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Rudolf Harmsen 

Grandmother and Grandfather.

Yes, that is us. We did become grandparents in late August. I grew a beard for the occasion, and have decided that I will keep it; it makes me look more grandfatherly. Also, this year we will become octogenarians. It is wonderful having a granddaughter, but we are a little sad that this transition into grandparent-hood happened so late in our lives; it is highly unlikely that we will see Gwendolyn reach adulthood. It is also worrying that she will live into a world which will be challenged by global warming, resource shortages, lowering standards of living and possibly more warfare and other violence. It will be a challenging world for her, we must make sure she will get an appropriate education. A part of that we will be able to provide here in our country setting. I plan to start this summer when Doug, Steph and Gwen intend to come here for a couple of weeks. I have arranged with a local friend and organic farmer to borrow a few egg-laying hens, so that Gwen can come with me before breakfast to get the freshly laid eggs, and learn about feeding the birds and letting them out for the day etc etc.

As to our health, we are doing well for our age. After the challenging period of Jeri's brain tumor in 2009 till 2011, we have settled into a working arrangement. Jeri still gets frustrated with her visual handicap (blind at the left side of both eyes, and structural apraxia, which means she can see all items in her visual reach, but can not see how they relate to one another). But it is amazing how much she can do. We had a bit of a scare when a mammogram showed an abnormality, but after two unfortunately very painful biopsies, it turned out to be something harmless. She is strong, exercises a lot and despite a light case of type 2 diabetes and being a bit overweight she is healthy.

So far, I have no medical problems worth writing about. And I try to live a healthy life without thinking about what the future may bring. My target is 100 by 2033, which is so unlikely to be reached, that I am tempted to add to it that on my hundredth birthday I will stand on the summit of Mount Everest. But for now we are going to stay put in our comfortable farm house.
Twenty-twelve was a good year for us. We hope that 2013 will be good too, for us and all of you who will receive this writing; come to think of it, let it be a good year for everyone, worldwide.

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