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 Our Christmas Letter for 2003

May this reach you in good health.

Not that I'm trying to hang on to my youth forever, but sending out Christmas cards blows any pretense of not being 'grown up.' Add the fact that I reached my thirtieth birthday this year and it is clear that I'll soon be heavily invested in my lawn and beginning to appreciate the safety features of my next vehicle purchase. I can console myself with the fact that Jenny turned thirty last year. Our advancing ages didn't keep us from filling this year with adventure.

Amanda, David, Tim  & Jenny

Traveling to England this spring, we visited Jenny's brother studying and performing research at University College London. We spent a great time with David and his girlfriend (now fiancée) Amanda both in London and Wales Seeing My Fair Lady on Drury Lane the actual setting of the play, was a great experience. (Photo of Amanda, David, Tim & Jenny at Dore Abbey in Wales). Two cronies from high school (David Bogen, debate partner, and Travis Freiwald, running partner) each got married. Traveling to these weddings allowed me to see friends and spend brief hours with my folks (losing to my father in his new passion, golf).

My position as software supervisor for life-science company Beckman Coulter continues to be a satisfying challenge. A reorganization (and a few layoffs last year) and preparation for increased regulation under FDA guidelines have caused some strain, but next year looks to be much brighter. I miss being a direct contributor and writing code, but doing more design work and leading my team uses skills I enjoy.

Zimmerman farm at Conner Prairie (1886)

Jenny continues to be very busy with her part-time historical interpretation job at Conner Prairie. Who’d think a two-day-a-week job would stretch into so many days? This year she trained in the new 1886 Farm site (pictured above), adding to her roles in the 1836 village. This means two entirely different sets of clothing, which is all right Jenny's new 1836 'fancy' dress with her because that gives her more reason to go to Wednesday Night Sewing with her friends at work (I've begun to call this event 'Poker Night'). She loves the interaction with people she meets there, as well as dressing in increasingly complex period clothing and, surprisingly enough, the manual labor. Jenny & I spent three days at CP watching different folk musicians during the second annual folk festival. Conner Prairie has also undergone some tumult this year, but continues to be the premiere living history museum in the country.

Our brush with celebrity this year came when Conner Prairie enjoyed a visit from Roy Underhill of PBS’s The Woodwright’s Shop (one of my heroes--I have an autographed piece of wood from a visit last year), who is a national expert in historical interpretation (which is what Jenny does), and who has become quite an enthusiastic supporter of CP’s staff. Watch for an episode of his show sometime in the next few months that was shot entirely at Conner Prairie. (Please note, Jenny says, that the scene with the lawn mower was supposed to be her, but it took Roy too long shooting the other scenes and she was gone off to Bogen’s wedding when they got to it.)

The Pathfiners at the Christmas Gala (playing kazoos!)We’ve also continued to be busy with the small group we helped start at our church, Bethel Lutheran in Noblesville. The group, now known as Pathfinders, comprises several people around our age, and we try to get together twice a month, once for Bible Study, and once for a social activity, like picnics, hiking, movies, games, etc. One of the highlights of the year for our group is participation in Bethel’s Christmas Gala, a sort of church family dinner and variety show. We’ve developed a reputation for doing things that are off-the-wall, and this year was no exception with the performance of the Pathfinders Symphony Orchestra, a modified kazoo band (photo left) . Chase playing at the Sherrill's.

One wonderful thing we’ve gained from Pathfinders is a special friendship with Brian and Kim Jones. This April they were blessed with the birth of their first child, Chase Christopher Jones (photo right), and they asked us to be Chase’s sponsors at his baptism. It meant so much to us to be chosen as special people in his life, and we treasure this wonderful little guy!

We also got to have some nice visits with Jenny’s family throughout the year. The whole family was able to gather in Kentucky for “Thanksmasgiving” in November, since David and Amanda were in from London. Amanda’s mother and grandmother joined us,and Jenny’s brother Brian and his wife, Tara, were also around. We look forward to an addition to their family in the spring!  Jenny’s mom, Sarah, had some health problems early in the year, which were finally diagnosed as Cushing’s Disease. This led to pituitary surgery at Vanderbilt University Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., and a long recovery process, but we are thrilled to report that the doctors say that at this point, there’s no recurrence of the disease and she’s doing great!

Finally, we continue to be involved in the Tipton Community Theatre, with Jenny in The Diary of Anne Frank, and technical roles in ART and The Cemetery Club. Jenny will also be leading a youth workshop with two other women later this winter.

Thanks a bunch!
Jenny & Tim

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