Friday, December 28

Happy New Year!!!!!!! (In Pictures)

All the best from Stan, Kate, Madeline and Peter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I'll add a few hundred words. But I hope to let the photos from this past year do most of the talking.

I know I write that it was a great year every year. And every year it's true. I'll let you know if it isn't.

A few ground rules. I promise not to emphasize the stratospheric GPAs that the kids achieved this past semester (can you say "Dean's List?"). Or how nice the sauna I just finished building is. Or how hard it is to maintain a reasonable weight when you live in the same house with Chef Kate. You'll have to talk to me for at least three minutes before those subjects will be raised - and they will NOT be raised in this holiday missive.

It was a great year for really big fish (especially for the males in the family).

Stan's fish was caught in the BWCA with a great group of friends (and wily fishermen). Somehow, even with this fish Stan was able to place LAST in the fishing contest.

Peter's fish were caught by professionals - and processed by him during his summer at the Yardarm fish cannery in Naknek, Alaska. A great summer job - combining adventure, independence and the always important financial remuneration.

It was great to have him back home, though.

Just in time for one of the excellent Train Party weddings we attended during the last twelve months (and two days).

We shine up pretty well as a family. In the photo above Peter is wearing my wedding suit. Soon it won't fit him either.

Somewhere in there we found time for spring break trips to the Pacific Northwest with each of the kids.

Portland with Peter. Then we "Slept in Seattle" with Madeline.

(as guests of our friends Fred and Mary - Suckfish Tours will never die!)

The Olympic Peninsula was great. Kate and Madeline decided I was a complete loser for taking photos - but I'm hoping this "card" will redeem that habit to some degree.

We also found time to have several great get togethers with friends.

And we saw our mothers - if not as often as we would have liked.

It was a lousy year for bridges in the Twin Cities.

I came upon the fallen bridge (which I previously biked under twice each working day) about 5 minutes after it collapsed. But the community worked through it very well.

This might be a good place to mention that I'm happily toiling away at The Scoular Company - now in my third year. Kate has completed thirty-three years at the AG's office. Suffice it to say that I will not pass her longevity record.

The kids came home for Thanksgiving - and there was lots to be thankful for. And the thanks were sincere, if offered in a silly way.

It's hard to say that one thing or another was the "best" part of the year. But if I had to rate things, I'd say that the trip that Kate and I took to Paris to celebrate our 25th anniversary was a huge highlight. There is no greater city. And no better companion than Kate. I have visions of longer and longer trips to Paris as the years pass. Hope we can make those visions a reality.

If you scroll down the page you will come to a more complete description of our trip.

Madeline gave me a Berlitz French language DVD for Christmas. I'll probably still make a mess of French. But the point is when I'm trying to improve my French, I can dream of our next trip there. I loved the gargoyles from Notre Dame.

So I brought one to Saint Paul.

Love to you all. And peace.

Peter, Madeline, Kate & Stan

Sunday, December 23

Possums, Perspiration and Parties

I really should get going on our official holiday blogcard. And I will. Peter and Madeline are home for the holidays. The presents are purchased (if not wrapped). But yesterday was visually interesting. Beautiful snow in the morning. In the afternoon Madeline spotted an apparently confused opposum in our yard, ambling away at his or her glacial pace.

The sauna that I have spent much of the last month building is, except for a few fine tuning details, completed. We had our first family sauna, a proper christening of the space.

We fit though, unlike the high-capacity cabin sauna, four people is about the max. But I must say humbly that I did a good job converting a basement closet into a great space. Now we just have to remodel the rest of the basement and figure out where to put the things that were in the closet.

We capped the evening at a party hosted by our friends Don and Phil in their 29th floor condo in downtown Minnepolis. It was like living in a real city, and the view is just breathtaking. I spent less time in witty and urbane conversation than I probably should. I just couldn't stop gazing out the window. A great time.