Greetings to all!

by chuckofish

Due to an unnaturally busy week,  I have not managed to send the family Christmas letter yet, so I thought I would  post it here, complete with illustrations and appropriate links. Without further ado:borderGreetings!  As usual, it has been a hectic year, although we survived and seem to be thriving. We even managed to get the house painted, and now our neighbors have stopped making veiled reference to the Addams Family.

Our son, James, continues to live in the Washington DC area, although he has left his luxury digs in Bethesda and moved to a more modest, hipster place in Columbia Heights. Currently employed as the Assistant Cook at the MPAA (motion picture association of America), James makes a mean canapé and has become close personal friends with Eminem’s bodyguards.

James didn't take this picture, but you get the idea

James didn’t take this picture, but you get the idea

When he isn’t wining and dining celebrities, he manages the ‘stable’ of writers who contribute to his movie review blog,, and recently voted him “the world’s greatest boss.”

After graduating from SLU last May, Chris spent the summer at an exclusive arts camp in the Adirondacks, where he helped campers to make movies. While there, he made many close personal friends among the local bear population, and somehow restrained himself from feeding the spoiled adolescent campers to his ursine pals.

Waiting for a spoiled adolescent camper to eat

Waiting for a spoiled adolescent camper to eat

Currently, Chris is feverishly completing his graduate school applications, writing a weekly review for his brother’s blog (he’s never missed a post), and emptying the dishwasher with commendable enthusiasm.

Enter third robber. Last Fall, Tim started his second year at Johnson State College in the heart of Vermont’s beautiful Green Mountains. He spends most of his time playing music, but has become close personal friends with the college security people, who for some inexplicable reason frown on bonfires and tree climbing.

Those Vermonters are so wholesome

Those Vermonters are so wholesome

Fortunately, the only real trouble he has gotten into was for taking too many classes (math, philosophy, ear-training, stage construction, composition, music theory, guitar, keyboard, funk band, jazz band, and guitar band – or something like that. There are too many for my aging brain to handle).

Meanwhile, our pater familias, Duncan, has immersed himself in the social network of 18th century Britain. Last summer, he enjoyed some quality time at the National Archives at Kew in London, investigating Joshua Kirby and his circle. You can read all about it at his blog, ‘Kirby and His World’ ( Mercifully, Duncan has not taken to wearing knee breeches, white stockings or a powdered wig – at least not yet.

Clearly, not everyone can resist temptation

Here’s some gent who succumbed to temptation

As for me, I’ve been learning the hard way about the three phases of book writing: devastation, battle and siege. Right now we’re at the tail end of the siege phase and we’ll see whose defenses crumble faster, mine or the book’s.

I hope my siege goes better than this one.

I hope my siege goes better than this one.

I’m optimistic, however, and current projections suggest a New Year’s victory. Keep your fingers crossed.

Despite all the work, we did get to play a little in 2014. Duncan and I met my siblings and their spouses in Michigan at the my brother’s family cottage on Lake St. Claire (my dual personality posted about it here). We had a fantastic time hiking, boating and shooting (at clay pigeons, not each other), and watching the fireworks that the area towns put on for Chris’s birthday (aka the 4th of July). Then, early in the Fall, Ellen and Foster, my niece and nephew, stopped here on their way to Vermont (described here). We had a lovely visit and I invite everyone to follow their lead! The North Country is a great place to live and life is good.

May Christmas bring you joy and see you safely into a fulfilling New Year!