2002 Christmas Letter

Peace on earth. Good will to all.

Jambo Marafiki (Hi My Friends),

Holiday greetings from Sandwich, Illinois, in the middle of an already cold winter. It's again time to write some year-end words to friends and family--my traditional Christmas/Holiday letter. May this season that we group together into the natural rebirth of light and supernatural birth of the Light of Christ be joyful for you and a symbol of your rebirth into the new year and the rest of your life. I hope you are well. Denise and I suffer the expected pains of our age and sometimes a few more; but God and the universe is good to us on a whole. We have been dealt a good hand and continue to move along the pilgrim's path we all tread.

The main event this year for me was writing, publishing, and the successful marketing of my second book, Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth. I started it in 1972 and finally finished it in June. It felt awfully good to have it done. It is selling well on my Revisiting Eritrea web page. And I my marketing efforts have even brought a resurgence of sales of my book of last year, Money Meanderings: An Introduction to Numismatics. It's also on my web site. The feedback from the Ethiopia: Travels of a Youth book has been really great. I've talked with many over the internet and so many have had kind words for my efforts and the quality of the book. This communication with people who have been it Eritrea in the past is a totally unexpected outcome of the writing effort. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and also to you who have purchased either of the books.

In July, I spent a week learning about Asian coins at the American Numismatic Association summer seminar in Colorado Springs followed by a week in the remote mountains of Colorado. During the first week I got lost in the deserts of central Asia and among the masses of China. During the second, I got lost in the pines and wilderness of the Rockies and the recesses of my mind. Both weeks brought renewal. I had to rent a car to go because my aging 1995 Escort has been acting up and no one wanted to trust it to carry me to Colorado and back. I relented. Standing at 195,000 plus miles today, the Escort has less than 5,000 miles to go in order to make my goal of 200,000--just a goal, but one I'd like to make. Its transmission demands a five-minute warmup before working in the morning now. It'll make it.

I'm about done with the first draft of a book on my recent month circling Sicily. I have a few pictures of Palermo on my web site at the Photo Gallery. And I'll have some early excerpts from the book out there in a month or so. There'll be a link from the Home page or the Travel page. No timetable on publication yet. It could be mid- or late-2003 if I don't take off a few months next summer. But I commit to nothing at this juncture. When I finish this Holiday letter effort, I can get back to Sicily.

I continue to collect, sell, and talk about coins more than most of you are likely interested. Both the Hillside and the Elgin coin clubs have corralled me to be president next year and I am a board member of the Chicago Coin Club. I am having a lot of fun with the camaraderie of all the clubs.

As for selling coins, although I set up at a few local shows this year, I sell more of them on eBay on the internet and at the clubs. Sometimes I sell books and other things on eBay too. If you are prone to check out eBay now and then. I am known as arbateasmara on eBay and by the same name when (not often) I sell on Yahoo! Auctions. If you forget, there is a link to my auctions from my Home page.

Let that be the extent of the event listing. In the spirit of my reading, writing, and meditations, this year, I want to pass on some thoughts and ideas that streamed passed me during the year. They are mostly musings, insights, and quotes splashed with some outright plagiarisms (mostly not intentional--I just forgot to record their sources) that I wrote down on scraps of paper and notebooks through the year. The writings are many, more than I want to print out using too many trees to distribute them to each of you getting the letter. Instead, please read them on the internet at My 2002 Musings. If you want to print them from there, do so. If you do not have a computer and the Internet--I know there are a few holdouts out there yet--ask and I'll print them out for you.

Hope you have a really great holiday season and a fine new year.

December, 2002
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Copyright © 2002 Mike Metras, www.WorksAndWords.com