Folena Family 2016

Happy Holidays!

Buone Feste!

Boas Festas!

We sincerely hope 2016 proved to be a wonderful year for you and yours … here is a brief review of our year.

It was a difficult start to the year for us. My Dad passed away on December 28, 2015, and we had funeral services on January 2nd. He passed quickly after he was found in the street in the early morning hours of December 24 by a neighbor. He was taken to Kaiser in Santa Rosa where he didn’t respond too well – very incoherent and unresponsive for the most part. A couple of days later he left this earth shortly after his great granddaughter visited him and blew him kisses. Since he was a veteran he was given military honors and I received the burial flag – we put in a display case along with his dog tags and it is displayed in our family room. He is interred with my Mom in their mausoleum in Sebastopol.

Later in January we found out that Paul’s Uncle Renzo had died in Brazil too. Paul’s cousin Claudio let us know that he was surrounded by his family when he passed. This is the best we can all hope for – to be among loved ones as we are ushered to the next life. Paul regrets not seeing his uncle before he passed, but he has fond memories of him when they last visited us. 

In March we went to San Francisco to participate in the Endometriosis Walk downtown. This was in support for my dear friend Barbara Martin who suffers from endometriosis. The march itself meandered around the civic center area and City Hall. The number of participants was noticeably increased from the previous year and we all hope it will do some good for the cause moving forward.

Sadly, we lost our little Bella in March also. She was a great companion to Paul for 15 years and he misses her. Given our hectic schedule we’re not going to replace her – it would be unfair to the dog.

In early April our nice shade tree that had a wonderful, full canopy crashed down in our backyard from dry rot. We were very fortunate that the tree fell exactly between the fence line and our rear wall so it caused no damage other than having to have it removed. We really miss that tree as now we have no shade other than from the umbrella on our patio – we’ll probably have to look into getting a gazebo or something to give us some relief from the summer sun. Along that vein, we had to also replace our trees out front that died from the drought. Bad year for trees.

On a more positive note Paul and I headed down for a quick vacation to Disneyland later that month. It was the 60th anniversary of the park and we enjoyed every minute of it. We stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel directly adjacent to the park and had a wonderful time taking in the rides, shows and parades. You just can’t take the ‘kid’ out of us.

In May we celebrated Felicity’s 2nd birthday. Amanda and Justin actually held a party for her at their home in San Mateo in June due to multiple schedule conflicts. This worked out because it allowed Robbie and Desta to attend and this is when we learned that Felicity was going to get a little cousin – Desta is expecting in January (YAY!). The entire family is super excited for Robbie and Desta. This made Felicity’s celebration even more special. I still can’t believe how fast 2 years have flown by. She’s quickly developing from an infant to a toddler to a little girl.

In June Felicity participated in a dance show that was held at the Performing Arts Center in San Jose. This was done in coordination with her Primary Plus daycare organization. Once a week Felicity would attend a dance class at the daycare where they would rehearse their little routine. At the show they were escorted on stage and performed – it was very cute watching the kids try to get their steps right and move in some sort of cohesion. Needless to say the crowd ate it up.

Paul and I babysit Felicity 2 days a week and she now goes to a private home daycare 3 days a week – Amanda and Justin switched in the fall as this seems to be a better fit for Felicity. We really enjoy taking care of her and appreciate being a part of her growing up. She loves going to the park, going on swings and slides, and running around. We have season passes to Happy Hollow Zoo and Park where she really enjoys riding on the carousel and Danny the Dragon.

At the end of June Paul attended a 60th birthday party where he and a bunch of his longtime friends all gathered in Oakland for a group celebration. It’s pretty special that Paul has maintained these friendships, many of whom date back to grammar school, and that they keep in touch and try to get together whenever the opportunity strikes.

Amanda and Justin moved down to San Jose from San Mateo in the summer to be much closer to work since they now both work at Mitty High School. Amanda is really enjoying teaching English and Theater while Justin got a position as the Theatre Manager and Technical Director for the Performing Arts Department. They found a nice townhouse in south San Jose – 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 car garage – that is about a 20 minute drive to school. It’s nice having them closer to us for many reasons.

2016 was quite the wedding year. Paul and I attended more weddings this year than we had in ages. We went to wineries and ranches and thoroughly enjoyed them all. Notably Louie Folena was married in September and Andy Watkins (Robbie’s best man) was married in October. Also in October, Justin’s brother Jonathan got married in Indiana and Amanda, Justin and Felicity all went out there for the wedding.

Paul’s mom Lala is doing reasonably well these days. She was moved from the small 6 resident facility to a larger 40 resident facility because of a property sale. She moved into a larger space with a private bathroom, but she doesn’t get the same level of immediate care due to the ratio of caregivers to residents. She fell once trying to pick up something that had fallen on the floor but fortunately she only suffered a sprained ankle. Paul visits her at least once a week and enjoys spending time with her. She always looks forward to visits from her great granddaughter as Amanda and Justin try to bring Felicity around. Her health has been stable for a couple of years now. She celebrated her 89th birthday in September.

In October I attended the National Pediatric Conference in San Francisco. Paul came along as we stayed in the Hyatt Regency while I got shuttled to and from the Moscone Center. Paul really enjoyed the long weekend as he returned to his North Beach roots and walked the Embarcadero from AT&T Park to Aquatic Park and all parts in between. The conference was great although the shuttle service they employed left a bit to be desired. Very informative as I stock up on many pamphlets and other documents that I distribute when teaching my infant and child CPR classes.

Amanda, Felicity and I flew out to Denver for Desta’s baby shower in November. Robbie and Desta have chosen not to know the gender of the baby and want it to be a surprise. Desta’s friends put on the shower and did a marvelous job. They gathered baby and family pictures of Robbie and Desta and put together an impressive display. It was a lot of fun.

Well those long suffering Colorado Buffalo fans (i.e. Robbie) got a big jolt this year as the Buffs won the PAC-12 South and played in the conference championship game here in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium. Robbie flew in for the game on December 2nd along with a bunch of friends and we all attended the game. Through some contacts he has he was able to acquire some field passes so he and Paul were able to go down before kickoff and stand on the sidelines while the teams were introduced and through the singing of the national anthem. Although the game itself was disappointing (Colorado got stuffed by Washington), a fun time was had by all. Robbie and his friends all looked and acted like little boys. The timing was good as Amanda held an open house at her new home in San Jose the next day on the 3rd so Robbie was able to attend that as well. Folks attending the open house were pleasantly surprised to see him.

Finally, due to circumstances beyond my control I will be leaving Kaiser for good the end of this year. I found out through a roundabout way that if I continued employment in any capacity, on call or otherwise, into January of 2017 I would lose the medical benefits we now enjoy. This was a total shock as I needed to scramble to first confirm that this was indeed the case for me and then second to make sure that by resigning before the end of the year that I maintained the health benefits at my current level through retirement. I was very upset because I wasn’t notified of this by Kaiser at all, rather it was a friend who happened to find out when she inquired about health benefits for her husband. Regardless, I’m not giving up what I earned after 35 years so I’m leaving.

We’re looking forward to the birth of our 2nd grandchild in the new year. Paul and I flew back mid-December to Denver to celebrate an early Christmas with Robbie and Desta. Paul helped Robbie put the finishing touches on the nursery and they’re all ready – so are we. We plan to fly back out at the birth and spend some time helping the new parents – Paul will stick around for a few days and cook the meals while I help out with the baby. I’ll probably stay a little longer and help the new mom and dad with Baby Folena. Can’t wait!

Well that’s about it in summary. We wish you and yours the very best that life has to offer – health, happiness and joy in 2017!

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