Tuesday, November 27, 2012


What I am Thankful for and WHY:

I have a strong awareness of having good things in my life that I haven’t worked for… or that I have worked for, but that are also largely the result of plain dumb luck. In fact, I’d argue that most of the good things in my life are, at least partly, the result of plain dumb luck. Sure, I have some good things because I’m smart — but I was lucky enough to be born into a family that valued intelligence and made education a priority. Sure, I have some good things because I work hard and have a certain amount of self-discipline — but I was lucky enough to be born into a relatively privileged race and economic class, in which I’ve had a good number of opportunities for my hard work and self-discipline to pay off, and in which I’ve had enough slack that I could occasionally be disorganized or lazy or make dumb mistakes without it screwing up the rest of my life. Sure, I have some good things because I’m a reasonably good person — but I was lucky enough to be born into a life with a relatively low level of emotional trauma, a life that didn’t bludgeon the kindness and empathy and generosity out of me at an impossibly early age.

I have a strong awareness of having good things in my life that I didn’t earn. Including, most importantly, my very existence. And it feels wrong to not express this awareness in some way. It feels churlish, or entitled, or self-absorbed. I don’t like treating my good fortune as if it’s just my due. I think gratitude is a good thing. Gratitude is intimately connected with one of our central ethical values — our sense of fairness and justice. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012


The year 2012 is almost ended, but it has been memorable for us all. As the year comes to a close, we reflect and share our activities since the last writing.

                  Our five children and their families definitely consume most of our thoughts and actions, however we were able to find time for music and travel.

                  Claudette continues to be busy with her private piano and
voice students, scheduling lessons and recitals. Much of her free time this past year has been taken up with home decorating and renovation, but she still finds time to teach her grandchildren how to play piano, cook and garden. Jim is in his 49th year with the Butler Symphony and 27th year with the Musicians Concert Band. We both enjoy the PSO at least seven times per season.

                  Travel in 2012 was somewhat curtailed because of our move on January 13 to our new home at 110 Hilltop Drive. But we were able to spend a week with family at Ocean City NJ, Chicago for Hayley’s graduation, and Boston/Quebec City in the fall.


                  Our grandchildren are always a source of amazement, making us feel extremely proud to have had some small part in their success. Jessica is marketing director for Chesapeake Physical Therapy, and will start a new job as accompanist for the Pittsburgh Musical Theater. We all helped Damien and Kate welcome “little” Aria to the Sanzotti family in January. (Our first great-grandchild) Eric graduated in May from Northern Illinois and is gainfully employed by Arrow-Tech in the Chicago area. Hayley also graduated in May from Wheaton North HS, and has begun her first year of college at Utah State in Logan, taking advantage of a full scholarship in gymnastics. Maria is in her senior year at BHS and is looking for a suitable college to attend next year. Megan continues to cheer for Wheaton North and is doing very well in her studies. Natalie enjoys working with horses and participating in various horse shows and she has continued playing the oboe. Lauren has found success at the BJHS on the yearbook staff and playing in the band. She is developing into a very good writer. Kate has begun her third year at Emily Brittain School and has continued to pursue the piano under the watchful eye of Grandmother. At the age of four, Bruno is content to pursue the intricacies of Thomas the Train and how matchbox trucks are put together. We look for bigger and better things from him in the future.

                  Our new home at 110 Hilltop Drive is already feeling like we have always lived here. The past year has been enough time to completely renovate the kitchen, basement, and outdoors.  How fortunate we are to have good health and enjoy the activities of our family and visit with our friends. May you find this holiday season to be a healthy, happy one for you and you family.

                                                                                          All our love,
                                                                        Claudette and Jim San