Christmas 2017

Season’s greetings to our family and friends near and dear!

Our Journey Together Started 51 Years Ago with a Piece of Cake We think of you all often, and of the love and support we feel coming our way from you. One of my little pleasures, in my currently becalmed state, is to be able to communicate with you all and wish you the very best for 2018 (yeah, yeah, I know; how could it possibly get worse than 2017).

Ruminations on Our State of Affairs

2017 was both the best and worst of times. We’re heartened by the movement to resist what’s been forced on this country by those who care only about money and we look forward to a more positive year ahead.

Health Care—Old and Very Young Need It

Dave and Jen with Lucas on His 15-Day Birthday Enough of trying to figure out the politics. We have had a most interesting and challenging year en famille as we traveled the maze that is health care today.

The Riggs Family’s New Addition

Lucas at 16 Days Old, Calm and Beautiful Our grandchild #5, Dave and Jen’s little boy Lucas Bailey Riggs, arrived on Dec. 1 with some heart issues that needed immediate attention. Following a normal labor and delivery, Jen and Dave learned that Lucas was born with a congenital heart defect called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR), a condition in which veins from the lungs to the heart had been misrouted in development, compromising his oxygen intake.

(Gorgeous) George, Jen, and Dave in April Immediate corrective surgery was needed and his amazing medical team at Children’s Hospital L.A. assure us that he'll make a full recovery and will be home before Christmas. He’s a trooper. We'll have to tell him his cool chest scar, just like grandma’s, is a family trait he inherited.

And Me? I Treasure Every Day

August: Jen, Cathy, Brian and Lucie, Mary, David, Larry, Shane, and Jenny Last year’s heart valve repair seems to have helped, although I still don’t have energy I had a year ago.

But the recurrence of the cancer complicates things, and I’m doing my best to hang tough as I go through the various forms of chemo torture the medical guys have devised. Larry and I are learning too many medical terms and that’s scary!

My Activities Have Slowed Way Down

I try to occupy myself with fun activities—lots of reading, some knitting, painting, seeing the family, enjoying the grandchildren.

Cousins: (l to r) Tori, Dax, Nicky, McLean, Lucie, Hudson, Simone, Crew, Justice, and Jamie At Thanksgiving we entertained a big crowd here—all the kids and grandkids as well as nephew David and Kelsey Burke’s family from Sacramento. The ten little and big cousins got acquainted. The food was awesome, thanks to the many cooks and planners, and we enjoyed the leftovers for days afterward.

Tori, Painted Up for a Halloween Party I loved watching the kids play shadow tag on the back lawn after sunset—bringing back fond memories of evenings in Riverside with John (David Burke’s dad), when we were growing up. He would have loved to see his grandchildren and ours running and shrieking with delight as they chased each other. We’re so grateful that we could all have this time together, and for all the effort and hard work from the planners and cooks. And grateful beyond words that our 96-year-old patriarch was here as well.

Celebrating Milestones

Preacher Bill Weber Reenacts Our Wedding on Our Tenth Anniversary As Jenny, Cathy, and Brian Look On This, despite the medical diagnosis for me, has been a banner year in terms of getting to reconnect with friends and family and to celebrate milestones. We dined out on our 51st anniversary, had visits from my college roommates (also married in 1966), quietly celebrated Larry’s 60th high school reunion in Cerritos, and attended the 50th anniversary party for Barbara and Bill Weber, La Cañada friends since 1972.

Nicky, Jamie, and Lucie Are about to Meet Little Green Men Granddaughters Lucie and Tori are completing their last year in elementary school and move up to middle school (6th grade) next fall. Lucie, and sibling twins Nicky and Jamie, three years behind her, will not share the same campus again until Lucie is a senior.

My Exotic Travels in La La Land

August Photo of Us; Mary’s Eye Has Had 5 Days of Radiation and Would Soon Open There’s been no real travel for us this year, so we’ll live vicariously through your adventures—bring it on!

Well, actually I did undertake some—albeit local—traveling: five nights in an L.A. hospital and daily shuttle trips to L.A. for ten days of radiation this summer. There were nice people on the shuttle, and an attentive driver, and lots of interesting stories from other patients who were my shuttle-mates.

Looking Back: Dave and Mary in Our Garden at Easter 1999 From two weeks of radiation, my right eye tumor has shrunk somewhat, and I now have better vision in that eye. I’m hoping that with the ongoing chemo the eye will stay open for the “foreseeable” future ☺.

Larry continues to keep computers doing what they’re supposed to and it gives him a chance to get out and about instead of forever having to respond to my summons. And he’s cooking stuff, too. What a guy!

The Kids

Showing Mary’s Nephew Isaac (the Tall One) Santa Monica Sights in August Cathy’s presence in our lives is a real blessing: not just for the cooking and housekeeping, but also for her support and thoughtfulness. We’ve watched her gracefully guide Tori’s transition from a child into her present tween stage. I’m convinced she’ll be a cool teenager in two years! LAPD is lucky to have Sgt. Riggs’ skills. It’s weird to hear Cathy talk about planning for retirement; she’s just a kid, after all.

5 Beautiful Ladies: Jenny, Erin Molly with Zoey (6), Mary with Tori (10) Lawyer Jenny keeps busy at Meyers Nave on various cases, and fosters cats at home (some cute videos are posted on Facebook). Brian’s work at Adobe took him to Bangalore this year, and he and Marion and kids spent some weeks in Germany seeing family and friends and improving the children’s German. Marion continues to do some graphic design work, in between shuttling kids to their activities. Dave now runs a digital marketing consultancy, helping companies with customer acquisition and growth, including Snapchat and Ring (the video doorbell company from Shark Tank). Jen will return to her Sales & Business Development role at Tuition.io after maternity leave.

May 2018 Bring Peace and Happiness

The month of December will be busy. We’re looking forward to finally meeting Lucas in person and his parents are anxious to be able to take him home from the hospital. We will at last tackle the dried-up mess that is the lawn and erase the evidence of the lingering 5-year drought here in California. And we’ll continue keeping a wary eye on the horizon for evidence of wildfires.

Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2018 and a blessed Christmas season.