Friday, December 20, 2013

My Christmas Letter: It's Been a Wild F**ing Year

My older brother always writes a really funny Christmas letter detailing his yearly events, such as a visit to the World's Largest Ball of Twine (which he actually honestly did and it turns out that this is, in fact, a disputed title).

I, alas, had no such twine-related visits this year to relate. However, it really was a pretty crazy amazing year, so here is what happened:

When Jenn quit going to mass a few years ago, I brought a pin back from a meeting in San Francisco for her to wear on Sundays. It said,

"I'm sorry I missed church. I was busy practicing Wiccan and becoming a lesbian."

She was highly offended. This year, she got engaged to a man named Chris. One of the things they appear to have in common is that neither of them is a lesbian. They plan to get married at an undisclosed location. Jenn and Chris traveled to Graceland this summer (on a train) to see if Elvis was available to perform the ceremony but it appears that Elvis had left the building. This is her fourth year teaching middle school - can you believe that baby face finished graduate school four years ago, after having worked after her B.A. for two years (in San Francisco - hmmm).

Maria and Eric had baby number two last year, then flew to Europe this year leaving both children in their care of their maternal grandparents. They ate broccoli and studied physics for the entire time their parents were gone. That's my story and I'm sticking to it and any evidence of empty popsicle boxes in the trash and My Little Ponies DVDs is purely circumstantial. Since Maria had taken her turn at exponentially increasing the chaos in their lives by giving birth twice in four years, it was now Eric's turn. He stepped up to the challenge by getting a fellowship at Stanford which required them to sell their house and move across the country for a year. Not to be outdone in the complete life pivot, Maria came to work at 7 Generation Games as our Chief Marketing Officer.

Ah, 7 Generation Games, our new start-up making adventure games to teach kids math. This year, we had a successful Kickstarter campaign, received a $450,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant for development, presented our results of our pilot study at four conferences, started commercial sales of our first game, expanded to schools in two more states and are almost finished with our second game.

Jim Pedro, Sr. & I finally finished our book, Winning on the Ground, and it has pretty consistently been in the top 20 best-sellers on Amazon in the mixed martial arts category.

I wrote a chapter in another book, Real Talk, Real Women, which is also selling well.

And I made the list of 40 Women to Watch Over 40.

Then there was Ronda. Not to be out-done, darling daughter number 3 made Time's list of 30 People Under 30 changing the world. She started the year by winning the first ever women's UFC match and retaining her world title belt. After a reality show called The Ultimate Fighter, she hopped a plane to Bulgaria for two months to film Expendables 3, was home for four days, got on another plane to Atlanta for Fast and Furious 7. She also was in commercials for Insureon and is on the Xyience cans for the sports drink, Xenergy.  And she defends her world title next week.

Dennis did not make the 50 over 50 or any other list, but he cheerfully (okay, well with less complaining than expected) gave up a lot of his retirement time to code the 3-D part of our new game, Fish Lake. He could not turn down my offer of matching his previous hourly salary, the opportunity to work at home in his underwear and not getting up until 1 pm. Also sex. The game is awesome.

Julia made the list of the 16 people under 16 most likely to take pictures of themselves on other people's iPhones. She spends the weekdays at a college prep boarding school to avoid the thought that her parents have sex. Her AYSO soccer team made the play-offs, she is on the high school varsity team for her second year, as a sophomore. She made straight A's at the end of last year. When a few of those grades dropped to B's at midterms this fall, I threatened to ground her until she was 40 and Ronda dropped off her Honda she bought with the money from the Olympic bronze medal and said it was Julia's if she brought her grades up. Her grades are back to A's and she is spending her Christmas vacation studying for her permit test while Dennis and I are spending it working overtime so we can afford our car insurance rates going up to something expressed in scientific notation.

So, that was our year. Wild, yes?

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and if you see a 2005 gold Honda coming up behind you , get the hell out of the way!


agirlstransformation said...

Merry Christmas to you too!
And many more very successful years to you and your whole family (Can't wait to see Ronda win next week)

Anonymous said...

When will the freerice winners for week 3/4 be announced?

Monica said...

I enjoyed reading this and I continue to be inspired by you!

Monica said...

I enjoyed reading this and I continue to be inspired by you! So glad I met you in stats!

Jeremy Rice said...

Well done, I see you are a blackbelt in sarcastic humor as well.

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays to you and your amazing family, Doctor! I went to Art School in San Francisco and took a glass blowing class SF State under Professor Nathan Watson, who I thought was absolutely incredible in the subject he taught and the standards he set!! As far as Jenn "being Wiccan and a Lesbian", I don't see anything wrong with either, nor do I see how going to San Francisco would make one a Wiccan since there isn't a very high Wiccan population in San Francisco. People thought I was gay for going to art school in San Francisco, but as someone who's lived in the town, but did they ever consider that going to a city bepopulate with homosexuals means less competition for the gorgeous women? As I found out, San Francisco has a lot of beautiful straight women and that it's not just one big gay orgy of a city. Rather, there are more openly gay people than in other cities and that the whole "gay" thing is really just a veneer for San Francisco's open culture. I've seen people walk around nude, people who dress weird on a daily basis and people doing things that would otherwise be considered "weird" in other places without judgment. Of course, those people were far less common than those who would be considered "normal" by society.

On that note, Wicca is a very positive and life affirming religion and it's "capital" in the USA is Salem, Massachusetts, where there are many metaphysical stores and Witchy things. San Francisco is actually known more for The First Church of Satan, started by Anton LaVey, but Satanism isn't technically Satan Worship or even a religion. It's more of a Magical and Philosophical group and, believe it or not, the Philosophy of your family is actually closer to Satanism than Christianity. Read "The Satanic Bible", it's not really a "Bible" but rather a treatise on Satanism and you'll see a lot of resonance with the "family script" that you guys have. An "eye-for-eye" mentality, no filters on what you say, preferring honesty over politeness (this was actually what inspired Lavey to come up with the Philosophy of Satanism), and the way you view anger at losing in Judo as the sign of a winner. All of those are Satanic tenets, whereas, in Christianity "Wrath" is a Cardinal Sin and the only to combat the "7 Cardinal Sins" is with the "7 Cardinal Virtues" and "Temperance" is considered the most important of all.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

Free rice winners for week 3 will be announced tonight when I take a break from grading (-:

Dr. AnnMaria said...

As far as being gay, wiccan and living in San Francisco, we were just teasing her. If you read my post about the princess of Moldova, you know she had it coming.

Anonymous said...

"As far as being gay, wiccan and living in San Francisco, we were just teasing her. If you read my post about the princess of Moldova, you know she had it coming."

I agree, and doubly coming, considering she's a History teacher and should know about Moldova. Mother's punishment for not studying up on it. Hahaha!!

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