fortunately that orchestra’s major concert this fall did not conflict with Trinity Western University Orchestra’s major concert as it did last year.

David enjoys writing, especially fiction as he extends his imagination.  In his free time, during the summer before last, he wrote an initial draft of a novel.  As he found chances through autumn, winter, and spring into this past summer, he worked through revisions and published the book as digital copy.

Again, our year brought a few significant life events for us to mark.  Ted’s cousin David T. E. Hopkins passed earlier this month after a few month’s battle with cancer.  He rests, treasured, in Ted’s boyhood and current Internet connection memories.  Earlier in the Autumn we celebrated with Ted’s brother Norman as his son Gareth and wife ZoĆ« left for Australia to take up a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Melbourne upon completing his PhD in Environmental Studies at Utah State University.

Looking beyond ourselves, Canada’s federal election last Fall drew our attention more intensely than ever before.  All of us have always voted in every election for which we have been eligible, keeping our political thoughts largely to ourselves.  For this election, issues were so critical that Ted just could not remain private with his thoughts and shared his views via his blog, and some e-mail messages.  The most critical issue to Ted’s mind did not get addressed properly but over all the whole family is satisfied with the election result.

We share many Canadian’s concern for the plight of the many refugees from the civil war in Syria.  Our congregation at Ladner United Church participates with many others across the country and is providing for two refugee families anticipated to arrive any day now, by year end.  The Ladner community gives enthusiastic support, participating in this project.

We took only one get-away this year, returning to Cusheon Lake Resort on Salt Spring Island for the Canada Day weekend.  As usual, we enjoyed Beddis Beach, Beaver Point at Ruckle Park, and HarlansSalt Spring Gelato among all else we enjoy on Salt Spring.

Catinka remains very much queen of our house, while Angela’s ducks continue to hold authority over our back yard.  Jemima and Rebeccah resumed their egg production with the new year, less heavily than last year, then slowed and stopped completely when they moulted with the end of summer.  Less frequent egg laying resumed this month.  From January to August, Tango remains convinced that he should not let any of us exit the back yard.  Adam, Angela’s red haired standard poodle, has settled in as very much a part of the family, continuing to endear himself to us all.

Ted continues to seek players to experiment with his invented team sports of Two Ball and Delta.  Lacking sufficient contact of his own among sports minded youth, he continued to approach schools as their Physical Education and intramural sport programs likely offer the best chance of drawing sufficiently large groups of players together.  This remains disappointing as no schools have taken up either game yet.  Ted also kept up a web presence for the games, having revised the site, and on Facebook.  These continued to catch attention world-wide, but he still awaits word of anyone 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 2016.  Recent weeks, of course, have filled us with Christmas preparations.  We hope yours have gone well and we wish you a Merry and Blessed Christmas and all happiness in the New Year.

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

P. S. That this letter arrives on Christmas Eve is entirely deliberate.

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