I delegated the writing of our Christmas card to Crypto this year, and she was full of her customary snark, but hopefully it will give you a giggle, dear friends. That's what this season is all about. Warmth and fun and friendship and making sure we don't forget to cherish auld acquaintance.


Front Photos (Clockwise): Old Town Tallinn, Estonia; The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg, Russia; Lofoten Islands, Norway


I know what you're thinking. Old Crypto's lost a little weight. Thanks for noticing, but you've completely missed the point. This is a warning sign. The situation remains dire. Mom & Dad continue to travel (incessantly), leaving us in the hands of strangers! Outrageous. But what really got to me this year were the hordes of people who descended upon us. College kids & best friends & new friends & brothers & parents! Every month another set. They took over MY room. (Mom thinks it's her office; terribly inconvenient to my beauty sleep.) Each time a few of them left, I'd scuttle in there and try to set things right, only to be unceremoniously chased out again by the GD vacuum cleaner! If I hear one more visitor go on about the Viking ships or the 1000-hour summer days I'm going to scream. Seriously. (This kind of crap never happened in Livermore.) When they'd peer under beds looking for me, I'd hiss at them. No hospitality from me. (Other Cat has no clue. He practically twerks for these people. Gag. Me.) Now I'm down to 21 hours of sleep a day and under 12 pounds. Call PETA, please. SOS. -- Crypto

I love people. Y'all can cross an ocean to snuggle with me anytime! -- Diz

Last night we celebrated a traditional Norsk Christmas Eve with our friends Zoƫ and Christer and their daughter, Ella. It was a real kick to see Christmas through the eyes of a child (particularly one willing to crawl entirely under the juletre to hunt down every last present). And after several refills of my aquavit, I felt like Christer's family was my own. At least for a little while. All the laughter and stories and juleribbe (Christmas pork ribs) eased the homesickness. Jonathan and I left with rosy cheeks and happy hearts.

Tonight, the two of us will sit down to our own overstuffed Christmas table. We've spent the gray, rainy day (the warmest Christmas in Norway in more than 40 years) doing our own holiday traditions. This is our 10th Christmas as a couple, so we've got the routine down pat. As I write this, Johnny Mathis is crooning Winter Wonderland. Our table is set with linen napkins from Estonia, heart-shaped trivets from Norway, and a cast-iron candelabra from Sweden. Our tree is sparkling with light and laden with ornaments collected over our years of traveling. We have the Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol queued up and ready for after-dinner entertainment. And the cats, well, they're prepared to beg for our supper, and we'll probably break down and feed them some turkey.

Jonathan and I are thinking of you, friends and family and good people everywhere, tonight. We hope the new year will bring with it peace, generosity, kindness, and love at every turn for you and your family.

Our Past Christmas Cards: 2011 & 2012