2011 Christmas Letter

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We’re having an unseasonably warm December in New England, so even though nearly all our Christmas shopping is done, cookies are baked, and we put the decorations up a week early, it’s taken awhile to get into the swing of things. Then last night, we celebrated “Christmas Eve” with the Feast of the Seven Fishes and assembled multitudes of Caritos, and exchanged presents with Rob and Sunny, who will be in Colorado on the actual day. I think we are finally in the holiday spirit.

This has been a year of change and more change for our family.

Kate has led the way by leaving not just her job, but the country altogether. She’s now living in Kentish Town in London, studying for her Masters Degree in Creative Writing at London Metropolitan University and loving every minute of her geographic and academic adventure. Bill and I joke that by moving from Manhattan to London, Kate seems to be on a quest to live in the most expensive cities in the world. She responds to this by ignoring us, which is usually the wisest course of action.

Bill has also made big changes in his life. In February, he left his operational role at Sage Systems after eight years. Like me, he is now focused on writing, working on a political thriller among other projects. In October, I became a heroine to women with retired husbands everywhere, when I “suggested” that maybe he find somewhere to work other than our couch. (He claims he was annoying me by breathing. This is a slight exaggeration. He was annoying me by breathing in our living room during daylight hours. There’s a difference.) Anyway, he’s rented office space in a commercial building half a block from us and we are both happy and incredibly more productive.

Running counter to trend, after changing jobs and/or apartments, often multiple times, every year since college, Rob and Sunny enjoyed a year of relative stability. Sunny did accept a new job in her field in post-production sound at Tantor Media, a major producer of audio-books. Rob is still at work as a technical writer at Blackboard. Their little area of Connecticut was the absolute epicenter for the northeastern snowstorms last winter with 93 inches of snow. They also endured two week-long power outages after Hurricane Irene and our freak October snowstorm. Despite all this, they are planning to look for a house to purchase in the area in the new year.

I have stayed free all year from corporate entanglements (and of course, the curse of regular income). With my co-editor/co-publishers, we released the ninth annual Level Best Books anthology Best New England Crime Stories: 2012: Dead Calm in November. My story “In the Rip” appears in this collection. I’m putting the finishing touches on a second novel and blogging regularly with some amazing mystery writers at www.mainecrimewriters.com. All and all, my writing career has progressed this year to the point where I am now in a position to be rejected by a much better class of people than ever before.

On the Carito side of the family, John and Heather’s daughter Hilary graduated from Boston Latin in the spring and started at UMass Amherst in the fall. Today, we learned that Carl and Eliana’s son Breno became engaged to Rachel, his girlfriend of many years. On the Ross side, Rip and Ann’s daughter Julia graduated from Wellesley College in May and is now working as a research assistant in psychology at UC Davis.

Of course, not all of this year’s changes were good ones. In January we lost our cocker spaniel MacKenzie. In February, came the most devastating loss of all, my Dad. It made for a long, sad winter, but my mother has led the way by focusing on all the wonderful things she and Dad did in their lives together. Her example has been a source of great comfort for the rest of us.

We hope that 2012 brings you happiness and adventure and that we get to see you some time in the new year.

Bill & Barb

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