Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Letter, Blog Style

So high everyone I never seem to have time to write actual cards and letters to:

Merry Christmas and every other day of the year.

What is the Jensen family up to these days? Well, let me tell you, it's a fantastical, fun, and immenently dull life we live, so I'll try to spice it up a little.

Okay: Kids first.

Melissa is a junior at Boise State (yes the football place, go Broncos!). She is majoring in history. You're shocked, I can tell. Who would have thought history freak would actually major in her favorite subject? She seems quite enthralled with it, and she hopes to minor in art history. Melissa was thinking of teaching, but when faced with the incredibly banal curriculum ed majors have to endure, she opted to forgo that option. She is thinking of going to graduate school, but still has gobs of time to figure that out. I encourage her to stay in school as long as possible, since there are no jobs out here in the real world anyway. Melissa moved into her own apartment where she happily lives with herself. No sharing, no scheduling the showers, no having other people eat the food in the refrigerator. Her only burden is an intense fear of the smoke detector being ignited by any and all smells, temperatures, and steam from showers/stoves.

Emily graduated from Boise High last spring with something like a 4.2 GPA and with AP Scholar with Honors distinction. (Graduation night: below.)During a whirlwind of changing plans, she was planning at first to go to New Mexico Tech this fall, but then decided she needed a year off. So then an exchange program was plan B. She was all lined up to travel to Belgium and perfect her French, but opted out of that as well. So plan C, current version, is what she is currently doing: hanging out in Boise and working while trying to finish up her pilot's license, which she started working on a while back. She thinks she might attend BSU for a year or two to learn more languages before heading to New Mexico to major in astrophysics. Having goals is important, don't you think? Setting them awfully high means being in school for the rest of her life, but hey, no jobs in the real world, etc. Emily has a boyfriend named Isaac who is very sweet, smart, and fun to be around. Which is why she spends most of her time with him.

Peter is a certified band geek, chess geek, Boy Scout geek. He is also a choir nerd. As an 8th grader this year, he is learning all the joys of digital media, video broadcasting, along with European history (they're on the Renaissance right now), accelerated algebra, earth science, and English. Plus, did I mention, band? He is a percussionist and also plays in jazz band. He earned his Star level in Scouts, did a 50 mile backpack scout trip, camped in the winter in snow qunizies, and spent a week in the Black Hills at scout camp. He is emerging as quite an effective leader in scouts, which is very good for him. He likes that role. Most nights, you can find Peter in front of the tv, with his iPod in his ears, and working on algebra problems for at least an hour. He is totally into comedians: We've seen Brian Regan and will see Jeff Dunham in January. Peter's next adventure? In six months, he'll be old enough for driver's ed. Yay!?

Okay, enough with the kids already. Now onto what's really important: the dogs. Just kidding. All three dogs are still kicking, barking, leaping, pooping, and shedding. 'Nuf said.

David is always our quick summary. Still at the same firm for 20 years, for which he received a lovely...clock. He's extremely active in scouts with Peter's troop and also mentoring Webelos as they transition up. The troop camps once a month all year long, and I think it's nice for David to get that time away--albeit with 20 teenaged boys. He also ushers at church, which involves hanging out in the back of the church chatting with his buddies.

Neysa, sigh, alas, did not get hired as a teacher. Which is probably for the best, since as you know, I'm not big on mornings. It has all worked out pretty well, however, because I went back to freelancing and have more work than I really have time for. I also am working part time in my favorite indie bookstore, which is totally fun. Writing lots, making lots of music with lots of different people, and working on losing weight. So far, 35 pounds gone. (Melissa has lost 50. You wouldn't recognize her.)

In other life events, all of us except Emily traveled to New York to participate in a performance at Carnegie Hall, conducted by our good friend Paul Aitken. Melissa and Peter both sang in Carnegie (photo, above), plus we saw a Broadway show, played tourist, and had a great time. (Lest you think we were mean to Emily, the reason she wasn't booked into the trip was because she had been planning on being in Belgium at the time.) David and I had our 30th high school reunion--yes, we really are that old. Sigh. We've gotten out into Idaho and played in the snow, the water, and the mountains. (That's us snowshoeing below. Okay, actually we're standing in the snow, but we were snowshoeing just seconds before.)

Oh, I'm sure there are lots of other details you'd like to know about us, but are afraid to ask. So I'll answer them for you:

1. No, we don't quite know what happened to Boise State at Nevada. They messed up. Thank goodness, the bowl game they'll be in will at least have a worthy opponent in Univ. of Utah.

2. Yes, I did forget to mention that Peter played tennis this fall. He has improved quite a bit over last year.

3. You're right, seven hours in the Met is just not enough time, but hey, you take what you can get. On the up side, the Shake Shack near the Natural History Museum.

4. It's true: David likes to sleep with the window open, and I like it closed. Somehow, we are still married after 26 years.

5. Empty nest is just a myth. Even when kids move out, they come over a lot: to do laundry, get money, complain, and sometimes even to just hang out.

6. We are so lucky to have a warm place to sleep, food to eat, clean water to keep us alive, and a loving family to support us. We wish this for all the inhabitants of the world. Yes, we CAN make it happen if we all dig our heads out of the sand, take an interest besides ourselves, and give a little of our incredible wealth to see these goals through. Sorry to go all serious on you, but that's how I roll.