Holiday Letter 2003

In 2000s by Steve Sliwa

Dear Friends and Family,
Last year we wrote that our new home was in one of the most beautiful places on earth. After another year our opinion is unchanged. We love it here; so much so that we bought the house we’ve been renting and are starting to renovate it. We have plans for a new master bath, a new deck, and a conservatory in the back, as well as new landscaping, but the major construction will have to wait until spring. Meanwhile we are renovating the downstairs bedroom to make a new entertainment den for Steve. That’s enough to keep Nancy busy for the winter. She is so thankful not to have had to move again, she’s more than willing to deal with the renovation mess.
Steve is remaining very busy with Insitu. It has ramped up to almost 25 employees. They expanded their current office space, but a new building is under construction at the Port of Bingen, and they will move into that when completed, probably spring 2004. The new building will allow room for production of their first product. The contract with Boeing was renewed, and interest has ramped up considerably based on the several successful demonstrations and technology improvements that they’ve made over the past year. Steve still spends a lot of his time trying to ensure a sound capital structure for the company, managing the Boeing relationship, and helping to win over lead customers in critical market segments.
Nancy has reveled in being a full-time homemaker, and has a full but flexible schedule. In addition to taking care of the pets and home, she is still active with her church, now serving as board secretary and teaching the occasional adult Christian Education class, in addition to her other volunteer activities. She also spends about a half day per week baby-sitting her niece Andrielle, now one year old and walking. Nancy has just started getting serious about her desire to write mystery novels, and thanks to inspiration from Steve and her sister Janice, has been writing every day for a few hours. Maybe for Christmas next year her book will be at a Barnes and Noble near you! (She can always dream.)
Steve’s travel has been confined to business trips this year (yawn), but Nancy made two truly memorable excursions. In May she spent two weeks with daughter Tabitha in Italy, sightseeing and shopping their way through Rome, Venice, Florence, and Sorrento, with side trips to Fiesole, Pisa, Isle of Capri, Pompeii, Amalfi, and Positano. She even studied Italian before her trip, and found satisfaction in at least trying to speak it with the natives.
Her second trip was domestic, back to Virginia Beach to visit her parents and attend her 30-year high school reunion, where she won the prize for having come the farthest distance. She took advantage of being on the East Coast to visit other friends in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, and stopped back through Atlanta for a few days to spend time with friends from BellSouth and Peachtree Christian Church
Tabitha’s job as Marketing Coordinator for Hampton-Brown, an educational publisher, has really heated up. She’s given up on many of her avocations, such as the junior chamber of commerce and her massage practice, as her job keeps her so busy. She still does free-lance website development, and has started sewing, becoming quite the seamstress. She was inspired to make costumes for the Elizabethan medieval “renaissance faires” she enjoys attending, and has branched out from there. A recent move also kept her busy: their previous rental house was sold. Her new address is 247 17 Mile Drive, Pacific Grove, CA 93950. We keep hoping for a visit from her, but she has not been able to come to Washington since last Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving for us this year was spent with Steve’s brother Dave and his family. Both Dave and his wife Michele are gourmet cooks and love to entertain. We thought we’d walked in on a Martha Stewart spread. While Christmas Eve with its traditional (for the Sliwa’s) Chinese take-out will be with us, Christmas Day will again be spent with them as we behold the wonder of it through the eyes of their one-year-old Andrielle. Steve and Nancy do hope to visit Daytona Beach for New Year’s, spending time with Steve’s mother and taking in some ERAU basketball games.
In our last Christmas letter we spoke of our expectations of having a new poodle puppy. Pixie arrived just before Christmas last year, and soon won our hearts. Although radically different in personality from the golden retrievers we’ve known so well, she is intelligent and loving in her own quiet way. She was joined in February by a sister golden retriever, Angel. We had determined to get one from a neighborhood sire and dam, and a litter came much sooner than we’d originally anticipated. Although housebreaking two puppies at once, during a soggy Northwest winter, was no fun for Nancy, they are now two indispensable members of the family. They spend Fridays and weekends with Steve at work, and have the run of Bingen Point Park, so much so that everyone, even infrequent park visitors, know them by name. Nancy calls them Steve’s Princeton dogs, both due to their black and orange colors, and their remarkable intelligence. Casper, our cat, enjoys them both: Pixie as a playmate and Angel for cuddling.
As always, we would be delighted to have you visit. We have a comfortable guest room, and are always delighted to show the local beauty and fine dining to guests.
May love, peace, and joy be yours this holiday season!
Steve and Nancy Sliwa
Pixie, Angel, and Casper
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