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December 26, 1998

Hi. We decided to send this out after Christmas day for the simple reason of not wanting to mess with the Christmas rush. So, we hope this message finds you at your best and that your Christmas was all you imagined it to be.

For us, 1998 was such a year of change. We've certainly been busy, and hope we continue to keep up with it for the next 50 years or more--ahhhh, that's kind of pushing it. But, oh well, let's look back at '98 and fill you in on the events that led us up to now (if we haven't already).

The 1st of January brought Chris "Eli" and Leilani "Susie" closer together under the same roof. Well actually it was a deck on Chris' yacht moored at Harbor Island in San Diego. People always say the first year of living together is the hardest, and this relationship was of no exception. After some negotiating and cooperation of making two lives into one (and having to share space with Susie's 70 lb. Dalmatian Pokey), Chris learned how to give in and Susie learned that "the Cap'n is always right"--huh?.

Living on a 46' yacht is not the easiest thing to do, but it did give us some harmony, peace and alot of enjoyment working on her. We were able to complete our one big project of resurfacing the stern's upper deck. On a daily basis, Chris was busy with his position at Earl Industries and was doing a great deal of traveling to some exotic and not-so-exotic places. Susie, on the other hand, was trying to keep the boat afloat during the torential rains El Nino sent to Southern California and contending with the sometimes not-so-pleasant boat people who complained about 'ole Poke's antics. No, it wasn't easy during those first few months of '98.

In April, Philip (Susie's eight-year-old son) came to live with us along with another four-legged addition, Gerta (Susie's miniture German Schnauzer), and that was another adjustment everyone had to deal with. Three people and two dogs on the boat, yikes!--we were starting to feel like sardines in a can. Something had to give, and it did. We needed to find Poke a new home and are so thankful Chris' sister Jill came to our aid. Pokey is now a Colorado resident living with his new mommy and daddy in the country and continuing to remind everyone that a Dalmatian is not the easiest dog to keep (thanks again, Jill and Roger).

August through October brought on the biggest changes for us all; some sad, some good. Phil went back to Hawaii to live with his father, because we felt the marina wasn't the best place to raise a young boy; he was homesick for the islands and no one could blame him. Chris desperately wanted and needed a career change, and Susie agreed. The good Lord worked a near miracle for us. Within a week's time of deciding a new job would do us both good (back in September), Chris Eugene Eliason's resume was updated, placed on the internet, spotted by a headhunter, and a position as an Electrical Foreman for Donzi Yachts was offered up on a silver platter. It was a dream come true. No more traveling, no more lonely nights--oh well... After a brief discussion about the position and relocation (it was located in Bradenton, Florida, and where the heck was that?), we decided it was time for the San Diego hillbillies to load up the truck and journey across the southern U.S. of A. We left on October 11 and did the trek in less than a week's time. It was nice, because we did stop for a few days to stay with Susie's sister Ann and brother-in-law John in Houston, and also were able to visit with her brother Byron and sister-in-law Debi in Pensacola. What was impressive was Chris' 1956 Ford F100 hot rod pickup took us the whole distance--of course it did!. It was an adventure we will never forget (108 degrees in the cab in Arizona!). As for the boat, we were able to rent her out to a worthy seaman shortly after arriving in Florida. Things definitely were looking up.

December 8 brought another nice change with Susie's 13-year-old daughter Elizabeth Ann "Twinkie" coming to live with us. We're having a good time and taking everything in stride. Yes, we are in Bradenton, Florida, where the temperature fluctuates between the high 70s, low 80s, and the humidity is around 100 percent most of the time. We're still on the west coast (of Florida), it's just that it's now located on the east coast--of the U.S. Bradenton is located right below St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay, and just above Sarasota. Yep, they don't call Florida "The Sunshine State" for nothing. Shorts and rubber slippers are the yearly attire. This is the land of the Manatee, citrus fruit, 'gators and "snowbirds" (retirees on winter retreat). What more can we ask for? Now we can honestly say, "We're going to Disneyworld!" and have a real good chance at getting there. Seriously though, the people here are very pleasant, and the area is moving up with the times. Chris thoroughly enjoys his new job building very expensive custom sportfishman yachts, and Susie does enjoy being on land again. Chris says now we don't have to wait to retire to move here. Hmmmmmmmmmmm We're in an apartment at the moment but eventually will look to getting our own place. Practically every weekend, we go riding out east looking at land.

So that's about it in a nutshell. Our 1998 was a year of great change, and we're looking forward to what 1999 has in store for us. We wish you the best of everything good in this year to come and thank you for being a part of our lives. Happy New Year.

Love and God Bless You,