December 2010

Happy New Year Everyone!

Since we haven't written a Holiday letter in awhile, we have a bit of catching up to do.

RHIANNON Highlights

  • Performed in Best of Coffee House 3 times:

  • June 2009: Trip to France

  • Piano exploits: Received three more awards (two second places and one first) from participation in local piano competitions

  • February/March 2010: Accepted at the University of Maryland with a full Banneker-Key scholarship as a Piano Performance major. She was also accepted into the College of Chemical and Life Sciences as a Chemistry major, but she needed to wait before declaring her double degree. She also has a Pre-Med concentration

  • May 2010: Completed senior year at Eleanor Roosevelt High School and attended prom at the Hyatt hotel near Baltimore's Inner Harbor

  • June 2010: graduated in 3 years from ERHS; her junior year was summer school in 2009 taking 11th grade English. She determined that she would not have any (useful/interesting) AP courses, if she stayed a 4th year.

  • August 2010: moved into on-campus housing and started classes

  • Participated in 2 concerts as a percussionist with UMD's University Band

  • Mom and Dad visited several times to attend the concerts, pick her up for weekend (laundry) visits and assist in consuming the money on her meal plan.

  • Attended the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in Washington, DC

  • Performed in the Piano Division “Noon Recital”, a voluntary opportunity for piano majors who feel that they are ready to perform a piece for an audience

  • She had an excellent 1st semester. She was quite busy with her 18 credit hours, but managed to do well and have fun.

  • Pictures of various events throughout the year can be found here.

CINDY Highlights

  • July 2009: She became the first line supervisor, with 13 employees and up to 5 rotating, new hires in development programs, after being a deputy for almost 2.5 years. She had to hire a deputy (basically the partner in overseeing the group). Performance plans and reviews are an ongoing challenge.

  • She did some work-related travel that took her to San Antonio 1-2 times/year. She also got to visit Augusta, GA, and Ottawa, Canada. While in San Antonio and Ottawa, she took time to visit with family and/or friends.

  • June 2010: She was promoted, which does mean more money. In her government job, promotions are not tied to specific positions. The expectations in the job are different depending your “grade.”

DAVID Highlights

  • Continues his investment efforts with success.

  • Summer 2009: Reluctantly parted with “Betsy”, our 1989 Suburban, as part of the government's “Cash for Clunkers” program.

  • Fall 2009-Feb 2010: Provided Rhiannon with much assistance in her college application process. He continues to monitor websites tracking comments from parents and students.

  • August 2010: Purchased a set of Timbales (a Latin percussion instrument) to keep the music going in the house despite Rhiannon's absence


  • 2009: Rhiannon and David visited Johns Hopkins University. We also visited UMD a few times for various Open Houses.

  • May 2009: Purchased a Mercury Milan Hybrid in an effort to drive with better fuel efficiency and fewer emissions

  • June 2009: While Rhiannon was in France, David and Cindy attended the Vidacak family reunion at his cousin's house

  • August 2009: After Rhiannon finished summer school, we all went on a 2 week college tour trip. We visited: Cornell, William and Mary, Wake Forest and Washington (in St Louis) Universities.

  • January 2009 and January 2010: We had our annual visit with Cindy's brother, John. He is in DC for a conference and spends an afternoon/day with us. We also picked him up for dinner, when he had an extended layover at BWI airport. We always enjoy these visits.

  • December 2010: Began renovations on the master bathroom. At this stage, it has a new skylight and shelf. We all are looking forward to the new shower. (The shower was not usable when we bought the house.)

  • Rhiannon and David can be found on Facebook. Also, Rhiannon's past videos, including those whose links are found in this letter, are posted on our YouTube Channel.

We hope everyone had a lovely holiday and has a safe & happy year!

Cindy, David and Rhiannon