I'm not an everyday blogger... If I have something to say...this is where I will say it. You will also find links to my specialized blogs.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says... 'Oh shit....she's awake!!'

""Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!""
— Unknown

Sunday, November 08, 2009

2009 Smith-Roberts Annual Letter

To our family and friends: It's hard to believe that another year has passed by already! We appreciate the friendship and support that we have shared through the year.

As you may remember, last year we started a new tradition at the holiday party by asking our friends to contribute to a local charity in lieu of gifts. Thanks to YOU we have raised over $3500 for local charities.

There were no significant job changes in 2009. Ann became a full time LexisNexis employee in April in a new position as Business System Requirements Manager bringing new challenges. John actually picked up a second job. In addition to his Business Development job, he became the interim operations manager of the Dayton office in May. Both jobs keep him busy and on the road. Ann will be looking for more opportunities to piggyback on his trips.

2009 was a BIG year for John as he turned 50. He is a glass full kinda guy and continually repeats his mantra that the alternative is worse. We celebrated by having Mark from El Meson cook Paella on the deck. It was a beautiful feast! In addition, we raised $1045.00 for The Other Place and Planned Parenthood.

Family highlights from 2009: Jason joined the Marines and left for basic training on November 16th. By November 17th, Jason was a Squad Leader responsible for 6 other Marines. Sydney graduated from high school and is getting ready to start at Sinclair - what a relief! Grandma moved into Friendship Village retirement community and seems to have picked up an even more full social calendar. Look for Helen on some upcoming 10 Wilmington Place television advertising.

We managed to squeeze in a little vacation travel this year. A January trip to NYC with our friends Bruce and Ellen gave us a chance to also visit with Molly and Skooter. While Bruce, Ellen, and John were locked away in a museum somewhere, Ann got a chance to walk through Central Park in a light snow storm. It was incredibly beautiful!! In addition, Ann piggybacked on one of John's business trips to Los Gatos to include a trip to San Francisco and wine country. We had a chance to visit with friends Randy and Debbie in SF before heading up to a little bed and breakfast in Geyserville. We had a great weekend, found a few new wineries, and joined some wine clubs.

Even with very hectic jobs, we continue to be very active in the community. Ann is chair of the K-12 Gallery for Young People board and is finding that it is more work and reward than anticipated. In addition, Ann will again be actively involved in the 2010 Masquerage fundraiser for AIDS Resource Center Ohio. While Masquerage is "Dayton's Best Party," this is a huge fundraising event and contributes significantly to supporting ARC Ohio. Did you know? According to the US Centers for Disease Control nd Prevention, 15% of all new HIV/AIDS cases occur in people 50 and over. 23% of ARC Ohio's clients are 50 and over. Meet Denise: Denise’s 20 year marriage ended in 2004 when her husband left her for a 22 year old. It took Denise another year to gain enough confidence to move from casual dates to a sexual relationship. Three years later she was diagnosed with HIV. When asked why she did not use condoms, Denise stated she had a hysterectomy “years ago” and therefore did not have to worry about getting pregnant. And HIV never crossed her mind. If you haven't attended Masquerage before, this is the year you MUST attend. Mark your calendars for Saturday October 16, 2010. We both participate in the local 100+ groups that continue to make a difference in the local community. 100+ Women Who Care - Dayton has approximately 195 members which means that we contribute almost $20,000 each quarter to a lcoal nonprofit. There are 100+ Women chapters in Michigan: Jackson & Albion; Illinois: DuPage County & Cook County; Ohio; California; Iowa; North Dakota; Georgia; Virginia; and Missouri. The Columbus Chapter just started up. The 100+ Men - Dayton group that John belongs to is growing a little slower at around 64 members.

It is time for us to once again celebrate our family and friends. Our annual celebration will be on 19 December 2009. So with a continued sense of holiday spirit and hope, we are asking you to bring a contribution (whatever you can afford to give). Once again, I had a difficult time deciding which non-profit to support when there are so many in need. With the unemployment rate still near the all-time high, many people are struggling to find jobs. Clothes that Work provides interview appropriate clothing and personalized confidence building image services. Sitting here snuggling with one of my "kids," I'm also reminded that there are some "family members" who are forgotten in these economic times -- the family pet. (Learn more at: http://www.clothesthatwork.org) The Humane Society of Greater Dayton is committed to helping lost, abandoned, homeless animals and providing Dayton's families with the resources to become loving, lifelong pet owners. Families forced to give up their pets because they no longer can afford the pet or because the family is also homeless has skyrocketed. (Learn more at: http://www.humanesocietydayton.org)

A look forward to 2010 is going to make for a very busy year. Ann turns 50 and we will celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We will be traveling in 2010 as well with trips already planned to Parris Island for Jason's Marine Graduation; we'll be celebrating Ann's birthday in California wine country and our anniversary in New York City.