Here's something you may not already know about me: I LOVE Christmas cards. My very favorite thing about this time of year, more than the food or the shopping or anything, is going through the mail every day to see who we have cards from. I love hearing from people I don't talk to often, and I especially love it if they send pictures or, the holy grail, a form letter describing their year. Seriously. I realize a lot of people think these things are stupid, but I adore them.
And I do them. Every year. In droves. This year, I sent out 75 cards. I've received 17.
Yeah. I'm more into it that most people, I guess. Still, I'm sure there are lots of you out there whose addresses I don't have. So I wanted to "send" you a card as well, here on the blog. If I had your real life location and could put it in the mail, this is what you would have received:
It would be accompanied my version of the form letter I love so much. This year, it reads:
December 12, 2010
Hello Family and Friends,
Isn't it hard to believe we're already at the end of 2010? It's actually been a pretty stable year for us here in NoVA--no moves, no new pets, and (more or less) no new jobs! We're still living in Herndon, still enjoying our three cats (Atticus, Esme, and Illy) and our wonderful dog (Ata), and Mark is still doing rewarding work for long hours at HHMI Janelia Farm. Grace is finishing her telecommuting project for JET Software Solutions, so she's started looking for a local full-time job. The search has been pretty good--lots of possibilities and quite a few interviews--but nothing has quite worked out yet. Keep your fingers crossed! In the meantime, Grace is keeping busy with a few freelance jobs and a lot of holiday baking!
Our big event of 2010 was the trip we took to London in October. We lucked out and had wonderful weather while we were there, and we spent eight days enjoying it! We saw most of the major sites: the Tower of London, the London Eye, Kensington Palace, and more markets and museums than you can count. We also ate extremely well, with stops at gastro pubs, Indian restaurants, Turkish restaurants, and teahouses. We stayed at the Zetter Hotel in Islington and would absolutely recommend it to anybody considering a London trip.
We visited Oregon twice this year (once for Christmas 2009 and once over the summer, to attend Grace's cousin Jessie's wedding), as well as making a trip to visit Mark's parents in Minnesota in July. In Oregon, we enjoyed tons of local wine and coffee and were able to drift the Umpqua River (Mark's first time doing that!). In Minnesota, we spent two lovely days sailing (Grace's first time doing that!). Though it's difficult to live so far from our families, we're very happy we get to visit them often. Mark's parents have also visited us here in Virginia, most recently at Thanksgiving, which was a wonderful time and a great meal.
We continue to be absolutely enamored with our lineup of pets, though we still miss Leo. Adding a second dog to the mix has been under consideration for months, but the right one has not yet come along. Still, we'd be very surprised if you were to receive a 2011 Christmas letter that doesn't mention a new addition.
This year, we'll be spending Christmas in Minnesota with Mark's parents, brother, and sister-in-law. We're looking forward to the occasion, which, if history is an indication, will be marked with fantastic food, lots of cookies, and freezing temperatures! We hope this letter finds all of you safe, happy, and warm. Our best wishes go out to you for 2011.
Mark, Grace, Ata, Atticus, Esme, & Illy