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Dear Family and Friends:

It seems that it has been only a few months since it was January 2019! My year has been one of achievement, but also one of surgeries and recoveries. In November 2018, I had my left knee replacement, and had complications after the surgery. I recovered, and in January, began to plan my 75th Birthday Concert and Party for April, to be held in the Party Room of the apartment complex where we live. Because I wished to have several of my compositions performed for this event, I asked several musicians I knew to perform these for me. I was very fortunate to receive their positive replies. I also wanted to perform only one work from Beethoven's output. That was his "An Die Ferne Geliebte", a continuous song cycle of six songs composed by a young medical student, written on his long solo journey from his small town in Germany to Vienna, wherein he was to do his internship. I first heard the work when I was thirteen. It has influenced my musical life so much, because it is a true song cycle. That is because the lyrics and the music are perfectly 'married' to each other. It is only about 10-12 minutes long, but it has an effect which can change one's whole outlook on what a song really is.

I have written just over a dozen songs, so far. I prepared a few of them to be performed by two singers: a soprano and a bass. I also had several paraphrases from poetry, both mine and others, to present, as well as a couple of piano works. I was ready to hold my 75th Concert and Party April 13 in our complex Party Room, but had a terrible fall April 5, breaking my femur and shattering my ball-and-socket joint,both very close to my left hip. I was rushed to the OGH nearby, had to have two operations, and was finally released May 9th.

I was depressed and my nerves were very bad. Peter took care of me, but it was very challenging, because I could not do much for myself, especially the first month. It was a 'trying time' for both of us. We made it through! I began to have private physiotherapy, which helped immensely, and am now half way through my course of strength training. And yes, I postponed my concert until Nov. 23rd, and it was a wonderful success! I'm very happy about that, because I think it will be my last.

My sister, Mary, and brother-in-law came from Dunham, Quebec, to attend, and many friends and new friends from within the apartment complex also attended. It was like having a Birthday all over again! I appreciate very much what everyone did to help make what was tragic a great happy occasion.

Peter has continued to volunteer for the causes in which we both believe. Both of us are very concerned about the high pollution in our cities, all waterways, and in every other ecosystem where we humans have set foot. Each of us writes to MP's, MPP's and our city Counsellors, and Peter attends rallies and marches. We purchase items which are eco-friendly. Even planning what we each want for our funerals and burials must be eco-friendly. One of the most recent activities Peter undertook totally as a 'sole' project, was to clear about an abandoned acre of nearby land, where people had thrown a large amount of discarded items of all kinds. It was part of the Ottawa "Clean The Capital" Fall Campaign. It took Peter at least a week to rid the lot of detritus. One big bag was not junk. It was replete with men's clothes, many of which were good quality. He checked out the bag, and took it to the S.A.. There were old mattresses and broken glassware, bottles and more. I believe he deserves a medal, but he is not likely to get one. I'm now a columnist for two community newspapers: The Riverview Park Review, (from our old neighbourhood), and ConneXions, a revived newspaper for Overbrook, (our 'new' neighbourhood.) I remain happily covering all aspects of the Arts, by interviewing artists of all kinds, (literary, performance, technical, auditory, visual, multi-media, producers, directors, and more). I also address issues in the arts, from a human and analytical perspective, using non- technical language to describe elements common in each of the arts, generally. I'm dedicated to educating the public about the necessity of the Arts in our communities. Artists of all kinds turn a neighbourhood into a real 'community'. I believe we are living in a very unsettled time. It seems rife with doubt, 'con artistry', and those who believe that 'freedom' means that they can ignore poverty, both obvious and hidden, that they can ignore people's right to find happiness, the right and obligation to share, and the healthy need for 'community'. Family and friends have been discussing this topic for several months now. I've discovered as many of us are growing increasingly older, we are appreciating each and every moment of visits, social gatherings, telephone conversations and e-mails. There is nothing more warming to my spirit than visits with friends and family. It has been wonderful this past year-and-a –half or so, to have friends and family visit, drop in, (sometimes spontaneously), send a letter, phone, and really interact with me. While I was over a month in hospital, many friends visited me. I was very moved by their visits. It helped me through a difficult time. Peter visited several times a day. I don't know what I would have done without him. This past Fall I've been trying to form a women's group in my Unitarian-Universalist community, but it seems now impossible to have a multi-generational group in the evening. Women, before the age of retirement, (even semi-retirement), are working very hard to achieve objectives for their offspring, for women universally, and for themselves. Even those of us 'retired' from our occupations, are involved in social action groups/causes/, cultural social action and activities, and much more.

For this group to continue, I will have to change it to an afternoon meeting time. The result will be a group of women who are mostly in my stage of life. Even though the world is rife with political and social upheaval, I believe we must keep our quiet, but persistent, non-violent 'fight' for Democracy, in its fullest form. Even though multi- national corporations try to buy politicians and other 'officials' in governments, we must keep protesting. We must expose corruption by banding together to become 'detectives', to loudly reveal this corruption of all kinds: corporations like Nestle, Bayer, and many more, who wish to gobble up as much as they can of smaller companies, communities, rivers, lakes, lands and more. We must expose the 'dark money' and refuse to let anyone or any group overtake us. I must sound 'paranoid', but if you don't believe what I'm saying, there are plenty of investigative journalists publishing books, like 'Dark Money' which will prove that they have been buying their 'countries' with that kind of money. Time is flying. The first decant of December has come and gone already. One of my goals for 2020 is to form a team of people to teach empowerment to low-income people through 'creativity' in all forms. It has been done in many cities, and has been successful. I'll be applying for a grant or two, and forming this team, who will each and all be 'teaching ourselves' how to share and learn from each other, but also from those we'll be teaching. I'd like to hear from each of you what has been uppermost in your minds and hearts this past year. I want to hear about your hopes and goals, memories and experiences.

Peter is at his computer and I'm at mine. I'm listening to Classical Christmas music on You Tube, while the evening is becoming night, the stars are out in the crisp night sky, our cat, Miko is sleeping on one of his many fleecy blankets, and The Corelli 'Christmas Concerto' is building its final festive climax among my papers, books, pictures on the den wall.

Peter and I wish you a meaningful Solstice Season and a Happy New Year.
With Love and Best Wishes,

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Page last modified on December 17, 2019, at 03:44 AM