December 2010

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Dear Friends and Family,

Our best news this year is that our children are both back in California! In fact, they’re right up the highway in San Francisco. We love being a small part of their adult lives.

By the time Eric graduated from RPI in May, he had landed a job as a software developer with a high-tech start-up in SF called Sauce Labs. Eric also bought himself a “micro condo” (256 sq. ft.), less than two blocks from work. Being on the top (8th) floor has the advantages of a 14-ft ceiling, a skylight, and a small “storage” loft, which he and John modified to accommodate a mattress. Eric and his girlfriend, Anna, are maintaining a long-distance relationship while she finishes school at RPI, with time out for an internship at a cool materials start-up in Boston.

marandas_square.jpgTiffany, Jason, and Avalon are navigating the challenges of their urban life in SF. Ava, a first grader now, got her wish to go to Chinese school every day after her regular school. What a kick to see a little blond girl speaking Mandarin! The sweet pictures of Ava on our card disguise the spunky side of her nature. She is a girl who knows her own mind and how to express herself. You should see the video clip of Ava’s lesson on how to draw a horse! We were delighted to spend a long weekend with her while her parents traveled to Oregon for a wedding.

Jason and Tiffany have taken on the additional complexities of a dual-career family. Worried that six years was long enough to be out of the work force, Tiffany just started a full-time inside sales job at Demandforce, which provides services for small businesses. This news is so fresh that at the time of printing, we still hadn’t received a full report.  

Susie’s employer, F5 Networks, has survived the lagging economy and recently became part of the S&P 500. If the technology itself wasn’t enough to exercise her brain, the tech writers are now learning a different tool and process to write and store information. Susie continues to volunteer with AFS, and recently met an exchange student from Rafaela, Argentina, where she lived.

ava_portrait.JPGJohn is expanding his knowledge and experience as an energy efficiency and retro-commissioning expert. A couple of customers keep him about as busy as he wants to be, with HVAC monitoring, analysis, and troubleshooting projects.

Lest you think we are all work and no play, we should tell you that we made a trip to Montreal and Quebec City in October to see the fall colors. Susie won two airline tickets in her company’s holiday drawing last December. We stayed in a couple of charming B&Bs, traveling between the two cities on the Canadian Railroad. Lovely!

Have we told you about our chickens? In 2009, we joined the wave of urban farmers with the addition of Betty (blond) and Rita (redhead), fondly called “the girls.” John built them a comfortable aviary (not a cage), and they each faithfully lay about one egg per day, except when they’re molting (or not in the mood).

We hope this holiday season brings you close to your loved ones, and we wish you good health and prosperity in 2011.

Love, Susie and John