Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas letter

Very hectic this week. I gave three finals on Tuesday and was frantic to get them scored and get the grades in. Then I attended a 3-day seminar on Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It was at the university and one of my grad school profs was a facilitator. It was a great experience. On Wednesday night Doug, the dogs and I met up with some friends to do the Trail of Lights and dinner at a dog-friendly place. This weekend we still have to decorate the house for the holidays and wrap presents. Needless to say, it's been busy and the blogging hasn't happened. We did, however, get our Christmas cards, along with our annual letter, mailed. The letter is below. I hope to have more blog time next week.

Happy Holidays To All Our Friends And Family

Like many of the previous years, 2006 has been a year of transitions for us. This summer Dara finished her thesis, which examined blogging and opinion leadership, and graduated with a MA from Texas State University-San Marcos. Because a long-time PR professor retired without notice, Dara was offered a one-year faculty appointment. This fall she taught four classes (three different courses), including three senior-level classes. She has found this both challenging and rewarding. We are unsure what next school year will bring as the university decided that the position Dara is filling must be held by someone with a PhD. However, there is always a chance things might change and Dara is staying open to a variety of possibilities. While she enjoys teaching, she also misses life at a PR agency.

In January Doug started a contract with GTECH, a company that develops lottery software. He had several opportunities early in the year to fly to the company headquarters in Rhode Island. This was the first time he got to explore New England, although there wasn’t much exploring after he found that Foxwoods Casino was only an hour away. This was Doug’s first opportunity to play live poker for money and he did well. Unfortunately, the rest of the year kept him in Austin. Doug’s contract with GTECH just finished, but he has several job opportunities in the works. If he doesn’t already have a job by the time this letter reaches you, we expect that he will have one secured in January.

In May we traveled to northern California to tour wineries in Napa & Sonoma. Three days of wine tasting was nirvana for us. We were able to try some high-end wineries, like Opus One and Silver Oak and got to visit some of our favorites, like Hess. Dara was delighted in stopping at a few champagne houses. The weather was great and we are ready to go back.

The only other travel this year was in June when Doug went to Kansas City. His father had bypass surgery and Doug went up there for a week to be with him. While it was a rough time, Jim, Doug’s dad, seems to be doing well now. We expect him to be out fishing in the spring.

This year we continued our involvement in the Women of Wine and the Men Who Adore Them and Dara volunteered during the Texas Food & Wine Festival. We continued our volunteer work at the Zachary Scott Theatre, which is always rewarding and allows us to see some great shows. Doug continued with his hobbies of brewing beer and playing poker and is trying to convince Dara they should take a weekend trip to Louisiana to play at some casinos there. Dara, in the meantime, picked up the hobby of glass fusing, which is where pieces of glass are heated in kiln to a high temperature until they fuse together. Dara started by making pendants and earrings. This turned into taking beading and other jewelry classes focused on jewelry design. She also started fusing glass into plates. She really enjoys it and is delighted when people compliment her work, especially when they don’t realize she made it. There are always errant bits of glass and beads around the house, but Doug is good humored about it. After all, all non-essential closet space in house is filled with homebrewed beer.

This is just a quick review of the past year. To keep up with our day-to-day activities, feel free to check out our blog at

We wish everyone a happy holidays and a great 2007.

Dara & Doug

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