Greetings to all our friends and family -
I think we are making late holiday letters a tradition in this family. It seems that every year time runs so fast that before you know it, the year has passed by.
2004 seems to have been a year of finishing - Will finished his bachelors and Robin is completing 2 terms of office in January in our main hobby group. It has also been a year of new challenges - Will worked on a major project at work which was installed successfully in Oct/November and Robin is now writing a continuing column (7 or 8 installments - at least) on historic needlework for a major needlework magazine called Needlepoint Now.
In June Will graduated from San Francisco State University - yes I know it has a new name, but it will always be SF State to those of us who lived through the time of President Hiyakawa. It took 5 years of night classes - some of which were during the day since that is the ONLY time they were offered. It took lots of perseverance to make it happen and major congratulations are in order. Of course Will just says DONE!!!!!!!!!! It was a great to see all the family for the graduation and lots of friends at the subsequent party
Will is still at VISA/Inovant. They were very helpful both with paying 80% tuition and books and giving him flexibility to attend classes when needed. As mentioned he worked on a major project this year as technical lead for most of it. It was good to see the project to completion and to have it work successfully. While the tech job market is easing some in the Bay Area, there have been several rounds of layoffs that he managed to survive - phew! Not sure what will come next - there are several projects being proposed at work, but which or whether any will materialize remains to be seen.
For fun, Will is still doing medieval fighting and going to practice. He has joined a "war unit" that drills together and fights whenever possible at wars together. People do look at us funny when we say "we went to war this weekend", especially in light of the current events. We went to the West An Tir War over July 4th weekend in Crecent City. This is an interkingdom war. About 500-600 on the battle field. The unit camped and FEASTED together. When the King demanded to know why the unit was late to the field on Sunday, the "excuse" of "we were eating breakfast", was all he needed to know and be a bit jealous.
Robin is working hard doing lots of arbitration cases. This year she has had 15 on her docket. While a number do settle, this year has seen about 50% go to hearing. In her not so spare time, Robin is still the Kingdom Arts Minister for the SCA Kingdom of the West - promoting the Arts in our medieval group AND Guild Minister for the West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild. She will step down from both offices at 12th Night. While no longer in charge, she will be doing lots of teaching and a couple personal projects in 2005. She loves to teach - seeing the proverbial light bulb go on in her student's eyes makes all the work worthwhile. For fun, she is hoping to take a class on goldwork given by the Royal School of Needlework (yes the one out of Hampton Court that does the needlework for the British Royals).
As Arts Minister she again put on a weekend long camping event with about 100 classes, 10 demos, 8 competitions, and evening entertainment for over 300 people. She also build the supporting website for the event.
This summer Robin was asked to do a column on Historic Needlework for Needlepoint Now. The project is 7 or 8 columns, each focusing on various types of counted needlework. In addition, there is a project designed by Robin to help the reader get a flavor of the style and techniques. So far 2 columns are out - September/October on Voided Work (Assisi for example) and November/December on Canvaswork - Elizabethan Furnishings. The January/February one is at the printers and is on Bargello. The March/April one on Canvaswork - Elizabethan Slips is on the drawing board and due in next week.
For fun, Robin is still blogging. Her needlework blog can be found at - broider-baroness.blogspot.com. In addition, she periodically blogs on philosophical issues at - not-your-grandmas-world.blogspot.com. The family archive and book projects have taken a back seat for the most part this year, but there has been some progress on laying more of the foundation for the projects. Hopefully more next year.
In September we managed to get a couple weeks away and take a trip to DC and Williamsburg that had been on both of our wish lists for quite awhile. The travel log and pictures are posted here. It was good to be away and lots of fun to see long time friends.
In October we added a very special addition to our home. His name is Pickwick and he came to us at about 10-12 weeks old. He was a stray that a friend took in a few weeks after he was born and named Jack (he is mostly black). After coming to stay with us he told Will his name was Pickwick - like the Pickwick Papers - a bit of a dandy, a bit of a caricature, and a bit of a snuggly loving bully of a kitten. He is growing fast and he will be a big cat - around Pete's size if his paws and tail are anything to go by. We have given him his own webpage. He and Pete are learning to co-exist. Pete is still top cat, but they do interact well. Don't forget to also visit Pete's page.
In November we stayed home and hosted our own Thanksgiving dinner with some of the family and friends. We did the family Christmas celebration in one long packed 4 days - Paso Robles, Palos Verdes and Fullerton to see all the family groupings. Still didn't manage to see everyone, but hopefully will get to connect over the next year. Now onto 12th Night and then up to Alaska for their 20th Anniversary celebration of becoming a Principality. Robin was there for the initial event 20 years ago.
Hope this missive finds you all well. We hope that 2005 is a good year to you all - health, happiness to you and peace for the world.