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This is what we're doing a year later:
I just got word 5 minutes ago that I am headed to Asia for the next two weeks. I work for Enron, an energy and telecommunications company based in Houston. I have had a great year meeting new people and enjoying my regular paychecks. The company has a rotation program so that I get to experience new groups each year. I recently joined a group that requires tons of travel to Asia so I'm happy to rack up the frequent flier miles and also visit some interesting places.
My latest life plan involves getting an international affairs & MBA degree so I'm busily studying for GREs (I thought I was done with standardized tests!!). And if I'm not doing that, I am unpacking my luggage, enjoying the Houston theater, rockclimbing indoors, and doing all I can to avoid the Houston heat.
(Later:) Priya is now in Seoul, attending a conference with members of her Enron team. Good luck being a world traveler, Priya!
Chris is spending August in Edinburgh, Scotland, as part of the Present Company Theatre group. They are performing the play American a Absurdumat the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They just completed opening night and Chris says they had a great reception. He'll send a picture of Edinburgh Castle as soon as they replace his camera, which got lost in the luggage shuffle.
I am thinking through the great life change called RETIREMENT. My teenage grandchildren laughed at me this week when I said I was in the stage of life where I think about prolonging my life as long as possible and so was trying to consider things like keeping arteries unclogged etc. They suggested just living until it is all over. Not that simple; wish it were. I have come to some conclusions about retirement after about two years of thought. 1. I must do something worthwhile. 2. I must get out of the house regularly and spend time with people other than my husband. 3. I would like to earn a little money but don't want a part-time job that ties me down as I want to be free to go and come as I like (just like my mother).
Please remind me of these requirements about a year after I retire which is planned for December of 2001.
(Gwen recently received the top award given by the Texas Council of Women School Executives. This group puts on a women's conference every summer, and Gwen takes her women's class every year. Wow, Gwen!)
I am continuing my work at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center as Assistant Director of Patient Services for Nutrition. I enjoy my job, and find it challenging. Bria and I are very involved in our church: Central Presbyterian. It is a great community of people who are committed to Christ and to reaching out to this hurting world we live in.
Bria went on a short missions trip to the Dominican Republic this summer with the high school youth. She thoroughly enjoyed looking for tarantulas and other "critters," and was able to act as a translator for other group members. Her other summer activities included: going to Creation (a "Woodstock" with Christian rock bands), 2 weeks at summer camp, and a week's vacation at Myrtle Beach (with me, her best friend, and cousin Holly Meneses).
As you can see, our summer has been full! I am still trying to sell my house, so we can move into a neighborhood with teen-aged kids - your prayers are appreciated for that effort.
After the reunion, we went back home to Menlo Park, CA, and continued to get our house ready to sell. In early September I (Harlan) had my thyroid removed (it hasn't been working well for several years, and I feels much better now that it's out), in late October we sold our Menlo Park house, and in late November we closed on our new house in Palo Alto and moved in over Thanksgiving. Since then we have avoided any major new projects. We still have a lot of things in moving cartons, but we love the new house and feel at home here.
In early March most of the Dahl family (including us) took a vacation to Walt Disney World in Florida, where we had a great time. We also made 2 trips to L.A. in the last couple of months, to DisneyLand and to visit my father on his birthday. And most recently Mary, our eldest (age 9) spent two weeks in early July at a summer camp in the foothills of the Sierras (and we drove there to drop her off and pick her up).
Life here is pretty great. Kailey is turning 3 next week and is very excited about her birthday party. She has invited Ariel (the little mermaid) and can't wait to meet her.
Madison is now 6 months, sitting up, getting a tooth and is pretty much an angel. We have all fallen in love with her, even Kailey who grabs her by each side of the head and gives her a big wet kiss on the head regularly. It's great to see them getting to know each other.
We just visited my dad up on Whidbey Island, outside of Seattle where he lives with his wife, Dinah. The girls had a great time and it was nice for me to take a break from work. Chris met us and the four of us drove to Vancouver, BC for a few days. It was quite different from our last visit there (without kids!) but we are glad we went, despite the limitations you encounter traveling with kids.
