New Year's Message

Sunday night, December 30th, 2001

It’s almost New Year’s Eve. John and I have no plans for tomorrow except that we have to work as usual. We’re thinking of seeing in the British New Year at 6 p.m. instead of staying up until midnight like last year. Whatever toasts we drank last year at midnight did no good, as 2001 had more lows than highs, personally and for the U.S.A. I guess my low point was hearing the results of my MRI which resulted in two operations and medical bills which exceeded my entire annual salary. 2001 did have some highlights, though:

– Jenny came to visit us in January. For those of you who haven’t met her, she’s one cool lady. When in England she’s invaluable to Dad. Plays bridge with him and drives him everywhere. She has sons and grandchildren in Costa Rica and in Washington, and thinks nothing of getting on a plane and going to visit them. She also has a computer and sends me all the news between bouts of online bridge with her sons.

In April, before my first operation, John and I took a weekend trip to St. Louis for a David Gray concert and a Baseball game. The Astros were in town playing the Cardinals. In spite of the fact that I could hardly walk and was spaced out on Vicodins, we had a great time. I’d like to go back there now I’m healthier. It was such a nice place. Our hotel was on the waterfront, a $2 train ride from the airport, and within walking distance of the Gateway Arch (John’s picture), Busch Stadium, and a few casinos.

– In August, Clare and her friend, Becky, arrived on a Greyhound Bus and spent a week with us. I think we showed them quite a lot of Houston. Their visit was followed by one from Jim, who was just finishing up a gap year trip around the world. I’m hoping that the next nephew/niece who takes a trip like that will be able to send bulletins for publication on

– In September my boss sprang for a front row table at Rugglesat Enron. This consisted of a three-course gourmet meal in centre field while watching an Astros game. I was close to heaven. The excitement was heightened by the fact that Barry Bonds was in town and about to break the homerun record. There was a

good chance that if a ball landed in my Caesar Salad it could have been worth $4 million. Unfortunately he didn’t hit one that night, but it was still the meal of a lifetime.

– An all-round high point of the year is the magnificent response by President Bush to the 9/11 atrocities. What a great President he’s turning out to be. We’re lucky to have him. I’d also add that we’re all very ffond of Tony Blair over here too, however much you Brits complain.

And now I suppose I’ll get a little sentimental and finish up by saying that the real high point of 2001 has been John and the way he’s looked after me through all the crap that’s been thrown our way. Thank you, John, if you’re reading this.

A very Happy New Year to all Habershons and friends of Habershons, especially the ones who signed the message book. 🙂 John and I are determined to make it to England this year and hope to see everyone.

Send me your news and thoughts!

Christmas in Houston

Christmas morning, 2001

And a very merry one to everyone. The first thing I did this morning was watch the Queen’s speech on the internet. An especially good one this year. Hope everyone caught it.

It’s a beautiful day in Houston. Sunny and crisp. John and I are going for a bike ride to feed his mother’s cats. She’s in Albuquerque (Sandia Park) with his brother’s family this year — the first time we’ve had to cook
our own Christmas lunch. This should be interesting!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24th, 2001

Christmas Eve. Hope all Habershons have the day off. Of course, Cindie and Mud are extremely upset at getting a late breakfast, as it’s usually served around 6 a.m. on Mondays. Anyway, I notice from the message book that Ricky enjoyed John’s essay (is that the Habershon tall story of 2001?). I haven’t finished reading it yet; in fact, I’ve only just got to the end of the first paragraph of Clare’s. I once interviewed Dad for a history class and wrote a paper on Habershon’s Steel. It’s somewhere on our main computer but I can’t for the life of me find it. When it surfaces I’ll let y’all read it. Meanwhile, I found some light reading. Here’s an essay I wrote for an Anthropology class on how I learnt my table manners.

Still haven’t seen Lord of the Rings. It’s difficult getting John to commit to a three-hour movie (he hasn’t seen Titanic, yet), especially as I dragged him to a local production of Annie last Thursday, where he became quite claustrophobic. However, we have the whole day in front of us. Our shopping is done and we have no commitments. I hope to be back with a review.

In case I’m not back. A very, very, very Merry Christmas to all Habershons, friends, and surfers.

No Movie Tonight

Wednesday, December 19th, 2001

Good evening, quiet ones. No, we didn’t see Lord of the Rings this evening. We had every intention of going, but I decided there was no way I’d stay awake for three hours at the end of a work day. Only two days to go and then FOUR days off. Can’t wait.

If you’re wondering what that seal is doing over on the left, click on him.

A Top Bloke

Sunday evening, December 16th, 2001

Look at this! A third news bulletin. Clare has shed some light on Kate’s husband to be, Pat Fry. She met him once when visiting Kate in Clapham, London. He is the Chief Engineer at McClaren (Kate used to cook for the McClaren racing drivers on the Formula One circuit). From what Clare remembers, he seemed a “top bloke.” I think I may need to put a translation of that in my phrase book.

Clare's Travel Report

Sunday afternoon, December 16th, 2001

I’m going to have to publish more of John’s papers. Look at this — another Habershon news bulletin. Here, in her own words, is Clare’s report of her trip to Genoa:

Genoa (10th- 13th December 2001 with university mates Dhana, Sarah and Fi).

