The Coyne'r'Butch Christmas Letter 2008
Hi, Everyone! It's another Christmas letter from Coyne'r'Butch.
Several people have asked me if I was ready for Christmas this year. My standard response (as of November) was that I wasn't yet ready for the Fourth of July.
Behind again! <Sigh>
This was a funny year. I feel like I went full tilt all year long, but nothing actually got done. At least I was mostly doing my official job this year, instead of another.
Here's this year's picture of me. It was taken on the 8th of December, at a place called "Hickory Bluff Preserve" (basically, the same place as last year, though I didn't realize that until just now).
If you're interested, this year I am providing two other versions of the image: The full-size original (BIG!) and a larger version of the portrait at right. The full size version is 2560x1920—1.3 megabytes—and you can count the hairs on top of my head.
(But you can do that with your eyes shut—you don't need any picture to know there's no hair on top of my head. Look at that shine!)
By the way, a good part of the preserve was under water earlier this year, after Hurricane Fay came through. The St. John's river was about a foot above flood stage. (Which is around 3 feet above its normal level—even our floods are flat!)
Since the area around the St. John's is very flat, this means flooded houses, roads and so on, so I visited the preserve to see if it was all afloat. Not quite—probably only about half of it.
But if the flood had been a foot higher yet, I wouldn't even have been able to get there; the water was within 18 inches of the edge of state road 415 in several places.
I still have kitties; more than enough to tow a sleigh: "Now Arnie and Bandito and Badger and Freckle; Fluff(-ie) and Moon(-Man), Mom-a-san and Neo." That's just the ones that officially "own me". (I've just gotta get pictures of them on this site.)
Then there's the crowd that just mooches: Edie, Diamond, Ebony, the orange male, the black male, the long-haired calico kitten and the white and black kitten (neither so small anymore).
(...not to mention, of course, the crowd of mooching raccoons.)
Qualifications on this section include the fact that this is the first (!) time that I've ever really tried to do a family summary. Also, unfortunately, many of the members of my family have not had a very good year. So forgive me if this seems a bit gloomy.
Not long before Thanksgiving, my Dad had to go into a nursing home. He is 70 and has Parkinsons disease; I am not sure if he will ever again be able to live at home.
My Mom, sadly, is still having to work, because of stingy Social Security. She had problems with her shoulder last year and had to have surgery. It still hurts her a lot, which makes working miserable.
My sister Diane is mostly healed up from the dog attack in 2006 (which I never mentioned). Also, her husband, Glenn, is not well right now.
My brother Mike's ribs are mostly healed up now from his accident on the gas drilling rig. (He was sliding down the escape cable when the stake pulled out, swinging him hard against the rig.)
On the same day he fell, his son, Christopher, managed to tangle himself in blankets in his crib and nearly suffocate. He is doing fairly well, but has some brain damage. Time will tell how well he recovers.
Susan and her son Gabriel are doing okay, but Susan's husband, Mars, is not well, either.
Beth and her husband Harold are the only up news in this. Harold is about to reach the end of an electrical apprenticeship, which will place him in a better earning position. Beth obtained a really good job at the Wester Center for Archaeology and Palentology (here), a museum. (She selected the coloring scheme and has done much of the design for the web pages from the link above.) Her son, Paul, 4, is very intelligent: He can already read low-end books and count to 100.
We still don't know much about my brother David, except we think he is in Maine somewhere.
"Gimme, Gimme, Gimme..."
I would like everyone reading this to make sure I have their personal (or at least a work) email address. Now, of course, if I publish an email address here, there's a good chance the spammers will steal it and start spamming me to death.
Ha, ha, just kidding. This is why I use "throwaway" addresses. Here's one, which I will promptly change if the spammers do start spamming it:
Remember that this is temporary: I will write back to give you a more permanent address.
(You can also reach me by sending a message using my comments page. Be sure to include your email address.)
The Price of a Miracle
I received this in one of those emails that go around and kept it because it seemed so appropriate. The story was not titled or attributed.
Someone also sent me this in an email; repeated here for you (also unattributed).
Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and those that I care deeply for, who are reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through your grace.. Where there is need, I ask you to fulfill their needs. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.
Peaceful and Happy New Year.