Dear Family and Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Alameda, Chicago, and Twentynine Palms.
After years of software development, I am in my second year as a Program Manager for Autodesk Labs. I help all Autodesk divisions share prototypes with customers and measure the results so feedback can determine if technologies are viable before the company invests too much time and money on them. Through the Labs process, customers shape the future of our technologies and get a glimpse at the future direction of the company; however, I am not an expert on the use of our products. Autodesk has Product Managers for that. Recently while demonstrating a technology preview to a woman and man in Las Vegas, when I could not answer the woman’s very detailed questions, she turned to her colleague and said “Maybe we should go look for somebody smart.” Ouch. Luckily I love my job.
Sheryl is still working at Brighton Collectibles. She has the life. She works Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Brighton puts up with her finicky schedule because Sheryl is very good at her job – not pushy but encourages customers to buy that fifth purse to go with the other four they already have at home. Sheryl likes getting to San Francisco on the ferry that I also ride. She loves her job too. What she loves even more is spending time with her friends (gossiping while running) and playing mahjong (i.e., drinking since they played once even though someone forgot to bring the mahjong tiles).
Stephanie is still enjoying the Chicago life. As part of her public relations duties, she traveled the East Coast for catastrophe response during Hurricane Irene. Channeling childhood hero Helen Hunt from Twister, she and a colleague actually sought out the beaches and bad weather. She was interviewed at points along the hurricane’s path and her spreading of the Allstate gospel received national and local news coverage. Stephanie loves her job and city lifestyle enough to commute 3 hours round trip each day. She's been fortunate to recreate her college life as twists of fate relocated some great college buddies to Chicago. They even still get together every Saturday for Sun Devil football - as big of ASU fans as all of Louisiana is for LSU. Even with a hurricane-chasing daughter, Stephanie does not have the most dangerous job in our family.
Steven has completed 2 years of his 4-year minimum as a United States Marine. Although he is stationed at Twentynine Palms outside of Los Angeles, he travels to Yuma, Arizona to train where he gets to sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag – just like camping! On a recent training exercise, the munitions truck caught fire, and the 4th of July almost came early. He is scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan in March through November. Steven turned 21 in November, so he finally got a chance to have his first taste of alcohol (so I am told). His base is not so far from Phoenix, so on weekends he often visits his high school friends now at ASU. On most days, Steven loves his job. We are happy that Steven will get to spend his first Christmas with family in two years.
When Sheryl and I meet new people, and I tell them about our family, their retort is often “You are so lucky to have two children that are employed.” Blessed are those who love what they do. We are blessed.
Scott, Sheryl, Stephanie, and Steven
So many are resigned to be society’s debris
But I will be remembered for the life life took from me
For I’m not afraid to bend my back, I’m not afraid of dirt
But how I’d fear the things I’d do for lack of honest work – Todd Rundgren