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Today is the last day of 2011, and it is a good time to once again paraphrase Mr. Dickens.  This year has been the best of times and the worst of times.  This year I have lost two good friends and a very special Aunt; have been lucky enough to see some special old friends who now live far away; seen some friends move away from Mallorca; and met some pretty neat new friends here on my island.

Admittedly, I have slagged off on my weekly regimen of weekly business writing, and perhaps even not been as disciplined on writing these letters. I would like to say that I have continued my artistic endeavours as much as I should, but probably haven’t done that either. But I have done some things I never expected I would, or could. My summer onboard Amélie was wonderful and it did result in a serious amount of physical exercise of swimming and rowing. Having said that, all that swimming and rowing (probably rowing the tender to Amélie that was never designed to be rowed) was the cause for my shoulder woes. The good news is that after Joaquin, my physio-therapist, doing contortionist-type things on my injury, my level of mobility has increased dramatically.

One more thing that was pretty wonderful this year was that a couple of weeks ago, I decided that I really should see my sons over the holidays. So, after some pretty brilliant planning on the part of Gillian, we began the big tour. After flights from here to Barcelona, then to London, and then to Chicago, followed by a three-hour drive north, we spent a few days with my son Matthew and his family. Sadly, Matthew was recovering from a hospital visit, so Matthew and I didn’t get as much time together as I would have liked, but it was good to see them all again. One highlight (although I am not sure that is the right adjective to describe what was seen upon awaking the morning after arriving) was the snow that had fallen overnight.

Even I thought that freshly fallen snow is pretty great, but the fact that there was snow was a tip off that the temperature was now well less than freezing, and cold weather and James Rieley do not seem to get along well. Then it was a flight to Los Angeles where we spent several days with David and Nancy and enjoyed the wonderful weather and just hanging out in the city of Angels. Just a note about the time in Los Angeles…whilst there, David and Nancy took us to a restaurant where we had to arrive no later than 1900. When I asked why the urgency about arrival time, David said that at exactly 1900, and then again at 2000, there would be a snow storm. Right. This was Los Angeles and the daytime temperature was 25 degrees plus, so a ‘snow storm?’ But sure enough, whilst sitting eating outside at the restaurant, at exactly 1900, a series of machines located on the roofs of the buildings surrounding the mall suddenly began to spew snow on the throngs of people that were enjoying Christmas outside. And if that wasn’t enough, as the snow was falling, some speakers began to pump out Bing Crosby singing White Christmas. Only in Los Angeles California. Then after a quick visit to finally meet a long-lost relative from my extended family after several years of trading emails, there were more flights – Los Angeles to London to Barcelona and on to Mallorca – and the trip was over.

It would have been great to spend more time in both cities and see some of the other friends that I haven’t seen in a while, but that wasn’t to be. So for those of you whom I didn’t see, my apologies. Maybe next visit (although even I can’t believe the number of times in the past I have said this is my last trip to the states. I guess that is why ‘never’ isn’t really part of my vocabulary).  The trip was wonderful, but Dorothy had it right...there is no place like home.

Tomorrow it will be yet another new year. I would love to be highly eloquent and impart some tad of wisdom about all the good things a new year can bring, but I think I will just let it slide and wish everyone a year where all your dreams and wishes come true.

Besos y abrazos a todos, JBR

 

 

I have tried to forget vistas like this

 

one of my granddaughters

 

 a lawn sign in Los Angeles...this is so L.A.

 

me, doing what I do, even on the hols

 

the days are already getting longer and summer is almost here

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011  James B. Rieley

jbrieley@rieley.com