Christmas, 2001
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Christmas, 2001

Dear Family and Friends,

It's hard to believe that another holiday season is upon us. At times like these, when so much is changing, it's comforting to know that some things never change.

Take Jimmy and Taylor, for example. Please. Take them. A week, a day, a few hours. Whatever you can spare will be greatly appreciated. Children at age 9 (Taylor) and 10 (Jimmy) should be harnessed and made to run on small wheels, like hamsters, until their energy levels are less like streaking comets.

And speaking of hamsters which, blessedly, are pets the Franklins don't have, this has been quite a year for the Franklin pets. You're probably wondering about the wonderfully cute photo on your Christmas card. Getting a bird was Nancy's idea. Getting a pair was Jimmy and Taylor's. The eternal apologizing for all of this was Joe's suggestion for Nancy. Most of this wouldn't have been a problem except that 6 months into bird ownership Nancy and Joe discovered the birds "wrestling" in the cage. At least that's what they told Jimmy and Taylor since Nancy and Joe weren't ready to have THAT talk just yet.

And so it came to pass that these birds had not one, not two, but three clutches of eggs. Which hatched. And required lots of attention. "You don't know how lucky you are!" said the official Bird Lady. "It's very hard to breed them." Well, the Franklins must live on bleeping Easy Street. If Nancy and Joe had had that much "coitus interruptus" (cat perched near cage; kids running through the house; peeking in the nest box, etc.) Jimmy and Taylor would not be with us. Anyway, the wonderful picture is of Jimmy and Taylor holding their very own hatched baby lovebirds, shortly after which the mommy bird violently attacked the daddy bird. What a surprise! After 15 eggs in five months, any female would have done the same. The mommy bird was returned to the pet store, the daddy bird is now living in a single bird condo, Luke the Lizard is hibernating and the cat has asthma.

Jimmy and Taylor continue to reach milestones in their young and self-centered lives. This past summer they were sent away to sleepover camp. A glorious week at Camp Rawhide in the heart of Southern California skinhead territory. One week of horseback riding, stall cleaning, pig wrestling, barnyard shenanigans and baked beans. They must have had a great time as their clothes had to be burned at the end of the week. Nancy and Joe still get a warm glow remembering the sound of screaming tires as they exited the parking lot after the drop-off. (Next summer, the Camp Directors have asked Nancy and Joe to come to a complete stop before off loading the children.) Rest assured that there was plenty of running through the house naked, towel snapping and general merriment while the kids were gone.

Joe has had a fulfilling year. In fact, now he's "filling" the 6'5" foam costume of a character he helped create for a traffic safety campaign for the City of Manhattan Beach. This wasn't what Nancy had in mind when she wistfully said she'd like to see Joe "in a suit once in awhile". She doubts there will be any aching in her loins for a guy with fixed pupils, bulbous shoes and a jaunty yellow cap. In any event, she'll never know because the large, octagon shaped character can't fit through the bedroom door. Or ANY door, for that matter.

Joe's letter writing campaign to the local papers continues. This has provided ample opportunities for spirited discussion and debate amongst the entire family, including this recent exchange:

Joe: "What do you think of this letter?"

Nancy: "You're starting to sound like a pompous gasbag"

Taylor (sneaking up behind her parents): "I know what 'pompous' means!"

Nancy and Joe (sputtering, not knowing whether to be horrified or filled with parental pride): "Uh....ummm...you do?"

Taylor: "Pampas is a piece of grass in Argentina."

Thank goodness for homonyms.... and all of you have Nancy's permission to refer to Joe as a "piece of grass in Argentina".

Many of you will also be pleased to note that there appears to be an end to Joe's 'When I was a kid, we were SOOO poor ..." stories. One of the children (it's hard to remember which-- they're both so bright, intelligent and fresh-mouthed) piped in with "I know, I know! You were SOOO poor you had to use earwax for candles" (Thank you, 'Shrek'.)

This year, Nancy was promoted to SENIOR Diva of Marketing for Tenet HealthSystem. Tenet recently added two more hospitals to her area of responsibility, which means that in the near future she'll be taking full advantage of Tenet's psychological disability benefits. Nancy also reached another milestone: Her 30 year high school reunion. Lacking a suitable disguise and failing to convince either Renee Russo or Sela Ward to go in her place,
Nancy elected to go as an overweight, middle-aged, wrinkled, menopausal woman. Unfortunately, everyone still recognized her.

So much has happened. In fact it was at about this time last year that the Franklins were in New York, having their picture taken at the top of the World Trade Center. It's hard now to look at those pictures. So we give thanks for all that we have, our health, our home, our family and friends and hope that you will all take a few moments to count your blessings.

Happy holidays and may you be blessed abundantly in the new year!


Nancy, Joe, Jimmy and Taylor

2004 Nancy Franklin. All rights reserved