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

Saturday, November 06, 2010

2010 Smith-Roberts Annual Letter

To our family and friends: Another year...gone already?! How is that possible? We appreciate the friendship and support that we have shared through the year. Time seems to move faster the older John gets....personally, I just refuse to age. 2010 brought us two significant events: Ann had a milestone birthday and we celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

As you may remember, in 2008 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 $7200 for local charities. That is an average of $1200 per event. We really do appreciate your help in making a difference locally! Our charity of choice for our Winter Holiday Party is the YWCA's Domestic Violence program. We know that times continue to be difficult for everyone but we appreciate any contribution that you can make. In addition, if you have an old cellphone to recycle we will collect those and send them to an organization that "recycles" them for victims of domestic violence.

There were no significant job changes in 2010. Ann changed positions within LexisNexis and is now a Product Manager bringing more new challenges. John is back to having one job, was promoted to Vice President, and is still traveling quite a bit. Ann will be looking for more opportunities to piggyback on his trips.

A recent realization is that we seem to be in a travel rut of sorts...although it is definitely not all bad. In April, we celebrated Ann's birthday (and Rodney Player turned 50) with friends in California starting with tattoos in San Francisco followed by wine in Sonoma County at the Passport to Dry Creek wine event. Read more about the wineries that we visited. We had a private dinner at Charlie Palmer's Dry Creek Kitchen in the Reserve Wine Library. Read more about the spectacular meal and wine pairings. Needless to say, we had a spectacular time and are planning a return to Passport to Dry Creek in 2011. Let us know if you are interested in joining us! In July, John and I headed to NYC to celebrate our Anniversary. After picking up our new Droid X phones at the Jersey Gardens mall in Newark NJ, we headed for Ocean City to visit with Ann's family. Then we headed to NYC where John Germroth also joined us and I blame him for the oppressive heat that we experienced. As usual, we had some wonderful meals and our theater experience for the trip was seeing La Cage Aux Folles with Kelsey Grammer and Douglas Hodge. Believe me...go...see it...spring for the cabaret seats. Thanks to a business trip that Ann took, we were back in NYC in early October where the weather was MUCH better! John was delayed arriving because of weather but it was still nice to be in NYC again. In December, we are heading back to San Francisco for John's company holiday party followed by an extended weekend in Napa. We are taking advantage of our Dutch Henry wine club membership and staying in their guest house. One of John's co-workers and his wife as well as Mr. Germroth will be joining us. It turns out that Lambert Bridge winery is hosting their wine club holiday party that weekend! We are going to use the weekend to explore northern Napa wineries. If you've got a recommendation for that spectacular, little known winery, please let us know. We made a very quick trip to see OK Go in concert in Columbus with Julie and Ben. WOW!! It has been a really long time since I was at a concert...really long!
Our travel plans for 2011 include NYC in January with a stay at the Standard Hotel where "every room has stunning skyline or Hudson River vistas." The hotel is located in the Meatpacking/Chelsea district right on top of the Highline Park. As far as I can tell, January is the only month I have a chance of affording a room. And, of course, we are heading back to Passport to Dry Creek again this year with friends. Have you seen a pattern here...not that it is a bad pattern. So we are adding a 2011 trip to somewhere we've never been before. Current leading idea is Vermont for a cheese tour. Another pattern emerges...food and wine!!

Thanks to John's unwavering support, Ann continues to be active in the community. The big event was chairing Masquerage 2010. Often referred to as "Dayton's Best Party," it is an important fundraising event for AIDS Resource Center Ohio. There are an unbelievable number of person-hours that go in to pulling off an event of this magnitude and the staff and volunteers are the reason this event comes off without a hitch (or at least a noticeable one). We had record attendance for Masquerage 2010 with over 850 people attending...and would like to hit 1000 in 2011. Mark your calendars now for Masquerge 2011 October 15th. In addition, Ann continues to chair the K12 Gallery for Young People board and is involved in Dayton's 100+ Women Who Care. Unfortunately, the 100+ Men Who Care group that John belonged to decided to support some controversial organizations and John no longer participates.

With a sense of holiday spirit, it is time again to celebrate family and friends! Our annual celebration will be on Saturday December 18th. We hope that you will join us and lend whatever support that you can to the YWCA Domestic Violence program. The YWCA Dayton operates Montgomery County’s only shelter for victims of domestic violence. It serves over 400 women and children annually and several hundred more are receiving post-shelter follow-up services from the HouseKeys Program. In addition, the YWCA co-sponsor and staff the 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline providing confidential services 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, free of charge to victims, their friends and family members, and other professionals.

The Victims

  • One in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
  • Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
  • Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner (30%) than men (5%).
  • Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
  • Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her partner.

The Families

  • Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
  • Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence are also victims of abuse or neglect in 30% of 60% of such cases.
  • A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home show greater symptoms of trauma, including more illnesses.
  • A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which places the child at great risk for injury or even death.
Wishing you a happy and healthy 2011!!!
Ann and John