Happy Holidays 2003!

Another year is almost gone! It's been quite a busy one.

I'm still working as a senior web project manager at Maritz Travel Company in St. Louis (well, Fenton), MO. My main clients are Microsoft, UBS Financial Services, CNA, and Wells Fargo. Plus any other clients that come up and need a web registration site built for an event.

We've been in our house a little over two years now, and are still working on it. It was built in 1925, so there have been a lot of things done to it over the years... and not all of them good. So we fix things up as we're able.

My Dad finally fulfilled his dream of buying a boat. It's a 35-ft. "fast trawler" that was built by a company called Princess. That's a European company, but somehow this boat found it's way to the states. Mom and Dad spent a lot of time getting to know the boat over the summer, where it was docked in northern Michigan.

Once hurricane season started to wind down, Dad and a friend took Meridian down through Lake Michigan, then through a series of rivers, canals, and other waterways to reach the Gulf of Mexico. From there, they cruised down the coast of Florida to the condo in Ft. Myers. I got to see them twice when they stopped in my area, once in Alton, IL and once in Kimmswick, MO. I'm looking forward to seeing Meridian in her new home when I'm in Ft. Myers for Christmas.

I decided that my running pretty much took a back seat to a lot of other events this year. I still got out fairly often, though not as often or for as long as I'd have liked. I was feeling sorry for myself until I realized I still ran four marathons and an ultra... the Boston Marathon in April; the Berryman Trail Marathon in May (local race); the second edition of the Lewis & Clark Marathon in September (St. Charles, MO); and I got to go back out to Maine for the second running of the Mount Desert Island Marathon in October.

(click on the thumbnails to enlarge - all photos on page are links)

I also went to an 8-hour run with a friend in August, and managed to get in over 33 miles on very little training. I hope to do better in 2004!

Our dog Zev was diagnosed with torn cruciate ligaments in both knees, and underwent her first "TPLO" (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy) surgery at the end of July. It's a fairly intensive fix, involving cutting the tibia, rotating the top, and plating the pieces of bone back together again. Her recovery took about 16 weeks. She just had her other leg fixed on Dec. 11, so Zev will be on injured reserve again for another couple of months. I did a web site of her first surgery here - visit only if you're not afraid of pictures of stitches!

Grover, our other dog, still proves himself to be just about invincible. He was my running companion on early weekday morning runs for most of the fall. He's a big goof and the sweetest thing on four legs. He got his own web log this year, but his mom isn't too good on keeping it up to date!

Back on Feb. 14th of this year, my cat Aja was diagnosed with chronic renal failure (CRF). That means that while her kidneys are failing, she can still enjoy good health for a long time with a little extra care - a special diet, and "sub-Q" fluid injections a couple times a week. I've gotten to be an old pro with a needle. Paul patiently holds Aja for the 15-minute sessions, and Aja is pretty much used to it by now. (I think she figured out that it makes her feel a lot better.) Ilsa's health is still very good - she's as talkative as ever, and still enjoys a wild run around the second floor a couple of times a day. They'll both be 17 years old on March 21, 2004. (I've always wanted to use these neat photoshop pictures of them...)

I hope everyone reading has a great holiday, and best wishes for 2004!

--Tracey

The 2002 edition of the holiday card is here.