My practice is going great. We just hired our 5th physical therapist and have 2 offers to buy the practice. We will be considering that since both Sherrie (my partner) and I are getting burned out on the business aspect of the whole thing. Treating patients is still great but the paperwork.....crazy and it keeps getting worse.
Chris is just finishing up his Microsoft Engineering program but still doing lighting design for several hard-core bands. Keeps him creative..
Hope all is well. Thanks for keeping in touch.
We just completed a train trip to Colorado with Gentry and Pete. Having a four-year-old along added a lot of fun and kept us looking for all sorts of neat things to do. We went up Trail Ridge Road with Steve and had a chance to climb lots of rocks, wade in ice-cold streams, and play pirates. Frank had a great time on the bumper cars with Gentry--right, Frank?
The Mountain Climbers
The Monmouth College Education Department successfully completed its 5-year State Review, for which Frank is thankful. The College had the honor of having former President Bush speak at our commencement in May; he was a surprisingly thoughtful and humorous speaker. He did okay on our Monmouth golf course as well, according to the locals.
This summer we've been busy building a Clubhouse for Gentry and John in our back yard. The main part of it has been designated as a Train, and the deck acts as a Ship---which can be a pirate ship that can fly, if needed. Behind the Clubhouse is Sherwood Forest, where we have constant battles with Robin Hood & his men, as well as with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, and save kings and princesses from having to walk the plank on a regular basis. Jo has also been busy working on her children's story---so far a five-year project.
Slowly but surely I am completing projects and schoolings underway. This past May I FINALLY graduated with my MPH in public health. Sort of anticlimactic after the years of toil. Only ONE more exam to go -- my national boards for nurse practitioner, so that I can work anywhere in U.S.
What with not working 2 jobs and going to school simultaneously, I am discovering the joys of occasional leisure time. I hurry home from daily rounds and run out to the yard & garden, pulling weeds happily, pruning herb garden, getting tangled in poison ivy, playing in the grass with our 3 dogs and 7 cats. One night a week I go social ballroom dancing, which is the soulful center of my week. I've danced long enough now that, even though I am very very amateur and not a competitive dancer, my dance partners tend to compliment me. The best music for my ears is "you are like a feather when you dance." It's been very good for me, after growing up being awkward in my body, with poor posture, and not feeling the least graceful. Tango is still my favorite.
Brian has been gone all summer doing his tennis tournament thing in Michigan. I'll fly up to visit him a few days next week. Ah for cool nights and less humidity.
My professional life has become a source of great contentment. I dearly love working with the elderly clients, and also find that the almost total independence I enjoy as a nurse practitioner in that setting suits me just fine. I haven't set an alarm clock in months, don't feel very stressed out, and have learned enough more about my work to feel quite comfortable in my diagnoses, orders, and decisions.
Guatemala is on the horizon again. Michael will go for 2 months (November & December) and I'll go over Christmas for 2 weeks. We'll take toys and medical supplies and celebrate the holiday with the children. Can't wait!
Th-th-th-that's all folks!
After I left Illinois I held an all-day week-long seminar in Korea with 140 church leaders on transforming world views. Then a week in Madras at the Hindustan Bible Institute, where I taught an intensive course and spoke in church and chapel services. Now I'm in the middle of a three-week seminar in Bangalore. Eloise and Holly and Andy come this weekend from the U.S. I will take the kids to Kodai for a week to visit with Loey after the course is done here. Then to Singapore for a week of lectures and then on to the U.S. in time for school to start. Having a good time, and eating a lot of curry. (....and what are you doing during your summer VACATION, Paul?)
Last night I helped Dad and my two kids, Holly and Andy, settle into the sleeper train for Kodai. This morning at 6:30 am they will have hopped off the train, which stops for 3 minutes!, had breakfast in the station, and taken a taxi up the Ghat road. They are staying in the Kodai Club, but will have dinners with Lois and Paul Wiebe and his wife. Dad has many plans for taking the children on hikes and boat rides.
