2023 Christmas Newsletter


Picture Page 2023

My “Mary, Did you Know” video and my singing


Reminisce with my 2000-2005 newsletters mostly all restored now!!!

A fun thing this year, still in process here and there — I had to tweak my old web page coding some, and did get a lot of these showing up again!  Old Christmas Newsletters early 2000s!  You should be able to see a lot of 2000 – 2005 at this point.  There still may be some dead links but I plan to look at them the next few weeks…

THIS is my “snail mail” newsletter – copied below.  Written by approx. 12/20/2023.

Christmas Newsletter 2023

As we still are on the earth, doing our duties and being with our loved ones, we still see illnesses, and just like last year we see COVID going up again, and also flu and other illnesses.  All our prayers to all!!!  Last year our family had COVID in various times:  Roger’s parents had right at Christmas ‘22 and then Roger, Chris and I had mid January ’23.  March of 23 Norovirus got just my mom, me and Roger!  We managed to stay healthy then for a while!


Sometime in September I had my first head cold, of the new school year, and it passed quickly.  Then October at the end of the month I had a cough building up but no other symptoms.  COVID test was negative.  I have been coughing on and off for almost 8 weeks now.  Yes, still coughing.  Taking asthma meds on and off, and saw the doctor, who saw nothing wrong.  May do virtual appt now that it’s going to be 2 months on Christmas Day!

November 1, 2023, Roger and I went with my coughing self to our first concert in about 30 years!  (So happy NOT to have anything contagious!)  We had bought tickets in May, and the wait was so long!!  We saw an artist named Steve Hackett which was a member of one of our favorite bands, Genesis, in the 70s.  He performs various Genesis albums as part of his concert as well as his own excellent solo work.  I was able to participate in some slight coughing in this video!!!  Ha! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AjBUuCpulA  features Dorene coughing at 4:55 and 5:55.  Amazing bass solo—-  And here is Steve Hackett and band performing the amazing Firth of Fifth by Genesis — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RFzFhYC9EI

LATE EDIT 12/23/23 – 2023 COVID loved us so much it joined us AGAIN this week with Dorene testing positive 12/21 pm and Ryan and Chris testing positive 12/23 pm.  Now an extended Christmas!  We are ok so far.

ROGER attended school once again from 1/2023 through 5/2023, then again 10/2023 through 11/2023.  He will go back again in January – I believe he’s about 2/3 done.  He and I continue as DSPs, with his hours still at a full time PLUS level.  More and more of the data entry counties are online (much of Ohio and all our WV counties), so our actual physical trips are lessening, with data entry at home increasing.  We still have a major NW, SE, and SW Ohio trip, plus a PA trip every 2-3 years, NY Finger Lakes every summer, and occasional day trips.

DORENE’s almost full-time DSP work fills the weekends, and then I work 2 days at schools between Tues and Friday.  I often work on some of the data entry at home also. The paperwork projects never seem to cease either.  I took over as bill payor for our boys, and also help my mom and uncles with their paperwork. Good thing for the computer, printer, and fax machine, as old-fashioned as they may seem!!!  Glad we can do all this!

CHRIS has continued with his Skyrizzi injections for his psoriasis, and after one year it was finally approved by his insurance!  (Before that he had samples).  The psoriasis completely disappeared!!  For some reason, though, this past month when he was due for his injection he got a small spot of it on his forehead.  But as soon as he got his injection recently, it completely disappeared.  Still so grateful.

A story I didn’t get to share on the typed letter – before Chris’s sedated cleaning, the day after Thanksgiving, Chris had to go into Cleveland to the dental clinic to have a precertification.  He was in a great mood!  Opposite of two years ago.  Anyway, we were making good time, and got to the area 20 minutes before the appointment.

I pulled into what was labelled as a parking area, in a parking garage (different, I believe than the last time I was there), and a person comes up to me and says we have to ride a shuttle bus to go to the hospital building.  I saw also that there was a sign saying the same thing, on the wall.  Chris has a weird thing where he won’t ride any busses or hayride vehicles or anything, except for his own workshop bus (THANK GOODNESS he takes that!).  So, I said, no, we can’t, he won’t get on.  They kept saying that was the only way he could get in to the building, and it’s getting later and later, and he wouldn’t get on!  Finally after like 25 minutes they called the front of the building and said I could park in front of it and try and figure out with the reps there what to do (!).  So I did pull around there, but by this time I’m on the phone with the dental department because now I’m late.

I’m on the phone for a while with THEM as they had to confirm what appointment I was there for because THEY have different departments.  Luckily before I was TOO late they did say they would see us.  THEN they said, but our office is across the street!  We are not in that building anymore.  And the person helping me on THIS said says, oh, you park under  the building.  I look, and I see a road going under the building like he said.  I go over there, drove down, and the GATE is down.  I’m still on the phone with the department by the way.  I think with how unlucky I’d been this whole time they wanted to keep me on the phone until they actually saw us!!  So, I sit there a few minutes, and nothing.  So the lady on the phone says, oh, the FIRST driveway down is the exit!

Why didn’t the guy across the street tell me to circle the building and NOT go in the first entrance but keep going to the second?  So I had to back my van up, uphill, into upcoming traffic.  Luckily it wasn’t too bad at like 3 pm and I got out.  But that was crazy.  Got around the building to the right entrance, got in, and they saw Chris for his precert and were SO NICE!  But wow.  I was SO hot, too, you know, nervous, and it’s cold outside so we’re wearing all these coats but I had to go down to our T-shirts and Chris looked warm also, and just try and relax after all that!