I stole a moped, Dhana was rescued from the Mediterranean by helicopter, Fiona broke an Italian Stallion’s heart, and Sarah was violently ill after eating 10 pizzas in one day…OK, did you believe all that?! If so, you are welllllll gullible!! Exaggerated holiday stories are just so much more exciting! Hehe! Seriously though, we had an ace time over in Genoa. It was nice to get away from chores such as writing 3000 word essays or indeed any form of university work, even if it was only for a couple of days, and who could resist, when a £6 return flight with RyanAir was on offer??!
We had booked a cheap hostel, which turned out to be ½ hr bus-ride away from the centre of town, on top of a hill, in the middle of nowhere.hmmmmm, not exactly conveniently, but nevertheless it was clean and comfy and we got an 8-bed dormitory to ourselves. Sweet.
We spent each day being oh so cultured…shopping, shopping, eating in restaurants, shopping, drinking in cafes, shopping…you get the idea!! Dhana was the last of the big spenders in purchasing a big winter coat and a ball dress.the beauty of credit cards.! I was tempted by many a thing, but settled in the end for one quality purchase: Italian leather knee high boots. Nice! Clare however did not have enough money for these boots, so she went to the bank and Clare (being blonde) wrongly entered the pin number for her mastercard twice, did not want to risk it a third time and have her card swallowed, and so had to borrow from Dhana and live in debt for the rest of the trip!! The “I owe yous” are still hanging over me.! (Sorry Dhana, the cheque is on its way!)
As for the eating, personally I don’t want to see pizza and pasta for a while now…not that that’s likely with Christmas lunch and the leftovers coming up. In true student style, drinking was a fundamental part of our trip – one lunchtime I got particularly merry…try an adios amigos cocktail – a mixture of pure alcohol. Well, I didn’t realise that until afterwards when I tried to stand up.well, it wasn’t my fault. I can’t read menus in Italian!! Hehe! Actually, that was one thing that did annoy me, my inability to speak/read/understand Italian. I felt so ignorant and ended up speaking French most of the time to make myself understood. Congrats have to go to Fi, reading French and Italian, who was a star and got us out of a few sticky situations, like when the bus broke down and we had to walk and had no idea where we were going. (I think I had managed to infect the others with appalling senses of direction!)
Well, as proof that we weren’t just permanently attached to shops and cafes, I can inform you that Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa – we visited his house; there is also a pretty cathedral well worth visiting, and a humongous university (where Fi is thinking of going to study next year for her year abroad in Italy).
So there we have it. Genoa. FANTASTIC!!!”

Thank you, Clare.

Clare also mentioned her parking ticket. 
“Ahhhhh, commiserations Catherine on your parking ticket….join the club! It’s just so frustrating isn’t it. Well, my love for clothes shopping was my downfall. I paid for the maximum stay on this street (1hr for 30p) and was 20 minutes over. (I was so enthralled by bargains in River Island, I just forgot the time…easily done huh!?) I arrived back at the car to find a huge ugly yellow package on the windscreen “Penalty Charge Notice. Warning:It is an offence for any person other than the driver to remove this notice” I wish someone had done so. Inside was a £30 fine which goes up to £60 if you don’t pay within 28 days. Waste of money I know, but I’ve sent my cheque off already – rather 30 than 60 eh!? I drove off, only to be further embittered by the smug smile on the warden’s face as she stuck another huge ugly yellow package on some other poor soul’s windscreen.”

Well, Clare, mine only goes up to $50 if I don’t pay it. How blessed I am living in America. 

Weddings and Parking Tickets

Sunday morning, December 16th, 2001

Aha! I knew John’s essay would prompt outpourings of Habershon news. We have sketchy details of Kate’s wedding (from Paul, via Jean). She is marrying a certain Pat Fry on April 20th. Does anyone know him? Paul mentions that Clare also got a parking ticket on Friday but that hers was for £30. I feel better now. Mine was especially upsetting because I was running a ten-minute errand at the County Clerk’s Office downtown for my boss. The building happens to be next to the street they’re tearing up for Houston’s new light rail line and there are very few places to park. It was 8 a.m. and there were other cars on the street, so I thought there was going to be some leniency (the sign admittedly did say no meter parking until 10 a.m.). I was the only one to get a ticket. Clare, I hope you also have a good sob story.

Weekend Update

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

Well, I’ve had very little news from any Habershons this week. I could tell you about mine — let’s see, the low point was getting a $30 parking ticket yesterday, and the high point was finding out I passed Business Statistics (won’t tell you the grade). Surely someone has something more interesting than that? Your punishment for lack of news is to read one of John’s essays. HAH!

I did talk to Dad this morning. He’s still tearing up the bridge circuit, and is also playing Mahjong with three lady friends.

Clare has returned from her trip to Genoa. How about a report, Clare?

Keep those recipes rolling in!

Website Advances

Sunday, December 9th, 2001

Good morning, Habershons. I expect you’ve noticed a few new navigation bars to the left of the screen. Click away. I’m especially happy to get a picture of Coleford House from Ricky and decided to give it a page of its own. Keep sending me pictures — I’m waiting for a good one to put in the banner.