2018: A Year in Review *

* HAPPY HOLIDAYS! (a/k/a, Our Christmas Card)

We had never experienced 2018 before.  Gazing into the future, we will never experience 2018 again.  It was a one and done.  There are pluses and minuses.  The pluses included THREE overseas trips – five if you count Colorado and Wisconsin as being “overseas.”  We moved.  After 17 years in the lake home we built on beautiful Lake Darling, it was time to downsize our lives and living quarters.  Of course, the first ‘plus’ puts a kibosh on the downsizing of our ‘lives.’  The minuses are – well, the tugs of aging are making it more difficult to do such things.  So, let’s just dive into it. . . . 

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As always, Christmas music from our friend Lisa Lynn . . .

January (with the usual apologies to Dave Barry)

[We began the new year completing this trip . . . ]

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[And what a beginning to the New Year – sunrise in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico . . . ]

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[OK, that’s a lot – but I had more!]

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[Our boat . . . ]

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[Our boat going through the Panama Canal (a drone shot) – the first Viking ship to do so.  All passengers were endowed with a statement of recognition accordingly . . . ]

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[Hi from our tender going ashore . . . ]

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[January 1st is also the Super’s birthday.  My thoughtful birthday presents were a dozen surfboards . . . ]

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[Fun in Cabo at Senor Frog’s.  I’m thinking of having “tourist” tattooed on my forehead . . . ]

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[And then the sunset was the equal to the sunrise . . . ]

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[Then in open water until arriving in LA, our cruise end point . . . ]

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[Flaunting my disobedience . . . ]

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[Before disembarking the ship for the last time . . . ]

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February

[Back home, doing familiar things.  A wine pickup party at Carlos Creek Winery with Josie Nelson providing the entertainment.  A pattern that continues throughout the year . . . ]

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[Then it was off to Colorado for Aunt Pearl’s 90th birthday.  Here we are enjoying beautiful weather in Rocky Mountain National Park . . . ]

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[And catching rays on the Stanley Hotel porch, Estes Park . . . ]

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[The whole famn damily, with friends, at cousin John’s in Estes Park . . . ]

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[Auntie with two of her larger nephews . . . ]

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[Auntie with her older brother, my dad . . . ]

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[And as the winter sports season was coming to an end, we made our annual pilgrimage to the Twin Cities to once again follow our girls hockey team in the state tournament (Echo Press photo) . . . ]

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March

[In seasons like no other, our girls basketball team and boys hockey team also made their respective state tournaments.  We should have taken out a month lease in the Cities.  Here the basketball team is on the hallowed floor of Williams Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota . . . ]

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[Coach Wendy Kohler broke the record for most wins by a female coach and was inducted into the state’s basketball hall of fame . . . ]

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[The boys made it to the championship game after being the 4th-seed in their section (Echo Press photo) . . . ]

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April

[River Songs & Tales with Mark Twain at the Alexandria Area High School’s Performing Arts Center.  With the Ensemble Singers, folk fiddler Sara Pajunen and Don Shelby (longtime Minneapolis TV news anchor) as Mark Twain . . . ]

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[Mr. Shelby and the Super are native Hoosiers and had much to discuss . . . ]

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[In a banner year for our Cardinal sports teams, Kaye Paschka helped set the tone as a multi-sport star, here in the triple jump . . . ]

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[“Weakie,” my forever walking buddy, deigned to join me for the track meet . . . ]

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May

[The Run for the Roses annual fundraiser for Theatre L’Homme Dieu at the Alexandria Golf Club.  The Super, as always, won . . . something . . . ]

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[Then the Gopher Coaches Caravan came to town.  We shared a table with men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino at the Legacy of the Lakes museum . . . ]

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[Then it was off to Russia, just because it’s there . . . ]

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[First day dining in Helsinki with travel partners, Pam and Tom.  As I recall, the food was more than delicious . . . ]

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[And whom amongst us doesn’t enjoy ice cream in Finland. It was the warmest May in recorded history there – sunny and low 70’s every day!]

