Merry Christmas 2015

Hogan Holiday Letter

We hope that this letter finds you with loved ones, enjoying good health, prosperity and that your life is filled with all good things.

For us, the year started out with Alooooooooha with the family trip to Hawaii.  Everyone was there, Heather, Justin, Novella, Banyan, Jon and his then girlfriend, Kathryn.  Jon and Kathryn had recently made the move from the Monterrey area to San Diego where they were enjoying the great weather and the condo.  We stayed in a VRBO house across from the beach on Hilo and managed to have a great time, which is not hard to do in Hawaii.  It was a few days into the trip that Jon sprang the big question to Kathryn at the Botanical Gardens.  She said “yes” and the rest is history, more later in this letter.

Denise continues in her baking club (where she’s made some lovely friends), a new luncheon group, is taking a yoga class, reads, plays quizup and continues to enjoy trip planning.  (She has had 18, 671 readers of her TripAdvisor reviews.  Geez, really?)   Though she hasn’t added to our travel blog for some time, she will make up for lost time soon. She also cherishes time with San Diego friends when we go South or when some have visited us up NorCal way.

IMG_2964We delight in the fact that we are so close by to the grandkids and frequently spent time with them.  It’s a wonderful time filled with hugs, cuddles, stories, snotty noses and love notes.  Novella is now seven years old and in first grade, Banyan is three and in preschool.

Barry decided that is was time to become more involved in the Land Park Community Association (LPCA) as well as his MG Club and volunteered to do the newsletter for both organizations!  Fortunately, the MG Club newsletter is only a month and the LPCA newsletter was once a quarter.  Barry is still continuing to do the weekly newsletter for his Rotary Club.  In March Barry ran for and was elected to the LPCA Board for two years and took over running their website.

In February we started to play Pickleball once a week in Elk Grove at one of the community centers.  For those who don’t know this is a fast paced game where you play on the size of a Badminton court with rackets the size of paddle tennis and softball sized wiffle balls.  We play each Monday and do a round-robin type play sometimes playing as many as six to eight games in a two hour period.  We continue to go to the gym four times a week where Barry swims and Denise runs.  Keeping in shape allows us to keep up with the grandkids!

Also in February we found out why Barry’s eye was drooping.  He was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis (MG), albeit a mild case affecting his eyes.  This is a situation where the message to the eye muscle just doesn’t seem to get there and the eye droops or closes.  Barry takes pills to alleviate this situation and thankfully after he lost 35 pounds the MG seemed to go into remission and he takes the pills only occasionally.

We decided that this year was the year to lose some of the weight that both of us had been carrying around.  We used the Take Shape for Life Program (thanks Elise and Jill), which supplied the food that we were to eat for the next few months.  We were surprised that we were not hungry and pleased to see the weight loss.  Barry lost the weight quicker than Denise since he was taking in more calories than she.  All in all, both of us have lost a combined weight of 60 pounds!  Both of us had to go shopping to get new clothes since the old clothes were so baggy.

In April, we finally took the leap and bought a “chalet” in the Sierras!  We had been looking for some time to find a vacation home that the family could go to.  We checked out Arnold, California and to our surprise,  we found it charming; exactly what we had been looking for and in our price range.  After a stay over Easter, when it snowed for the first time in 2015, we found our “chalet.”  The “Let’s Play Chalet” has taken more time than we thought to make it into exactly what we wanted.  Denise was active on Pinterest as well as other internet sites picking out material for drapes, colors for the wall and cabinets, furniture and the like.  We searched thrift shops, consignment stores, IKEA, antique stores, Salvation Army, Craigslist, Habitat for Humanity and the like for all of the stuff that a chalet needs.  It wasn’t until August that we were able to put it on the market as a rental.  So far it has been great for the family and there is less and less work to do each time we visit, so we can enjoy just being there.  We celebrated a preChristmas weekend with Jon and Kathryn, Heather and Justin and the grand-darlings.  It was heaven to have everyone up there in the snow, see photo on top of page.

In July Barry took over as President of his Rotary Club.  He hit the ground running, having his budget adopted at the last Board meeting in June and selected his entire Board for his year.  The Club was aware that both he and Denise would be gone in August and September for their six week trip to Europe, and had already planned to have past presidents fill in for the eight meetings that he would miss.  In August, just a week before we were to go on our trip, Barry went in for a routine check up with his internist.  We were surprised when his doctor heard a “flutter” in his chest, which sent us immediately to have an EKG of his heart.  Sure enough, they found a “leaky” heart valve that required surgery to fix.  The Europe trip was cancelled, thank God for insurance, and robotic surgery schedule for October 14.  All went well; the valve was fixed and we are planning on rescheduling our trip for 2016.  We are very, very thankful for our good health.

LUV_3283-EditBest of all, Jon and Kathryn got married in a small family ceremony in Las Vegas on October 10.  It was great to meet the rest of Kathryn’s beautiful family and celebrate together with such a fun weekend.  We love our new daughter-in-law and are so very happy that both of our kids have found such joyful and supportive marriages. (Heather and our adored Justin have now been married for YIKES 13 years.)

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a wonderful 2016.



Tasting All that LIfe has to Offer