What a year?
No, that is not rhetorical... It really has been an incredible year, but aren't they all? OK, that's
rhetorical... and for some more rhetoric, here you go
2006: It has been deeply rewarding. Deeply joyful and (mostly importantly) another banner year
in my relationship with Chris. At times this year has been mundane and boring. How many hours
I spent commuting I dare not ask, though the new Prius (Pious as best gal pal calls it) does help.
And, unfortunately, this year contained some deep disappointments.
Would you rather here about all this in person? Give me a call on my cell. 510-816-4541. I’d be
glad not to even cover this stuff and just hear your voice, and hear about what is up for YOU!
The 2006 Highlights-The joys
This has been a year to travel. Vancouver was our prime destination throughout the year as we
had to get our new condo ready for use (more on that below). I started the year with a trip to
Dallas for work (which is going very, very well) and had the chance to spend a weekend with my
niece and her family. I was able to see other members of the family and play uncle and great
uncle. I had a good friend invite me on a 12 day Mediterranean cruise. Wow. Now THAT was
something. Chris and I spend some extended time in Hawaii with our dear friend Giovanna. We
just did our annual pilgrimage to NY City in December. We visited the Hentschel family in
Pennsylvania at the peak of the foliage change for the Hentschel 40th wedding anniversary.
Highlights? Probably having leisurely lunches throughout the coastal towns of the Mediterranean
and seeing a magical little valley in rural Hawaii being cultivated as a taro patch and spiritual
retreat. Maybe waking up the first morning the Vancouver place was finished makes the list too.
What did I learn in my travels? That I love new cultures, that a mid afternoon nap is always
better than sending e-mails, that after about a week I miss my routines and my own bed, and the
cats. I also have been struggling with my role in the global economy and my slight disconnection
to challenges of economic justice. I give thanks for the blessings Chris and I have and know we
work hard for what we have, but then I wonder what I could (and more importantly) SHOULD
be doing because I have these blessings to help others.
Work is great. The company, Xtelesis, is growing. We have had a very profitable year and the
momentum is good to continue that in 2007. The work is challenging and rewarding. I have
some challenging things planned for me as the VP of Sales & Marketing so calls from friends will
help remind me to have a personal life and some balance. I'll teach in the spring at USF (that
interpersonal dynamics course I did at Cal State and at Stanford). That process also allows me
to do some self reflection, so January – March should be filled with some useful learning.
More work? Well not exactly, but Chris and I did incorporate as a business. We've done
nothing with it yet, and do not plan any radical work changes, but our business (I love even being
able to say that) is Change Experts, Inc. www.changeexperts.com if you want to look at the very
rudimentary website we have going. Our idea is eventually turn our personal interest in design
into a part time consulting gig that we can do with our current corporate jobs. Eventually we'll
transition to our own full time work and the small resort in Sonoma County still tops the list of
business ideas, but as interim steps we'll try the design work, we've thought of Vancouver
business options as well as Bay Area ones. The exciting thing (and a new phase of our
relationship) is that Chris and I are doing a good amount of work of dreaming together about
what feel like endless possibilities. We just have to get off our asses and DO one of them.
The downsides of this all? We've joined the treadmill of corporate life. Like everyone else, we
are constantly aware of the balance between work and life, with bills seemingly reproducing. Oh,
the problems of the worried well. Remember, I LIKE what I do and it is going well...
The challenges? One big one is how much I miss my parents. My oldest brother did a great thing
and took a ton of family pictures, dubbed them as a slide show to background music and over it
all dubbed audio files of my parents that I recorded a few years back. It's nice. I get to pop a
DVD in and listen to some conversations I had with my parents, and see their image. Without our
parents around, the siblings spend more time with our own families now, so there is less
connection with my brothers and sisters.
I still tinker with my dad's writing a little, so some day I'll sit down and write a book about the
letters he and I have shared throughout the years. Meanwhile if you know if any good “father and
son” books out there, I'm always interested in reading what others had to say about their dad.
Vancouver was also a big challenge. We had an investor drop out at the last minute, while we
were on contract. So, we went ahead but had to liquidate a lot of our investments and savings,
and our entire rainy day cushion. The details are ugly, so I don't want to repeat them here. Prior
holiday letters had stories of death in them, so this would be the death in 2006- that of a long term
connection and friendship and unfortunately at the intersection of homophobia, family and so-
called Christian values. Yeah, Merry Christmas, right? The process allowed me and Chris to
define our collective view of faith, understand one another at a core level around spirituality, and
define our own values more solidly. Despite the deep hurt and disappointment, it all turned out
well. Plus, the Vancouver property is a dream. It has appreciated really well and sits in a very
fun neighborhood, smack in the downtown of a world class city. We rent it to close friends and
family, so let us know if you want to go to Vancouver.
Other stuff? The cats, Josephine and Ella, are exceptional at eating, sleeping and holding down
the bed. They both do a great job of slowing me down and demanding a lap. Ella had some
health challenges this year (a pretty bad reaction to something) and it was sweet to watch how
this impacted Chris and I was please with how we were attentive to one another.
Lots of babies in our lives, from friends and family popping out new ones, so we are still quite
solid in our decision to not join the chorus of gay / lesbian folks adopting.
We'll spend Christmas morning volunteering at Glide Memorial in their food program. It is an
annual 6 AM thing and it reminds of a few things. 1- That I can and SHOULD do more for
others. 2- That I am very glad I do not work in non-profit services any more, particularly in a
place where faith and justice clash with being out of the closet (most things Catholic these days,
unfortunately...) and 3- There are people in the world living through hell. Darfur is but one
example that keeps me restless www.savedarfur.org, let alone the homeless in our own
Looking ahead in 2007, we are hoping to travel a bit again. Chris won some round trip tickets. I
am itching to get back to Hawaii (as soon as I leave, I want to go back), and we will spend time
in Vancouver, naturally.
We also hope to hear from you, so don't be a stranger.