Sunday, December 25, 2011


Here we are, all 11 of us spending Christmas and New Year's at St. John's, VI. Weather running in low to mid 80s, short showers early and late in the day. We found a beach with hardly any wave action which is great for the little ones. Every once in a while  a baby Sting Ray would make it's way back and forth along the shallow part of the water. Not interested in us at all, although most of us on the beach were VERY interested in it's whereabouts.
Santa apparently knew where to find us and everybody took turns opening their presents from Santa this morning.
The Minnesota Neal's have gone for a hike up and down a mountain. The Boston Neal's have opted for the beach again. The Wisconsin Neal's are enjoying a little down time in the house.
The other night they had some rolling blackouts on St. Thomas and St. John's. Makes life a little more interesting traveling the two lane roads, driving on the left side, switchback curves and no street lights.
But, OH THE STARS, which by the way the name of our house of here, on top of the mountain is In The Stars. The night sky is amazing. You forget how it looks when you don't have any city glow to take away from the scene. It certainly reminds you that the possibility that we are the only ones in the universe is really pretty slim. Just seeing the Milky Way is amazing.
We celebrated two of the three birthdays, Justin and Caitlin on the 23rd.  Since both families were traveling on the 22nd we moved the date. The travel day, down here, is really enough to almost make you swear you will never do it again. Two planes, a long full van ride from one side of St. Thomas to the other, a ferry ride and then the picking up of a car, in a crowded little downtown, loading up, remembering to drive on the left and then up the mountain.  It takes about twenty minutes from town to the house traveling switchbacks, praying that everybody remembers to keep on their side of the double yellow line when traveling down the mountain.
I think my last words to Zeus before I fell into bed that night were along the lines of "shoot everybody". I think I was low on sugar, grease or fat, something. 
The next morning you wake up to the island bird song, warm temperatures and a gorgeous view and suddenly all is well.
Justin and Mary got the Memory pockets last night at dinner. There were quite a few stories shared and lots of laughter.  I decided to spread them out and not cut people short on their story telling.
It was great because a memory that Justin had sparked a memory for Zeus and James and so forth.
Everybody seemed to get into the swing of it and I was really glad I had decided to go ahead and do it.
My secret Santa was Caitlin and I got a gorgeous string of purple, turquoise and gold  stone like beads with matching dangling earrings. Way to go Caitlin, you nailed my colors.
I hope you all are enjoying a wonderful day with family, friends or whatever buddies make you smile.
I hope that your Christmas has some magic and that your dreams are full of creative ideas.
Last night I saw outside, in the dark remembering how we all gathered on the deck, faced the valley below and kuzooed everybody with a rendition of We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Then we sang it out and wished everybody a Merry Christmas!  I'm sure it could be heard all the way down to the harbor. and I hope out to all of you.



  1. Thank you for remembering me with this incredible post about your beloved family. Merry Christmas to all of the Neal Family and bring home some wonderful sunshine when you start the New Year in 2012. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen

  2. Merry Christmas, Neals! May you have a great rest of the holiday and thanks for your gift to me.