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This website is now published on my mobileme account. Any opinions expressed, however, are totally my responsibility.

The original website was published through the courtesy of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Jim Andris, Sept. 17, 2003.

Merry Christmas 2006

Short version

Visited Stephanie, Dawn and Alexander in January, May and September, continued blogging, organized parish life events for Trinity, attended our usual concerts, bridge and playreading, bought a new car, continued ragtiming (Jim) and singing (Stephen), vacationed in Wisconsin and Michigan, survived the St. Louis weather, attended Jim's 50th High School reunion and mom's 93rd birthday, visited by Stephen's sister Janice, got stronger.

Long version

We started out the year by flying to Boston to see Stephen's newborn grandson (Nov. 26). Alexander has just gotten cuter and cuter over his first year. We were also able to visit them in May and September. There was a David Hockney exhibit in Boston in May which I blogged about. I have put a few of the hundreds of pictures of Alexander up on his website.

I continued on the vestry at Trinity Episcopal for the middle of my 3 year term. I chaired the Parish Life Committee and we hosted many events for the church. I also retired from altar service after many years, and was honored at an after-church reception (which I didn't have to plan). We have been sacristans now for 20 years. One other evolution in our spiritual life is that neither of us are continuing with our EFM studies, nor Stephen with his mentoring.

Stephen's voice is now both beautiful and professionally trained (I can say that). Stephen still sings in the Trinity choir, and he has several performances a month with the River City Pops ensemble under the direction of Jeanette Myers. This year, they have developed three or four shows, including a Cole Porter review, a St. Louis review, and a Holiday show.

Weather was a topic of conversation this year in St. Louis. Our utility company, AmerenUE, seems ill-prepared to deal with storms. This summer we went four days without power, as did most of St. Louis. Just a couple of weeks ago, a huge ice storm cut across two states. That one missed us, but most of our friends were without power, some for days.

Traveling this year, other than trips to Boston to see Stephen's grandson and his parents, was limited to a lovely trip north to Wisconsin and Michigan. We walked on the beach, took the S. S. Badger across Lake Michigan, and visited the Hildebrands, the Breiters, and Kathy Vinehout. We also had a nice Fall trip to Marietta for my 50th High School Reunion and mom's 93rd birthday. Also I renewed several old grade school friendships from my Willard School days.

We do lots of entertaining things. A monthly cycle includes ragtime, bridge, play reading, theater, symphony when it's cooler, and opera and band concerts when it's warmer. There's always plenty to do in St. Louis. In March, we hosted the play group and directed three one act plays from the collection Love's Fire. Each play is based on a Shakespearean sonnet. We had seen a production several years ago while visiting Will and Caroline in Sarasota.

This fall I took a beginning French course at a local community college. This was a great idea. I was just another student in a classroom full of enthusiastic young adults. Our professor is one of the best. We read a lot of French and told stories in class. I think I will continue next semester. Now I'm excitedly reading about French culture and places to visit.

Most of you know that I am very proud of my (French-speaking) Belgian, German and Irish ancestry. One of the genealogical highlights of this year was renewing my friendship with my Andris cousin, Karen, and my Fickeisen cousin, Eleanor, both of whom shared lots of family pictures with me.

In addition to learning to better speak French, my studies triggered a renewed interest in French cooking. Recently, Stephen and I put together a French Provençal dinner for four friends. You see in the picture the two of us admiring the Tart aux Oranges Confîtes that I made.

My nephew Adam, wife, Jessica and daughter, Analiese have moved from St. Louis to near Atlanta, Georgia, where Adam manages a construction materials business. He ended up deciding not to go into music as a career, but this new direction is certainly promising. We will miss having them so close, and wish them all the best.

Stephen's Mannatech business continues to grow slowly. He's spending regular time on it each week. We had a visit from his sister, Janice, from Oregon, and she enjoyed a round of visits to local points of interest with us, such as the Chihuli exhibit at Shaw's Gardens.

In November and December we were terrorized by our pets. First Midas took his name seriously and ended up in the animal hospital for three days recovering from feline urinary track blockage. Poor kitty couldn't even stand to be touched by the vet. He seems OK now, condemned to a lifelong diet of dry food. And the African love bird went into an extended nesting period, during which the females are extremely aggressive. Stephen had to consult an avian behavior specialist, who taught him a few new behavior management tricks, such as removing any nesting triggers from her environment. She's now back to normal, happily perched on his shoulder.

Blog Version

Maybe this is overkill, but it occurs to me that I have just spent a year making detailed comments on my view of life in a number of categories in my blog. So, if you want to experience a part of last year from my point of view, take one or more of the links below and explore. There's more than you ever could or would want to read at http://ocibi.blogsite.org/