Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Letter 2006

Image039As we are hopeless about getting out holiday cards in anything like a timely fashion I thought I would post the obligatory Christmas Letter here. Sure you could just go through the blog archives for the year to get a sense of what we've done over the last 12 months but that would be really tedious. Besides, it wouldn't give me the opportunity to trot out all the well-worn holiday letter clich├ęs that you've come to expect. So here we go.

It's hard to believe it's already Christmas again and another year has flown past. So many things happened this year: we finished building our new house (Flickr tag "construction") and got moved in in April, settling into a more or less normal daily life after a year of visiting the construction site nearly every day. Dada flowered from a toddler to a fully-realized little girl of almost three (Flickr tag "dada"). We started raising chickens. CIMG4034Then started raising chickens again (Flickr tags "chickens", "chickenhouse"). We didn't travel much but we hosted a number of guests over the course of the year, something we couldn't really do in our old house. We had a big crowd for Thanksgiving (held on the screen porch thanks to global warming). We made friends with many of our new neighbors here in the neighborhood. Eliot visited the Philippines for the first time (Flickr tag "philippines"). Dada started taking gymnastics classes (Flickr tag "gymnastics"), which she enjoys tremendously ("I like Coach Kelly"). Dada had her first experience with trick or treating for Halloween (Flickr tag "halloween"), which she enjoyed tremendously (something about free candy).

Our home was featured on the Austin Cool House Tour, one of about 12 homes in the area that demonstrate exemplary energy efficiency and ecological sensitivity (go us). As a side effect we got a bunch of people to clean our house for us, put up a bunch of art, and do a bit of landscaping in the front. We got the solar electric system up just in time for the tour (we now produce about 1/3 of the electricity we use from the solar panels).

We spent a lot of time watching Warner Brothers cartoons, Robots, Chicken Run, and, lately, A Bug's Life. Eliot spent way too much time playing Lego Star Wars and Lego Star Wars II, one of the few XBox games that can be played with Dada in the room. That and Guitar Hero (Flickr tag "guitar"). And thank God for digital video recorders, that's all we have to say. And we knuckled in and started letting Dada watch Clifford the Big Red Dog even though we know that TV is evil evil evil but you know sometimes you just need an hour to get some stuff done and it seems harmless enough and it does teach life lessons and how are you going to say "no" to that little face so just get off our backs already.

CIMG4016But it wasn't all fun and games. We put a lot of work into the new house, preparing the site for the playscape that Dada's grandfather bought (Flickr tags "grandpa" and "playscape"), spreading two truckloads of mulch on the yard (Flickr tag "mulch) (thanks Joshua!), building a chicken coop (Flickr tags "chickenhouse" and "chickencoop"). Eliot set up two worm bins for composting our kitchen scraps (no pictures, sorry) and produced enough worm castings to fertilize our new rose bushes. We became landlords, turning our old house into a rent house.

Dada is settling right into the stereotype of the high-achieving adopted Chinese girl--she can recognize her name ("'D' for Dada!") and draw crude D's and A's. She can draw remarkably good faces. She can build towers out of regular Legos. And of course she's become a regular Chatty Cathy with an ever-expanding vocabulary. She's not quite ready for Baby's First Cyclotron but it won't be long I'm sure. She loves books of all kinds and is still whining about the fact that the dead laptop I gave her to play with isn't actually a working computer.

Image002Forrest and Lucy are doing well. Forrest is about 12 years old now but is remarkably spry for a dog that age and Lucy is about 6 or 7 (we don't know her exact age). They enjoy barking from the screen porch at the various miscreants who walk in front our house and at the feral cats that haunt our neighbor's yard. And of course, sleeping.

Eliot's job role at work has changed from focusing primarily on software development to pre-sales support, which will probably mean more travel, both in the U.S. and overseas, as he works more closely with the Innodata Isogen groups in Asia. But it will give him an opportunity to be more directly involved with Innodata's core business of data conversion and, hopefully, a chance at a non-trivial bonus if we make our revenue targets, something he's never really had before.

In 2007 we're hoping we can travel a bit more as a family now that we have vacation again and have, hopefully, recovered somewhat financially from the whole new house thing. We expect to start getting eggs from the chickens early in the spring (Eliot needs to start building the roosting boxes pretty quick here) and we might even be able to start doing some more serious landscaping around the yard.

1 Comments:

At 10:47 PM, Anonymous Riana Lance Wishes You a Merry Christmas said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
gather near to us once more.

Through the years we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

 

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