Dear Friends and Family,

It’s been 2½ years since we left Kansas City, and DC finally feels like home. That’s probably because we moved. Again! I thought we’d stay in our initial apartment for the duration, but after getting wind that management sold my view of the Italian garden, I spent six months looking for another place. One snowy day last January, something came on the market that was only a few doors down. Once I spotted the garden and courtyard, I made the realtor wait on me while I ran back to our apartment for reinforcement. Andrew was still on winter break, and I bravely pulled him from his sick bed, knowing full well that I’d have to endure nasty commentary as I skidded back to the new property with him. I knew it was perfect when my son exclaimed upon entering, “Mom, this place is too cool for you and dad.” It isn’t, but it is cool. It has a quirkiness that makes us feel like we’re living in Europe. Andrew’s bedroom has a glass ceiling, the kitchen is beyond lovely, Funk and I have our own bathroom for the first time since having kids, and there’s parking on the premises. We’ve already spent many a day in the courtyard having fun with the kids, and Tara’s gift of a gas heater makes it so that we can even be out in the winter. I am so thankful to have a place that feels like home again.

Tara was divorced in October. Thrown full-force into adulthood, it’s been a hard year for her and us, but she’s coped remarkably well. She says that while she would have preferred to live out her dreams out with Charles, that she’s learned a lot from the experience. According to her, she’s never had anything bad happen before this, yet she feels like a “real person” because of it. I could have lived without seeing her in such pain, but I’m glad she sees a positive. On a happier note, her job is still going well, and she’s traveled to Africa several times for work. She loves the place and is making noises about transferring there for a few years. I don’t know how it happened, but my girl was born black.

Andrew is in grad school in Norfolk, so we get to see him regularly. Be calm my heart, he’s taking gliding lessons. Since a glider is just like a plane, but without an engine, the only thing keeping me from despair is that Andrew has a hardline instructor that doesn’t afford him slack. When he’s not writing or flying, he’s searching the Internet for travel deals. He’s going to Milan this spring on a $250 round trip ticket. I’m as excited for my son as if I were the one going. I think he should take me. I’m an easy traveler.

The child of our heart, Nick, moved back to the bubble last June after a two-year hiatus, and things aren’t quite what he remembered them to be. On one particularly bombastic mom-day last week, where I rattled off in succession what he should eat for his health, respond to his girlfriend, and consider as a long-term goal, he replied in all seriousness that he was going to develop The Gloria App. According to my cosmic child, I should be sharing my motherly wisdom with all the world, not just him. I thought his idea so great that I made it his long-term goal. It’s currently in production. For those who don’t know what to do or think atany given moment, you’ll soon be able to click on the Gloria App and be provided the only answer. I don’t know if Nick is glad to be home, but Funk and I sure love having him back in the nest.

Nick brought a girl home with him. The bitch he ditched us for two years ago. In the six months that Maggie’s been with us, she went from being the big B, to a shining light in our heart. She’s sweet, cute, spunky, smarter than she looks, and best of all, she’s totally family oriented. And, she gets my sense of humor. On my walk one day, I noticed that Anthropologie was hiring. Seeing the possibility of me benefiting from the 40% discount employee discount, and even before the Gloria App was in production, I told Maggie she needed to take that job. She loves it, and hasn’t heard the end of who found it for her.

Funk’s job takes him to New York City a lot, and because most of my childhood friends still live out on the Island in Bethpage, guess who’s been tagging along on his business trips? It’s strange visiting with my friends now, as we haven’t spent much time together as adults. And like Nick, I’m not what they remember. They’re in a constant state of shock by my being, especially my girlfriend Donna. Last December, I placed an excited call to tell her of an inspiration that came to me the night before. Instead of me commuting from Funk’s hotel in NYC to visit her on Long Island, wouldn’t it be cheaper and easier to rent a place year-round that was in commutable distance to both? Donna thought the idea brilliant, and when I phoned her again just 4 days later to say that I had not only rented a place, but that it was sitting directly on the ocean, her response was, “You don’t talk shit, do you?” She thought me odder still when I phoned last week to say that I had visited our girlfriend’s grave for the first time ever, and she passed 35 years ago. Donna couldn’t imagine why I’d want to go there alone. And became incredulous when I told her what I did at Laurie’s grave.

“You did what!”“I laid down on top of Laurie Rooney’s grave and hugged her goodbye.”There was no response for a good little while.“You realize you’re an individual, right Gloria?”“Because I hugged Laurie?”“Who hugs dead people?”“I never got to say farewell in person. Besides, it seemed natural to me.”“My point! Was anyone looking?”“There was a burial going on in the distance, but I made sure they were occupiedbefore I dropped to the ground.”

My darling girlfriend still takes my calls, so I think we’re all good. As for our Little Palace By The Sea, Funk and I anticipated spending one long weekend there each month, just like we did at our cabin in Missouri. But it turns out that the 170 square foot studio is a terrific place to write, so I’ve been commuting between NY and DC, with Funk coming to see me on weekends. We feel like young lovers, so we decided to buy the place. Now, all that’s left that Funk owes me for having put up with his dream of being mayor, is for him to secure me a fixer-upper in Tuscany. And maybe a little place in the country, somewhere between DC and NY might also be nice. Until then, the score remains unsettled.

And so it goes with our little family. We hope your year has been filled with much love, health and laughter.

Love,the funks.aily walks.

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