I just received this note from Bernice a little while ago and since I have not gotten my Christmas cards out yet, I thought I would post it on the blog. I will be sending out Christmas cards next week....my planning wasn't so good this year....but hey, now you can look forward to a New Year's Card!!!:)
Swamp Dog Newsletter
Greetings from the “Center of Excellence” in Lagos, Nigeria. Yes, that’s right I said “excellence”. That is what is on all the license plates from Lagos State. I don’t get off the compound very much, but that is what my mom says is on the license plates on all the cars, and when she says it she can’t stop herself from laughing…..I haven’t figured that one out yet.
So, I am typing out my 11th newsletter for the Salinas family. It is December 24, and I am just now getting around to getting it done. As a matter of fact, one of my very best friends in the whole world, Happiness, is helping me out. I am dictating to her as she types.:) She is a cook, housekeeper, gardener, nanny, personal shopper, dog walker/groomer, and now I can add secretary to her resume.:) My legs just aren’t working like they used to. The arthritis is really bothering my legs and it is making it a little harder for me to get around…not to mention type out a letter. (Thank goodness Mom found a good vet here, and he gave me some great meds!!!) I am 11 years old which makes me about 77 years old in dog years. Why isn’t someone else coming up with what to write in this dang letter anyway? I am the oldest in the family now!!!:)
Let’s see, this year was a busy one. In January, Mom, Jeremy and Elizabeth came back from visiting family and friends in the U.S. We had a pretty quiet February. Jeremy started his first season of tee ball here in Lagos. Then, in March, Mom took Jeremy and Elizabeth back to the U.S. to visit her grandma. Elizabeth also turned two!! In April, they all left me again and went to Siena, Italy to see all the beautiful sights and meet up with mom’s mom and dad and brother over Easter. I also heard that mom did a lot of wine tasting there.:) There was also a story about something mom said in Montepulciano, but I think you have to talk to her personally to get the whole story.:) April was also a good month because some new families moved onto the compound with children just about Elizabeth and Jeremy’s ages. Their moms and dads are pretty nice also, so mom and dad also have new friends. It’s always nice to have such nice people around when you are so far from your own family and friends. In May, Jeremy finished up school, and Mom and the kids took off in early June to do their yearly ”Tour of America” beginning in California, then to Michigan, Illinois and Texas. Lots of doctor’s appointments, and of course the packing of the annual shipment to Nigeria…..I heard that was a lot of work!!! Dad flew over to meet mom and the kids in July and then, they all came back together the end of July. (BTW, Mom turned 34…not sure if she wanted me to mention that!) In August, Jeremy started up pre- k and turned five!!! Elizabeth also started at a little preschool this year a few times a week. The house is a little quieter when she is gone in the mornings, I can use that time to catch up on my sleep.:) The end of August, they all flew back to the U.S. for my Uncle Greg and Aunt Julia’s wedding in L.A. In September, Guy had his 37th birthday. And sadly, Mom flew back to the U.S. when her lovely Grandma passed away. We will always keep her in our hearts…she was a very special lady. October and November seemed to go by quickly with all the school parties, play dates and get togethers. This brings me to this December. Right now, the flat is quiet, my water and food bowls are freshly washed and I am able to really reflect on this past year. It has been a busy one as usual, but I am always surrounded by my family who loves me (except right now of course because they left me again to see their families in the U.S……maybe I am not always surrounded by my family…I guess that is for another newsletter). But, at least when they are gone, I have Happiness here to take really good care of me. I hope you all find your own “Happiness” this year in your hearts. Don’t forget you can always write to me at Guy Salinas ExxonMobil – Lagos, Nigeria (MOP C-11-D) P.O. Box 4490 Houston, Texas 77210-4490. My phone number is (713)431-8500 ext. 22954. Remember, you can take the dog out of the swamp, but you can’t take the swamp out of the dog! Cheers! Bernice A.K.A. The Swamp Dog