Merry Christmas 2006

Treasured Family & Friends:

This has been a year of milestones; although, it's all the little things that make it complete.

After not quite a year of marriage, we finally worked in a honeymoon--a tropical vacation in March during Spring Break. Greater Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida as well as Nassau, Bahamas endured an exploration and thorough retail scouring. Our culinary horizons expanded a bit more to encompass the wonders of the plantain (in chip form), the conch (cracked), and other Floridian, Bahamanian, and Cuban tastiness.

Following a stressful Spring semester and a languorous summer, we once more moved Christina's classroom, this time into the midst of the English department. Once again team teaching for one out of six class blocks with the capable Colleen Frerichs, Christina judiciously applies newfangled technology to the task of bringing literature both ancient and recent to the seemingly intractable mind of the modern freshman.

Russell's Spring was also tense, due to the unexpected flux in his Portfolio Services department at First American Flood Data Services. Having weathered the storm, though, he found himself named Employee of the Quarter this Autumn.

With an eye toward eventual home ownership, we've made some economical lifestyle changes. Some have worked out, while others have not. Take, for example, our transportation arrangement. Our workplaces are both about four miles from home, in opposite directions, and being homebodies, we don't travel much on weekdays apart from commuting, so it made sense to consolidate down to one car. To that end, we sold Christina's Nissan Xterra. Additionally, Russell, for reasons now not quite clear even to himself, wanted to get a scooter. With an M endorsement in hand and a used 4-stroke in the drive, it seemed scooting fun was at hand. However, an early and painful (although thankfully minor) crash, coupled with a busy schedule and more than a little reluctance to get back in the saddle have left that plan on the dust-heap, much to the relief of Christina (and Russell's mother). The one-vehicle arrangement, though, has worked out well enough that the scooter was never really necessary in the first place.

It's been a full decade since Russell graduated from Jack C. Hays, and so we attended the class reunion in October. Held at a new Austin hotspot, it attracted alumni from all walks of life and afforded Christina the opportunity to put faces to some of the names from her dear husband's rambling stories about his childhood in Buda. The next morning there was a picnic in the park where Russell demonstrated his (lack of) skill at washers.

Christina got help this year in her advising of both Austin undergraduate chapters of Zeta Phi Beta in the form of new Austinites Tynesha Boomer and Tenea Lowrey.  As she's been advising for well nigh on forever (4 years actually), this help brought welcome relief!  She's even learning to not only ask for help but to also relinquish control and delegate responsibility.  Who said you can't teach an old--make that "seasoned"--Zeta new tricks?

The year also saw the passing of Russell's Grandmom & Grandpop Taylor. Although rarely seen, their absence is keenly felt.

We're looking forward to the New Year, with plans for a western road trip vacation during spring break; Zeta events hither and yon, including the Regional Conference in Fort Worth; and maybe some house-hunting. You can keep up with our adventures online through Russell's blog at ret3.net. This Christmas we'll once more be celebrating with Russell’s family, then driving up to Plano for a relaxing week with Christina’s parents. Wherever you are and whatever you have planned this holiday season, we wish you safety, health, and happiness.

And of course,
a Very Merry Christmas,

and a Happy New Year!

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