As the year draws to a close, I have many things to be thankful for since I last wrote.
1.) Retirement - The retirement process went through comfortably and my colleagues put on a lovely luncheon celebration on November 2 that included all of the WEMPEC students and staff. Tom Jahns, Don Novotny, and Ken Philipps spoke, each giving kind tributes. Sally also hosted a brunch the next day for a few close friends at our house that was very enjoyable.
2.) Thanksgiving - 2 of our children and their families were able to come to Madison for Thanksgiving. Playing games, talking and enjoying good meals with shared preparation were highlights of the days together.
3.) Visit to Germany the end of November - with the help of my medical staff to manage pain meds and travel, Sally and I were able to travel to Germany for two doctoral defenses for students who had spent a portion of their doctoral studies in Madison working under me. The first exam was in Aachen at ISEA, the research institute where I have been a visiting professor on a number of occasions. Not only was it an opportunity to support a talented graduate student, but also a chance to spend time with some very close European friends and visit the Aachen Christmas market. Midweek we flew on to Munich where I participated in a second doctoral exam and again had the opportunity to spend time with special long-time friends. It was a strenuous trip, but I was very glad I was able to be there and participate.
4.) Holiday party with current students - Sally and I traditionally host a holiday dinner party in our home for my graduate students and their partners and families. This year we decided to make it a little simpler and hosted a Saturday lunch on campus. All of my current students were able to come along with some of their families. It was a wonderful time of food, cake celebrating the 4 winter graduates from our group, and conversation. We were very pleased to be able to do this once more.
5.) UW December graduation ceremony - I had the joy of escorting three of my Ph.D. doctoral students across the stage on December 16 to receive their diplomas and watch as another of my Masters students received his degree. This is always a special time in the relationship between a faculty member and his/her students and I was very pleased to have enough energy to do this.
6.) Christmas Celebration with all of our children and their families - All three children and their families were able to come to Madison on December 22 and spend Christmas with us. What joy to sing, play games, eat good good, attend the Nutcracker and Christmas Eve service together and then open a pile of loving Christmas gifts together on Christmas morning. We laughed, talked, played, read stories, worked puzzles and enjoyed each other's company immensely. How blessed we felt to have this time together.
Health Update - After several weeks of almost no pain in November (what a blessing), it has now returned and has been challenging to manage. I will have another chemo treatment tomorrow and will be scheduling more radiation treatments to my arms, thighs, and heels to try to reduce the pain where it is the greatest. My medical team has been working hard to help me be able to continue to be with family, support my remaining graduate students, travel when necessary and have the highest possible quality of life. I am grateful to them for their expertise and caring support.
Thanks again to each of you who care enough to check this website and who keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. You certainly help my spirit and allow me to maintain a positive outlook on my situation.
Just seeing that you have visited this site continues to provide a very welcome type of support.
Your friendship and support encourage me as I continue to make sure that each day counts.
With great appreciation for each day,