2008 In Review

It’s been a busy and phenomenal year, folks, and I just know you’ve been anxiously awaiting my holiday letter so you could read all about it!

In January, some major storms came to Sacramento . . . actually, to most of California. We had wind gusts of up to 50 mph here at my house. There was a lot of damage around the region but we were lucky and only lost a few feet of fence.

In February, my friend Bill and I began looking for investment property. We located a nice little house not far from our homes and took the plunge. Finally! We’d been talking about doing this for years! We closed on the Davidson house in March and spent the next six weeks working on it in every spare moment we had. While Bill built cabinet doors, repaired improper venting, rebuilt a wall that didn’t make any sense whatsoever, and spent hours upon hours spackling and painting, I focused on repairing electrical issues with the help of my dad. We also completely re-landscaped the front yard.

By the end of April, the house was ready to go back on the market.

Meanwhile, I spent three weeks in Michigan with Steve and his kids at the beginning of March. Due to weather, my flight out there was The Worst Flight Ever. As soon as my feet hit terra firma I declared, “This is the last time I’m doing this.” I didn’t know at the time how true that declaration would be!

During that month, in addition to visiting The Tridge,

Steve and I got to see his daughter, Lydia, perform in her high school play, Singin’ in The Rain.

It was an amazing production – the best I’d ever seen for a high school troupe! Someone even figured out how to have actual rain come down on the stage! We also celebrated Lydia’s 17th birthday.

Yours truly turned 50 in May. I know, it doesn’t seem possible, does it? My actual birthday passed relatively uneventfully, although Cory and I had fun going to the Sac Jazz Jubilee.

In early June, I flew east to help Steve move. Yes, it’s true. After four years maintaining a long-distance romance, the time had come. Steve left his job as a tool-grinder at Severance in Saginaw, Michigan, where he had toiled away, largely unappreciated, for 18 grueling years. He sold most of his belongings, got Sara

moved in with her mom (Lydia was already living there), and packed what was left into a U-Haul truck. I had a blast driving us across country; Steve didn’t think it was all that much fun.

He hit the ground runnin’ when he got here, though. I wanted him to take a few months off before looking for work. Not only did I think he deserved an extended vacation after all those years in the tool shop – I had a honey-do list for him that was a mile long!

We took a break from the home improvements to attend a really fun housewarming/birthday/swim party at my cousin Kristin’s new house.

In July we hosted a baby shower for Joel and Cindy.

Unfortunately, Steve’s hard work in the garden couldn’t be appreciated by most of the guests, as the temperature that day soared over 100 and kept most of us indoors. It was really fun, though, to see so many of our friends and family in one place.

Every one of the people in this picture were in attendance when Joel was born 26 years ago. (Can you guess which one wasn’t?) I am grateful to everyone who joined us to celebrate his progression into fatherhood.

In August, Koby turned 20. I can’t believe my baby is 20! We had a small birthday party for him at home.

At the end of August, Steve and I splurged on a vacation to Seattle. My dear cousin Linda was preparing to move to Italy. We couldn’t let her leave without saying goodbye!

Steve and I drove up and stopped first for a visit with my mom in Sutherlin. Then we continued on to Corvallis, to Lainie and Paul’s house, where we relaxed for a day and took in a movie at The Darkside, Paul and Lainie’s cinema. Lainie then joined us in the car for the last leg of the trip; Paul followed on his Harley.

In addition to seeing two of our four Seattle cousins, we had some time to be tourists. We took the ferry to Bremerton and back, we shopped and dined around the downtown area, we visited Pike’s Place Market and the Experience Music Project. We also had time to wander through the Kubota Gardens, which is a side-trip I highly recommend.

In Bremerton, we had dinner with my quasi-kids, Peter and Leslie, and their dad Pat.

I met the Pfaus when their mom, Geri, who became one of my best friends, brought them to me for daycare back in 1988. Now they’re grown and married! It was wonderful to have that (all too short!) time visiting with them and their families.

I just wish I had room here for all the pfabulous pfotos we took on our trip!

A week after we returned from our Oregon/Washington trip, my cousin Beth and her husband Craig visited us during their California vacation.

In addition to spending some time with them at our house, we had a ton of fun when everyone got together at Dad and Margaret’s for Margaret’s (always amazing) food and lots of belly laughs and belly dancing.

Finally, in September, Bill and I closed on the sale of the Davidson house. Lesson learned: there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing a For Sale By Owner, but you must get it on the MLS to get proper exposure! After futzing around with free advertising for a couple of months, Bill and I paid a guy to list it on the MLS and – Shazam! - it sold within a couple of weeks. And whoever tells you that flipping can’t happen in this market has not met this team. We did well and immediately started looking for the next house.

Also in September, both Steve and Koby started new jobs. Koby left his job at the frame shop due to severe boredom and became Warehouse Manager at Capitol Rubber in midtown. Steve secured a position as a Line Service Technician at Atlantic Aviation, an FBO located at Mather Air Force Base. I’m so happy and proud that they both love their jobs! As for me, I continue to work from home as an IT Analyst and Project Manager for Sterling Savings Bank.

In October Bill and I purchased the Butterball house.

This one was an amazing find: a foreclosure that not only hadn’t been trashed by the previous owners, they even cleaned it when they moved! All we had to do to this one was put up fresh paint on one room, install an outlet in the garage for the garage door opener, and repair some broken glass in the patio slider. A little cleaning, some water on the lawn, and voila – it’s ready. At first we thought we’d keep it for awhile, but the market is flooded with rentals right now so we’re about to list it for sale. Want it?

On November 14th, my grandson, Landon David Dean Musso, entered the world. Koby and I were in the waiting room, along with Cindy’s dad Dave, and Dino and his wife Julie. While she labored, Cindy had Joel and her sister Laura with her. Landon was a tad big for tiny Cindy, though, and ultimately had to be delivered by C-section, but everyone came out of it healthy and happy. I’m telling you, a smarter, more beautiful child has not graced this planet since the arrival of Joel and Koby!

Lydia joined us for nine days wrapped around Thanksgiving. We had a great time showing her the sites around Sacramento, and she had fun taking about a zillion pictures! The day after Thanksgiving, Steve and Lydia went to Santa Cruz for some beach hopping and more photography.

Lydia is interested in belly dancing, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity to take her to Marrakech to see our friend and favorite dancer, Zaheea. it was fun that they got to meet.

In early December, Margaret hosted a party for my dad’s 80th birthday at a nearby Persian restaurant.

Whenever two or more Armenians are together, dancing naturally occurs, and it certainly did that night!

Several of us read tributes that we had written for my dad. What a guy! At 80, he still works his butt off around La Quinta, their eight-acre home in Shingle Springs, and still finds the energy to whoop it up with his daughters!

There is one more member of my family that I would be remiss in not including in this letter.

Geghetsik Arakelyan is a little girl who came into my life three and a half years ago. She lives in a village near Yerevan in Armenia. She’s a bright little girl who just wants to do well in school so that she can someday become a doctor. Geghetsik is one of thousands of children in depressed areas around the world who can use help from those of us who are more fortunate.

We’ve all heard so much negativity in the media over this past year; I’d hate to think that has clouded everyone’s outlook. I encourage you to take a few minutes and think about all that you have – a warm home, people who love you, a full belly when you go to bed at night. With the new year upon us, I hope you will leave behind all thoughts of the trials and tribulations you may have had to deal with during 2008, and think ahead to what role you might play in making the world a better place over the coming year.

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