Dear Family and Friends,
Hello again and happy holidays! We hope this letter finds you all happy and healthy and brings you a little bit of holiday cheer.
Our biggest news of the year: We added two members to our family! Wait, it's not what you think: we got kittens! They are sisters named Anne and Emma, after Jane Austen characters. They are absolutely adorable, they love to be around us, and we love to be around them.
There were three weddings, two graduations, and a new baby in the Grant family this year, and we were lucky to be present for most of them. Doris and Randy got married in Utah, conveniently timed with our ski trip in March, and just had a new baby, Landon. Evelyn and Rick got married in Portland in September, giving us a great excuse to take a vacation in the northwest. The third wedding is yet to come: everyone's excited about Shannon and Eric's wedding in Hays, KS, right after Christmas. Rita and Manuel John's graduations from KU and Lawrence HS came just a week apart, so we were only able to make it there for MJ's.
Although there were lots of weddings this year - in addition to the several Grant ones, Tom attended Rick and Molly's wedding in Ohio - we did get out of Champaign on a few other short trips. We used some frequent flyer miles to spend a weekend in California's wine country with Dave and Sharon. We went to the Shakespeare festival in Bloomington. We floated slowly down the Current River (MO) and overran a slug-infested motel with Joe and Sheryl and a big whomp of other people. We white-water rafted on the Youghiogheny River (PA) with the Champaign Ski Club (with a surprise sighting of Karla and some wiener). Tom went on the annual testosterone-fueled canoe trip on the Current River in March with Tom Matches and other assorted misfits.
We were also very happy to have a number of visitors to Champaign-Urbana this year. Tom's dad came twice, helping us build new back stairs for the apartment over our garage and a beautiful deck for our house. Shannon and Eric came to visit after school was out in May. Kathy and Vern and David and Emily passed through for a couple of days on an Illinois sightseeing tour. As always, we love having visitors, hint hint!
On the home front, Lisa got a job as a substitute librarian at the Champaign Public Library, and had to give up her other work at the Grainger Engineering Library on campus. The new job keeps her very busy at the reference and information desks. Tom is still happy at NCSA. He's doing Windows programming now, working on the Symera Supercomputing System, a system for allowing parallel programs to be run during idle time on networks of Windows NT workstations.
We hosted several parties, but our favorite was undoubtedly our first annual Halloween Party. (Lisa wants it made clear that the "annual" is not completely agreed upon yet.)
We've been involved in a flurry of house-related work recently - painting our downstairs, pulling up old carpet, and fixing up the wood floors - and are very much looking forward to a little relaxation over Christmas break. Don't laugh, it could happen.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!!