Dear Santa: A Tech Writer’s Wish List of Stuff

Editor’s note: TechWhirl SWU member, and STC Associate Fellow, Rachel Houghton continues her annual correspondence with Santa, with updates on how he did in 2013 and a couple of big wishes for the new year. 

Santa-cameraDear Santa,

Last year on my TechWhirl wish list , I asked for just three things outside of my continuously updated Amazon wish list: regular sun breaks, drivers who follow the rules of the road, and television stations that don’t send anchors out in serious inclement weather.

I’m happy to say that you made my “sun breaks” wish come true. Of course, I understand that there were difficulties early in the year. Specifically, the beautiful almost 80 degree weather in May that arrived at home in Portland while I was attending the STC Summit in Atlanta, where it was cold and rainy. Yes, I did quite a few nasty looks for bringing the typical May Oregon weather with me, but I survived. Things smoothed out over the summer, and you even provided regular sun before the Rose Festival (early to mid-June) and the Fourth of July. The typical Portlander knows not to expect sunny weather until July 5th every year, but you made it happen.

The other two wishes were duds. Drivers in the Portland area are getting worse, not better. I often wonder if drivers are as bad in other areas as they are in Portland, especially when commute times land Portland in “bad” top 10 lists, like this one.  In this report, Portland ranked 6th in the nation (with Austin, TX) on the list of the most unreliable freeway commutes.

And television stations? They’ll never change. The slightest flake of snow, and they’re up in the West Hills. Flooding in the local creeks or the Willamette River? They’ll be right next to the overflowing banks.

This year, I’d like to ask for the following:

  1. A smooth move to Chandler, Arizona. You were so successful in providing sun breaks, I want them all the time now. Sure, I’ll have an adjustment period (Oregonians don’t tan, they rust), but I’ll get sun 330 days out of the year, instead of rainy, cold, miserable days for at least 200 days of the year.  :-) Maybe it would be helpful if you provided me with a gross of sunglasses for all the Arizona folks who are going to go blind when seeing my fair skin.
  2. A healthful year. Please, no surgeries, no physical therapy, and no major medical issues. I think this year provided enough for the next five years, if you’re doing long-term planning.
  3. Financial and job stability. While I won’t go into “TMI” detail, I’d appreciate a steady income and the chance to save a bit more.

Santa, remember I don’t need anything on my Amazon wish list, but I won’t mind if you provide for one or two my wants. I’m still dreaming of that Nikon 70-200mm 2.8 lens too!  :-)



Rachel Houghton

Rachel has been taking photos as a serious amateur since she got her first camera at the age of 16 - a Canon AE-1 Program. She has a Nikon D100, a Nikon D7000, and is anxiously awaiting the new (as yet unannounced) Nikon D400. She's a technical writer, specializing in software documentation and online help, with more than 14 years of technical communication experience. She is a former Secretary for the Society for Technical Communication (STC), past program chair of the STC Technical Communication Summit, and is actively involved in the STC Willamette Valley community and reviews books for the STC journal, Technical Communication. She enjoys photography and Photoshop. Find Rachel on Twitter @rjhoughton or view her photos on Flickr at

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