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December 14, 2005: Dear Internet

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Dear Internet,

2005 is almost over, so I guess this means it's that time again. Yep, time for the annual holiday letter, now with all the snark that the printed version does not contain.

First the very best news. Unlike in previous years, I do not have any job hopping to report. Richard and I are both at the same place, full time, employed, no looming lay-offs or cuts staring us in the face. I'm not exactly sure how this happened, but I have to admit I like it, and would really prefer we keep things this way in the foreseeable future. Even better, this is a year without job switching, where we are both actually *happy* in the jobs we have. I get to write white papers and reports and poke at databases and learn new technologies and build pretty webpages, and Richard has spent the year happily playing with Moodle and redesigning the architecture of the distance education system for the university campus.

Outside of work, we're keeping busy with other things that keep us happy and (mostly) productive. I'm still just as obsessed with all things knitting, and kicked off the year by making a pile of afghans and a really cool topsy turvy doll for my niece. This year I learned how to make socks and I also learned how to make lace (although I think I will likely wear all the socks I've knit far more often than the lace). I've joined two knitting groups and even went on a knitting retreat (30 women, gathered in one hotel, for the express purpose of knitting. Fear us. We have pointy sticks and yarn and are not afraid to use them). And Richard's still just as obsessed with poking about on computers, and is in process of revamping the really cool wishlist program he wrote for our families to use, to make it bigger and better than ever.

We are both continuing to write, although I tend to stick to non-fiction, and Richard tends to stick to stories about weird people and strange things that go bump in the night. On a whim I volunteered to be part of a curriculum-writing team for the California / Nevada conference of the United Methodist Church, never expecting they'd actually pick me, but they did and I had a blast and in May they released the six-week curriculum, of which one week was written by me. Richard's been getting published right and left with his fiction - four acceptances this year: two in on-line magazines ("The Unrevealed Tort, Revealed," in Sorcery and Science, which has sadly folded; and The Harrow, which will publish his short story "Who Remembers Molly" in January ); and two print publications ("An Interrupted Nap", which was published in the premiere edition of Shimmer magazine, and "Who Remembers Molly", which will be published in the upcoming anthology ). Amusingly, we've both been featured in local papers, with pictures and everything for our various writing pursuits - I was featured in an article on online journaling this spring, and Richard was featured in an article on National Novel Writing Month this November.

We've been keeping busy in other ways too. I'm still one of the rotating accompanists at church, playing once or twice a month, I'm still in the choir, and this summer I took over leadership of the little recorder ensemble. Richard's so far avoided taking on any more musical responsibilities than just occasionally singing in the choir; instead co-leading a class called Christian Believer, which explores ways in which church doctrine has evolved from Scripture. My friend and I took over as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, respectively, and Richard's the Director of Adult Ministries, which means he gets to plot out all the adult curriculum for the year. Did I use this to my advantage to get the curriculum I helped write on the schedule? Do cats like tuna?

We took a little bit of a break on the back yard this year; the only new addition has been a tiny little red grapefruit tree which has so far produced nothing more than lots of leaves, but I am being patient. Inside the house, however, we decided to give up on the concept of a guest room and instead converted the extra bedroom into a library / place for me to store all my knitting paraphernalia. Also we had a new attic access put in, which means we can finally use the attic for storage. This has made me extremely happy because one can never have too much space for storage.

Let's see. What else ? We went to DragonCon in Atlanta because we are still both big nerds. We got to see a pre-screening of Serenity and squealed like giddy fan boys. We got completely hooked on the new Battlestar Galactica and also on Lost. We bought ourselves a Roomba. We learned how to barbecue a turkey. We dried a lot of fruit. And, sadly, we also lost one of our cats - Allegra - who we still miss fiercely, because the house is not the same without her and thinking about it still makes me cry.

So that's it for 2005 - mostly ups, a few downs, but overall, pretty good. Here's hoping 2006 will be even better.

Happy Holidays (bite me, Bill O'Reilly, and the right wing fundamental hate mongers you rode in on). May his Noodly Appendage touch you all.



Happy Holidailies

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