Holiday 1997
                                      Holiday 1997

Another Year comes to its close!  And as always, what a year.  I realize that during the last few
years, writing this Christmas letter has been one of the things I look forward to during the Holiday
Season.  Most know that I generally dislike this season—but I must say things are changing.

Since being in California, many people have reminded me that I get from this season what I put
into it.  So, rather than focusing on the bustle, hustle and mess of holiday shopping, I am taking
time to remember what is really important: friends, family, rest, and of course, Chocolate.  Add an
occasional sunset to that, along with random acts of kindness, and you have the reasons I am
beginning to enjoy the holiday season.  

I’m writing this while away in Bodega Bay—which is 1 hour north of San Francisco on the
coast—at a friend’s cabin.  Scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic “The Birds” was filmed not
far from where I am now.  But the scene could not be any more different.  

In the distance I can see the waves crashing against the shores and against the strong winds.  
Their tops blown back like spray from a fire hose.  The wind today is fierce and cold.  The
windows shake and I am glad that the fire is crackling with warmth.  Outside the enclosed front
porch the Salmon River curves its way the ocean amidst tall grasses, wild flowers and birds of all
types.  I feel like a heron, standing-- watching the condor drift above and the bufflehead (a small
duck-like bird) dive for crustaceans below--and waiting for my moment to rise.  This place is
breathtaking.

1997 has been a year for me to rise (and fortunately) fall.  I am constantly amazed at the
wonderful challenges of life.  Early in the year my landlord and friend, Bob Yaryan died peacefully
at home.  His death was sudden.  Bob was a gay father figure for me, and unfortunately I never
really told him how much his love and support meant to me.  I gardened for Bob, so at his funeral
I had the honor of putting dirt over his urn.  It helped my grieving to touch the earth that was going
to surround my friend.  I gardened for Bob, and I did so to the end.

Last year I mentioned that I was going to do the California AIDS ride… and I did.  I rode my
bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles (583 Miles!) along with 2500 other AIDS Riders.  The
experience was utopia.  I’m hooked, and as such I’m doing the ride again this year.  I am
constantly reminded that AIDS is not over so the experience of the ride helped me remember to
take time for myself as I take time for others.

With Bob’s death also came a need to move from my cute apartment in Oakland.  The good
news is that Chris and I were able to celebrate our first year together in OUR apartment.  He
moved from San Francisco to an apartment we found together.  Making it home—our home—
has been a unique set of joys, laughter, struggles and memorable moments.  He traveled with me
to visit my family for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.  All in all, I feel like I’m learning to
understand my family more and more as they understand me more and more.  In a nutshell my
relationship with Chris is incredible.

I am still at Catholic Charities doing AIDS work (volunteer training and HIV prevention
education).  Work is still challenging and invigorating.  Recently I’ve been thinking, what’s next?  I
have been at Charities since graduation from college.  Now that my masters is almost done, I’m
thinking there may be a need to change.  This job has allowed me to travel and present at national
conferences, has enabled me to work one-on-one in the AIDS Community, and has helped me
contribute to the world around me, so the thought of changing is almost frightening.  I also know
that AIDS is not over and there is work still to be done.  Please pray for me as I think this
through in 1988.

No marathons this years, except the marathon of life.  If nothing else, this year helped remind me
that I am blessed.  I realize that I am fortunate to be alive ( This letter continues, but I can not find
a soft copy of the original, so when I have a moment I will retype the ending).