Greetings! Welcome to our annual Christmas newsletter. We enjoy reading annual holiday newsletters, especially from friends we haven’t seen in years. We’ve been doing ours on-line for several years now. At right, under “Christmas Past,” you’ll find links to prior editions. Accumulated, they serve as a history of our little family.
This year was a busy one for home projects. Our house is an old Victorian camelback in uptown New Orleans on Magazine Street. As far as we know, it’s about 113 years old. In the spring, we had the side doorway replaced because the old one had some wood rot. We also replaced the shed in the back yard because termites had finally eaten through the doorway of the old shed, causing the door to fall out. It was termite-infested when we bought the house in 1992, and Terminix wouldn’t touch it. So we left it alone until we had to do something. This year, we had to do something, so we did. The new shed is made out of some kind of plastic, which suits us because it’s not termite food.
But the biggest project was inside, where we renovated the floors in the back three downstairs rooms (about 3/5 of the floorspace downstairs). In the kitchen, part of the original house, there was linoleum on top of plywood on top of the original hardwood floor. We had the linoleum and plywood removed to expose the original floor, then had that original floor repaired and refinished. The photo at left shows the results in the work area of the kitchen (amid the oven, cook top, sink, and refrigerator).
The dining room and back room (now a suitable guest room) are part of an addition to the house built around the mid-20th century (our guess is 1960s or 1970s), we put new pine wood on top of the existing linoleum and plywood subfloor, and had the new wood refinished to match the kitchen. So now, we have hardwood floors in every room. The photo at right shows the breakfast area in the kitchen (part of the original house) and, beyond that, the dining room and doorway to the guest room (part of the addition).
Besides the business at home, we’ve been busy away from home too. Suzanne has continued her post-retirement career as a traveling yogi, teaching regular yoga classes at Premier Fitness, West Jefferson Fitness Center, Manhattan Athletic Club, and Ville St. Marie. She has also continued her race-walking success. Highlights of her racing year include back-to-back performances at the Mississippi Blues Half-Marathon and the New Orleans Jackson Day 9K, at which she placed first among female race-walkers. But not content with that, she entered the Hotter Than Hell Dusk-to-Dawn Ultra-Marathon, where she racked up 32 miles on a steamy July night.
Ray is an appellate lawyer with Adams and Reese LLP, where he’s been since 2002. Those interested in such things can read his firm bio here and his LinkedIn profile here. He maintains two professionally oriented blogs: The (New) Legal Writer, devoted to legal writing; and Louisiana Civil Appeals, devoted to Louisiana appellate practice. He serves on the Board of Directors of Scribes – The American Society of Legal Writers. In his spare time, he plays a little blues guitar.
Both of us are active at our parish church, Holy Name of Jesus, especially at the 6 p.m. Sunday mass. Both of us serve as lectors. Ray doubles as a music minister, playing guitar with the 6 p.m. mass ensemble. Suzanne doubles as a coordinator for the hospitality ministers (what they call ushers nowadays) and as a eucharistic minister. She also spends one hour a week at the parish’s adoration chapel.
Our cat population is now down to two: Jelly Roll (a.k.a. the Tubby Tabby) and Wednesday. We lost Petunia (pictured at right), Ray’s inheritance from his mom. When Petunia lived with Ray’s mom, her name was Alexis. When Ray inherited her in 2005 and she started living with us, for no particular reason we started calling her Petunia, and that became her new name. She lived with us for eight years, but we don’t know how old she was when we got her. Our guess is that she was around 14 years old before the cancer caught up to her this year.
Finally, we try to make our newsletter a multi-media experience. So we leave you with this special Christmas song, one that reminds us of the splendor and wonder of Vince Vance’s hair.