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Happy New Year 2004
by Eldon & Carlene Chittick

December 2004

Dear Family and Friends,

Jan '04 with newest grandson Sean Michael Heuer
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January was a special and busy month with great snow and our newest addition, Brad and Shawna's third, Sean Michael. He's just about to turn one Jan. 12th, and he's walking and full of life and mischief. Ally and Thad think they have a new toy and have seemed to overcome the initial jealousy of their new sib. Ally enjoys kindergarten and Thad enjoys his day-care two days a week. Sharla is a doting aunt and Sage is thrilled to have another cousin to play with.

Denny, Ranasha, Quilene and Egan were all able to be here on, or soon after, Sean's arrival. Then the snowmobiling began. Our group headed off to Island Park (outside Yellowstone) for a few days. Then we hit the north Idaho areas until mid Feb. when we headed for S. Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana for eleven days. Then in early March, Eldon and the guys went north to B.C. for a special adventure in the Canadian Rockies. There are no trail systems, and a guide was required. Eldon reported that it was probably his first and last such snowmobile trip of that nature. It was exciting, challenging, beautiful beyond description, and exhausting. He's decided that 65 year-olds should value their bodies and listen to their brains a little better, if they want to continue experiencing the wonders of this sport.

With just three days for Eldon to recover, we loaded the new 5th wheel trailer, and headed south to Arizona on March 17th. After two weeks with Denny and Ranasha in Chandler in their new home, we headed back north to meet our friends, Mike and Joann Milam, in Eureka, Cal. Then together; we went up the Oregon coast to spend two weeks at Winchester Bay. The Milams headed back to New Mex., and we headed home on our 42nd anniversary, April 18th. The trip taught us a lot about pulling a 5th wheel trailer, but it was an uneventful and accident free experience. We climbed mountain passes that we probably shouldn't have, discovered power in big blue' that we didn't expect her to have, and found a few minor leaks around the bedroom windows that were due to dried caulking from the Arizona sun, where the previous owners had parked the trailer for two winters. We enjoyed it so much that, after a busy summer at home, we took it back to the Oregon coast in October for a week, with the company of our friends, Gary and Judy Seigford.

Our summer was filled with the usual baseball games with Sage, soccer games with Ally, Eldon's coaching softball, and Carlene recovering from Carpal-Tunnel surgery, which eliminated her golf for this year. However, in late June, we flew to Boston to meet Denny and Ranasha for a two-week adventure covering Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, upper New York and Montreal. It was a first time for us in that part of the east and it was great. We visited good friends, Charlie and Suzan Rogers, Boston area, the Pipkins, in Maine; then 104 year old Yardley Chittick, the oldest living Patent Attorney in the U.S., who Denny discovered in his genealogy searchin New Hampshire (and who we yet haven't found a direct family connection with); then a fun 4th of July party at Ticonderoga, NY with Denny's close friends, Paul and Julie Kent and their family on Lake George. From there, we headed up to Lake Placid where we all took our turns, in pairs, riding the old Olympic four-man bobsled down the lower half of the run. They provided a driver and a break-man. What a thrill !! Then up to Montreal to visit Kelly Riar and his wife, Jennifer. Kelly is the youngest of the Riar family, our long time friends from Edmonton.

That was a trip to remember, and it was particularly fun to share it with Denny and Ranasha. The end of August, we traveled to Port Townsend for a wedding of a family friend, Christie Wilson, one of Quilene's high school friends. Before heading home, we stopped to see Eldon's brother and sister-in-law, Arden and Nina, in Mukilteo. Then, having recently located Eldon's graduate school mentor, Dr. Frank du Mas, now retired and living in Stanwood, we drove up to see him and his wife, Dorothy, after 39 years of wondering where they were. What a wonderful reunion. They were both sharp and full of memories that warmed our hearts, as they remembered us and the challenges we all faced in a new psychology department, with a less than sympathetic administration. He gave Eldon one of his books he had written. We intend to not lose touch again with these special people.

As we reviewed our summer, we were shocked to realize that, in addition to our travels, we had also entertained 42 overnight house guests, both friends and family, one of which was a childhood friend in New Mexico of Carlene's, Pam Breashears. So we still can't say that retirement has been boring, can we?

In Sept., Denny and Ranasha, with friends Paul and Julie and their baby Cooper, came to visit, then we flew to Boise to participate in a surprise retirement party for our long time friends Milt and Maxine Klein. Milt has been a professional associate since 1971, and Eldon's partner since 1983. With Milt's retirement, we closed the last of our offices of Interfaith Family Counseling Services, Inc. after a 29 year run since 1975. Denny and Ranasha also arrived to help with the celebration, which turned into a "Roast", to which Denny and Eldon couldn't help but add their two bits worth, of course.

We spent Thanksgiving with Egan and Quilene in Bend, Oregon. Sharla and Sage went with us, and we all had a great time with the Bend Bunch. They have a host of friends, most of who are connected with the restaurant business, so the meal was fabulous, and Carlene didn't have to cook. There were 17 people with two turkeys and a ham. They deep-fried the turkeys and they were fantastic!

We're back home now preparing for Christmas. Everyone will be here for a change, so it will be very special. To add to it, Denny and Ranasha are expecting their first baby in Feb. But as with all good things in life, balance is sustained with some disappointments. Jimmy and Sharla, after four years, mutually decided that they were unable to continue their marriage. With professional help and sincere effort, they finally separated this summer amicably. Sharla and Sage lived with us until they moved into their own place Oct 1st. They all report that their relationship is happier and healthier now. Sage spends time every week with Jimmy. Sharla is now the acting head of the History department at N.I.C., and she and Jimmy are active in joint effort to keep Sage busy with piano, swimming, baseball and school. All in all, it's working out smoothly. Sage and Jimmy have a special relationship, and all three seem to be adjusting well to their new lives.

The snow is falling with our first big storm, as I write this, so Snowmobiling is knocking at our door. Here's hoping that your year has been fulfilling and your 2005 equally anticipated.

Love and best personal regards,

Eldon and Carlene

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