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From: Ann
Welcome 2009

January 2009

Hi readers, and happy 2009!

As some of you may know, winter is my favorite season, December is my favorite month, and Christmas is my favorite holiday. Because this is such a special time to me, I always work hard to meet my writing deadlines by the end of November so that I can take December off and get ready for the holidays. And believe me, this year I needed every single day! I had several sewing projects to finish, and a bunch of gifts to buy, wrap and mail to friends and family. I also spent several days in New York City with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew. Anyone who has ever visited the city during the holidays knows how magical a place it can be. We enjoyed a winter production of Cirque de Soleil at Madison Square Garden, ate at a super fancy restaurant, and admired all the beautiful holiday decorations. After finishing holiday preparations at home, I returned to the city to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my family. My big present this year was a digital camera. I'm excited to have it, but I have no idea how it works!

One of the things I love most about December is sending and receiving holiday cards. It's fun to get pictures and notes from so many people I care about. My own Christmas card, which is always a photo card, is very important to me. Believe it or not, I start thinking about it around September! My favorite subject is my dog Sadie. Because she's incredibly patient and very photogenic (if I do say so myself!), I try to be creative and come up with a new winter scenario for her every year. Here are a few of my favorites:

We had an early winter snowstorm that year. Luckily, the doggie-Santa suit I'd ordered had arrived, so I had Sadie's picture taken at the pond across the street. Doesn't she look thoughtful? (She's probably just thinking about how much she likes snow!)

I hadn't planned this one, but a friend of mine happened upon my cat Gussie looking out the window at two (rein)deer grazing in the yard. I loved the photo she took and thought it would make a perfect holiday picture.

I had the idea to paint Sadie's nails with red and green polish. After trimming back the fur on her paws, I quickly applied the polish and gave Sadie the "down" hand signal. As usual, she did a great job posing. I didn't want the polish on her for more than a few minutes, though, so as soon as the picture had been taken, I wiped the polish off and washed her paws in soap and water. (I think she enjoyed her salon session.)

This picture required some lead-time because I wanted Sadie to be able to sit comfortably on the rocking chair. We started practicing in November! She's a fast learner, though, and she was quite happy to try anything as long as I gave her a few cashews. That's my old copy of The Night Before Christmas sitting by the chair, and those are my reading glasses that she's wearing.

This is the card I sent this year. I'd checked out dog costume patterns at the sewing store (it turns out there were tons!), and I found a very cute angel outfit. A friend of mine did a beautiful job making the costume, and Sadie looked great with her golden wings. But in every picture we took, the wings came out dark, so Sadie appeared to be a black butterfly instead of an angel. I was running out of time, so I improvised with Sadie simply sitting by a little tree that my sister Jane gave me one year. Although the photo wasn't what I'd planned, I think it turned out very well.

Now I know I said that winter is my favorite time of year, but a storm canceled my New Year's Eve trip to visit friends, it's been below zero for much of January, there's over a foot of snow on the ground, and Sadie and I occasionally have to shorten our long daily walks. So even I am starting to wish for spring. But warmer weather will be here soon enough, and who knows? Maybe I'll be outside snapping pictures with my new camera. And maybe I'll also know how to upload them . . . email them . . . and print them! Enjoy the rest of winter, and have a happy and healthy 2009.

Happy reading!

Love,
Ann


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