Merry Christmas from Cathie, Rej & Samuel


I’ve been cautiously peering around corners when I come up to them, to see if Christmas is just around there, like I’ve been hearing.  All I ever find is The Dad busy and wishing he had a Midas wand to change everything to rogers (and Rogers to a frog!), since we no longer live “at home”, but “at”; The Boy typing with his toes; and The Mom still enjoying last year’s Christmas present:  snapping pictures left and right with her digital camera and then playing all kinds of “havoc” with them on the computer.

But lately she thinks she’s back at High School, and looks like she’s working away at one of those exercises that say:  “If you had to put a title on 2001, what would you call it?”  She’s thought of several of them . . .

The Year of Graduations  

-        Both Samuel and his cousin Richie graduated INTO High School (also, Richie’s sister Crystal graduated OUT OF High School!)

-        The grandparents of all those kids (affectionately known as “Nanny & Pappy”) graduated into Retirement, and as of September 1st have been enjoying the permanent “Cottage Life” and trying to get used to the feeling of being able to visit Toronto without having to get back to Ottawa on Monday for the work week!

-        Skinny Rej and Skinny Cathie have graduated into “healthy living”!  In last year’s letter they had lost 20 lbs altogether, at this writing they have EACH lost over 20 lbs (Rej has lost over 30)!  This story is to be continued! 

-        Cathie has graduated into the “Needs-glasses-and-false-teeth Club” (though only 2 false teeth, and the glasses are only for reading).


The Year of the Hot Summer 

The summer finally got hot, only because WE got fed up with the cool weather and decided to go to Myrtle Beach, where we’d be sure to get some good heat!  The ocean waves were warm, but cooler than the air, and the evenings were cool enough (after a dip in the pool) to enjoy the HOT TUB each night!


We deserved a hot summer after this!



The Year of Good Reading  

Since Rej and Sam each had a large supply of their own reading materials over the camping season (how many people do you know who take a ThinkPad to bed with them?), Cathie was able to enjoy her own kind of books, as well as do some of her own writing.  The movie she is MOST looking forward to, is “Lord of the Rings”.


We started the year with Harry Potter (Book 4), and are ending it with Harry Potter (almost), as for the first time a debut movie is “described for the visually impaired”, in the theatre!


The Year of Math  

Of course, this refers to the school year.  High school is for Sam to talk about, but from the parents’ side its been Math-Math-Math.  Dad loves it and Mom hates it, and Samuel sometimes pretends to enjoy it and sometimes pretends to hate it!  We’ve found that all 3 of us are needed to figure out the Math Homework.  Three brains churning could be part of the reason the homework takes hours, but the results are amazing – usually about 95%.



    It's me again (OH NO!).  Seeing as I've had something in almost all the other newsletters at Christmas, I just managed to make some time this year between homework, books, homework, computers, homework, and the rest of life.  Oh, did I mention homework? 

    OK, starting with one of the main events of my life this year, school.  This September was the big switch between what I had been used to, and high school.  I was in St. Henry's from grades 5 to 8, and that school was not a full rotation.  So, I first off had to switch from maybe 3 teachers to 7 or 8 ... not sure how many I have.  I think it's 8 if you count the gym teacher, but anyway.  Having many teachers is one of the few things that isn't different from most other schools.  My new high school, Mary Ward, is what's called “self-directed learning”.  Basically, to put it in a nutshell:  you have classes on every Monday, and the rest of the week you choose what classes you want to work at.  Also, the work is slightly less directed.  You are given units of work, and the Monday classes along with other seminars give you the ability to do the unit work.  It isn't like you can just not show up, you have to check in, in the morning with your teacher advisor (similar to a homeroom teacher) and also once after lunch.  I suppose you could leave and come back if you wanted to, but your teacher advisors do check every so often, so you'd get caught eventually.  Your teacher advisors also encourage you to get work done, and a progress report is sent home every two weeks and has to be returned signed by your parents.  It looks much less structured than it really is.  So far, I'm getting good marks, and I think I'll get out of this year alive. 

    So, what else have I been doing other than school?  Nothing interesting.  Mainly I've been trying to keep up with my email, keep my favourites list organized, find time for my web page (or find time to pull it out of the grave), and doing more reading than is good for me.  Some exciting things that are coming up in the near future for me are the mystery dinner theatre I'm going to for my birthday, and of course the usual excitement that comes with Christmas.  If you want to get ahold of me, because of the Rogers change my email address is now  I also use MSN, and that's more likely to get a direct and fast reply from me.  You can add me to your MSN contact list using the same address.  Anyway, time for me to spell-check this, and take out the many spelling errors that you'll thankfully never get to see.  So, merry Christmas until next year! 


The Year of Prayer

This title partly comes from attending, for the first time, two different church camps.  For New Year’s we enjoyed the heaps of snow, crisp air, and warm fellowship at Pioneer Camp – which we will definitely do again, though not this year.  That experience was so wonderful that we signed up for camp at Muskoka Baptist Conference (MBC) and were there before everything was quite open in the summer.  It was a time of filling your stomach, and filling your spirit!  (The meals are excellent.)  They have a special building for the Youth at MBC, with old couches and writing on the walls, where Sam got to ask some of his “burning questions”.


This was also a year of prayer in other ways: 

-        we participated in sessions of Alpha at our church (where you learn about prayer), at two different times of the year,

-        Cathie has attended prayer meetings throughout the year where all the local churches get together, including an ecumenical service where – if you can believe it – the Salvation Army Band played in the Roman Catholic Church!


One prayer meeting at our church that was well attended in spite of being called on very short notice, was on the evening of a date that is forever inscribed in everyone’s mind:  September 11th.  Its hard to imagine that for thousands of people this Christmas will be very different.  But it is causing hundreds of thousands of prayers to rise to heaven.  And God is in the business of bringing light to darkness, whether it be the miracle of joy in the midst of sorrow, a dawning realization to the darkness of a questioning mind, or simply the laughter of children on a cold winter night.



OR - a cat trying to be a Christmas decoration!   


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