Back to the regular letter — same topic!

December 18, 2023, Chris finally got his sedated dental cleaning, that he had not been able to get since March of 21 (supposed to be every two years).  Happily, we were also able to get his ABR (hearing test under sedation), ear cleanout, and fitting for hearing aid molds, and the periodic blood tests!  This just happened, so we will be getting results soon.  He only had one cavity, amazing for 33 years old!

Chris also got a “talker” this year – a dedicated iPad with a program for assisted communication with icon pictures.  We are so excited for the potential in this, and eager to start the speech therapy appointments we are now afforded to get this working as efficiently as possible.

COLLEEN is still performing her pet grooming job and enjoying it and doing well!  Late in 2023 she and her pup Axel and all her other pets were able to move to a first-floor apartment with a patio in a nearby town roommate-free – something she had been wanting to do for a while!!  She continues to enjoy singing and art and is appreciating more space and area of her own to practice these hobbies in as well as looking forward to gardening next spring.

RYAN has been doing various things at school this year, his last year, ending 2/21/24 before his birthday, and still is participating in https://www.northcoastcorn.com  and https://www.facebook.com/accesstreats/.  Pretty much back to his old self now, but he had a tough summer and first few months of school this year with what ended up being a bowel blockage.  We were so grateful we insisted on x-rays and then more x-rays to make sure he was getting better!!!  For a while we had no idea what was wrong, and he was miserable, cranky, and agitated, out of the blue, where right before he was doing great.  It was a challenging time that we were so grateful to see resolved, also having to suffer through a double ear infection right after that. What a welcome sight to see him in the past few months back to asking everyone’s name and interacting with smiles!

After researching for a few months, we have chosen his workshop site, and we hope it will be as good of a fit as we think it is.  It is a large campus with a lot of fun activities, and lots of room for Ryan to pace, and even has karaoke and a speech therapist coming periodically!  Additionally, once he is done with high school the insurance he has will likely cover an iPad talker for him as well, so we are excited about that!

Ryan finally had HIS dental cleaning/sedation/hearing test/blood test Feb 9, 2023!!!  Notice I did not type EAR CLEANOUT.  We were calling to also get his ears cleaned out as it had been reported to us that his ears were very full of wax, which was not conducive to a good accurate hearing test.  We were calling to make sure the ear cleanout was scheduled and would never hear back.  The audiologist was also calling them. A day before the sedation, we were called and told that the ENT could NOT attend!  By this time, it was too late to get anyone else.  All procedures were performed, and in the end we were told that the ABR hearing test was not dependable because his ears were not cleaned out.  So, it has to be redone, and I have to find out when.

Sometime in the winter of 2023 we had a huge windstorm, and we woke to find our fence in the front of our yard broken in many places.  That was a sad day, and we spent some time trying to figure out what we wanted to do about it.  The goal of planting a line of trees in its place ~ the small fast-growing trees you can now buy where you plant about 10 in a row as a fence ~ is an exciting plan we now have, and research is ahead to find the best time to plant and how to nurture them, most likely either spring or fall, I would imagine.  We also lost a lot of our weeping willow, which is luckily STILL standing, and Roger had a lot of time cutting branches of it with his chain saw.  We are getting a tree service very soon and looking forward to getting EVERYTHING trimmed up after being here almost 20 years! We are also planning to get some very needed new windows soon!

In July we had our yearly work trip to the New York Finger Lakes, and we had a big surprise at our destination.  As we drove, we didn’t know why the sky looked rather foggy and strange, as the forecast had been for sunny warm days.  We then heard snippets on the radio news about how there was some smoke from fires over the area.  On our evening walk from our Corning, NY, hotel we noticed how the sun looked a bit orange.  We also couldn’t see the mountains as clearly as usual, which was a shame, of course.  As the hours went by and into the next day or two, we discovered how severe this really was.  We walked the next night too at the hotel, but this time the sun actually looked red.  The next morning our throats hurt a bit and we started wearing masks outside, as we were lucky we did have a few with us.  It was strange indeed to wear a mask outside and take it off in the courthouses.

Near Bath, NY, the pollution numbers were about 400, similar to the national news New York City was making with their skyline pictures in this smoke.  We were starting to feel a little sick from it, and were grateful as the smoke eased as we moved north of the Finger Lakes up to Rochester area and then on the trip back home, thank goodness.  Our prayers stayed with the people dealing with this every day in the worst of it, and as it went through the summer in much of the Northern United States and even some of the lower Southern States!

Through continuous tales of wars, illnesses, crises, depression and other terrible news and situations, I believe the Rock upon which all are invited to stand is still there!  If anyone is curious about being a Christ-follower,, I believe Jesus is not a religion, place, or doctrine but ALSO is not just a human, and my comforting belief is that He is always there for us to approach as our friend, redeemer, teacher, and leader.  Many celebrate His birth at Christmas, but my belief is that He died so that we wouldn’t have to be perfect, as He was perfect for us, and promises to be with us no matter what, as long as we invite Him into our hearts and lives, per our Free Will!  In this time of seemingly growing fear and negativity, I just wanted to share this as there may be even one person who feels they want to investigate it further, in their own heart, in their OWN free will!  It is my belief that He will never force anyone to follow Him but instead invites gently to take refuge under His wing…

Dorene, Roger, Christopher, Colleen & Ryan

Picture Page 2023

Don’t forget to check out the year in pictures!!! It took me DAYS!!!  I do enjoy making them though —

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