2003-12-19 - 11:29 a.m.
Huge rush -- but here's the xmas letter:
December 19, 2003
The main news that isnít news at all is that weíre all getting very old. Nora turned 14 last month, and is considering where she wants to go to high school next year, which is sort of unbelievable. I remember her quite clearly, and not very long ago, as a small infant lying on a bed looking very much like a caterpillar in a hat. Siblings and friend all seem to have little tiny children (well, those who donít have kids in college, I suppose) and I find myself wondering what on earth I was thinking by not having five or six more. At least then when ours go off to graduate school, as feels likely to happen next week, there would still have been someone around needing help with her shoes. On the other hand, it feels like a true accomplishment to have raised the caterpillar child into someone now capable of staying up until one in the morning working on a poster discussing the good and bad points of the Roosevelt administration. Plus, the range of movies available for family viewing is much better. So Ė
The truly big news is that Kevin is working out of his own office. (ďKevin D______, s________ e______Ē is what it says on the door.) So far it seems to be going very well. He has more work than he can handle. His clients buttonhole me at Christmas parties to tell me how nice it is to have an engineer who understands architecture, and how he really should hire a bookkeeper so he can concentrate all his attention on their jobs and not on balancing checkbooks. (!!) (Heís already at the office about 14 hours a day --) Heís sharing office space in Berkeley with a pair of green architects (and their kids and a dog) and a green developer. Maddy likes to visit the dog, and Nora likes to visit the ping pong table, and I like to visit the native plants growing along the creek outside the back door. All in all it seems like a good thing. Heís also still working on developing engin@@ring st@nd@rds for str@w b@le buildings, which should eventually result in a book.
Otherwise, our best friends Lynn and Lucas H___ came to visit in February (for Maddyís 11th birthday!). We went skiing, which was really fun except that I had some kind of death cold (which I passed on to Lynn) and Nora broke her arm. Maddy finally had somebody competent (Lynn) to go down scary steep slopes with. We made Lucas watch 27 million movies, and he didnít really protest. Nora and I explored Reno Ė not much there and K_____ K_____ donuts are really not very good.
We met Kevinís mother, Esther, in Seattle in July. I had to go to a conference, which I did while they went off and had fun. Seattle is really pretty. Thereís a lot of water, although too cold for swimming, and it stays light quite late. I can see why Norwegian immigrants might like it. We also saw my cousin Kerrie and her family (including tiny adorable children who found a ferry ride the height of excitement). Maddy and Nora then flew off to Massachusetts, where they spent five weeks with my parents, down the street from three of my brothers and their tiny adorable children. Not to mention some older cousins, one with a drivers license for a whole new kind of fun. Kevin and I came later, and while we were there we saw Lynn and Lucas again, and Kevinís brother Brian and family (medium and tiny adorable children) and my sister Betsy and her family (regular sized children, but not unadorable). It was pretty much the perfect summer, where you hang around and donít plan anything and something interesting happens every day. And, I got to race a sailboat with my brother Tom and stepbrother Allen! It was a fairly disastrous outing involving hazardous shipboard repairs (during which I got to steer and narrowly but successfully avoided rocks!) -- Probably not so fun for Allen and Tom but really really fun for me.
For Thanksgiving we flew to Phoenix (Scottsdale, really, but I donít think of that as really being a place. Kevin disagrees.) to see my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncles, brother (+ wife), nephew (+ wife) and cousin (+ family, including babies-highly adorable, and the older one does a birthday dance). Weíre spending Christmas at home, and then flying to Tom and Estherís house in Michigan for New Yearís, where we will also see Kevinís brothers and their families and hopefully it will snow and be really cold. We spent last New Yearís there as well with Kevinís brother Neilís adorable family, and had a lot of fun with them.
So, thatís really all thatís going on. Next year Maddy will go to middle school and Nora to high school, which means I really canít talk about them at all, you know, except to say that they are doing well in school, and appear to be on the happy side otherwise, and are so far pretty pleasant to be around. They both read like fiends, which makes me happy, and like music, which makes Kevin happy. Weíve been listening to a lot of T___ Mi____ B_ G_____ (although Maddy has serious reservations about Apollo 18 Ė but some of us find I P@lindrome I and Turn @round completely irresistible). Among other things, they are repositories for all kinds of interesting facts. Iíd give you a few examples Ė Nora was telling me something about codes during WWII last night, and Maddy seems to have endless stores of animal facts in her head Ė but after staying up until 1 with the Roosevelt administration Iím a bit foggy on the details. At my age, you know.
I think Iíve told you more than enough, now.
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