1996 Christmas Letter


Dear ,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  

The most significant event of this past year was that Cheryl's mother, Jacquetta, passed away on July 17.  She had been a cancer survivor (6 years) but the cancer came back and this time the treatments were not effective.  Cheryl was able to spend much time with her mother in Dallas, and indeed was with her mother at the end.  Cheryl was able to say goodbye to her mother in a culmination of the strong mother-daughter bond that had always been theirs.  Jacquetta's great faith in God and our Lord Jesus Christ sustained her in this life.  She was the best mother (and mother-in-law) that anyone could have.  We rejoice in her eternal life, but we miss her deeply.

Cheryl graduated from USC with her DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) on May 10.  She completed this demanding program in just 4 years while continuing her teaching duties at Loyola, private lesson teaching, and performing.  Her mother, Jacquetta, was able to share the pride of this accomplishment before her death.

Alan has continued as the Assistant Project Manager for Systems Engineering - the top technical job - for the BRITE program at TRW.  Life was very hectic from Labor Day through December as we pushed to meet our delivery schedule.  We have successfully delivered an excellent product (signal processing software to run onboard an aircraft) under a very demanding schedule.  Next is a related program, Guardrail Enhanced, for which we are performing a similar task.  Also, there will be some continuing support of TRW-Sunnyvale (CA) for the flight testing of the BRITE software.  And there are some proposals out for more work in this line of business.  Alan continues in the top technical job for this line of business.

We were able to go on a vacation this summer.  We had planned to go to Italy to celebrate Cheryl's graduation.  With Jacquetta's condition, we were prepared to abandon our trip.  Jacquetta had been excited about our plans and had wanted us to go, and so we left for Italy only ten days after her death.  We spent 3 weeks in Italy - Rome (5 days), Assissi (3 days) , Florence (7 days), Venice (5 days), and Milan (1 day).  What a marvelous trip.  In Florence, we stayed in the apartment (Casa Guidi) where Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barret Browning had lived from 1846 until her death in 1861 (Cheryl had performed a song cycle by Dominick Argento based on Elizabeth's letters to her sister from Casa Guidi).  The property is owned by the Landmark Trust of Britain and we had had our reservations for well over a year.  It was incredibly hot (Italy in August) and very tiring at times, but the history and art that were incomparable!

We both exercise (a lot by some standards) but its harder to be as consistent about it.  Alan's boss doesn't run (his previous boss did) and meetings sometimes spill into the noon hour - not to mention long travel days.  We both remain fit, but admit to wanting to lose a few pounds.  Maybe in the new year!    

We continue on the information superhighway.  Any of the technologically hip can send us electronic mail at azabel@aol.com.

We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.  The best to you in 1997.




Alan and Cheryl