Tuesday, December 25

Happy Holidays - 2012

Happy Holidays! Joyful Solstice! Merry Christmas! Happy Hannukah! Best Wishes! Joyeux Noël! Feliz Navidad! Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan! Glædelig Jul! Gajan Kristnaskon! Hyvaa Joulua! Buorrit Juovllat! Gledileg Jol! Nodlaig Mhaith Chugnat! Buone Feste Natalizie! Natale Hilare et Annum Faustum! Pozdrevlyayu s Prazdnikom Rozhdestva is Novim Godom! God Jul and (Och) Ett Gott Nytt! År Ruumsaid Juulup! Season's Greetings! Peace!

We hope this greeting finds you well, as it does us.

We are happy and healthy.  Thankful for all this past year has brought. And excited to experience what 2013 will bring.

2012 has been a year of transitions for us.  The saddest one came in March, when our wonderdog Greta's legs just ceased to support her. How do you thank your dog for a million laughs?  We miss her goofy, quizzical expressions and the wonderful presence she was in our lives for nearly 16 years.  
A happier, though no less profound, transition occurred in September when, shortly after this State Fair photo was taken, Peter moved to Denver. Kate and I miss having him blocks away.  But the change has been a good one (at least for Peter).  He's living with good friends, has a job, and confirms he is enjoying life in Colorado.  And he's home this week for the holidays!
Madeline continues to teach in Madison.  She's team teaching a class of fourth and fifth graders.  She has more teaching responsibilities than last year, and she loves the work.  She also has her own apartment and is "transitioning" to "grown-up" furniture and fixtures she actually bought in a store rather than found at Goodwill or on the side of a Madison street.  She made time to join me on a wonderful trip to the Boundary Waters this summer.

What a treat to 'sandwich' a trip with Madeline between a spring trip with Curt the two Toms and my annual fall trip with Harry.  Three in one season!

Another 2012 transition for Kate and for me was our 60th birthdays. They were fun and not at all traumatic.  Though I don't feel that I've grown up yet, it's hard to say you are young or even middle aged when you hit 60.  Perhaps aches and pains last longer - but we remain thankful for the experience.

One of my favorite transitions of 2012 was more chances to see my brother Bruce.  I love his sidelong glance in this photo.

We had a rare chance to get all the members of the Oleson family in one place - just before niece Claire headed off to India for an indefinite period of time.  It was a great opportunity which we really savored.

A spring trip east gave us a great chance to bring our own special brand of excitement to Kitty and Bob in York.

Then it was on to New York, for a memorable week.  It gave Kate a great chance to reconnect with her step-brother Fred, his lovely wife Alexandra and her cousin Connie.

Kate, Madeline and I really enjoyed the whole New York experience.

As usual 2012 was replete with trips north to enjoy the wonders of the northland (nature, wine, food, friendship - to name a few).

We did go south too - to a lovely wedding in Omaha with Amy, Dan and our many "Train Party" friends. Another sidelong glance for me.
One "transition" this year was our own little "TARP" program.  A new well and water system at the cabin.

As I wrote this a year ago new metal roof was being put on the house.  Since then our friend and remodeling expert Brian spent much of 2012 putting our house in order.  We think we have the infrastructure of our old home in good shape.

Stop by at any time and give us a chance to prove it.  Here's to a joyful 2013!

Tuesday, April 3

It's a Small Big Village

Hello from New York City - it's a village on America's east coast.

It's Madeline's spring break, and this year Kate, Madeline and I decided to make our way to NYC, with a couple of stops along the way. Our trip is relatively unstructured. But before we came we reserved tickets to a couple of shows. I'm told that's what you do when you come to "The City." Kate and Madeline took the lead in planning this endeavor. We'll be going to see Wicked on Thursday night. This afternoon we're going to a matinee of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. I knew a bit about Wicked, but before we came I thought I should learn a bit about Priscilla. When I went to the website, I discovered that the fourth person in the cast list is a man named Adam LeFevre, a guy I knew very casually many years ago when I was in law school in Iowa City.

I thought that was a big coincidence, but I was wrong. Yesterday we returned our car to the Newark airport and were on the AirTram making our way from Enterprise to the train station to catch a train into Manhattan. It's an unusual setup. Each car in the Tram is divided into several sections - each holding a maximum of six people or so. At the first stop two people who were jammed into the space with us got off and a handsome young man got on. In case you don't know this, the NYC metro area is supposedly pretty big. Imagine our collective surprise when the handsome young man turned out to be our friend Andy Buck, a member of our "Train Party family."

Incredible. A wonderful start to the NYC portion of our visit. Before that we got to spend an lovely evening with our friends Myra and Rob Doughty (Myra and Kate have been friends since their childhoods in York, PA) and a couple of days with Kitty and Bob in York. We clearly haven't lost our dynamism. Just a few short hours after our arrival we had reduced Kitty and Bob to this state -

Last night we enjoyed a great evening with Kate's step-brother Fred and his wife Alexandra and Kate's step-cousin (if that is a category) Connie. It was fun for Kate to catch up, and fun for Madeline and me to meet wonderful and unmet friends (is there such a thing as a step-brother and sister-in-law?? If so, Fred and Alexandra are mine). The trip to this village has started on a wonderful note!

Let the fun continue. We're off to see the wizards! I understand many people here think they are one.

Each morning we drank a great cup of coffee in Madison Square Park, checking out the Flatiron Building. We saw some stuff. Like this Russian guy on the Lower East Side with a his laptop.

We saw lots of amazing art. Monet. Chagall. Some Chuck Close - Madeline' favorite.

But my favorite was this one - titled "The Innocent Eye Test."

Had some great meals - including one at the Union Square Cafe, where we had the crow's nest table in the background.

The food was amazing almost everywhere. We loved Otto - a restaurant near NYU that Andy recommended. This pizza with fried egg was controversial. But the meal was amazing and the controversy lots of fun.

Just a great trip. Lots of fun.