December 24th, 2000

Deb and I have been so busy until now that we haven't had a chance to write a Christmas letter...but I think we're late like this almost every year, aren't we?  In any case, those who have email will get this letter by Christmas day, and those who don't will get it soon after.
     Deb speaking:  This year was very eventful for me. Professionally, I moved from a school where I was not happy to a school which I find to be a great improvement. The administration, colleagues and children are a pleasure to work with. I especially enjoy the seven new immigrant children in my class. They are all from Gujarat province in India and they are a joy to teach. The other children in my class are mostly great too and I have the requisite trouble-makers – about 6 of them. They are a challenge to manage but not overwhelming. Overall I consider this a very good year. 
      I volunteer as a member of the executive in the tennis club near home and I play in the house league. I was in charge of membership last year, and in the next I will be doing the newsletter. I am however getting tired of the demands which at certain times are great. After this term I will not offer myself for any position. 
      Chrissy, the greyhound passed away last March, and Pavarotti the Australian red-rumped parakeet chirped his last tune in May. So now we have only one dog, Maxi the Great Dane, and Lemew the famous hockey-playing kitty. This is good, as it is not quite as difficult to arrange animal care when we travel.

      And we did travel! In July we went to Singapore and environs – specifically Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. We stayed with my brother in Singapore as a kind of home base and got to know his 2 kids, Joseph (7) and Kymberly (4). It was a great experience, I became a certified scuba diver and you can see photos and a full report if you go to this web page: summer2000.html .
     When we returned we had to deal with the after effects of basement water seepage which was not covered by insurance. Too bad that our house/dog sitter had to bear the brunt of it. It was due to a very wet spring and happened two weeks into our trip to Singapore. Mold was growing and I had an asthma attack (we were sleeping in the basement because it was so much cooler there). After that we moved upstairs, got rid of the futon and bought a new mattress. Then I had to spend 2 weeks moving into and setting up my classroom for September. I hope I don’t need to move schools again for some time.
In November we flew to Edmonton for the weekend to celebrate Steve’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
Steve’s sister Heather organized an African drumming workshop for the whole family (about 18 with grandkids). It was a blast!! At one point we each took a solo - this is the master-of-cool, Kool Kenton's turn; notice the incredibly talented young Dylan performing accompaniment with his chin:

There was also a formal dinner at a golf and country club where Steve’s brother Andrew is banquet manager. It was a bit extravagant to go so far for such a short time but it was worth it as almost everyone there was surprised and delighted by our presence!  Here, Steve, Andrew and Peter are trying to pretend that they've always been three angels named Peace, Love and Joy.
 December as usual has been a whirlwind!! Staff parties, babysitting for friends whose father passed away in Edmonton, and visiting. My Dad and Irene are coming over to celebrate his birthday from Nov. 28th  as well as Christmas. I am making a meringue cake which is quite involved, and his favourite (and mine) fresh turkey!!
      We had 30 cm of snow dumped on us within 2 days last week. It still snows 5 cm or so more each day.  This is the most snow Toronto has had in December since 1979! Steve is trying to find a bargain trip for 1 week to the Caribbean where we can scuba dive. I don’t mind if we go or not.
     I have been taking a pilates/yoga class for the fall. They call it piloga. I cannot really explain it –it combines yoga breathing/stretching with muscular conditioning, especially abdominals. I really enjoy it. In January, I will continue this and add a traditional total body-conditioning workout.
     Steve is fine and contemplating taking courses to become a principal.
     That’s all the news for now. Best wishes for 2001 and beyond!
Steve's turn:  I'm also having a good year.  I completed my Advanced Plus scuba certification in the spring, which included deep, cold diving, heavy current and wreck diving in Tobermory, Brockville and Parry Sound. 
We bought a new old boat in October, a 25' C&C Redline built in '73.  This isn't it, but it looks like this one, except that mine has a white hull with a red horizontal racing stripe down it.  I can't WAIT for spring!
    The fall has been great so far.  I'm having a fine year at school.  I'm trying not to think about the fact that the shop and family studies program will probably shut down within the next year because of underfunding for public education.  When that happens, I'll have to go back to a regular classroom, and I may take courses toward administration, as Deb mentioned.
    I think Deb has covered everything else that I can think of to write, so I'll just join her in wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Yours truly,

Steve and Deborah Gilchrist

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