Andrew and Jennie’s
Christmas 1998
Letter

Card 1998
Have a Titanic Christmas.
Smooth Sailing into the New Year.

Hello! It’s Christmas again and time for my M.E.C.N. - mass-produced, ego-centric, cheesy newsletter. Actually I’ve just worked out that this is the 16th consecutive year that I’ve made my own Christmas card. (Once cheap, always cheap.) To celebrate, I’m writing this one with Jennie, who’s going to be represented by her own color (blue). Over to you, Jennie.

Hello, this is Jennie. I’m here to present my side of the story, and to alert you when Andrew’s just making stories up to make himself sound busy and active. (It happens all the time.)

OK, that’s enough of that. At least I’m not being impeached. Come Dasher, come Blitzen, let’s start the yuletide letter.

1998

So the big (non-) news story of the year is that we didn’t get around to getting married (so you can dismiss that nagging thought that maybe we forgot to invite you to the wedding...)

Yes, we didn’t get married, we didn’t move, or get a dog, or have children, and we didn’t go on holiday. So what did we do?

1998 was spent building on our earlier career changes. Jennie changed jobs again, furthering her advancement in the public relations field, and I published my third book and developed my fledgling publishing business (PhotoSecrets Publishing).

New Job

In April, I was promoted to Account Executive at Bailey/Gardiner Creative Communications, a local PR/Advertising agency that I had been with for about 1-1/2 years. Almost immediately after, I got a great opportunity to take a job as the Manager of Regional Special Events and Public Relations for Macy’s San Diego (Macy’s is a national department store chain). I’m responsible for planning and promoting news-making events (such as cooking demos and fashion shows) in the seven San Diego stores, as well as doing community relations.

My new job and ensuing pay raise allowed me to buy a wonderful congratulation gift for myself: a bright red 1996 Volkswagen Jetta, which I absolutely LOVE. My old car was literally falling apart - for about three of the five years that I had it! So it’s quite thrilling to have a car which not only starts when I turn the ignition but also looks beautiful - all shiny and perfect!! (Ahhh! I could go on and on.)

New Book

On November 23 (my 35th birthday!) I published my third book, PhotoSecrets San Diego. It was six months late but it came out very nicely and I’m very proud of it. Within a month it has shot to Number 1 in a local bestseller list.

PhotoSecrets San Diego is 336-page, all-color travel guide to San Diego County for people who enjoy photography. It includes over 400 color photos with architectural and historical background, detailed maps, and on-the-spot photo tips. It includes articles by the official photographers for the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

I spent about a year doing the research, photography, writing, layout, printing and marketing. It’s quite rewarding to produce what I feel is a professional, quality product. And I did my first book signings! About a dozen people turned up for my little talk at two Borders Books stores.

Don’t forget your other books! Andrew’s PhotoSecrets San Francisco and Northern California won the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award for Best First Book. The Franklin is the premier national award for publishers. The book also won the San Diego Press Club’s award for Best Book. Meanwhile PhotoSecrets Yosemite has quietly taken off within Yosemite National Park and is selling hundreds of copies there a month. (Boy do we sound like an "infomercial" or what?!)

Jennie helped out on the PR side. This year my books and/or website were reviewed in National Geographic Traveler, Outdoor Photographer, Shutterbug, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Guardian, and the inflight magazines for Delta Airlines and American Airlines. I became a columnist, writing a monthly 200-word photography column for Postcards magazine and two 1,000-word articles for Shutterbug’s Outdoor and Nature Photography magazine (autumn and winter issues). You can read the results on my tips page.

We also managed to work together on a few projects. I hired Andrew to photograph the creations of three local chefs for a big Macy’s Home Store event. He helped me take the photos and create some beautiful recipe/note cards to give to the attendees. They were a hit! Jennie also became a columnist, penning a regularly featured column for the local PRSA (Public Relations Society of America) newsletter.

And In Other News...

We took some nice, relaxing mini-trips this year: to Big Bear (skiing and mountain walks) with my family at New Year’s; to Mexico with friends in February; and to Laguna - just the two of us - in late April. I continue to have coffee on the weekends with "The Coffee Girls" (my friends Mary and Liane) - an absolutely necessary respite that I look forward to each week!

I’ve been helping my sister Jill with a newsletter, called "Healing Spirit", which promotes her acupuncture business and mission; and I’m waiting to hear which PhD program my sister Justine is going to get into (will I be planning a trip to Baton Rouge or Boston?... Hmmm?) On the side I have pursued on-and-off efforts at art-making and writing, and I’m dreaming of a long vacation sometime soon (hopefully to England in February, with a brief side-trip to Paris!). But before that, it’ll be a wonderful Christmas at home with my Mom (Judy), Dad (Jerry), their kooky, ball-chasin’ dog Sierra, my Grammy (my namesake, Jennie), sisters, and the irrepressible Hudson brothers.

In sailing, I made a concerted effort to usurp Derek, the usual champion, and managed to win five of the nine series’. Back in England, my parents retired and moved from Redditch to Barnstaple, Devon.

Visits

We were visited by Ken and Wendy (uncle and aunt), Pete Finter (friend from Coventry), and my brother Patrick. Patrick has been travelling around South and Central America since February - read about his exploits on Pat’s Home Page.

Patrick has checked into the Hotel A and J for three months (!) and we celebrated our first birthdays together since he was 12! We’ve got into a new sport - disc golf! There’s a 19-hole course where you try and "sink" a disc (frisbee) into special baskets.

Next Year

In 1999 I’m hoping to publish a large-format souvenir book of San Diego, PhotoSecrets Grand Canyon, maybe a calendar (my idea!), and start work on PhotoSecrets Los Angeles. We plan on spending a few weeks in England in late February, and look forward to seeing my cousin Sue with her husband John and daughers Alex and Sarah on their long-anticipated tour of California.

Hope everything is well with you. Have a Titanic Christmas and smooth sailing into the New Year!

Andrew and Jennie
December 22, 1998.


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