Well there were no Olympics this year but I did have another trip to a
desert.  This time I saw a Sphinx and a pyramid.  And it was hot.  But
it wasn't in Egypt, it was the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.  I was
actually there on business for a week.  Since the rooms were cheap we
stayed at Caesar's Palace and had a generally pleasant time, including
some spent with high school pal Kim Schludecker.  She seemed good.

I came out a little short on some light gambling.  I made that up plus
a little during two (sarcasm here) fabulous weeks in Gulfport, Mississippi.
Another gambling town that's not quite the spectacle that Las Vegas is.  In
fact, gulf coast Miss. is not recommended in late August (I'm not sure when it
would be).  My other business trips this year included 2 places I hadn't been
in a long while:  Seattle and Colorado Springs.  I played ping pong on all
trips except to Mississippi.

We also had brief week-long family vacations to my parents' in the summer and
to Madelyn's father's over Thanksgiving.  Our friends and family seem a bit
scattered these days.  We don't get to spend enough time with any of you to
really feel like we're sharing our lives.  Caralyn is already over a year old.
Nathaniel is in third grade.  And it's not about to slow down.  But it is
fairly pleasant.  We're healthy and my job is going well enough.  The house
is feeling a little snug with 4 of us and a dog.  Oh, yes, Nathaniel and
I drove to North Carolina to pick up a Norfolk Terrier puppy.  We call her
Sally and she's a pretty good little pooch.  She forces us to at least
let up on the accelerator, from time to time, to take her for walks or to
play fetch.

The real spark plug, with more energy than all of us, is WeePee (or Weepy,
as the occasion calls for).  That's our Caralyn, she goes full tilt all the
time.  6 or 7 hours of sleep? That's plenty.  She walks, she climbs, she
terrorizes and tag-rats (she picks and pulls at any tag or peeling sticker
in sight).  She dances to any music and kind of hums along; sometimes she
does this humming chant as she falls asleep and sounds like a native
american medicinal mystic.  She burns very brightly!

Nathaniel is enjoying having both a dog and a little sister.  He's also
getting more independent in playing with neighborhood friends.  He does
well in school and is playing soccer (indoor season is coming up).  He and
I took the Staten Island Ferry over to Manhattan the Wednesday before
Thanksgiving.  We climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty and then
took a subway up to meet my old roomie David Rawson.  He showed us the
view from the 39th floor of the Federal Building before walking over
to Chinatown with us for some excellent dinner.  It's really nice that
my son is getting old enough for these types of outings.

Madelyn is also enjoying having a little girl -- but she's not so crazy
about the dog.  It doesn't quite measure up to her standards of cleanliness.
We're all coping however and if Caralyn starts letting Madelyn put bows and
barrettes in her hair then life will indeed be good.

There's more and recent pictures on our Internet Web site:
http://fly.hiwaay.net/~crpatton.  The old Christmas notes are posted there,
too.  The Internet is happening.  It's strange that I write this for you
but there's a chance that Anybody can read it.  I recently received
complimentary e-mail from a gentlemen (who'd stumbled on my site from
Kim's) about my "Americanism" essay I wrote while in high school.  I plan
to post my migraine cure by the time you all receive this.

Hoping your stockings are full and your headaches are small,

-- Chip (crpatton@ingr.com), Madelyn, Nathaniel and Caralyn