I hope there is a letter from you to me in the mail. I haven't heard from you in a long time. I assume you've had a busy holiday season.
We had Christmas dinner at our neighbors who live where the Cummings did. They are our age, real nice, with a 13-year-old daughter who babysits. They have an old cat who is very patient with our kids and comes over to our house a lot. We are enjoying them as neighbors. She is a wonderful hostess. I've been doing some aerobic exercises at her house sporadically. I hope with this new year we can do it regularly.
New Years Day we had a family from church, Bob & Annette Jefferson, over for lunch. I fixed pastitzio - a Greek dish similar to lasagna. The Jeffersons are our age with a daughter, Chrissy, in Angelique's class at school. They are big buddies. They also have a ten-year-old son, Bobby, that Steven likes to follow around. Annette has been a Christian for 2 years. Bob was just baptized a few months ago. They are nice to be with.
I guess these two families are suppose to replace Bob & Ann Cummings and John & Faye Sigle in our lives over here. They are different, but I guess we can adjust.
Michael's hours at the clinic have finally changed. The clinic is only open until 6:00 pm now. Michael is off at 4:30 now except for about once a week when he has to stay until 6:00 pm. That's much better than it was. At least he is home for supper at night except every sixth night when he has duty at the hospital. Then he is supposed to have the entire next day off after being at the hospital all night. He usually gets his day off.
They have really tightened the security at the NSA and NATO bases now since Libya, Reagan & Israel are all threatening each other over these terrorist attacks. (This started Thursday, Jan 2.) They are searching each car - under hood, in trunk, underneath car with mirror, sniffing dogs, each package or sack - before they come on the base. Then they open the gate and let that one searched car onto the base, close the gate and then search the next car. It has really caused gigantic traffic jams on the streets leading to the two bases. I haven't been to the base since this has started. They are indirectly discouraging all "nonessential personnel" from coming to the bases to try and cut down on the traffic problem. Eventually I will have to break down and go in to do my shopping and run all my errands. Monday I am suppose to go register with Univ. of LaVerne for my voice lessons again. I think I'll see if they will let me do it over the phone until things settle down. We have not been told if these bases have been threatened specifically or if this is just one of the overall new precautions being taken by all military bases in Southern Europe.
We're ready to come home. We've seen more than our fair share of Europe (well, 90% of what we would like to see). Our time is suppose to be up in April, but we don't have new orders yet so I guess they are going to keep us till summer. Michael plans on calling his detailer next week to see if there is any news about when we're getting out of here.
Charlotte has given me several new pieces of music to learn for a recital in February or March. Most of them are really neat and exciting. One of them, from Donizetti's opera "Don Pasquale," may be the death of me. I told Charlotte it is beyond my capacities. She disagrees and tells me to work on it. "Work" is right. It is beautiful when done right. I'm not doing it right yet.
I sent mother a small Capodimonte piece for her birthday. I hope it gets there in one piece. I have my doubts about the postal system being able to read the word "FRAGILE."
I've enjoyed this holiday break. The kids have not been as nerve-racking as I thought they might be. I think they will be ready to go back to school Monday, tho. We have just today started to get a little bored with home. I've enjoyed sleeping later than usual each day. Monday we start our regular schedule of up at 6:50 and off to school again. In some ways that's good and in some ways that's bad.
What's new in Arkansas? I hate not knowing what's going on with everyone. Are you doing OK? How did the Nutcracker go? Did you tape a piece of it for us this year? I forgot to ask for that. How was Christmas at Searcy? Did your vase make it in one piece? Can you tape the return movie of "I Dream of Jeannie" for us if it has not already run on TV yet? Michael wants to see it.
I've got to get to bed. Write when you can.
P.S. - Jan 5
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