Sunday, December 30, 2007

On Holiday

'Spondence is on Holiday while I am and probably for a bit after I get back and catch up. As expected, South Africa is awesome and I am having a great time. Please check out my Flickr account for updates until I get home, which includes proof of most of my activities so far, including this pic from the top of Table Mountain.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Culprits: Pigeons and DHL

Things have changed.

First off, some Pigeons have taken to sitting in my window box. (You fix up the place and the riff raff move in…) They have pecked off the last few attempts at leaves from the Begonia, so it is well and truly gone now, and have also crushed my Lavender plant.
See? Note the “begonia” on the right.

Compare to 2 months ago here.

This little experiment is going badly.

Also, I was really excited about Cambodia and Thailand, but that is just not going to occur. The fates conspired against me. When I made the reservation in November, my corporate travel service needed to issue me paper tickets due to the number of carriers. They mailed these to me via DHL. Through over 20 phone calls with DHL, I learned that the package was successfully delivered TO SOME OTHER ADDRESS. Despite sometimes saying they had retrieved it and would deliver it the next day, they were never actually able to get their hands on it. By the time I gave up on them I had let it get too late.

Basically now, due to systematic reasons it’s too late to get me another paper ticket and everything is full for a new ticket because SE Asia is so popular a travel destination from Australia for the holidays. Farewell Thailand and Cambodia. Canceling all those hotels and eating the cost of my internal flight from Bangkok to Phuket, which is nonrefundable.

So I needed to get travel plans for someplace that was not booked up for Christmas in a short period of time. Thanks to Jess, Steven and their well traveled roommate Gary, for helping me work through the options.

Now I’m going to Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa instead. Should be totally different, and I am grieving all the plans I made for Cambodia and Thailand, but this should be good too. I’ll tell you all about it. I got a new memory card for my camera for pictures of Table Mountain.

Finally, a quick mailbag update: Thanks to Santa for my new cleats, Mom for the box of cookies, chocolates and goodies, Dad for the annual Kelly family holiday letter, Kim Koo for the Christmas card and photo and Mara for the Thank you note. Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

'Had Just Settled Down for a Long Summer's Nap

Happy Holidays 2007. I hope this annual holiday e-mail finds you well. This is the first ever Mid-summer edition! So far, my time in Australia has been great. I really like it here. Aside from being in Melbourne and not New York, I guess it’s strange how similar this letter feels to the past ones. There’s been some ultimate and some travel and lots of work. See below:

I still work for Accenture. It’ll be 10 years in June. How can that be! Time flies. The chance came up early this year for me to work in Melbourne for a while. I pounced on the opportunity. Melbourne’s a great city with good parks, museums, bike lanes, bars and restaurants. I’ve enjoyed being a spectator at sports common here like Aussie Rules Football, Rugby and Cricket.

As soon as I got to Melbourne in February, I fell in with a great Women’s ultimate team, Team Box. We won our regional tournament in Tasmania and finished up second at the National Championship in April. Here’s the team (I’m far right of the back row) and me getting a medal at the ceremony:

I also got to train with the Australian National Team at a camp in Sydney in July. That was an incredible experience.

There are really cool animals here in Australia: Wombats, Galahs, Flying Foxes, Wallabies and of course Koalas. Those of you who know how I feel about stuffed animals will understand how excited I was when this photo was taken:

That was topped by this moment at a Koala sanctuary north of Sydney, which is maybe the pinnacle of my life so far. Can you see how Sally the Koala is reaching out to me? She wanted to come home with me, but I had to break her little heart and explain that there are no animals allowed in corporate housing.
My parents came to visit in October with my Aunt Vicki and Uncle John. I showed them my favorite parts of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road and the Yarra Wine Valley. Everyone had a nice time. Here’s Dad, John, Mom and Vicki in front of the Queen Victoria Market:
For their visit, I drove the mini-van on the left side of the road (with minimal coaching from my parents) to see kangaroo covered golf courses, surfers, koalas, light houses, rain forests and beautiful rock formations. I’m becoming quite the tour guide so be sure to let me know if you’re in Australia in the next couple of months and I’ll show you around.

Here’s my Mom and I on the ‘Great Ocean Road’ in front of a few of the remaining “12” apostles. As you can see, it was quite windy.

I’ve had the chance to go camping twice this year in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Here’s me at Wilson’s Promontory with girls from Team Box (4th from left):
That’s about it. Look forward to next year’s letter when I’ll tell you about this year’s Christmas trip to Cambodia and Thailand. If you can’t wait that long, be sure to check in on me at . Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 8, 2007

2006: Dash Away All

Greetings! I hope everyone had a great 2006 and is looking forward to a sparkling 2007. (007? Shouldn’t the latest Bond movie have waited until January to release? Heh, Heh. I’ll be here all the week…) My 2007 was pretty good, and I’m writing to share the highlights with you in this year’s holiday letter.