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[A lovely avian headdress for Havis Amanda at the Market Square in Kaartinkaupunki, Helsinki) . . . ]

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[Helsinki port, as the Super and I took a one-day ferry trip to Tallinn, Estonia . . . ]

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[The Super and I each found a new friend in Tallinn – I’ve forgotten their names?]

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[Then it was time for the Russia part of the trip – high speed train from Helsinki to St. Petersburg.  The only way to fly . . . ]

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June 

[On our ship, Viking Akun, for the cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow.  Every cruise begins with safety procedures . . . ]

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[The Hermitage in St. Petersburg, famed in song and story . . . ]

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[Where the Super made a new friend . . . ]

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[And, of course, cruises are about eating . . . ]

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[And ballets (OK, first time) – the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg . . . ]

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[For Swan Lake . . . ]

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[On the grounds of Catherine’s Palace in Pushkin . . . ]

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[Catherine’s Palace, a selfie paradise . . . ]

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[Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood, St. Petersburg.  A significant facility . . . ]

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[Freddie Mercury?  On a bench in St. Petersburg?  If you haven’t yet, you must see Bohemian Rhapsody . . . ]

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[The Super on the ‘water’ side of Peterhof Palace in St. Petersburg . . . ]

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[And the aforementioned palace . . . ]

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[Just so you know . . . ]

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[And this was in the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood . . . ]

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[The Super wasn’t sure about this one – I liked it, a photo of mother and daughter as our St. Petersburg canal cruise went under their bridge . . . ]

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[A selfie on our boat, occasion not recalled . . . ]

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[As I regularly awake before 5:00 am, I was always first for breakfast to this small dining lounge just a few steps from our room.  Thus, it was a hangout . . . ]

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[Cruising Russia, the passageways between several large inland bodies of water . . . ]

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[Pam slides in Mandrogy.  I think she did pick up a splinter . . . ]

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[Pirozhki (“small pie”), not unlike our pasties . . . ]

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[THE Russian bear?]

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[The view from the bridge of our boat.  The Russian captain was young and understood English better than he let on . . . ]

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[Natalya in Kuzino – had to take her picture because my mom was Natalia . . . ]

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[Dasha – you always have to have a favorite, and Dasha was mine.  She worked the early morning shift in our little breakfast nook . . . ]

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[From the looks of it – borscht!]

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[The lovely and charming Olga in the Yaroslavl Governor’s House.  She spoke perfect and unaccented English, and best of all . . . ]

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[She invited me to dance with her . . . ]

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[The Super found another friend in the Governor’s House garden . . . ]

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[Assumption Church and surrounding Strelka (Millennium) park in Yaroslavl . . . ]

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[Distinctive sight coming into Uglich . . . ]

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[A two-dimensional Russian matrioshka (nesting doll)?]

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[The Super on the Moscow street where you GUM . . . ]

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[And the aways popular St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square . . . ]

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[Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, the tallest Orthodox Christian church in the world . . . ]

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[Russian folk orchestra concert in Moscow . . . ]

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[Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.  With the pace of tour movements, people in our age group are always looking for opportunities to sit down – as demonstrated here by the Super . . . ]

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[Hamming it up in Alexander Gardens outside the Kremlin Walls . . . ]

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[Could it be hamming it up with Mother Russia?]

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[The Super snaps a shot of the Bolshoi Ballet Theatre.  Unfortunately, we did not have interior access because of the forthcoming World Cup activities . . . ]

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[Fly me to the moon . . . ]

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[Where the above photo was shot, Voshod Restaurant in Zaryadye (new Moscow park) . . . ]

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[The Super and Tom on the hovering bridge in Zaryadye . . . ]

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[The Super met a Russian journalist there to cover the World Cup . . . ]

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[A trip favorite in the Kremlin’s Cathedral Square – now that’s a selfie!]

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July

[In the magic sculpture garden of Vining, Minnesota . . . ]

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[It’s camp time!  All our campers fine dining in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, hard by the shores of Lake Michigan . . . ]

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[Viva, Sheboygan!!]

