> Holiday Letter 2023 | Courtney Rosenthal

Holiday Letter 2023

It's not the heat ... oh wait! It is.

The Portland 'White Stag' sign, lit up with a red nose for the holiday.

Posted: January 4, 2024

Greetings! I hope you had a most excellent 2023.

Juliette and I are doing well. We’re still here in Austin, both working from home. We’ve just returned from a mid-December vacation to Portland, Oregon. We had a fabulous time, even though it was cold and drizzly. We enjoyed the Portland Japanese Garden and had ramen at Afuri Izakaya (part of a small Japanese chain we liked in Tokyo). I visited the workshop of a local guitar luthier, where he made me a pot of home-roasted french press (so Portland, right?) and chatted about the local scene. Juliette had a lot of artisan hot chocolate in the cafes. And my years of going to school in upstate New York conditioned me to handle the grey weather.

For the past several years, we’ve been traveling to various places around the country, looking for somewhere we might want to live when we leave Texas. (Which may be happening sooner rather than later, more in a sec.)

In August we visited a bunch of places around Maryland and Delaware. The photo is us with Roscoe the Rooster in Takoma Park, MD. (You can read about Roscoe here.) We were at Rehoboth Beach, DE about a week after President Biden vacationed there. We had a nice time, but didn’t find the right vibe to call home.

Work-wise, I’m still doing the same job, going on eleven years. My company is in the process of selling our division, so I may have a new employer by the time you receive this. If so, it will be the fourth company I’ve worked under for this job.

Juliette had a bumpy year with her employment. She was laid off from her job in March. She was out of work for about four months. Just as her severance ran out, she found a great new job – with a promotion. The company is based in Wilmington, MA. That’s the next town over from where I grew up. As a kid, I’d bicycle there to get penny candy. I hope she gets to travel there sometime so I can tag along. (But I suspect the penny candy store may no longer be there.)

In last year’s letter (linked here), I mentioned that I learned to make bread during COVID. This year I expanded into pizza. Here is one of my attempts from June: an amoeba-shaped margherita pizza.

The pizza was delicious. Unfortunately, the weather was so hot that day, it overran the A/C. The house (and I) were miserable for hours afterwards.

Which brings me to the point that in 2023, the climate in Texas (both weather and political) was brutally harsh. We had planned to live in Austin at least another five years, but I’m not sure we’ll last that long.

I continue to be civically involved here, serving on the Austin Public Library commission. The Texas legislature was in session this past year (they meet every other year), and it was a harsh session for women, trans kids, and libraries. I chaired the commission’s Freedom to Read working group, and we took a number of actions to try to protect our libraries. In the end, most (but not all) of the bills that would hurt public libraries failed. Also, I took a board position in a civic tech non-profit that I led about a decade ago. I plan to do what I can to support this community as long as I’m here.

I’d love to hear from you sometime. My contact info remains:

512-573-5174 (mobile, text ok)
@oh_that_courtney@hachyderm.io (Mastodon social media)

Take care, and best wishes for a splendid 2024.

It's Just This Little Chromium Switch Here

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