Work wise, I’m still with Accenture, and spent the entire year working in town for my client, WebMD (Yes, I do have a Genie! Don’t ask what I did with my other 2 wishes, but November went pretty well for the Democrats and if the Eagles make it to the playoffs with Jeff Garcia as QB you’ll know who you can thank for that.) Do check out for tips on how to ease holiday stress. I am pretty sure they recommend sending one generic holiday letter, rather than all the hassle of individual cards.

Here’s the big news: I may be moving on from WebMD in the near term. I am looking to head to Melbourne, Australia for 12-18 months in February. My client there is Telstra, essentially the Australian phone company. I am VERY excited about the opportunity to live and work abroad and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot in the role both at work and at play. Let me pre-extend the offer for everyone to come and visit. If you’ve always wanted to go to Australia but felt like you needed and excuse, I’m your excuse.

I traveled all over the globe for ultimate this year. It was great! I played in Los Angeles, California; Talladega, Alabama; at Paganello in Rimini, Italy in April, at Wonderful in Copenhagen, Denmark, in Ottawa, Canada, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; several trips to Boston and a tournament in Maryland where Barb & Mike had the entire team over for dinner. (Thanks, Mom!) Ambush had a great time in Copenhagen in May. Here’s a picture of the team that made that trip:

(In the bottom row, I’m second from the left.) I’ll miss Ambush when I move ‘down under’ but ultimate is huge there, so I plan to continue playing. It should be a good excuse for me to break away from the office and meet a few locals. There are two women’s teams in Melbourne so I’ll keep you posted how that works out.

In March of this year I teamed up with some friends of mine (Ben & Curtiss) to start the Gastronauts. We are a group of adventurous eaters who go out once a month to try exotic cuisine. Here’s a picture of me eating a chicken foot, which worried me at the time and now seems completely tame:
So far we’ve had guinea pig (cuy), brain( both calf and lamb), balut (look it up), bat-snails, live octopus, eye balls and every possible variant of tripe among many other atypical dishes. Please check out our adventures at . There are lots of pictures and a great review of each month’s outing. NPR also did a nice story on us which you can download as a podcast: .

Thanks to everyone who continues to ask about my nieces. Both Kate (8) and Lindy (4) are doing great, growing like weeds and having a wonderful time. We think they are beautiful and both seem to be growing up without any signs of the cursed Kelly looks. I went to Disney World with Lindy and her family in June on her Make-a-Wish trip. That truly is a wonderful organization and the girls had a blast. As proof, I offer this photo of Lindy celebrating her 4th birthday in Florida:

In December, I traveled to my ancestral homeland (Louisville, Kentucky) to attend my cousin Kristin’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful and the event served as a family reunion. It was great to see all my aunts, uncles and cousins. Many thanks are owed to my family for all the southern hospitality. Here’s my original Kelly family unit just prior to the wedding- my sister Lynn, Mom, Dad and Me:
We had a great time and no one got kicked out of the wedding or arrested (this time).

Here’s hoping you are doing well and our paths will cross in 2007. Happy New Year!


2005 Happy Holidays

Greetings all! I hope this 2005 edition of my Holiday Newsletter finds you healthy and in good spirits.

I am still working for Accenture, now in my 7th year. After nearly two years at AOL in Dulles, VA I rolled off that project in April of this year. After a brief stint at Verizon in NYC, I decided it was time for a break. As many of you know, I took a Leave of Absence for the summer, and was off work from June 19th to September 19th. It was a fantastic time. During my LOA, I finally got to take advantage of living in New York City! I spent time in museums, at art exhibits and saw a lot of live bands. I also slept late, did the crossword every day and made a lot of progress on my reading list. I got to spend time with friends and I played ultimate almost daily, but more on disc later in this letter.

During my LOA, I got the chance to relax and spend time differently than I usually do. Here’s me in Vermont in June enjoying a PBR and an ice cream cone on a seesaw:

I came back from my LOA well-rested and refreshed. To cap it all off, upon my return I have been staffed at WebMD which has offices in Manhattan on 8th Avenue at 14th Street! It’s a nice walk to work for me or 3 stops on the subway if it’s raining out. I am very happy to be staffed in town and am working with a great team. Working at WebMD is making me something of a hypochondriac; the slightest sniffle has me checking out my symptoms in their search engine.

This year I played Ultimate all over the US. During the ‘off-season’ I played in tournaments in Los Angeles, CA; Savanna, GA; Talladega, AL; West Palm Beach, FL; Northern VA, Henelopen, DE; Wildwood, NJ; Philadelphia, PA and Warwick, RI. During the UPA championship series club season I played with Ambush again this year. Check out our website for lots of pictures of the season: . We played tournaments in Devens, MA; Burlington, VT; and Chesapeake, MD (where much of the team bunked at my parent’s house. Thanks, Mom & Dad!) We had a tough season with a number of major injuries but managed to come back hard despite those setbacks and come within 2 points of a bid to Nationals. Of course, we were heartbroken, but plan to come back stronger next year. Here’s the team in Massachusetts this June. I’m the cute one in the front row, 3 from the left:

2005 was a good year for my family. Thanks so much to all of you who continue to send kind thoughts and prayers to my niece, Lindy who was diagnosed in 2003 with Neuroblastoma. She is doing well and got to spend this year growing and catching up on just being a regular 3 year-old. Lindy was recently featured on the Website for the hospital where she received much of her treatment. Check out the budding star: . We are so thankful that Lindy is doing well and we continue to hope for clean scans. Please remember to donate blood regularly as there are still thousands of pediatric cancer patients who are receiving transfusions daily. If you make charitable contributions, please consider making a pediatric cancer research donation.

