The Every Third Year Christmas Letter

Hello friends and family members. 

This year finds David and me settled in Houston after three years in Singapore.  We’re back in the same house we left, falling back into the same routines, walking the same route through Tanglewood on Saturday mornings, going to the nine forty-five service on Sundays.  Nothing much in the neighborhood has changed.  Buck, the amazingly old guy around the corner, still hobbles around with the aid of his walker, but he doesn’t make as much sense as he used to.  And the guy across the street, an economic advisor to Ronald Reagan, still hunches over the steering wheel of his BMW, peering through his thick glasses, reminding me in the most frightening way of Mr. Magoo.  As to Houston, industry abounds, the people seem happier and friendlier, and we now have recycling containers and pickup.  Good job, lesbian mayor! 

David’s year has gone well.  His company changed location while we were away, and now he’s even closer to the house than he was before—instead of a ten-minute drive, he has a five-minute drive.  In Houston, where some people drive over an hour to get to work, he feels very fortunate.  Also, he was selected by the Society of Petroleum Engineers to be a Distinguished Lecturer, and so he is committed to several international tours in which he teaches people (in Pakistan, India, Australia, Canada—but not Russia, because of sanctions) about the geologic features of areas rich in shale gas. 

Our oldest, Curtis, is lawyering in Houston.  After graduating from Columbia Law School, he worked for a firm in New York for a couple of years, then clerked for a federal judge in Atlanta for a year, and then got himself back home, where he lives in a high rise overlooking Herman Park, works out at the gym, plays tennis and golf, and hangs out with his charming girlfriend, Anna.  He enjoys being in a city that’s got an excellent Tex-Mex restaurant on every corner.  Also, he works.  A lot.

Sam is in Beijing.  After graduating with a double major, East Asian Studies and Economics, at Columbia—gosh was it four years ago?—he moved to China.  He taught rural children how to speak English for a couple of years, then moved to Beijing and worked a while for a Chinese tech company that specialized in app design.  He sometimes goes weeks speaking only Mandarin—no English at all.  His girlfriend Julia, is beautiful and British, with a Home Counties accent reminiscent of the one the boys had when they were young.  These days Sam’s an entrepreneur, starting a buy-one, give-one social enterprise with the goal of selling glasses to the middle class city dwellers in order to support eye care for the rural poor.   The charitable affiliation of his company, Eyes in Sight, can be found online at education-in-sight.org.  If you want to see him in his role as Chief Development Officer, look it up.  Go Sam!  

And here’s what’s going on with me:  I unpacked the last box from our latest move yesterday, the same day our bid for a new home in Marble Falls was accepted.  In the hill country, on an acre plus, this house will eventually be our retirement home, though we’ll be straddling two worlds for a while.  So when asked what I do, I usually say that I pack and unpack, move to one location, then to another, then to another.  Some people might find this tiresome, and it can be exhausting, but I feel fortunate to have lived in so many countries and become intimate with so many diverse cultures.  The only way to understand the world is to get out of your chair and go see it.  Fox News is a tiny and closed entity when compared to reality.  And I’ll preach no more.  Obviously, I continue to write.   It’s depressing sometimes, though—the career that never, ever, went anywhere.  On the other hand, I’ve enjoyed setting up the website and writing the blog.  And I’m currently trying my hand at a quirky mystery, destined to be read by no one but my older sister, who’s always supportive and sometimes even complimentary. 

So, busy and moving forward.  We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a healthy and prosperous 2015.

Jenny and David Waldo

 This is Sam and Julia's Christmas photo.  I can't tell if the deer are on Sam's shirt or if he's holding them in his hands.

This is Sam and Julia's Christmas photo.  I can't tell if the deer are on Sam's shirt or if he's holding them in his hands.

 David says Merry Christmas.

David says Merry Christmas.

 I'm scowling at David, telling him to get a move on, quit taking my picture--we're running late.  That purse is looking worn, but don't worry, I selected another for David to get me for Christmas, same brand, similar in style, only red.  Brahmin.  Beautiful.  

I'm scowling at David, telling him to get a move on, quit taking my picture--we're running late.  That purse is looking worn, but don't worry, I selected another for David to get me for Christmas, same brand, similar in style, only red.  Brahmin.  Beautiful.  

 I've posted this picture of Curtis and Anna before, but I don't have a more recent one.  It's not like I run around taking pictures of them all the time.  

I've posted this picture of Curtis and Anna before, but I don't have a more recent one.  It's not like I run around taking pictures of them all the time.