Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Annual" Holiday Letter

Calling this my "annual" letter is a bit of a joke, since it's been about 14 years since I last wrote one. I sent this letter out to some friends and relatives. Blogger is not letting me upload a photo, but maybe I'll add one another day.

Dear All
When I mentioned the idea of writing a “Christmas letter” this year to Jesse, there was a minute or two of silence as we tried to think of one thing that happened to us this past year that would be of any interest to anyone other than ourselves. We broke the silence only to admit that we hadn’t thought of anything and in fact are still, a week later, trying to come up with something. In the meantime, I’ll fill you in on some of the things you may find less interesting.
Earlier this year, I joined the “in crowd” by signing up for a account, which allows me to “connect” to my in crowd friends across the world on the Internet. This has brought me much joy as I have communicated with school friends I haven’t heard from since the day I left South Africa (in 1992) or even before. On a similar (Internet-related) note, I finally discovered what all the fuss was about blogs (online diaries/journals, essentially). It all started when one of the people I reconnected with through facebook started her own blog (that’s you, KRS). She is a good storyteller with interesting things to say, and I got thoroughly drawn into her blog and her stories about her husband and four kids. Then I started reading her friends’ blogs, and then their friends’ blogs etc., and I felt immersed in this other world. After a few weeks of deep addiction to reading these blogs at all hours (except, mostly, work hours), I cut back to a few blogs that I still read regularly. It inspired me to start my own blog, which is only three entries long as of today, far from interesting and may die out soon. But if you want to read my random stories (and they truly are random), here’s the site:
The most exciting thing that happened to me all year is that a coworker and two of my friends became pregnant, one of whom gave birth on Thanksgiving. I have never had people I know so well be pregnant, and so this is all new to me. It naturally got me thinking about having kids of my
own, and though there are no immediate plans for that, at least I am seriously thinking about it.
This year was a very “crafty” year for me. After finally finishing a quilt I had been working on for a few years, I decided to try knitting again (first time since I had to knit for Home Economics in school). I knitted three scarves, two of which went to an ex-student of mine who is now at graduate school in Dartmouth and one of which went to my mother (I happened to finish the first scarf intended for my student while visiting my mom, and she liked it so much, I gave it to her). I have also been making placemats, trivets and potholders (sewing projects… knitting taxes my arthritic hands a bit) like there’s no tomorrow and have acquired patterns and bought fabric to start my next sewing endeavor: baby bibs and diaper-and-wipe pouches (see paragraph above… sorry to ruin the surprise of what I’m going to be sending you in the coming months, KC&CC!).
You may have heard about the massive wildfires we had in southern California at the end of October. The fires didn’t come any closer than about 8 miles from where Jesse and I live, but they did cause our places of work to be closed for over four days, which resulted in us being housebound (in large part to avoid the smoky air outside). I will try to remember to put the story I wrote about my week during the fires up on my blog in case you’d like to read more.
And speaking of work, I’m sure you’re wondering, as are so many of our family members, when Jesse and I are going to get real jobs. Well, neither one of us are having the successful postdocs we were hoping for, so let’s just say we probably won’t have real jobs for a while yet ☹ But I will mention one specific work thing: after so disliking the formal research ethics education I got as a graduate student, I was surprised to very much like the formal ethics training I got as a postdoc (a requirement for a fellowship I am on). My interest resulted in me being a panelist for a research ethics seminar series this academic year. I find I quite like dispensing what wisdom I have gained during my years as a scientist.
I hope that next year, if I sit down to write an “annual summary” newsletter again (it has been ~14 years since the last one I wrote, so don’t hold your breath), I will have more interesting news. Jesse and I have saved money for a trip next year. We haven’t decided quite where to go yet—I would like to see the Great Barrier Reef before all the corals die (climate change is taking a toll on them) so that’s a possibility. Botswana is another possibility, and so is a road trip of the western US to see places like Yosemite, Big Sur, Yellowstone, the Redwoods etc. I’ll be sure to take photos wherever I go, and they’ll be posted to my usual photo-storing website: (feel free to browse). Stay well.



Kirsty said...

Samantha you sneaky girl, I found this quite by accident since I am rarely on facebook these days. So excited to read your blog. I will add you to my wall of fame if you don't mind ;) Thanks for the kind shout-out. Ok well, off to read the other entries now.

Samantha said...

Welcome Kirsty! I was being somewhat hush-hush about my blog because I don't really have much hope that it will be a long-term thing and didn't want anyone to get "emotionally invested" in it :-) Also, I think my blog is pretty lame! (Wait, I probably shouldn't say that out loud...).
You're getting the same letter in the card I sent you yesterday (no extra postage required btw... I had them check my envelopes for "squareness" at the post office since they were borderline for needing extra postage according to the USPS website).
Feel free to add me to your wall!