Holiday Letter 2011

In 2010s by Steve Sliwa

 Dear Friends and Family,

It’s a good thing there are twelve days of Christmas, so that technically this still qualifies as a “Christmas letter,” although the twelve drummers may be drumming, and the three kings epiphanizing, by the time you receive this.
White Salmon has had little snow so far. Days are either sparkling and crisp or else ghostly with ice fog. But there’s the promise of a La Nina winter. We can easily hope for a White Christmas, because we now have the chance to quickly escape it when it becomes too much.
On April 1st, in what many forlornly hoped was only an April Fool’s joke, Steve retired from Insitu. We were feted in a delightful retirement party where Steve received many gifts, including a wonderful case of models that recounted Insitu’s history under Steve’s leadership. We departed immediately afterwards for what was Steve’s first real vacation in decades, a trip to the British Virgin Islands to visit our friends Peter and Gigi. We had a glorious time at their home near the Baths on Virgin Gorda, visiting many of the nearby islands on their boat Magic Moments.
Immediately afterwards Nancy met her friend Marcie in Orlando, Florida where they both did advanced simulator training in the TBM 700. With a follow-up visit by an instructor to fly the actual plane, both Nancy and Marcie were signed off to fly our plane N700VV. Nancy still hasn’t flown it solo (soon, very soon…), but now always flies in the “captain’s seat” with Steve in the right seat.
Son-in-law Rich graduated from business school at NYU this May and secured an excellent job with Amazon ( as the financial officer at one of its new fulfillment centers in Sumner, Washington, just outside Seattle. He and Tabitha now live in the Green Lake area of Seattle, which makes it a lot closer for us to visit. Tabitha splits her time between part-time work with REI ( and working as a consultant with Simply Placed, a company that specializes in professional life organizing (
After breaking her hip while visiting us last year, Nancy’s mother required another operation in Tennessee to replace the replacement, but now is doing very well and enjoying life with her friends and extended family back in Johnson City. We are so blessed to have her in our lives – she celebrates her 85th birthday this next year.
We did our 3rd annual east coast trip this year, with Nancy in the left seat of the TBM this time. Hurricane Irene did some unexpected re-routing for us, but we were still able to visit many friends and had a great time, including first-time stops in State College, PA and Hilton Head, SC. The plane has also made it possible for us to spend much more time at our Arizona house this year. Starting  the end of September, we’ve been hosting a number of friends and family, including most recently at Thanksgiving, Rich and Tabitha and our mutual friends Mark and Tifani Derbecker (plus 4 dogs and a cat).  Joyous chaos!
Speaking of pets, Pixie and Angel are real Arizona converts. Having Steve take them to the dog park twice a day probably has something to do with it. We finally took Casper down, having to sedate him for the airplane flight. We were concerned about his ability (or desire) to adapt to a new location at his age, but we shouldn’t have worried. He seems to love everything about it (except the flight, but he seems no worse for wear.)
We returned to White Salmon for December, enjoying the sweater weather (at least Nancy is!) and the Advent season activities. After Christmas with Steve’s brother and his family, we plan to head back to Arizona for New Year’s with more visiting friends. We expect to be there most of the time through April. Make your reservations to visit us soon!
May the peace that passes all understanding be yours this holiday season and in the coming year.
                                                                                    Steve and Nancy Sliwa
                                                                                     Pixie, Angel, and Casper
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Nancy & Steve take water taxi to Virgin Gorda to visit with Gigi and Peter.
We return the favor during their visit to White Salmon and take them white water rafting.
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Pixie and Angel stand by ready to join us in a flight in our TBM airplane.
We visited with Nancy’s mom, Alma, during our East Coast trip.
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