Checking in Again

Dear Reader, I was away in July for awhile.  My family and I traveled to Rio de Janeiro and Manaus (in the Amazon Basin), Brazil for a little over a week.  Work has also been ridiculously busy.  I’ve been working something like 70 hours per week now.  I made a conscious effort to slow down this weekend and breathe a little bit.  One of my goals was to go through all the photos I took on our Brazil trip and post some here for your to view, but I didn’t have time (as usual).  I thought I would write a bit tonight and get to work tomorrow or as soon as possible.  More to come…

Christmas Cards

Isn’t Christmas card writing fun?  Not!  I don’t know a soul who enjoys sitting down and writing a stack of cards and letters for the holidays.  Of course you enjoy getting in touch with people you know and love.  You also enjoy receiving Christmas cards and letters from them.  You might contact people you’ve been meaning to get a hold of all year long.  It’s a great excuse to reach out and get in touch with an old friend or acquaintance.

I have to admit though that the actual job of writing cards isn’t much fun.  It can be a lot of work.  I like writing our annual Christmas letter.  I usually write the first draft, and then my wife contributes and edits it.  It’s a joint effort.  We work well together.  I don’t really enjoy the Christmas card assembly process, though.  It’s operations management at its finest trying to maximize Christmas card throughput (corny sounding I know, but it’s true).  Buy cards, make a list of recipients, write something pithy in the card to show you care, print the Christmas letter, fold, add an occasional family photo, stick in the envelope, seal, recipient address, and stick on the stamp and return address label.  Batch processes so you don’t have to do each painstakingly one by one.  Drum-rope-buffer.  (Read “The Goal” sometime, an excellent story about operations management.)  Fun fun fun!  If it were only few perhaps, but the list seems to grow longer each year.  We had to trim it down a bit this year.  The elimination process is a tough one sometimes because you just can’t figure out who not to send a card to…you want to send one to everyone but you just don’t have the time or resolve to send a card to everyone.  It seems like every year we send out a lot more cards than we receive.  Maybe it’s a dying art.  Maybe everyone is resorting to e-cards.  Maybe they’re too busy.  Maybe we’ve been crossed off their Christmas list.  Who knows.  This year I have to admit that it isn’t too enjoyable for me with everything I have to do before we leave.  There’s a lot of people I want to get in touch with though so the show must go on.  We’ll get them out before the fast approaching deadline.  If you’re wondering, “If it’s such a chore, why do it?” it’s because we enjoy keeping in touch and letting people know how we’re doing.