The big news this year is that Linda and I finally decided what we wanted Lillian’s baby daughter Luciana to call us. Linda has accepted the name Nana, and I have to say that I’m pretty happy with Zee-Zee, although there is still some discussion about how that name will be spelled. My preference is the French spelling “Zi-Zi!” but Linda and Lillian and Luciana all seem happier with the more traditional spelling of the last letter of the alphabet, twice.
The other big news is that Lillian did have the baby! Luciana was born on May 19, 2009 at 1154 pm and came weighing in at seven pounds and eleven ounces and measuring twenty-two inches, same as a bobcat. Lillian has asked me not to reveal her current weight and size, but let me just say that if you’ve seen some recent pictures, you know Luciana has grown. If you haven’t seen those pictures, you should. There’s about a 1000 more at Lillian and Luciana’s webpage. Just click here to see them.
This baby is something else. Linda and I know what perfect babies are like because we had Lillian, and we are happy to report that this baby is just as perfect. Luciana’s always ready for a laugh and a hug, and she’s got the curiosity of a kitten. She loves the feel of different colors and textures, and she spends a lot of happy time flicking her fingers back and forth across cloth or cardboard or a piece of plastic or wood. She’s fun to watch.
When we’re not watching the baby flick or listening to her say “Mm-Mm-Mm-Mm-Mm,” we’re doing a lot of travel. I thought we were doing our part last year to re-vitalize the travel industry, but this year we decided to increase our stake in the bailout. We’ve been to Las Vegas three times, and we’ve gone on three cruises. The last one was a 12-day oceanic extravaganza that took us to the Eastern Caribbean. I would like to add that our luck both in Las Vegas and the cruise ship casinos has been excellent. For 2010, we’re already planning to double our vacationing, six Las Vegas trips and six cruises with maybe a couple side trips to the new casino at Greenbrier, WV, thrown in.
When we’re not watching Luciana and traveling and gambling, we’re enjoying retirement in other ways. Linda has been doing a lot of volunteer work here in Danville at the Free Clinic, and she’s also been doing jury duty here. (Buy her a glass of red wine when you see her next time, and ask her to tell you about the case of the non-habitual habitual offender. Unbelievable story.)
And I’ve been working on my writing. The American Council for Polish Culture honored me this year by giving me their Cultural Achievement Award for my poems about my parents. I also gave readings at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, the Association of Writing Programs, and the Sept. 1939 Commemoration at the Polish Mission at Orchard Lake, Michigan. But most of my energy has gone into trying to get my novel “The Soldier and the Widow” published and writing my new novel, a police procedural set in 1950’s Chicago in the Polish-American community around Humboldt Park. I’m about two chapters for the end, and I’m hoping this novel will be an easier sell than the one about Nazis committing terrible atrocities on the Eastern Front in a really bad blizzard.
I hope next year I’ll be able to report that both novels have been sold, our luck at blackjack just continues to get better, Lillian’s gotten a position as an assistant principal, and Luciana’s walking and talking and drawing pictures and practicing her letters and helping her mom cook in the kitchen and finding out about all the great things in the world to touch and see.