Holiday Letter is a little late, and I think the last
one was 2 years ago. This has been a fine winter, with
just enough snow to keep the trees looking lovely. I started
writing this New Years weekend, when Robert and
I stayed home and cooked duck a l'orange by Julia Childs'
on a picture to see it bigger.)
year I started Continuing Ed courses at U-Mass Lowell,
and this year switched to Bentley in Waltham. Two were
"cybercourses" conducted entirely online. By now I have
under my belt Photoshop, a couple of web design courses,
Pages, a bit of Java, and Web E-Commerce. As a result,
I've gradually relinquished my leisurely life of unemployment.
a year ago, I got a part-time job contracting to maintain
the web site for a small computer hardware company.
I could pretty much choose how many or few days a week
to work. I really hoped to stay there through the summer,
but alas, in June my recruiter found me a full-time
contracting job at a more mainstream web company,
and I went off to bigger and better things. Briefly.
Late in August, I got a taste of the downside of contracting
when they dropped me without warning. By that time,
the courses had improved my resume and I got the job
I really wanted, or at least the location:
in Stow, a four-mile drive from home through apple orchards
and golf courses. Still contracting; I kind of like
not feeling like a captive to the company. Compaq bought
this Digital plant and it is strange being back with
is happy with his software engineering job at Stratus
Computer. He had been working on their proprietary operating
system and enjoyed the stability of that established
environment. Recently he joined a project to enhance
NT to take advantage of Stratus' s special fault-tolerant
hardware. It turns out he's quite enthusiastic about
Microsoft tools and enjoying that faster-moving, less
defined environment. Last year we attended Robert's
25th MIT reunion: all the dinners, the Charles River
and Harbor cruises, and graduation with speakers Tom
computers, Robert enjoys ham radio and belongs to two
ham radio clubs. Saturday mornings he goes on a "fox
hunt". Someone hides anywhere west of Boston and transmits
from his ham radio. The contest is who will find this
"fox" first using the radio signals. Robert explores
a lot of conservation land and parks and trails in search
of good places for the "fox" to hide.
that my mother is gone, when we go north for winter
holidays, the destination is my sister Ellen's house
at the foot of Mt Sunapee NH. (The picture is Ellen.)
We had very small gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Robert and I stayed at a motel on Lake Sunapee since
Ellen's son Jeff was using her spare bed. Ellen's interior
design business is skyrocketing since she moved to the
more ritzy town of New London. Daughter Amy works with
her (they make great partners) and Jeff is doing software
engineering in PA. We enjoyed a visit in Barre VT with
my Aunt Barbara, and cousins Mary and Peggy. Mary is
happy in a new job managing the office at a smaller
law firm in Houston, and Peggy has a new, better job
at IBM in Burlington.
parents are doing well. His 88 year old father recovered
well from quadruple bypass surgery. They are busy all
the time with activities in their retirement community
near Fort Lauderdale. We spend a week there each spring
enjoying the pool and side trips like a cruise of Ft.
Lauderdale harbor, Butterfly World, Flamingo Gardens and
of course the beach.
cat's health problems are keeping me busy. Little Guy
is the most interesting and neurotic of our three cats.
This year he went blind, with high blood pressure and
an overactive thyroid. I spend a lot of time coaxing
him to eat the morsels of tuna, shrimp, liver, turkey,
and scallops where I hide his medicine (including cat
prozac). He has a lot of spunk and has recently figured
out he can still chase his catnip mouse, locating it
a great show of optimism and persistence through this
cool summer of rain, we traipsed up to our cottage on
Perkins Pond most weekends. Rain or shine we barbequed
a feast, but the one pictured here was special for Amy's
project was to hang my mail-order "sky chair" over the
water. We're still looking for the perfect tree and configuration
and unstretchy rope. We also spent days cutting and gathering
up brush and carting it to the dump.
was secretary of the "Perkins Pond Protective Association"
this year. Our neighbor, Gary, who's also been at the
pond since we were kids, took over as president. We
spent some of those rainy days hunched over my laptop
writing newsletters, and folding, licking and sealing.
Gary organized a Water Ski Day for the whole lake with
a huge potluck picnic and water-skiing all day. The
sun even came out.
on a picture to see it bigger.)
To left, our "big" sailboat
that travels with us between Perkins Pond and the Cape.
spent our usual 2 weeks on the Cape, in a cottage on
Little Pleasant Bay in Orleans. Here's a sunrise from
the beach there. We became quite adept at sailing in
the rain. I got to wear my head-to-toe raincoat and
rainpants set, and kept layers of warm clothes on over
the shorts and t-shirt. We walked some little-known
trails in conservation land, along the bay and across
private property with ancient right-of-ways. The summer
before, more hot and sunny, we did more of our usual
bicycling the rail trail, sailing a rented little Hobie
catamaran, and guided walks and boat trips.
usual, we tried to eat at all our several dozen favorite
restaurants on the Cape. The rain was quite helpful
for that project. ("Anne's
Cape Cod Favorites" has my guide to favorite
Cape food and activities.)
the end of the summer, the rain stopped and Trellix dropped
my contract just in time to give me a few days vacation.
I rowed my inflatable boat up the local Assabet River,
and went the length of Fort Meadow lake in Marlboro and
Lake Boon here in Stow. Also got in some bicycling, and
beginner roller-blading at Minuteman rail trail.
NH we have an 11-foot chunk of old styrofoam which actually
is a sailboat, known as a Snark. I've spent many days
lazily sailing it around Perkins Pond, and many days
repairing it. This fall I got a new Snark and sailed
it on nearby Lake Boon through the warm weekends of
Sep, Oct and early Nov, launching from the town beach
a short walk from our house.
wishes and happy sailing to you in 2001.