Friends and Family:
This year saw a few changes in our lifestyle. For one thing, early in the year we bought a house in Marble Falls, immediately after which David left his job at Gaffney-Cline. As I’ve been free to arrange my solitary days in the past, I thought his being around all the time would be a difficult adjustment, but it actually hasn’t been too painful; and it’s been a wonderful chance for David to relax and enjoy himself. In fact, right now he’s off playing golf with one of our neighbors. He’s lost thirty pounds since he quit sitting behind a desk all day, and he’s taken his newfound autonomy to mean that he never has to sit through another haircut, which means he’s looking like an old hippy.
The move into our new home has been a joy for both of us. Our house is beautiful, with many elegant touches, a lovely kitchen, and the exact right amount of space so that we feel neither crowded nor overwhelmed. Also, our neighbors are friendly and we’re surrounded by Texas nature, which is entertaining. The only stressful situation we encountered this year was trying to sell our house in Houston. It’s a townhome in the high-demand Galleria area—little curb appeal, with an unattractive frontage consisting of a garage door and a tiny courtyard on a busy street. But the interior opens up nicely, the floor plan flows logically, and it’s versatile in that it’ll work for a single, couple, or family. But it simply wouldn’t sell, which we believed was due primarily to the downturn of the oil industry. We became obsessed with getting out from under it until we realized it was never going to happen in the current market. So we went back to leasing it out, which is what we did with it when we were in Singapore, and that has worked well so far. We’ll revisit the possibility of selling when the Houston economy bounces back. At least it’s no longer sitting there, unoccupied.
My big news for the year is that my agent, Helen Mangham with Jacaranda, sold a couple of my novels. I signed a contract with Arcadia, an international literary publishing house located in London, and can look forward to two hardback releases—the first, Old Buildings in North Texas, in June, and the second, Why Stuff Matters, several months later, at which time Old Buildings will be reissued in paperback. So far the editing process has been straightforward: an insightful editor in London contacted me with a few suggestions, I considered them, made several changes, sent the revisions back to her, and haven’ t heard anything else. The books will only be available in the UK, also electronically on Amazon UK, though hopefully they will find a US publisher after receiving an enthusiastic reception in England. I’m quite looking forward to being famous.
Curtis is lawyering in Houston. Tired of high-rise living, he’s currently in the process of buying a house. He works long hours, plays lots of tennis, spends time with his girlfriend, and is involved in an organization that mentors high school students.
Sam is still in Beijing. He has founded a two-pronged company—one branch sponsors rural children receiving the eye exams and glasses they so badly need, and the other is an upmarket eyeglass company, Mantra, which appeals to style-conscious urban consumers; and because buying a pair of Mantras helps finance the charitable branch, the wealthier people in the city feel good because they’ve helped pull up the poorer population. He’s involved in meetings with investors, production managers, public relations and advertising people, and prospective employees. To David and me, his decision to become an entrepreneur was unexpected and kind of scary, but he seems to be doing well with it. Good luck, Sam!
So here we are, in Marble Falls, and here we will be for the foreseeable future. I thank you for the cards and Christmas wishes. Those of you who were able to attend our open house a couple of weeks ago, it was a pleasure seeing you. I also appreciate your taking time to respond, both positively and negatively, to my blog, which is a joy to write. We have a guest room and love having visitors, so let us know when you’ll be coming, and we’ll gather in some food and wine and launder the sheets.
Jenny, David, Curtis, and Sam
My website is www.jenwaldo.com The blog is under the heading Too Wordy for Facebook. And for anyone longing for my voice in their head, the podcast of my newest novel, Snooping Caprock, is under the heading Stories of Caprock.