Last week, Dad took Andy and visited Hyderabad and surrounding areas, but I'll let him tell that story.
Just a note to let you know that India is in fact still here!
I am trying to keep myself pretty busy these days. For starters, I am dealing with a successful SSI case. I am trying to figure out what I want to spend some of the money on. I have a trust account that is being put together by a trusts lawyer that was recommended to my mom from someone on an autism constituency board that I take part on.
I am also keeping myself pretty active between my CDA courses, the Evenstart program where I work with children 5 and under, and my AS advocacy. I am hoping to have my certificate for my CDA equivalent by mid-October. Then I plan on taking the National CDA certification in January.
I plan on leaving for Guatemala the start of November to go back to see my adopted children. I am so excited. And I know they will be when they see me. Those little ones out there are the main reason why I decided that working with children is what I want to do with my life. Other projects I am thinking of doing are putting together an AS website, starting a book, and trying to get more newspapers to do a story on Asperger's Syndrome.
Notes from Loey's email messages:
Our house is a small cottage with 2 bedrooms, a study, dining room and a long narrow living room with a full side of windows. The main pluses of the house are the 3 acre yard with flowers, shrubs and various trees including Eucy. It backs onto Bombay shola and fronts onto the lake (though you can't see or hear the lake from the house). It also has a nice covered porch with a table for sitting and having breakfast in the perfect Kodai weather, or tea, or to work on lectures in the afternoon. Thankfully we do have hot water though it seems to run at its own, variable pressure, and a wood stove in the living room.
We now have a cook who can make marvelous south indian meals - we haven't gone beyond that yet though he claims to be expert in western, chinese, north indian etc. So he works very hard to keep us well fed, keeps the kitchen and the rest of the house clean, does all the ironing and shopping while his wife comes around to wash the clothes. The milkman brings his cow to graze in the area above our yard every morning, along with a liter of fresh milk to be boiled for tea, paneer or yoghurt. He will also start gardening for us 2 days per week and get some new flowers going.
The nameless cat, kitten, has beautiful markings and could be called Cappachino but i think she needs something to make her more fierce. Shaktiman is the indian equivalent of superman so maybe Shakti??? Her job, which she has no choice in accepting, is to catch and get rid of the rats. They are as large as her and very comfortable and bold - sitting outside waiting for more food.
We also had the carpenter come out this AM to measure for the chicken coop. We plan on a couple of chickens to provide the eggs to go with the fresh milk to raise the new members of the family. Also, gary can have his fried eggs in the morning. They are hard to carry from the bazaar.
As of July 21 we have pretty well got the Grant House ready for new renters: scrubbed, painted a bit, put new lining in drawers, and all that stuff you don't want to hear about. Nzash Lumeya from Congo is moving in together with his Swedish wife and little daughter; temporarily at least while they look for a house to buy. Nzash is a good friend of ours, a most wonderful person.
Elmer is working long hours on another Jeremiah commentary. I'm fussing around with various projects: English games, crocheting Mom's yarn into things, helping Dina our Indonesian student with her TOEFL problems, reading Maeve Binchy's new book.
As for our kids--Ken and Fran return to Vietnam July 30 for two more years; Lauren is extremely busy getting support for Denver light rail etc. while Heller does her summer music stints; Vern and Sally are waiting out the heat in Texas with the help of their pool; Rick is in the midst of a huge summer youth project in Birmingham, England while Karen minds the kids. No plans for big trips this fall except to help K&R move to Tacoma, WA in November (home from England at last). One Grace story here: she had fallen off her bed into a large box of books and was silently trying to get out, but couldn't, when Rick opened the door and saw her. He said "How long have you been in there??" Without missing a beat she answered, "Forty days and forty nights."
Note regarding e-mail address changes:
Please make the following changes in your e-mail addresses:
Paul: (for the summer only) firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to send pictures for this newsletter, just scan them in at 72 dpi's, jpeg, and send them on to me. It's fun to see what's going on in our family. Thanks. -Jo