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Monday, December 12, 2016

The Christmas Letter

The Christmas season is all about tradition, and one of the traditions here deals with something I call "The Christmas Letter."

There are some people who include a family newsletter with their Christmas cards.  Many dread the receipt, and even make fun of it.  I don't.  I'm not a heavy Facebook user and there are actually some people I care enough about to want to learn what their year was like.

I'm guaranteed to receive one Christmas newsletter a year.  It's from my college friend, Sue.  As I've blogged here in the past, one of my major regrets in life was avoiding this woman for the first three and a half of my college years.  My initial impression was that she was "too nice" and we had nothing in common.  I got to know her at the very end, and discovered she was one of the coolest women on campus.  I was flattered when she asked me to work on her senior project.

My problem isn't with her letter.  It's with my response.  I just don't measure up.  She and the husband have great jobs, great kids, great families, great vacations...

Here is the first draft of my return letter to her.

Dear Sue:

As always, it was great to hear from you and it tickles me to no end that you and the family are doing so well.

Last winter was great here, with above normal temperatures and below normal snow.  I was riding my bike up until the week before Christmas.  This winter looks to be a 180 degree opposite, but it's just beginning and there's still plenty of time to turn it around.  I have a haunting feeling, however, that the underused puffy coat I purchased last winter will see a real workout this year.  I'm not thrilled with the look, but it's so light and very warm.

It's been a good year...  still working at WNEP, still visiting the gym two or three mornings a week, still riding my bike, still playing with my camera, still blogging.  At management's suggestion, there is now a Facebook page, @AndyPalumboWNEP.  I still tweet:  @AndyPalumbo_.  Looking for a better Twitter handle.

Work is still fun.  I still enjoy getting up in the morning, or late at night, and learning something I didn't know the day before.  The presidential election kept be busy and fascinated.  Plenty of candidates and their surrogates made stops here in our area.

I won Blog of the Year at a blogging conference for the second straight year.  I'll likely take myself out of the running in 2017.  While it's an honor, it's someone else's turn.

I've resisted the temptation to get back on SnapChat and Instagram.  I have enough to feed and maintain as it is.

Highlights include paying off my car loan and finding a disposable pen I really like-- the Uni Ball with the "ultra micro" point.  If that isn't enough, the Atomic Beam flashlight is one of the best inventions ever, and I converted most of my lighting over to led's.

Last winter was dry and mild.  I don't think we'll be as lucky this year.  Summer was warmer than normal.  I didn't like that.  I think I wore long underwear only twice last year.  I constantly have it at the ready.

I installed the Uber app on my phone and I have yet to use it.  The same with Pango.

I gave a station tour to a college student, which apparently inspired her to change her broadcasting major to something else.  I'm still amazed that alleged professors don't warn kids that it's a 24/7 job and you will be working nights, overnights, and holidays.  They're so out of touch.  Well, it's best to learn that TV isn't for you too early rather than too late.

I did make a few trips back to the alma mater.  One was to meet the new president, who attempted to teach me French way back in our freshman year.  She is a good person who faces an enormous challenge.  I've tried real;y hard to like the new library, but I'm not there yet.  My initial assessment remains-- wrong look in wrong location.  It splits the campus in half and is inappropriate to the site.  It's disappointing that the radio operation is buried deep underground, rather than being a visible and vital part of the college community.

Well, Sue...  that's the best and the worst of 2016.  I hope you and the family have a great holiday season and an even better 2017.

Your Pennsylvania friend,

Andy