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[The Biddies, famed in song and story, starring in Camp Brosius, the camp . . . ]

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[There was a Western theme at camp this year – what could be more Western than a Hawaiian swim suit . . .]

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August

[Camp!  The annual pilgrimage to Camp Brosius, the Indiana University alumni camp, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.  I don’t know what possessed me to join The Biddies in the pristine waters of Elkhart Lake . . . ]

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[A camp field trip to Lake Michigan, once again featuring The Biddies . . . ]

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[Presenting . . . the campers . . . ]

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[All the campers in our group.  To know them is to love them . . . ]

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[Why yes, I was the only guy living in our 5-star hotel, Rappaport cottage.  . . . ]

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[A reunion of sorts at the Legacy of the Lakes Museum.  We’re with Ahna, among the first to sway us to the delights of girls high school hockey, back home 12 years later for her dad’s retirement as the head honcho of the museum . . . ]

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[The Theatre L’Homme Dieu fundraising soiree on the theatre’s campus . . . ]

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[Rose and I were colleagues at the Department of Labor where our lunchtime activities included seeing who could complete a crossword puzzle the fastest.  She was her high school valedictorian, so guess who won.  She was home to Minneapolis for a reunion . . . ]

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[MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT . . . ]

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September

[William Kent Krueger came to town again for another book signing.  We’ve come to know him so well when we see him we say, “Hi, howya doing?”]

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[See the next photo . . . ]

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[Some people have connections in high places (though not us) . . . ]

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[Related, and happy together . . . ]

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[Enjoying lovely weather at our “new” home.  Yes, we moved from our 3,500-square foot house on Lake Darling to a 1,500-square foot duplex condo on an environmental pond in August.  And for those who are sending cards to our old address, we did advise all of our new address back in June.  We have the same mail deliverer and she probably thinks we old people didn’t tell anybody we moved!  Again, 416 Voyager Drive, Alexandria, Minnesota 56308 . . . ]

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[Happy Birthday, to me!]

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[The “John and Natalia Obert” sign seemed appropriate since it was the only sign we had . . . ]

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[Visitors from Arizona, Aunt Mary Kay and Uncle Tom; visitors from the Cities, brother Cam and cousin Beth.  First, at the AGC . . . ]

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[Then at the Legacy of the Lakes Museum . . . ]

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[The view from the new home sweet home . . . ]

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[It was previously known as No Name Lake, a friend suggested Lake H2Obert.]

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[The Art Leap in Park Rapids . . . ]

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[The Alex Class of ’65 has a reunion lunch every month, no RSVP required . . . ]

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[A fundraiser for the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra . . . ]

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October – December

We went to Spain.  The results of the trip are still in the early stages of being blogged.  Then there was some sort of election.  Then the winter sports seasons and community education movies began, and our partners in crime in Russia arrived for an extended stay from Texas to take care of Tom’s dad.  Then it was time for the annual Christmas letter . . .

Spoiler alert:  A few sneak preview shots from Spain . . .

[The trip, from October 20 – November 1, began in Barcelona, then Madrid, then to Granada, then to Seville, then to Cordoba, then back to Madrid (and Toledo), then . . . home.]

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[We moved into a 28-year old house.  It needs upgrades.  We brought a crack construction crew in from Shevlin, Minnesota, to de-construct before remodeling begins – likely to be finished before this missive . . . ]

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[OK, we’re getting close . . . ]

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[Signing off (yeah, I know, finally) so Seasons’ Greetings, Happy Holidays, do svedanyaand may you stay forever young!]

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Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas. You know, the birth of Santa?  ~  Matt Groening

5 thoughts on “2018: A Year in Review *

  1. Loved your year-end summary of a very fun year for the two of you. What a wonderful way to enjoy your retirement. So, how many trips are planned for the coming year?

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  2. I am so honored to have made the photo gallery! I love all these photographs. What a year! Here’s hoping 2019 is even more exciting for the Oberts!! Patty wicken

    Like

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