These days, Lindy is spending a lot less time at the hospital and a lot more at home with her dog Sandy:

My parents still live in Myersville, Maryland but are threatening to move to North Carolina to be closer to Lindy and Kate. I was able to see much of my extended family when I was in Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky this summer for my cousin Adam’s wedding. Congratulations to Adam and Zaney! I also went to the beach house my parents and sister share on Oak Island, North Carolina for a week in September. The plan was for a full scale family reunion on my Mom’s side. Unfortunately, Hurricane Ophelia had other plans and most of the clan evacuated. I stayed on and weathered the rainy and windy week. It was crummy weather for a beach holiday, but there was no real damage and compared to the full scale disaster that is Katrina I can hardly complain.

These days I am running some New York Road Runner races to stay in shape in the off season; so far I’ve run five races between 5K and 15K. That’s about everything that happened this year. Stay tuned for the 2006 holiday letter which should include disc travel to Italy and Denmark. Let me know when you come through NYC.

Best Wishes,

Courtney M. Kelly
208 E. 6th Street, Apt. 29
New York, NY 10003

Out with 2004, In with 2005

Hi everyone,

I hope this holiday e-mail finds you happy and healthy. Once again, I am forgoing the paper Christmas card for an impersonal e-mail for all of you. I can only hope that I don’t end up in your spam folder.

2004 was a blur of airport security lines, deadlines and punch lines. I’m not in New York City much, but when I am, I’m happy. I still live in my apartment on 6th street. Here’s me, pretty recently at the subway station nearest my house:

My biggest accomplishment of 2004 was getting my bike hung up. (Thanks, Paige & Marc.) I have been biking around Manhattan and Brooklyn on the weekends some. Otherwise my bike is here:

I am still working for Accenture and am still staffed at AOL in DULLes, VA. I’ve been in the same extended stay hotel room for 18 months now and there is no end in sight. I was promoted to ‘Manager’ in March which hasn’t changed my work much, but does seem to afford me some more culpability when things go wrong.

Thanks to everyone who sent good thoughts to my niece, Lindy throughout the year. She is doing just great. She has made it through 2 surgeries, 7 rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and 12 radiation sessions. That little girl is so tough. I pity anyone who tries to get in her way. Over the past couple of months she has had several sets of clean scans. If you hang out with her, you would never know how sick she has been. She is full of energy and a very happy girl. Here’s a pretty recent pic of Lindy and her older sister Kate:

Those of you who want to keep up with Lindy can visit to see the latest. Please consider pediatric cancer if you make charitable donations this time of year. Please remember to give blood.

This year I tried out and played for the women’s ultimate team from New York: Ambush. It was wonderful and brutal, and I’m not sure I have ever worked out that hard before in my life. I had a great time playing with the team and learned a ton. Ambush traveled to tournaments in Vermont, DC, and Ft. Devens, MA. Here’s most of the team (I’m in the top row, second from the right.):

In vacation planning news, my parents and sister bought a beach house on Oak Island, NC this year. Let me know when you want to go with me and I will get the keys. Seriously. I went to Oak Island for a week this September and spent time with some of my aunts, uncles and cousins from Louisville, KY. It was wild. There were 8 people there 8 years old or younger (all atypically good looking and smart for our family). They were in complete control of the trip. The future is bright for the next generation of my extended family.

That’s about it. Hope you’ll let me know when you come to NYC. Have a great 2005.

208 e. 6th st. apt 29
ny ny, 10003

The Ghost of Christmas Very Recent Past

Hi there. This week has been more work, and also a throw around with Team Box and and a screening at the Bicycle Film Festival which is presently in Melbourne.

I'm starting work on this year's holiday e-mail and I thought as inspiration I'd post the last few years here, in the next few posts. We'll see how that goes.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

sleep shortage

Work has been hella hectic. Sleep is in short supply.

I can say I was in the Melbourne Hat last weekend, and it was a great time. It is a huge production with 24 teams, 2 dinner buffets, a huge party competitors from all over the world. I had a great time.

The begonia has been given a stay of execution, as advised by Snail .

Thanks to Kimmie for making me laugh, even when work is the 7th circle of hell. This is better than any of the excel graphs I have been making lately.

Jesse wants you all to make your holiday travel plans on his favorite new travel site .

That is pretty much all. I need to get back to quality time with Microsoft Office.