Sunday, December 20

Happy Holidays - 2009

As 2009 draws to a close, we wish you the best.

2009 has been a great year for our family. Eventful. Fun. Busy. With a bit of trauma (but no really bad news - just a couple of bumps in the road).

I thought I'd try to illustrate with a few bests and worsts.

Best Wild Party:

Note: Peter and Madeline are not included in this best/worst category. They are supposed to go to wild parties. But for the wheezers it had to be a great dinner party at Don and Phil's downtown Minneapolis condominium. Wonderful food. Great company. Way too much wine. 2 a.m. found us in the rooftop hot tub (which closed at 10 p.m.), surrounded by snow drifts, looking over downtown.

Home at 3:30 A.M.!!! A Saturday party worth the sacrifice of a Sunday.

Best Joke:

Stan is excluded from this category (his jokes are all incredibly funny - to him). Honorable mention: While hard at work for the University of Iowa catering service, Peter made a truly excellent double entrendre on the phrase "roll (role) reversal." It was a great moment for me when he called almost immediately to relate the joke. I get a much greater sense of parental pride from the jokes of my children than I do from grades or other more traditional accomplishments.

Honorable mention 2: On our spring break trip to Moab, Peter named this lunchtime lounge spot:

"The Barkless Lounger."

Shortly thereafter we started making puns using variations on the "Navajo Arch." I thought we had almost exhausted the possibilities when Madeline asked, "What do you call Native American Junk Food? The Nava HoHo®." I call that a winner.

Most Unusual Lunch Spot:

Also on our Moab trip, we dined at one of the most scenic spots ever.

A great trip in every way.

Worst Moment:

A 6 a.m. call on a February Saturday morning from Madeline asking advice on how to deal with being in Wausau, Wisconsin with two severely damaged front teeth caused by breaking the fall from a slip on the ice with her teeth (Madeline's worst moment of the year had come 4 or 5 hours earlier).

This photo has been gently edited to protect the sensitive. If you are a person who loves a good horror movie, you can see the unretouched photo by clicking here. The entire process took until November to complete. Madeline got very skilled at eating without using the cosmetic front teeth that her dentist installed.

Most Dangerous Moment:

On a cold windy day as four of us began our May canoe trip, the Lack and Seymour canoe tipped in 41 degree water. It was a bit too exciting for four guys in their fifties. No photos are available of the actual dumping or its immediate aftermath (we were a little busy at the time). Suffice it to say that "big boy" clothes were in very high demand for the next couple of days.

Two days later we experienced a daylong snow and ice storm. But we refined our cribbage game, had enough spirit (and spirits) to make it through, and remain the best of friends.

And from now on we'll bore anyone who is willing listen with stories of the great canoe dumping of 2009.

The weather on my September trip to the woods with Harry was as nice as it was challenging in May.

A little instant karma for me.

Best Move:

Our best move had to be moving Stan's mom Carol to a new facility in Des Moines.

She's a sweetie, and doing really well, notwithstanding the memory issues that are a part of her life. She and her new buddy Lila are more or less inseparable.

Linda and I are so happy this move has worked so well.

Best Birthday Party:

Bob Bower's 80th. We drove to Pennsylvania to celebrate with Bob, Kitty and family. A great time, and we survived a long drive in the 2001 Oldsmobile Intrigue which my mom used to drive.

This led to . . .

Best (and Only) Car Purchase of the Entire Decade:

Doesn't Kate look at home behind the wheel of our new Toyota? I got to drive the other night. Bumped into Congressman Keith Ellison. I'm back in the rider's seat now, where I belong.

Best Nature Experience:

Shakespeare, the barred owl who spent ten days or so around our house this summer.

We still search the trees for his return.

Best Weekend and Wedding:

It had to be Labor Day in Chicago for Sarah and Sam Blatnick's wedding. Great times with great friends.

And another chance to get all shined up.

Most Surprising Development:

Kate and I have become Costcoholics.

I would have bet we were "born to buy retail" when it came to food (and much, much more!!). I was wrong.

Best Weekend at the Cabin:

Each weekend was a winner. Time spent at the cabin is great (and we did better at getting there this year).

Best Wishes:

A sincere wish of joy to you and yours this holiday and every day.

Peter, Madeline, Kate and Stan