The Wilbanks Christmas letter 2003

Dear Friends and Family:
2003 has been a year of change for us, and we expect 2004 to be even more exciting and scary!

Susan

Dylan and Susan, August 2003When we last left our eccentric heroes, Susan had taken a new job at the Seattle Public Library Foundation that she'd hoped would be a step up career-wise.  It turned out she was wrong, and she found herself fetching coffee for people who would've been her peers at UW.  She loved the library and her coworkers, but she still decided she had to escape to a more professional and challenging situation as soon as possible.  After a few months of temping, she learned her old job at UW was still open and that she was missed, so she agreed to return on the condition she could work part-time and have a voice in her job description.  She's been back since April, working three days per week as a Public Information Specialist, and while she doesn't plan to stay forever (more on that below!), she still thinks she made the right choice.

Working part-time has freed Susan up to write more.  Her first magazine article appeared in the Winter 2003 issue of Marriage Partnership.  She finished her first novel in September, and has begun shopping it to editors and agents.  One agent already asked to see the full manuscript based on reading the first chapter, so at least she's had a nibble!  Not wanting to be a one-book wonder, she's hard at work on her second book, though so far she's spending more time on historical research than actual writing, since most of the action takes place with the British Army under Wellington in 1811.

Dylan

For Dylan, meanwhile, it's been same stuff, different year. This year he re-designed, recoded, and rebuilt his employer's entire website -- the UW School of Public Health -- using an entirely new codeset. The site was relaunched in September to rave reviews within the school and the university at large. He also did some overtime and helped the School of Pharmacy bring their site into the 21st century. That extra work turned into the money to buy Dylan's new favorite toy, a digital camera. Susan swears that it's surgically attached to Dylan's hand.

Dylan's other achievement for the year was in weight reduction -- 40 pounds worth. He's no longer medicially defined as "obese," merely "overweight." Quite an achievement, even if his male goal-oriented mind thinks that it's nothing. For 2004, the object is to move from "overweight" to "normal," which would be another 40 pounds.

Vacation

July was vacation time -- a road trip to California.  It was a great vacation -- they made their National Parks pass pay for itself with trips to Lassen, Yosemite, and Crater Lake They spent the 4th of July with Susan's brother Jim and his family in Modesto, then off for several days in San Francisco, where they took in a game at PacBell Park and assured themselves that Susan's invisible internet friends are indeed real and even better in person than online.  Finally they worked their way up the California coast on Highway 1, relaxing in B&Bs along the way. Dylan took nearly 700 pictures. Susan spent most of the time waiting for Dylan to finish taking pictures.

Expansion

And now comes the biggest news of the year--we're expecting our first child, with an estimated due date of April 10.  Since we discovered the pregnancy right around the MLB trade deadline, we've been calling the wee one "The Player to Be Named Later," or just the Player. So far everything seems to be going well, and if the ultrasound is accurate, the Player will be a girl, the latest in a girl baby boom that's been going on in our church for the past year or so. An upside to the flood of femininity is that there will be plenty of hand-me-downs from within the church.

Susan, your source for freelance writing

Susan has wanted to be self-employed for a long time, and she's hoping that when the Player is born, she'll be able to make a good enough living as a freelance commercial writer that she can stay home.  So starting in January she plans to start marketing her skills, focusing on resumes, cover letters, and work for small businesses and nonprofits. (While Susan would never openly plug her business to you in a Christmas letter, gentle reader, I, her husband, have the excuse of having no tact whatsoever. Buy her services! Have her give your resume a once over! Many satisfied customers! Baby needs a new pair of shoes!)

Closing

We hope this web page finds you well. Next year will be an eventful year, so keep in touch if you want to hear all about what happens. Same phone number (206.365.5621), though different e-mail addresses: dylan-tulsa at clientandserver.com or stonewilbanks-wilsonville at comcast.net [delete the hyphen and hometowns to get the real address -- we hate spam as much as you probably do!]).

ad gloriam Domini,
Dylan and Susan Wilbanks (and the Player too)