2005 Winter Blog

So rather than apologize for the lateness of my holiday newsletter every year, I've decided I will now post an annual "winter" blog instead. Winter is in quotes because clearly I'm terrible with deadlines, and I can't guarantee delivery before the vernal equinox. This way I can enjoy the holiday season guilt-free, and when my newsletter – sorry, winter blog – does goes out, it's not competing with other newsletters arriving by email and snail mail.

In February 2005, for the second year in a row, Janice and I celebrated the Chinese New Year in Hong Kong. For Janice, it was her first time back to her native city after a six-month stretch living in suburban Virginia. She would discover a metropolis more hustling and bustling than she last remembered. The Year of the Rooster was inaugurated by a fireworks display over Victoria Harbor. Our view from the deck of a boat bobbing on the harbor waters would have been spectacular had I not had to focus all my attention on my stomach and the lunch that desperately wanted to escape.

On April 8, I resigned from ASI a few months shy of my six-year anniversary . It was a difficult decision to make – Active Matter/ASI had been my first and only IT job. But a few weeks earlier, a job opportunity literally walked up to me on a soccer field. The opportunity allowed me to once again join a small, growing company, and most importantly, leave my car in the garage and walk to work. I can't say the past 11 months with Pantheon Software have been totally free of anxiety and stress, but even the worst day becomes a faded memory as soon as I step into the fresh air and head for home. Meanwhile, Janice's tutoring schedule gets busier and busier (and her hourly rate gets higher and higher). At last count she had 28 regular students. Her goal is to open her own Chinese language school before she turns 30. My goal is to retire and let Janice support me before she turns 32.

Of course the biggest change is that this is no longer my winter blog, but our winter blog. For those of you who don't know, six years after our paths crossed online, Janice and I were married. My July 2 proposal in Columbus, Ohio, took Janice completely by surprise, and just three weeks later an Arlington lawyer made our union official. This civil service was brief but long on emotion (especially on the part of the groom). On September 24, friends and family gathered at my parents' home for a more formal ceremony and reception. And it wasn't until January 2006 that we finally went on our honeymoon: a driving tour of the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Reflecting on the past nine months, Janice and I could not have asked for a happier and more memorable beginning to our new lives together.

Three weeks before the September ceremony, I accompanied my father on a 7-day trip to England. We spent the week shuttling between Thetford (where the family of my father's first wife, Jean MacRae, resides) and Bury St. Edmunds (home to Pip Elton – friend of my father and a fellow World War II veteran). While it was great enjoying the hospitality that greeted us, visiting the graves of Jean and other MacRae family members ultimately made the trip bittersweet. Still, I am very thankful to have been able to make this trip with my father, who celebrated his 82nd birthday just a few weeks ago.

This blog wouldn't be complete without mentioning Pickles – our slightly rambunctious but utterly adorable cat whom Janice and I adopted in October. He joins us in wishing you health, happiness, and lots of cozy naps for the rest of 2006.

/Chris & Janice