Merry Christmas from the Bolams   2020

Written by Kath (The paper copy was folded, stuffed, and mailed by Bob)

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What can I say about living during a pandemic? I just re-read last year’s Christmas letter and not many of those things happened this year.


Everyone experienced the pandemic in their own way because we are all at different life moments.  This is our view: 


  • Bob and I are on a fixed income so we had no “how do we pay our bills” worries.

  • We have no little kids at home so the school or no school issue wasn’t ours either. 

  • We are not working, so we were not worried about losing our jobs.

  • We have not lost a loved one or close friend but do know several who have had COVID.


We know all of those situations are super hard.


  • Bob and I ARE in the categories that make us more susceptible to getting COVID and having a worse case.  My Mom who is 88 is living in a Senior Living environment and cannot leave her building without restrictions later.  My cousin Sharon (like an favorite aunt) has had to move her husband to a dementia facility and the process has been overwhelming especially during COVID.  Bob is having eye surgeries (2020) and total knee replacement (2021 Jan) which have all new rules because of the pandemic.


We understand how hard this time has been for everyone.  It’s scary.


This doesn’t sound like a normal Christmas letter because, let’s face it, it has not been a normal year for ANYONE!  We want to send all of you a virtual hug from us and know we love you.

To cope with the pandemic, we wear masks when we are out and about, use curbside almost everything including groceries, restaurants, and the vet.  We have gone into doctor and dentist offices, not without consequence, but out of necessity. (I was exposed to COVID at the eye doctor but was negative). 

We have worked on projects at home.  Bob had lots of things on Josephine’s fix up list and he is pleased with how she turned out.  Bob also got a new e-bike to help him ride with a bum knee.  He loves it, I love my old one! 

I learned how to take photographs of small birds and even learned their names. 

I did quite a bit of painting before it got warm enough to play outside!  We visited with friends in our back yard and garage social distanced to stay safe.  We did a few jigsaw puzzles.  The best thing we did this year was keep in closer contact with my Mom and cousin Sharon and help them both as much as possible as far as visiting and thinking through how to de-stress comes.  I am closer with my mom again and that is great.  Mom and I have been “going to church” together on Facebook Live and attending some “coffee hours” over Zoom.  We also joined Bob, my sister, and brother-in-law on Zoom and will have more “Family Zoom” connections.

In February, I finished my 7year photo family history project.  My Grandpa Miller had taken a lifetime full of photos I shared with 2 generations of cousins!  I did not give up Bloomsday this year. I just did it virtually … me walking with Bob and Kim messaging me to keep me from getting lonely!

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I made a special website for my favorite bird pictures this year.  It works well for de-stressing I’ve heard so enjoy the slideshow. 

  To see my favorite small bird photos:

Kim & Jim Waddle have become our pandemic buddies.  We did some camping together at Farragut in separate trailers. Kim & I spent a couple days at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge near Cheney, WA walking in nature and photographing animals.  We had 9 moose sightings over two days!  The four of us have played Farkle (a dice game) over Facebook Messenger video about twice a week since the end of May.  They are in Walla Walla, WA and we are in Hayden, ID.  It keeps us connected, giggling, and socialized, and it’s fun!

This year we made a few changes around our house.  We did things like replace the furnace, fix the garage door springs, replace all 3 toilets (by ourselves), update a ceiling fan, and replace all the bulbs in the house to daylight LED.

We did 3 big things outdoors that have made our home and yard stress free!  First, in February, Brian Bolam helped Bob & I update our awning cover.  Bob & I split the boards and got them ready for Brian to come screw them in for us.  One day I was up on top of the awning screwing boards in too!  It looks beautiful and we are very proud of ourselves for doing this project together.

We hired help to re-do our landscaping front and back yard. Oh my the difference is amazing!  We absolutely love it. We added 3 bird feeders and the birds finally found them.  Many live in the big trees in our yard and I have been photographing them.