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! Season's Greetings! Peace!
Sunday, December 19
I hope this greeting finds you well. It does us (at least if you don't ask for details). And as we near the end the second year of the pandemic, that is saying something. Obviously, like 2020, 2021 has been quite a year. But we've left the "bunker" (carefully and so far safely) a little more often this year - to see friends and family and to do what we can to adjust to this crazy "new normal."
Early in the year we continued our exploration of the joys of Zoom calls (which, while they may be limited, are far superior to no communication at all).
In February and again in March Kate and I drove to Menominee, Wisconsin for our doses of the Moderna vaccine (with boosters in October) which made us more comfortable moving about the country (and the city). Appointments were hard to find then in the Twin Cities, and we both enjoyed the "drive in the country" through western Wisconsin.
Once "the drugs had taken effect," Kate and I felt more free to carefully move about the country. In April we made a trip to Denver (with a lovely side trip to Durango) to see our Colorado family.
Do you think Kate and I were happy to see Frankie? It was still "stealth travel" with very little interaction with our surroundings as we made our way to and fro. Once home it was still lots of FaceTime calls with an occasional online game of hearts or just idle conversation - with only fairly minimal and careful interaction with live people. Peter, Erin and Frankie came to Minnesota for a June wedding.
Madeline joined us in Minnesota for the weekend and we had a great time wondering where squirrels had gone . . .
And blowing bubbles . . .
Peter spent lots of his time in 2021 training for and participating in triathlons - a half-triathlon in Ecuador in July and a full IRONMAN in Madison in September. A big commitment on his part - and one with a great side benefit for us. We got to spend a week in Denver with Frankie in July while Peter and Erin were in Ecuador and later in the year we got to provide "daycare" services for a week in Madison while Peter and Erin worked remotely in Madison and Madeline worked not-at-all remotely as a first grade teacher in the Madison school district (a small editorial note - the work that teachers have been asked to do and have done in the pandemic is nothing short of remarkable. Say thank you to a teacher. They richly deserve it - and they are certainly not getting rich teaching.)
It might have been a little tiny bit tiring. But boy was it fun.
By the way, Peter successfully completed the IRONMAN in Madison. It was fun and inspiring to watch the participants - particularly our favorite one. . .
Kate and Madeline even got to act as a pit crew cleaning up Peter's sunglasses on the little hundred-plus mile bike ride Peter used to relax between the two-mile swim and the little 26-mile jog which make up an IRONMAN.
Over the thirty-plus years we have owned our little cottage in the wilds of Wisconsin lots of "annual" traditions have developed - visits with various groups spread over the spring, summer and fall. It's been such a joy to spend time with friends at the cabin. 2021 was a little different, with most annual events crammed into July and August. So we got lots of cabin time this summer.
On one of our trips to the zoo with Frankie we had a chance to watch a flock of what Frankie aptly named "FlaBINGOs". We love the language of two-year olds (one in particular).
The result was her flabingo Halloween costume. I will never call them flamingos again.
Madeline is a lover of concerts and plays. In what may have been our boldest move of the year, Kate and I went with Madeline to a James Taylor/Jackson Browne concert in Milwaukee. It was tons of fun. We were masked the entire time (which unfortunately can't be said for much of the crowd). But it was great to be out and about.