December 2023

Dear friends and family,

From Lynda

We always look forward to this opportunity to connect. John and I are settling in for our second holiday season in our condo. It’s been an experience adapting but no regrets! I love my new kitchen. My office/studio isn’t large but works well enough. I’m doing my best off-loading finished paintings for movie rentals, galleries and elsewhere to lighten the load on our meagre storage room.  I’m still an active member of the local artist’s guild and the Federation of Canadian artists. If you’re interested, my website is Although life gets in the way, I try to paint every day and enjoy painting one day a week with artist friends.

Our two wonderful grandkids (Faith 12 and Ronin 8) are a delight to be with (mostly) but we don’t get much time with them anymore. I did school pickup last year but they have activities everyday which leaves me driving more than spending time with them. We’ve settled on Pro-D days when Blake and Dez are working and random days when they’re free. John and I are taking them to a pantomime over the holidays but as always it has to work around dance, lacrosse, martial arts and 2 other sets of grandparents.

This September, Dean and Blake entered into a partnership with a former student and her husband to start a new martial arts dojo. Lynn Valley Martial Arts, in a remarkably short time, is going strong. Dean’s partner Nelia takes care of an afterschool program sponsored by the dojo, picking up kids from two nearby elementary schools and then getting them changed, playing games and assisting in a martial arts lesson. It’s been very popular. Dean takes the lion’s share of instruction for the regular classes and Blake covers two days – both on top of their regular jobs. Oh, to be young! Our area has become a “town hub” which means there is constant construction of new apartments. Location is ideal! Rent not so much.

Danielle and her husband James are still living in Redmond. They both work remotely for the most part so spend some time in sunny places. I’ve been taking the bus from Vancouver to visit them. It’s a relaxing trip and Dani and I enjoy our projects cooking, shopping and gardening. The two of us get along really well as travel companions so we decided to do a major bike and barge trip next August along the Danube. It’s great incentive to lose some weight and get in shape. I’m wiser after our Portugal/Spain bike trip!

Below are pics. Blake with Faith and Ronin. Dean and Neila. Yours truly and John. I didn’t have a recent picture of Desiree, Danielle or James.

John here:

A subtle change in our format this year: Lynda is living a much more reportable life than I am so I asked her to provide the bulk of our letter. My own life is more routine—one that is pleasant, not at all dull, but nothing to write home about … as it were.

I spend quite a bit of time writing. I’ve been working for years on a sort of “Introduction to Buddhism”, largely for my own edification, which is just as well as it keeps changing as I write and has seemed never to be a state where it was readable by anyone else (assuming that anyone else would be interested). Occasionally, I cobble together a web project, more as a change of pace than anything serious. There’s a shortlist at

My daily routine begins with a  10 minute wander up to the coffee shop to get coffee in the morning. Some days I meet one or more friends for a chat, then wander back here to work on a project. Have lunch, coffee again. About every three days, I hike for an hour or so in the afternoon, taking on one of several standard routes. Lyn used to walk with me but her knees have gone a bit wonky so she doesn’t go as often or as far.

Both of us

The cards to put on your mantle are gone but the message of good will and peace remain. It can be a troubling world, but as we get older, that seems less and less important. Perhaps the  younger generations will come up with better solutions than we have, but in the meantime, it seems even more important to spread that Christmas good cheer into the rest of the year!