2008 Lato Family Holiday Letter

It’s funny, just the other day Greg put on his winter rain coat and found the airline ticket for a flight he took in January of this year…where has the year gone?  Funny how that always happens.  In the effort of starting a new tradition, we are doing our holiday letter electronically again this year.  Not to mention that the end of this year seemed to be busier than usual for both Greg and Jennifer and our Christmas card list was severely downsized due to the fact that the recession hasn’t seemed to hit our to-do lists yet.

The end of 2008 finds everyone in the Lato household still healthy.  Jennifer’s Mom, Angelina, has gotten most of her strength and control back on her right side after the stroke she had last year; she still isn’t as strong or as sure footed as she used to be.  Amazingly, Napoleon seems to have replaced Sydney as the recipient of her shoulder while she is watching TV (and he’s twice as heavy as the cat!).

Earlier this year, Greg left his old company (not by choice, but for the better anyway) and did some independent contract work over the spring.  Then, at the end of May, he started working for VMware as part of their Global Sales Team.  Now he spends most of his working day helping to manage the relationship between his company and three very large customers who use VMware’s technology: Cisco, Hewlett Packard, and Yahoo.  So far he is enjoying the job and achieved a whole new level of appreciation for prioritization and time management. Jennifer is still working in San Francisco as one of the top floral designers at Michael Daigian Designs,  one of San Francisco’s longest running high end event, wedding, and corporate floral design companies.  She is also doing free lance work here and there under her own design firm, The Simple Stem.  She is still enjoying the floral industry, even with the difficulties of today’s economy, and continues to take additional Ikebana floral design classes to hone her skills.

This year has been the slowest in a long time on the travel front.  Greg isn’t traveling at all for his new job, and we only took one trip back to Wisconsin and Chicago this summer.  In June, Greg’s parents celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary with all the kids during a long weekend at a condo resort off of Lake Michigan in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Afterward, Jennifer had her annually IAFD Floral Symposium in Chicago.  Greg stayed around Chicago as well to visit with some friends and take pictures. Other than that, we did a short camping trip up north to the Humboldt Redwood Forrest and Greg had a business trip to Las Vegas for his new company’s annual trade show.And yes, Greg’s still doing his photography.  He has been trying to finish the move of his photography website to the new web site address for a few months now (the one you’re reading this on).  Perhaps he’ll do the final push and get it done over the Holiday’s…  Shortly after joining VMware, he submitted his photography to a employee artist committee at work to be consider as artwork to decorate the new Colorado VMware office.  The committee loved a number of his photos and chose four to be displayed!  Now he just needs to find a way to visit the office to see them in their final destination. (mock ups of what they will look like when installed are to the right) A sampling of other photos of Greg’s from 2008 can be found in the slide show below (click to view larger slideshow).

That is about all the 2008 news that is fit for print.  2009 is looking to be an interesting year.  The only things planned right now is to try to finish the painting job that Greg has started in the house (all the doors, door frames, and wood trim), keep pounding away at the day jobs and side jobs, and see how the country and economy fares with the new administration. We hope that you all had a wonderful 2008 and look forward to hearing about your adventures in 2009!

– Jennifer & Greg
Angelina, Maria, Napoleon and Sydney

(PS: You can view a larger version of any of the photos above by just clicking on them.)