Happy New Year 2010

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Ellen's picture

Two Days Before Christmas, 2009
I am sitting here at Vic's coffee house writing this, staring out the window at the falling snow and listening to Vince Guaraldi's “Peanut's Christmas” music. I have spent many hours here this year writing and socializing with fellow writers and artists. In fact, I wrote my 7th novel here this passed November for NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org). It's about a young woman who gets sucked into a personal development “cult.” I will be working on this novel throughout the new year.

I am pleased that I was able to string the solstice lights in the yard again. There are solar lights on the cone-colored fir in the southern-facing backyard (which will stay up all year) and LED sapphire blue lights on the Fat Albert and Pinon pines in the front and side yards. The multi-colored LEDs are on the little artificial tree at my west window. I can't believe I've had that tree since 1986! The crowning glory of my holiday display this year, though, is the evergreen wreath I made, which now hangs on my front door (http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/849). I took what was yard debris – the trimmings from my trees – and made it conform to a circular shape formed by an old hanger and some wire, added some old pine cones and a bow from a previous wreath, and viola! Something simple, natural and beautiful.

Holiday decorating puts me in mind of Christmases from years gone by, when the whole family was gathered in one place. And the memories grow stronger with every glimpse of candles in the window, every gathering around a roaring fire, every carol heard through an open shop door on Pearl Street Mall, and every tree decorated to the hilt with presents underneath. But this year I've been absorbed in an activity that sent me straight back to Christmas Past: Editing the Holley Wilkin family Christmas video from 2001. It is now complete and can be viewed on our blog (http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/850). It was one of the last Christmases when all the “Wilkin kids” were together in one place. Even my Dave was there--the other outlaws, Ellen Faye, Deby, and Julie, were unable to be there =:-(. And it was bittersweet to see Mom, pre- Alzheimer's, playing with her grandkids and joking around. Mom has always been a lively and energetic person who believed in life-long-learning and the exchange of ideas. She is still a fighter, insisting on going for walks and out to dinner most days, even while battling pain and nausea from cancer drugs. She is one of the persons I admire the most in this world!

New Year's Day, 2010
This year has been creatively rewarding and full of hard work, reflection, and fun for both Dave and me. Dave completed too many projects to count. He built a love seat and made cushions for it while I was visiting my family in New York. After Christmas unwrapping (pics at http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/854), I found out that Dave also sewed cuddly wraps for both of us (for watching DVDs and reading). The wraps cover all the way from head to toe with material left over. No more cold winter nights! He also sewed panniers and triangle bags for our bikes, wine bags, and cloth vegetable bags. These bags are handy for shopping by bicycle and for storing fresh veggies. 2009 is also the year in which Dave discovered the wonders of seitan, which is pure gluten and, therefore, almost pure protein. He got the idea when we ate at one of our favorite restaurants, The Leaf, which serves only vegan dishes. Seitan is a nicely textured protein that Dave has used in recipes such as hot buffalo “wings,” seitan sandwiches with rosemary mayo or barbecue sauce and pickles, and Vietnamese Clay Pot “Pork.” You can find our recipes at http://electricrider.net/recipes/. As if that wasn't enough, Dave's comment on Marketplace Money got noticed by the producers, and he was asked to read it on the air (the producer even said he had a nice voice). You can listen to it here: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/12/18/mm-skymall/ . Finally, Dave has continued his successful career at Emulex, where he has worked for ten years, identifying software engineering problems and then designing and implementing their solutions. He has way too much fun.

I, in the other hand, did three writing retreats this summer. The first retreat was a house-sitting/cat-sitting opportunity in the plains just east of the Foothills. The house had a lovely sun porch, which made a cozy writing space. The other two retreats were trips with writer friends into the mountains. We wrote, hiked, wrote, hot-tubbed, wrote, ate out, wrote, coffee-shopped, and wrote. The three retreats helped me make some important discoveries about and revisions of my time-travel novel. I hope to have this novel completed and submitted to an agent this year.

In August, I was treated to a family gathering at cousin Kathy (Ellison) Lindeman's home in Colorado Springs. She was kind enough to hire a musician and invite really cool friends and family to come. I have posted some pictures of the event on our blog at http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/851. I am glad we are within busing distance of Kathy, Ted and family. It is always so much fun when we get together.

Dave and I visited Gold Lake Resort again this year to celebrate our anniversary. As always, we enjoyed quietly soaking in the hot pools overlooking the lake at night and eating the sumptuous meals at Alice's Restaurant. That's us standing among the evergreens above the lake in the pic at the end of this blog.

In October, I traveled on Amtrak to New York and Maryland to visit family. I purchased a sleeper to get through the two-day trip with maximal potential for sleep. I was still tired after the journey, but I slept much better than in coach class. I met some very interesting people, such as the touring group from England who were taking the train from New York City to San Francisco and spending a couple of nights in several cities in-between. You can read my accounts of the train trip at http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/839 and http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/840

While in New York, I visited my parents and sister. Wendy and John and their two kids, Kate and James, are very well. Wendy went to India in January where she rode an elephant! She is now hard at work on two novels. Mom and Dad are doing OK. Mom had radiation treatment for breast cancer on her scalp. The treatment seems to have helped. Dad is taking as good care of Mom as he can now that she is in second stage Alzheimer's disease, but Mom's tendency to wander at night and her recurring cancer makes it too dangerous for her to remain at home. Wendy has been lovingly and tirelessly preparing for Mom's entry into a nursing home nearby. Perhaps then Dad can get the sleep he needs and focus on his health. He is doing pretty well at 79. Heck, he has very lively siblings ten years his senior! Dad would love to hear from friends and family, if you get a chance to call or write.

In Maryland I visited brother Paul, Julie, and their kids, Miles and Charlotte. The kids are growing up fast and loving their new-old farmhouse in Annapolis. In late fall, Paul successfully lead a satellite launch for Swales. You can see pics from my visit at http://electricrider.net/drupal/?q=node/855.

I was unable to visit Kevin or Chris this year, but they are well. Chris, Deby, and her son, Dylan, are working and playing hard in San Clemente. Dylan is quite the hockey star. He is playing in Denver in February, so I hope to see Chris & family then. Kevin and Ellen Faye are still in Quartz Hill above L.A. and are busy working full time and getting their Bachelor's degrees part time. Kev's will be in electrical engineering, and Ellen Faye's in business.

Dave and I hope that you all are holding friends and family near to your hearts and growing ever wiser, ever stronger, in your every-day life.





You can contact Ellen or Dave by commenting on our blog or follow us on www.twitter.com (Electric Writer and electricrider) or friend us on www.facebook.com (Ellen Wilkin and Dave Wiley)

__________________________

Ellen
Ever learning, Everlasting