Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy new year!

Hello, and welcome to the 2007 Burton-Lyford-Menze-Lyford Non-denominational Holiday Seasons Greeting Letter, the Official Non-denominational Holiday Seasons Greeting Letter of the Burton-Lyford-Menze-Lyford Family for 2007. 2007 was quite a year for the Burton-Lyford-Menze-Lyford family, one marked by both tradition and transition.

As is tradition with these year-end letters, we reveal here that it was a busy year for us. A lot of this has come from the traditional institution of tae kwan do, but that has also been so wonderful. Elliot and Oliver both achieved their purple belts this year, the highest of the intermediate level belts. Early in the year they finished 1-2 in an intraschool tournament, Oliver tops in attack form and Elliot in defense. (Third in both went to an appaloosa filly from outside Lexington ... Street.) They were also accepted into the Black Belt Program in the fall. Martial arts has been great for both of them. Not only has their physical maturity improved, their mental and emotional growth has really been helped. Their focus and self-discipline have improved tremendously. It's really helping them grow into young men.

So to help Richard's growth to maturity, he also started tae kwan do, in November. At the age of forty. And a half. Though his maturity is still nowhere near his chronological age, he has rocketed past forty toward seventy in terms of knee and ankle pain. He did get his yellow belt in December and no longer slings oatmeal at breakfast, so maybe there is hope for him yet.

Eva transitioned to a new job in January, in the fine traditional field of home building. Her employer is CP Morgan, Indianapolis' largest homebuilder. She has continued in the field of project management, with the occasional roofing job thrown in. Her timing was rather peccable, as you know if you follow the housing market. Like all jobs, it presents challenges, particularly in these days of modern times, but she does like her job and coworkers, in spite of the Chicagoesque commute and constant pranking (Lesson learned: do not prank coworkers with access to construction equipment.)

Richard also transitioned to a new job, leaving behind a computing job in the traditional and dying newspaper business for a job at Allison Transmission, a venerable company that is transitioning from GM ownership. Richard is looking forward to advancing in his new career as a drill bit polisher. Not really; but he is hoping to get a company vehicle to use, once they make the Abrams tanks street legal.

Elliot and Oliver continue to excel in their careers as school children. They started their third years at Beech Grove Montessori, Oliver transitioning to The Big School (K-3) with Elliot. They have begun to learn Arabic from their new teacher, a native of Jordan, and have taken to it like a duke to water. Montessori is proving to be an excellent fit to their education. They already know more of the chemical elements and symbols than most pharmaceutical company executives (ie, more than three). Elliot has continued to learn calculus in the second grade, and Oliver has shown great talents in languages. Soon they will be beyond Eva and Richard and running an anti-terrorist lab out of the hamper.

As some of you may recall -- how could it be forgotten? -- last year the family was adopted by a beagle named Perl at the Humane Society of Indianapolis. This year the tradition continued. In March they were again chosen, again by a beagle, again from the Humane Society of Indianapolis, this time named Beauregard. Beauregard is such a treasure. He is a wonderful companion to Perl; they now pester each other instead of the bipeds, for one thing. And while he often misbehaves, he will run straight to a human when he does to show just exactly how he's misbehaved. Other than his barking loudly at air, there have been few complaints.

The boys' indoctrination into sports exploded this year. Nothing in sports is more traditional than the Indianapolis 500 (run since 1911), except for the Cubs not winning the World Series (not won since 1908). The boys attended their first race this year, where they saw other grand old traditions: the Purdue Marching Band, the salute to the military, the flyover after the national anthem, the release of the balloons, and an Andretti getting passed on a restart to lose the lead. Oliver might not have enjoyed it so much, having slept through thirty laps of the race while only 30 rows back. They also saw their first Colts and Pacers games this year, which we all enjoyed.

2008 promises even more and we are looking forward to following the great tradition of American families: adapting to more transitions.

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