Christmas, 1997

Dear Friends,

Well, another year is behind us and we have much to be thankful for. This year has been a very good one but extremely busy for us.

Ellen still teaches two nights a week as an aerobics teacher at the local YMCA. But, she has now moved up to a full teaching position (5th Grade) at the Catholic school where both Samuel and Lisa attend. As was the case last year, Ellen still doesn't get much spare time.

Anthony and Joseph are now 17 and fast approaching the big One-Eight. As Seniors, they continue to excel in High School. In the Band, playing trombone, they again made it to the All-Region competition. And they are competing for the top academic honors. It looks as if Anthony will end up being Valedictorian. They have applied to several colleges, including Texas A&M. They still lean toward an engineering major (leaning toward Chemical). They still think they would prefer to go to MIT. I tell them to get a good part-time job.

Samuel is 7 and as wiry as ever. He is now in Second Grade at St. Pius Catholic school and is doing well. He has been taking piano lessons since last year and has shown some aptitude for music. He has even tried his hand at composition with some amazing results. He keeps a book of all his writings so he can remember what he's done. Samuel did soccer again this fall. He actually scored a goal for the first time - a thrill for us all.

Lisa just turned 6 and is in Kindergarten at St. Pius. With her birthday in mid-December, Christmas starts early for her and lasts a long time. This year Lisa continued her dance lessons. We videotaped her recital; the moments were priceless.

My grandmother, now living in Pensacola, had been doing quite well until this past October when she fell on the driveway just two days after her 93rd birthday. She broke her hip in such a way that the doctors had no choice but to bind her and wait for it to heal. She just got out of the rehabilitation facility December 19. She is strong, but this has taken its toll. We are all praying that we can get her to return successfully to her routine at home. We know she is ready for Christmas, so that should cheer her up.

Ellen and I took a brief sojourn to Honolulu and on to Kauai to celebrate our 10th anniversary. After we had spent a week at the Marriott in Kalapaki Beach, I can honestly say it was one of the few vacations I had trouble ending. The view out the porch window was just like the postcard. And the island is nothing short of incredible. Something like 70 movies have been filmed there, including the first Jurassic Park.

For Thanksgiving, we visited Ellen's grandmother in Fort Lauderdale, who also happens to be 93. She is doing well and we all had a great visit.

Work at ABB Industrial Systems continues to be incredibly busy. I spent most of the first half of the year preparing a major distributed control system (DCS) project for shipment, and proceeded to spend the latter half of the year installing and supporting it at site (Port Arthur, Texas). I didn't especially like being away from home so much, but I wasn't that far (85 miles) and I did get to come home often.

I have taken on a new hobby stemming from the technology of Recordable CDs. Some of you may remember all those old reel-to-reel tapes I have. Well, I am finally getting around to taking those from the analog world to the digital world. Much of the music is out of print so it can't be found in stores. The neat thing is I can remove the noise and scratches digitally. Once it's on the CD, it's forever. The whole process is somewhat time-consuming, but it is incredibly fun. And, it combines computers and audio hi-fi stuff so it's even more fun.

We all hope that the year has been a good one, and that your family is healthy and happy. Please don't hesitate to visit if your travels take you to Houston. Our house is set up for guests and we would more than welcome your visit.

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


Our mailing address is:

#6 Thornhill Oaks Drive

Houston, TX 77015-2060


(713) 453-0625

E-mail addresses:

Web Home Page:

Web Family Photos Page: