Seasons Greetings, everyone!

Didn’t I just finish writing last year’s letter?


The Quick and Dirty. . .

Ok, not much has changed on the job front. Joel is still at Hewitt, and I’m still at iManage (this must be some kind of record), but it’s no longer iManage, hence my identity crisis. The company was acquired by Interwoven just before Thanksgiving, but I still have a job, so there’s an upside to everything. I also started teaching more, and Mom and I have written some more articles for horse magazines. (Unfortunately, no one was interested in publishing a book of my Christmas letters, so you’re stuck as my only audience.) Muddy, a.k.a “Garbage Gut,” still patrols the trash on a regular basis, and we’ve forgotten what it’s like to stretch our legs while sleeping—if you do, Reba or Muddy falls off the end of the bed. We’ve been offered dwarf roles in “Lord of the Rings” because of our newly acquired stature impairments.

The Flaming Skirt . . .

Umm, no, this doesn’t mean what you think I think you think it might. What this really refers to is an unfortunate incident at Joel’s cousin Laura’s baby shower. A “fire” on the playground called for action, so I trotted up, whipped off my skirt, and tried to beat the flames out. It almost worked. It was only later when regaling my friend Michelle with this tale that she asked the obvious question, “Why didn’t you use the fire extinguisher?” Because, Michelle, that wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining a story to put in the Christmas letter. And because I never thought to look for one.

Bear in Camp!!!

According to Dave, “I bet there’s not a bear for ten miles.” Next time, Dave, we’ll all take that bet. Joel and I spent a week with much of my family up in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota in mid-July. Rumor has it that there was much canoeing, portaging, and practicing our “communication skills,” i.e., isn’t it your turn to paddle? Other highlights included trying to photograph some bears with a yen for marshmallows and freeze-dried “meals.” The last two days of the trip were enlivened by the call of “Bear in camp! Bear in camp!” Everyone had a great time, especially the bears—they hadn’t eaten that well for at least a week.

Innocents Abroad . . .

We went to Dublin for a few days in February (yep, we still travel off season, although Dublin has waaaay more visitors in February than Sweden does) and enjoyed such cultural institutions as the Guinness tour and a pub called the Fuzzy Lemon. We also tracked down a special bottle of whiskey for our neighbor, Doug, who kindly sprinted next door and grabbed our forgotten plane tickets off the refrigerator so we could make our flight. You think we’d be smarter than this by now, wouldn’t you? All in all, a pretty quiet year for us on the travel front, but Wendy and Rakhim are finally getting married next year in South Africa. Tickets are booked, safari reservations made, so next year’s letter should be a doozy.

Infamous Quotes . . .

The dogs have eaten little of real interest this year, so we have a new section: Joel’s quotes. Apparently, several people (namely my own perfidious relatives) find him to be so entertaining that he is now quotable. So, feel free to mix these into conversations where need be, and yes, you can pretend that you made it up all on your own. We won’t tell.

  • “There’s nothing I can do, dear, that you can’t do better.” This was overheard on the canoe trip—Jim actually wanted to write it down for later use. Thus far, I’ve refrained from the obvious response.
  • “That’s great—if you have your own elevator.” That was Joel’s response to a radio contest that offered one lucky listener the chance to win the entirety of Simon and Garfunkel’s recording library.
  • “They’re going to beat Mom like a rented mule!” Joel issued these words of encouragement to his own mother as she played goalie versus Natalie’s team during the parent–child soccer game. Joel and I “encouraged” from the sidelines.
  • “Oooh—let’s get him some buttless chaps! And a kaiser helmet!” Upon learning that my father had purchased a Harley, my first response was to sit down. Joel’s was to accessorize the man. Luckily for you, Matt, Mom, and I vetoed the chaps.

We hope this finds you healthy, happy, and with a life full of joy. And as always, the guest bedroom is open should you happen by. We promise to keep the dogs upstairs with us and to dig out the coffee pot for you.