December 2003

 Well, 2003 as a whole wasn't a bad year.  I spent most of the year at a small software firm named "Foliage," which was close to home with all the associated benefits, like getting to go to many of Brie's track meets while she was running cross-country.  It was a good place to work, reminiscent of the late-90's dot com companies, but like most software firms, it was a tough time for  them.  To avoid deep(er) layoffs, they reduced employees pay and eliminated bonuses, a path I agreed with in principle, but which made it financially unviable for me to stay there.  I moved on to State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) as a result.  Which leads to the obvious question...

Why do guys identify themselves by their jobs?  

I mean, what about spiritual growth, adventures of the mind and body, not to mention family?  Well, I like to think those kind of things are kind of like dust bunnies... they exist, and they get bigger every year, but they are hidden under the bed so you can safely ignore them.  

But, just in summary fashion, what have been the big non-work related changes this year?  The kids have grown to the point where the old technique of getting them to do the stuff they are supposed to do, shrieking, isn't working too well.  Brie has suddenly turned into the mistress of cool clothes.  Will hasn't had any startling changes in interest, but he cringes less when watching movies with kissy scenes.  We are still doing intermittent family board games just to ratchet up the interpersonal tension level a bit (Will, if you don't stop building elaborate structures out of the off-board game pieces right now, I'm going to...).  I've read a few books, played a few computer games, seen a few movies... nothing enlightening, I'm afraid.  The living room is suddenly a room you can live in, between new hardwood floors, new paint, new drapes, and new furniture.  I did a home improvement project that actually worked... replacing siding that was decomposing.  We had the big trip to Minnesota... that was actually pretty new and cools stuff.  Yada yada yada.  

dsc04929.jpg <- A surprise gift for the grandparents.... 


and the first big snowfall of the year ->

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Above, Kate's snowed-out Katydids party (in which she still did a fair amount of business but where we had enough fancy little foodstuffs left over to feed a small third world nation until they would rather go hungry than eat any more mini-quiches for lunch).  Katydids continues to thrive and grow, absorbing any free time Kate has after tennis.  Kate continues to learn new techniques (and make some up), taking metalworking and jewelry classes. 

To the  right, a picture of Britney Spears when she was younger.  No, that's Brie, and it scares me.  I keep joking about buying a shotgun so I have a conversation piece whenever she invites a boy over.  At least, I think I'm joking.  

And below, Will gets his Red Belt after many years of Taekwon-Do.  Next step, black stripe, but that won't be for a while; the minimum period between levels gets longer and longer the higher up you go, and I've noticed that advancement is no longer automatic as long as you've taking the required number of classes (two per week).  This is Will's favorite part, board breaking... he did the "jump over someone and break TWO boards" thing for the first time, and wants to change his legal name to "Bruce Lee."

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And what would December be without Christmas?  Below, the tree infested with presents, the big family present (a foosball table) in use by the kids and cousins Christmas eve, our first-time second Christmas tree in the living room, morning stocking opening and the now traditional Christmas morning breakfast of home made cinnamon rolls (which were mostly eaten before I could grab the camera and take a picture).  After  opening presents, we headed up to Killington for a three day skiing weekend...

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Xmas  skiing was fun although somewhat mixed; we headed up to Killington skiing on Xmas day, it rained up until just about the time we got there when it turned to snow, which continued during the evening.  I was thinking it was going to be phenomenal skiing the next day… instead it was 40 MPH winds and all the high speed quad lifts shut down, and no one skiing the top of the mountain. 

The next day, made up for it… some of the best skiing we’ve done, bright blue skies, no wind, no lines, and decent snow.  Kate and the kids bailed about 2:00 as we did more skiing in an hour that we did the entire prior day and they were tired (read:  wimps, as long as Kate isn’t around to hear it).  I stuck around and did the up to the peak-bomb to the lift-up to the peak thing five times.  My legs were rubber afterwards but it was a lot of fun.  I did one double black diamond mogul run that I thought was going to do me in… those 203 cm skies are a little hard to turn and burn through the bumps… but I escaped with hardly any bruising. Actually, the real bruising was from falling down the stairs in our front yard Xmas morn while going out to get the paper… that HURT. 


 From the frozen depths of hell 

 To the glorious light of heaven(ly skiing)... 

 What a difference a day makes...