Christmas, 1992

Dear Friends,

1992 was a year that sped by for us. It must be a result of the aging process! Daughter Lisa just had her first birthday and, unlike her brother, Samuel, on such occasion, ate her cake very neatly. She is proving to be an early talker, voicing some basic words like Mommy, Daddy, and Gator. She follows in her brother's footsteps with her love of remote controls and electronic buttons and knobs.

Samuel is now 2 1/2 years old and he is still coming to grips with the fact that he can no longer be the baby of the house. Some days he is the great entertainer for his sister, while other days he wants to have nothing to do with her. Samuel's speech has greatly improved throughout the year. He has been talking in complete sentences for the last couple of months. His greatest accomplishment has been learning the alphabet. Although still not perfectly, he can recognize the letters of the alphabet on command. His favorite game is to guess the letters as I type them in a large font size on the computer screen.

Anthony and Joseph, although not yet officially, are quickly becoming teenagers. Now in the Seventh grade, their trombone playing has earned them several honors in the band over the past year. They tried out and made the Symphonic Band at their school. Then during the year, they tried out and made the Regional Orchestra and Regional Symphonic Band. These are bands that only a select group of kids from schools all over the Houston area get into and most who do are in the Eighth grade. We are very proud of their accomplishments.

Our summer vacation took us to friends and family on a 3,900 mile driving trip. We headed east to Pensacola and then northward to Virginia and West Virginia, and ended up in Michigan to visit Ellen's Dad. On the way home we made stops in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. While in the latter state, we experienced a semi-traumatic event: the loss of an automatic transmission. It happened on a Friday in the middle of nowhere in the western part of the state ( I couldn't even speak the language). We decided to head for Nashville, about 100 miles away, in the only gear available, 2nd. Luckily the Chrysler dealer there worked on Saturdays and replaced the entire transmission assembly under warranty. We rented a car and proceeded with our visit, and then returned for the minivan the next day.

Ellen is doing fine, still participating in aerobic exercises at the YMCA. She has taken on a part-time job at a local day care facility where Samuel and Lisa go to widen their social horizons two days a week. She has also done some volunteer work for the elementary shool where she was previously employed. She expects not to go back to formal teaching for at least a couple more years.

My job at M. W. Kellogg went well through the first half of the year. The Westlake ethylene plant project I worked on proceeded on schedule for the commissioning of the advanced controls, starting in mid-January. It finished up in May and turned out to be one of the most successful advanced control projects Kellogg had ever done. As it turned out, the company was not performing well on the other APC projects it had, and was not securing any new ones. Awareness of the way things were done there led me to search for a new job. In late November, I decided to go back to an operating company. I am now employed as a Senior Process Control Engineer by Huntsman Chemical Corporation, a small plastics manufacturer. Our plant makes styrene monomer that is used in some of the company's other plants for manufacturing polystyrene. I am happy with the way things are working out so far. It is a small plant and there is a great deal of freedom in the way I can do my work.

This year I continued my bicycling in organized rides. I rode two 100 kilometer rides in the Spring and two more this Fall. The two Fall rides were even more fun because Ellen joined me. We purchased a hybrid bicycle for her almost identical to mine. Both bikes now have road tires on them, making them much easier to pedal. Ellen did quite well, opting for a slightly shorter route in both rides. We are having a great time, having amassed a wonderful collection of T-shirts and water bottles from these rides.

This Christmas we are thankful for our children, our friends, and the opportunity to be together as a family. We hope that all had a great year and are happy and prosperous in the coming year. Ellen and I welcome visits, so if you're ever near Houston, just holler! We'd love to see you.

Mark, Ellen, Anthony, Joseph, Samuel, and Lisa


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#6 Thornhill Oaks Drive

Houston, TX 77015-2060


(713) 453-0625

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