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Dear Friends (and strangers who happen upon this page),
Once again I'm a little late in getting this written. No real reason this time, but hopefully you'll forgive me.
All in all it was a pretty good year--not perfect by any means, but much better than many, especially of recent vintage. All told there was probably less drama this past year than most years, and as such I expect this will be a much shorter letter than usual (pause to hear the crowds cheering).
I made a decision at the beginning of the year to take better care of myself, and that meant taking more breaks. As such, I traveled more this year than probably any other year ever. Granted, they were mostly short trips and to the usual places--three to Knoxville, for example--but it was good to get away from time to time (much as Spot hated for me to be gone!) Besides Tennessee, I spent time in Los Angeles (hi John!), Texas (multiple cities), Florida (Disney twice in one year, but we really needed it!), Mississippi (at one of the casinos, where my father was inducted into his industry's state hall of fame, right before my sister was inducted into hers in Maryville!), and Delaware/Maryland/Pennsylvania (all of that as one trip--hi Jen!) Somewhere in there I acquired a new car, a 2000 Saturn, with which I'm well pleased. The old Chevy was doing okay, but a couple of major repairs per year on recent average was too much for me (plus it had to have its air conditioner removed!) With the advent of Southwest Airlines here in Rhody, I'm not taking as many long roadtrips--now it just makes more sense time- and economic-wise to fly into Tennessee (even if it means flying to Nashville and driving from there) and elsewhere. So hopefully the new car will last even longer than the old one.
The biggest news of this year is that Kate and I have bought a house. It's a three-bedroom (one of which isn't finished) bungalow in Warwick, very close to the Bay, and is just lovely. I'm not linking to pictures from here so not to encourage stalkers, but any friends who haven't seen them should drop me a line. Living down here is so different from living in Providence, especially since the neighborhood where we lived before turned transitional practically overnight. Things are quieter here (despite the airplanes, which don't really bother either of us much) and just feel better, if that makes any sense. Being so close to the Bay is better than just about anything in the world, I've decided. I took a few pictures from a nearby park to give folks some idea of what I mean. We also don't fear the police as much here, which may sound silly to those of you not from RI, but those who live here probably know exactly what I mean. Anyway, while the buying part of the process went quite smoothly, the moving part was near hell. We've both been so busy with the various life intrusions that there are still plenty of things that we haven't unpacked months later. But we're getting there, and it is so worth it.
Miscellaneous stuff: we both worked our butts off on a campaign again, this time a Congressional one (Kate Coyne-McCoy, who was unfortunately defeated in the primary). It was again a learning experience and in some ways a trial by fire. I've become fascinated with free donation websites, where you click on a button and sponsors donate for you viewing their ads. Please click on the link to see my list of them and visit them often! I've continued my fairly-recently-acquired hobby of singing karaoke, which is just about the last thing that most people would ever expect me to do. I'm actually pretty good, too! My genealogy research continues to be fairly successful, in large part thanks to the many distant cousins I've met online, who are perhaps the most generous group of people I know. There is still plenty to be done, and I still really need to sit down and organize it all, but I am quite pleased with the progress I've made. This year we welcomed the birth of Niki and Dave's son Tim, who had the good taste to be born on my birthday! At the new house we had a cable modem installed (and upgraded our computer), so that means that I can listen to online radio now, which is a wonderful treat (even if they do overplay some artists just like regular radio does--at least I can pick a genre I like!) I now run 11 email lists, of which RILGBT-NEWS is still the largest and arguably the most important. I've come to see the online stuff I do as work, which has given me a real sense of accomplishment that I sorely needed for years. Legislatively it was a relatively quiet year (did have some drama, but nothing we're not used to by now), but this coming year promises to be a madhouse. I made a point of drinking much more water and less soda this past year, on the advice of a massage therapist who noted my poor skin tone, and as a result my health has been better (of course the many vacations helped too!)
I could probably yammer on randomly much more, but I think I've written enough for now. I wish everyone reading this a safe, healthy and happy New Year and beyond.