Holiday Letter 2010

Dear friends and family,

Well, here we are at the end of yet another year. 2010 was a good year for us, and we hope it was good for you as well. We both continue to be in good health, aside from the occasional cold or the painful slip on the tile in the downstairs bathroom (replacing the slippery tile is on the very long To Do list for this house, obviously).

No changes of employment to report this year, thankfully. Jennifer’s company was recently acquired by a much larger firm, while Richard’s job as a web programmer with UC Davis Extension’s Online Education Group is nice and stable. Last year at this time we were both on reduced hours with reduced salaries. This year, our full hours and salaries have been restored. We both enjoy our jobs, and have no plans to change at all.

This year we traveled little, though in April we did visit Disneyland and California Adventure with Jennifer’s sisters and their children. An exciting time was had by all. We had gotten free tickets through Disney’s “Give a Day, Get a Day” program where you could receive free admission for a day in exchange for charity work of some sort. Jennifer has done a bit of additional travel – a trip to Monterey with Heather and Amy for the annual Sisters Only weekend, and a few short jaunts here and there for work.

Our creative endeavors are moving along well. Jennifer had a pattern for a baby blanket published by KnitPicks, an online yarn distributor in January, thus taking care of her ‘one-published-pattern-a-year’ goal early. Richard’s short story, “Night of the Frozen Elf”, was reprinted in a zombie-themed Christmas anthology called The Undead that Saved Christmas, while his short story “A Most Heinous Man” was reprinted in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine‘s “Best of Horror Volume 2” anthology. We both participated in National Novel-Writing Month this year once again, with Richard acting as co-Municipal Liaison for the Sacramento region for the fourth year in a row. Richard’s novel, Brought To Life, concerned the tribulations of an artificial man, a modern Frankenstein’s monster, trying to forge an identity for himself in the world. Jennifer has yet to reveal what her novel is about (and probably never will). We had fun raising money for the Office of Letters and Light’s Young Writers program, and this year both met our 50,000 word goal at the Night of Writing Dangerously, an annual festive gathering of several hundred aspiring Nanowrimo writers in San Francisco.

We continued expanding our garden this year, and even hired a professional to lay out drip hoses and beds for us. As always, we grew massive amounts of tomatoes (not as many as we grew in years past), as well as vast quantities of kale, bell peppers, and some of the sweetest cantaloupe we’ve ever tasted. Despite the fact that we both should know better, we made the mistake of putting in three squash plants this summer (zucchini, yellow crookneck, and zephyr). Luckily Jennifer’s knitting buddies have been happy to take as much squash off our hands as we were willing to part with (hint – we were willing to part with a lot), and Jennifer turned the rest into all manner of delicious creations (although perhaps the mock apple pie made from zucchini was taking things a bit too far).

This summer Jennifer spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen putting up vast quantities of tomato sauce, pickles, and jams and jellies with fresh produce either picked straight out of the garden, or acquired at the local farmers market.  We also laid our hands on over 100 pomegranates, and have made plenty of pomegranate jelly and syrup and even some grenadine. The blackberry bushes are starting to take over the back fence and the strawberries are staking a serious claim in one of the raised beds, so we are hopeful there might be some berry jams or pies in the future (if Richard doesn’t eat them all). This year we also put in a tiny little red grape plant, so are looking forward to being able to harvest our own grapes a few years down the road.

The cats continue to be healthy and active, although Checkers, our younger tortoiseshell cat, currently has an eye infection that we are treating with antibiotic drops. Ingrid and Rupert are a year older, but are still energetic and enthusiastic members of our household.  Ingrid (pictured above) has perfected her pathetic whine and enjoys flopping on her back to show off her fluffy tummy. Rupert is perhaps the most…er….’exuberant’ cat we have ever known (we joke that Rupert’s middle name is “NO!”) and has made it his life’s work to get into anything and everything. Rosemary continues to rearrange her collection of stuffed critters around the house, when she isn’t dashing around with the younger cats. Azzie still is not the biggest fan of the new additions but even he has been caught in the occasional romp.And Zucchini, well…we see him every once in a while, and a trip to the vet this summer for a regular check-up indicates he’s still in good health, so we expect he’ll be lurking in corners just out of sight for a few years to come.

So all in all, 2010 was a good year for the Crawfords. Here’s hoping that 2011 will be prosperous and joyful for all of you.


Richard and Jennifer