The Russell Christmas Letter 2008

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Last December, we had a quiet Christmas at home. The girls had the usual fun opening presents and Marian cooked a magnificent turkey accompanied by her Grandmother's famous rolls. Emily made a fun cake in January. Later in February, we travelled to Zell-am-See, Austria, for skiing, but as John was still recovering from his broken arm, he was not allowed to ski.

Becky gets a small calculator

Emily gets a large iPod

Fun Cake

In March, John finally retired after more than 32 years of service at the IAEA. This resulted in several events in the last few days of March. First of all there was a surprise presentation of the Outstanding Service Award to John by members of Staff Council for all his hard work for the staff of the IAEA. This was followed by a party in the evening attended by many colleagues from all over the IAEA. 

Lisa reading a scroll documenting all John's service on various committees

John and the Outstanding Service Award (a Clock)

The Clock

Emily and Becky at the Retirement Party

John makes a Speech

Some colleagues look on

In May, Marian travelled to California to spend a week with her sister Kate and Kate's husband, Jody. She and Kate enjoyed bead shopping together and Kate treated Marian to lunch one day at Chez Panissse, a very famous restaurant in Berkeley. Their younger sister, Jennifer, made a special trip up from Southern California and stayed for a few days. All enjoyed going to the Cliff House, doing jigsaw puzzles, and making rolls together. Next on the schedule was Florida, where Marian visited her daughter, Margaret, Margaret's husband, Chris, and their daughter, Tiffany (Marian's granddaughter). Marian and Margaret enjoyed shopping together, and all enjoyed eating out on several occasions. Margaret treated Marian to a haircut for Mother's Day at the village beauty salon. Marian really enjoyed the vacation and being being able to spend some quality time with Tiffany.

Kate and Jody

Grani and the Snows


Marian and Tiffany

In May, Becky and Emily travelled to Budapest to play volleyball in competitions involving international schools in the countries around Austria. Emily also participated in a softball tournament, and Becky started her high fashion career in the school fashion show.

Becky and the Volleyball Team in Budapest

Emily playing Softball

Becky at the Spring Fashion Show

In July, we vacationed in southern Cotswolds in England. We shared a large cottage with John's patents. John's sister Ann and her daughter Ellen came and stayed. The girls went on a mega- shopping trip in Bristol led by Ann. Lots of fun on the trampoline. We really enjoyed the holiday!

Emily and her Grandma

Becky and Ellen (trampoline!)

The 3 cousins (funny faces)

In September, we celebrated the usual round of birthdays - Emily turned 17, Becky turned 15 - and Emily flew to London for a week with a group from school as part of her drama studies.

Emily and the Drama Class (guess where!)

Visiting the BBC Studios in London

The Class again (Buckingham Palace)

In October, Emily travelled to Zurich for the ISST Volleyball Tournament, and Becky travelled to Warsaw for the SCIS Volleyball Tournament. In December, Emily participated in a dramatic presentation for the World Aids Day event at the UN offices (VIC)

Emily's team wins First Prize

Becky and her team's Trophy

Emily at World Aids Day

By the end of November, the benefits of being retired fully kicked in and John was able to finally quit taking all the medication for trigeminal neuralgia that he had been taking for most of the last 10 years. In his spare time he has been building websites. This includes a Lodge in New Zealand ( and a new section in the ZIMO website ( 

We hope that you have had a really good year and that the coming year will be a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous one for you and your loved ones.

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Copyright 2008 John Russell, last updated 24 December 2008, Number of hits =  Counter