Lawrie's Christmas Letter - 1998 in Review

With Best Wishes for a Joyful and Happy Christmas, and a fun and rewarding year ahead.

After last year's highlights, especially my time in Norway, this year has been much more routine, though pretty hectic. Work in particular has been unpleasantly busy. In 1st semester I taught both our 2nd year CS Core unit (for the first time & not as well as I'd have liked) and 3rd year Crypto. I also completed writing the paperwork and code for the LOKI97 submission to the US Advanced Encryption Algorithm call, which I got in as one of only 15 from around the world! Sadly it (and several others) have had holes poked in them, so it'll drop out, but still it and I were noticed, which is good. 2nd semester was more relaxed, since I taught familiar courses (Master's Crypto & Data Comms 2), and because I gave up any pretense of doing research for the duration.

On the social side it was nice to get back to dancing here. The Monaro Colonial Dancers got going again, had some new recruits, and a successful year. We danced at the Braidwood Heritage Day on Sat 18 Apr, (see group photo). I partnering Andrea, who has become a really good friend this year. MCD also danced at the SCDCC ceildh in June, twice at Floriade in spring, and with the Wongawilli dancers at Majors Creek in Nov. I headed off to a number of folk music and dance festivals during the year, including Numeralla in Jan, Jamberoo in March, the National in April, Kiama in June, Wagga Wagga in Oct and Majors Creek in Nov. I enjoyed them all, and appreciated getting away to relax, dance, and enjoy listening to concerts which I'm usually to busy to get to. I also got to Colonial balls at Bundanoon in April, Maitland in Aug, Canberra in Sept (see photo of Andrea and I), and Sydney in Oct; and to Scottish Balls like the White Heather in May, and the Anniversary Ball in Sept. All great fun!

Sadly, whilst I was away last year my ballroom teacher Gwen Wallace retired, though there was a lovely celebration Ball for her in Feb. I've been dancing at Dale's social some Fri evenings - conveniently in Tuggeranong, but clashing with MCD practises. I've also erratically attended Scottish on Thurs (though I pulled a calf muscle there before Easter & need to be careful). I have really enjoyed learning Ceroc, which I started in May. Its a mix of Rock'n'Roll/Jive/Dirty Dancing to modern music, danced as couples, with lots of figures to lead, and is lots of fun!

As for other activities, well I've been on a number of walks with FBI (the Family Bushwalkers), including to the rugged Gigerline gorge (with some great swimming holes) on the Murrumbidgee just south of Canberra in late Feb (photo above left), and up Mt Coree in the Brindabellas in May. In July I drove to Sydney for some friends parties, and on the way stopped to enjoy the beautiful surrounds of the Norman Lindey Gallery at Springwood in the Blue Mountains (see photo right). I also drove to Melb briefly a week later to see family & friends, which was nice. I haven't done much ham radio, but did help out with a packet radio station for Weston Scouts during the JOTA weekend in mid-Oct (see the sepia image the kids whipped up!). They had a great time!

I guess that just about covers things from me. I hope you're keeping well, and look forward to hearing your news.

With my Best Wishes and Lots of Love, Lawrie, 30 Nov 98