Christmas, 2004

(click on the picture to see a detailed view)

Dear Friends,

As this letter is written, the year 2004 is nearly done. Although these times are troubling and stressful, we’ve managed to keep the important things in our minds. As of this date we are all healthy and happy . Here’s a summary of our year in Lake Charles, Louisiana.




For our vacation we took an old-fashioned Road Trip this July. Armed with DVD players for the children, we covered over 4,000 miles. Our travels took us to Palo Duro Canyon, Pikes Peak, Independence Pass, Arches and Zion National Parks, and the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. We toured two world-scale dams, Glen Canyon and Hoover. We even got to spend a day in Las Vegas. On the return leg we stopped in Scottsdale, AZ, to visit Ellen’s mom and stepdad for a few days. Coming home through Texas seemed like it took forever, but we made it home safe and sound on our 16th day of travel. The pictures from this trip are available online if you have some time. They’re pretty amazing. Earlier, in May, we took a trip to Bay City, MI, to witness Ellen’s niece’s Bat Mitzvah and visit her family there. For Labor Day we visited Mark’s brothers and sister in Pensacola, just a couple weeks before Hurrican Ivan hit.

Sarah is 4 years old. We acknowledge that it’s not easy being the baby of the family, but she seems to be handling it quite well. Nevertheless, she knows how to get her way most anytime or anywhere. She loves her pre-school and attends full-time three days a week. She’s doing great things in gymnastics, and recently began taking dance lessons at the same studio where Lisa did. And she loves doing artsy things just like her big sister. She can read letters now, and enjoys demonstrating her talent with a newspaper or magazine. She can read the numbers, too. One of her favorite computer games is Mario Teaches Typing, so we’re waiting to see where that will go. She’s drifted out of the Barney phase, and now is into The Simpsons.
Lisa, 13, is in seventh grade and really likes the Catholic school she attends. She continues to meet the challenges presented by the school and teachers with her straight A grades. Lisa is active in the school band; her flute playing rated Superior and has won her several awards in Solo and Ensemble. She’s also singing with Les Petites Voix, the elite choral group in the community. The group gave their annual Christmas concert for the mayor and others at City Hall. Lisa took dance lessons through the Spring, but she decided to suspend the activity after her usual great performance at the Spring Recital. She’s still very interested in the arts. Her interest there will lead to some career, no doubt. Her other love is with animal pets. She cares for Luke, the family cat, as well as her two lovable hamsters, Petite and Baxter III.
Samuel, at 14, is now a freshman in high school. He’s attended his first Homecoming dance, and has joined the Junior Varsity soccer team. His chess playing continued this year. He took first place in the Louisiana state scholastic chess tournament in April. Then in May he participated in a national tournament in Tucson (4.5 out of 7 points). Samuel has kept up his piano training, too. He is pursuing more difficult classical pieces from composers such as Bach and Rachmaninoff. His skill came in handy during a recent high school talent contest where he played one of his classical pieces and won First Place. Samuel is still developing Web pages and you can see his personal Web site if you have time. He fielded a team to compete in the Thinkquest competition and they won Honorable Mention. You can view that page here. His latest hobby is using his MiniDV camcorder to make movies. He put that to good use on our vacation, producing an entire DVD movie of our 2004 Road Trip. We find it quite entertaining.


Ellen is still a happy and busy full-time mom, keeping up with all the children’s lessons and practices that have to be attended. She’s participates in a weekly Play Group for Sarah and continues to keep up with her fitness program at the local Curves Center. Ellen has been very active in the local Synagogue, teaching Sunday School and helping kids prepare for their Confirmation. She also socializes in the Lake Charles Newcomers Club.
Joseph and Anthony continue working in the Process Control industry. Joseph still works at Foxboro (Invensys) in west Houston as a process control engineer. His contributions on several projects with major oil companies were well-recognized by Foxboro. Anthony is doing well at the small automation contractor named The Automation Group (TAG). He’s working as a process control engineer. He, too, has seen several interesting projects this year. TAG is located also in west Houston, near Joseph’s office. Together, they are renting a beautiful, spacious house in that area of town. They love their jobs and are very happy


Mark reached six years with Sasol North America, and he’s still counting. The business has been very good with the only problem being how to make more product. Capital projects designed to debottleneck the plant have kept him busy beyond belief. He also provided some support for Sasol’s plant in Baltimore.


Mark’s grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday this past October 19th with all four of her grandchildren in attendence. Two days after her celebration, she became unresponsive and passed away quietly in her sleep. She outlived both of Mark’s parents, and was the last living relative of her generation. She will be missed!

Luke the cat is still with us although he gave us a scare. After hearing an intense catfight outside our bedroom late one night, we didn’t see him for a week. When his collar showed up without him, we figured he’d gone to Kitty Heaven. After an eight-day hiatus he finally came home tattered and hungry. Once nursed back to good health, we keep him indoors at night and very well-fed.

You can find this Christmas newsletter and all those from previous years. Just go to our Web Home Page and click on the Christmas tree near the bottom of the page. Please note our internet addresses below, as well as our street address. Please write (snail mail or email) or stop by for a visit if you're in the area. We hope you are all healthy and feeling lots of joy. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Mark, Ellen, Anthony, Joseph, Samuel, Lisa, Sarah, and Luke the cat


Our mailing address is:

1212 Bayouwood Court

Lake Charles, LA 70605-3340


(337) 480-0625

E-mail address:

Web Home Page:

Christmas Newsletters Page:

Samuel's Web Page: