Christmas 2010

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At Grand Boulé, Dallas TX, Summer 2010.

To Those We are Thankful To and Thankful For,

The interludes of 2010 have been few and fortunate. Their scarcity speaks both to life’s pace as well as its demands. Just as we confronted the limits of our endurance and talent, along came a respite sufficient to prepare us for another round.

Our year began with a humbling and perplexing encounter with an unsavory element as Stonebench was breached and looted in a daytime robbery just minutes after our departure for work. While we found ourselves involuntarily relieved of electronics, tools and heirloom jewelry, the first priority was to locate the cats. Clever Smoke hid in the shower; agile Soot escaped under the deck, returning when his belly grumbled; and Audrey, a stray we were holding for her owner, was deposited in the coat closet by the thieving (but evidently not inhuman) intruders. Apart from a necklace valued high in sentiment but low in dollars, all has been repaired and replaced. Electronic eyes now keep watch when we leave, and digital ears hear the cats play in our absence.

The recovery from the robbery and the sprint which kicked off the beginning of the spring semester for Christina both at Westwood and at UT was punctuated by a brief reprieve in Greune at the Kuebler Waldrip Haus, a weekend of Hill Country relaxation which fueled the push to the end of both her school years. A visit to Natural Bridge Caverns, the first in years for Russell and the first ever for Christina, inspired him to finally organize and scan the many photos socked away from grade school field trips, some of which found their way on to Facebook.

After almost half a year of excuses and delays, Russell finally announced, and then made good on, a date to begin commuting to work by bicycle. Since April 19, he has, with few exceptions, mounted up each morning, Monday through Thursday, and proceeded to cycle to work and back home again. Undeterred by the heat of Summer, the occasional afternoon shower, and now the chill of Autumn, he rides whenever the morning commute is above 40°F and not precipitating.

Throughout the year, Christina kept her nose to the grindstone in dogged pursuit of her master’s degree in Library & Information Science. By the time you read this, she will have completed a quartet of courses in 2010, enduring papers, readings, presentations, and group work with teammates both wonderful and challenging. The coming year presents challenges greater still, as the credits remaining to complete her course of study are becoming ever more difficult to fit into a tight schedule.

Despite taking classes spanning almost the whole of Summer, Christina did get to attend the biennial Grand Boulé of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, held this year in Dallas. Christina got to dress up nightly for events featuring the likes of Spindarella and Montell Jordan while Russell got to lounge away several days taking advantage of the amenities at the Hilton Anatole.

In order to create space in our home office and provide a more comfortable night’s sleep for guests, Russell took another crack at cabinetmaking, this time resulting in a Murphy bed. It may be too good an outcome, though, as it is altogether too tempting to fold it down for a nap in the midst of getting work done.

Halfway through the fall semester, we took a week-long break to celebrate the nuptials of Russell’s cousin, Rochelle, and her groom, Aaron. Why a week? That’s how long it took the Carnival Conquest to sail from Galveston out to Montego Bay, Jamaica and then return via Grand Cayman and Cozumel. There were several smallish adventures, many large meals and several books read along the way.

This Christmas, Amtrak permitting, will find us celebrating in Plano with the Streeters. Back in Austin to greet 2011, we’ll rock the night away with friends at the CAKE New Year’s Eve Spectacular. Wherever you are and whatever you have planned this holiday season, we wish you safety, health, and happiness.

And of course,
a Very Merry Christmas,
and a Happy New Year!

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