Shannon Ingram's Place

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Location: Orange County/CA

Musings of a woman who left her corporate career to become a caregiver for elderly parents, wrote a book and found her way back to corporate - with love, instead of fear, leading the way. Now working at my Alma Mater, UC Irvine, as Marketing and Communications Director for the School of Biological Sciences.

Monday, December 11, 2006

2006 Ingram Holiday Letter

December 2006

Our holiday letter is online this year – on my blog instead of in your mailbox. It’s our way of saving a tree. We still have a “real” Christmas tree, of course, so maybe it’s just an excuse to avoid the crowds at Kinko’s.

The best thing about this Christmas is that Gary is ALIVE. After his bout with kidney failure in October, he bounced back and will never touch another “killer Tum.” He’s also a changed man because he agreed to be Santa Claus for the church holiday children’s party. Visualize Santa with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. Let’s hope the long curly fake white beard/mustache is flame proof. He has requested that every kid has a dry diaper.

We’ve enjoyed a lot of diapering this past year, thanks to our precious grandson, Keegan (this is NOT about Depends), who celebrated his second birthday in November. He has had several overnights with us, some as long as five days. A few months ago, during one of his visits, I realized that he had “Papa” down as his name for Gary. Everyone has been calling me “Granny Shannie” since his birth – and I liked that name. Keegan wasn’t using it, though. During this particular visit, he came running to me saying, “Doggy, Doggy.” Neither our dog, Vanna, nor his dog, Oreo were in sight, and it occurred to me he might be calling ME “Doggy.” That was confirmed at about two the next morning when we heard him crying via the baby monitor. I rushed down the hall to his room and opened the door and, through his little sobs, he looked at me and said, “Doggy.” Gary heard it over the monitor and was laughing so hard that we were all wide awake. Needless to say, I worked hard to turn that around and thankfully, now I am “Sannie” or “Shannie." I have enough self esteem challenges without being “Doggy.”

Remember when I lost all that weight a few years ago? I gained most of it back this past year – let’s get that out on the table, along with the Christmas cookies I just baked. At least I didn’t eat any of the dough. I attend Pilates classes twice a week, usually with two girlfriends. On Tuesdays, we go to Taco Mesa afterwards for the Taco Tuesday special, much to the chagrin of our instructor. I also learned to make a great new drink called a cosmorita – combination cosmopolitan martini and margarita. Does it get any better than that?

Gary would say it gets a lot better because he doesn’t drink...much. He has been known to down a few tequila shots during any given year, especially when we visit Seňor Frogs in Mazatlan, as we did this past September. Our party of friends lost count after his 7th shot. Was it a coincidence that he wound up in the hospital four days later? I must admit he hasn’t had any tequila since then.

Everyone is "hanging in" this year. It's never dull around our home with Poudre (16 year-old drooling cat with only two teeth), Molly (three year-old cat, stoned on catnip), and Vanna (aka "Princess Dimstar," who still hasn't figured out how to navigate the wood floors without slamming into walls and furniture). Mom and Jack are literally dancing through life at "Geezer Palace," thanks to Friday Happy Hours. Jack is on the Resident Board and considering a run for the Presidency in 2007. Watch out Barack, Hillary and Rudy.

Our niece, Lindsey, plays in the Washington Husky marching band, and - woo-hoo - even had an NFL gig, playing for the Seahawks at the NFC divisional playoff game this year. Niece Hannah has taken karaoke to a whole new level and is now performing as a semi-pro singer with a group that does Broadway-style shows. She will be appearing at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert in February. Son Cory and daughter-in-law Emilie have been busy watching dozens of "Thomas the Train" videos with Keegan. They can now recite the dialog word-for-word. As children, Gary was into cars, Cory loved planes and now Keegan is obsessed with trains...our family's legacy of "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."

We’ve had a year of splendid, hard work, travel to Canada, Alaska, Colorado and Mexico, and good times with family, friends and pets. We hope you have enjoyed the same satisfaction. If not, call me and I’ll give you the recipe for the cosmorita. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

It's a Wonderful Life...

Reverend Sandy Moore, our minister at the Center for Universal Truth in San Juan Capistrano, decided to use the classic holiday movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," as inspiration and theme for her Sunday messages this month. I first watched this great old movie in the 80's when I was living in Hawaii. My boss, Ron Cruger, who was the publisher of This Week Magazines, recommended it to me. He said it was his favorite movie. I'd never even heard of it. A movie buff since childhood, I couldn't believe I'd missed this great film till I was thirty-something. When I saw that it was playing on Christmas Eve that year, I watched the whole thing, and cried through most of it. Now I realize that I was simply meant to see it when I did. Today, George Bailey is still one of my beloved heroes. I bought the movie when videos first came out, and now I have it on DVD. I watch it at least twice every holiday season. We'll be watching it again this year, with some new insights thanks to Sandy's Sunday discourses. "No man is a failure who has friends." Thank you, Clarence. Thank you, Ron. Thank you, Sandy.