Christmas, A Year in Review

Sometime in December

This is your Christmas card.  This has been our policy for several years now, sing hallelujah.  It differs from most Christmas cards in that it cannot subsequently be used to carpet the bottom of a parakeet cage.  You would not want to do that anyway because it is 100% recyclable.  To the best of my knowledge, no animals were injured in the creation of this card.  Accordingly, it has been endorsed by PETA, Mother Jones, Whistler’s Mother, Moms Mabley, and The Mothers of Invention.  With the usual apologies to Dave Barry (the originator of the Year in Review format) and other sentient beings, we bring you 2019, a year that will reportedly never pass this way again . . . 

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.  ~  Dave Barry

[This is Elsa Lee.  I shot this video at Carlos Creek Winery on December 9th.  I made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.  I told her if I could take a video of her singing her favorite Christmas song, she would have the lead in my Christmas blog.  As they say, the rest is history . . . ]

[So, the least we could do is to promote her Christmas CD . . . ]

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[Elsa is originally from Duluth.  She decided a few years ago that the winters in Duluth were too harsh.  So she moved south – to Minneapolis . . . ]

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January

Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp.  ~  Melanie White

[The new year began, as each new year does, with the Super’s birthday.  For holiday excitement we took a drive around Alexandria, enjoying Siriusly Sinatra on the radio and the seasonable 7 degrees below zero temperature . . . ]

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[And then home for the opening of birthday presents . . . ]

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[And the consumption thereof (with mismatched glasses?) . . . ]

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[Sunrise on January 4th . . . ]

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[And hoar frost on January 7th . . . ]

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The Super joined her sister Rita (jointly known as The Biddies) in La Jolla, CA and La Verkin, UT, for three weeks beginning at the end of January.  I stayed home to keep the home fires burning.  We both went to La Verkin for Thanksgiving (see November, the month in which that holiday occurs).

February

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

[By staying home, I was able to pick up my old high school classmate, Brad Anderson, for coverage of our various sporting events.  Here girls’ basketball on February 5th . . . ]

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[But occasionally one must take in an opera . . . ]

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[With a little audience Q&A with members of the Minnesota Opera Company . . . ]

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[And the orchestra plays in a hole in the stage . . . ]

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[Back with Brad.  The Class of ’65 tries to lunch on a monthly basis.  Interspersed among those class lunches, fellow classmate Greg Johnson drives up from Burnsville and the three of us (a 4th, Tom Kiehne, lives in Austin, Texas) who hung out together go to lunch at various small towns in the area.  This was February 13th, I believe the last time Brad was healthy enough to join us.]

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March

Santa Claus wears a Red Suit, he must be a communist. And a beard and long hair, must be a pacifist. What’s in that pipe that he’s smoking?  ~  Arlo Guthrie

It’s not like nothing happened in March.  I thought all four of our followed winter sports teams had a good shot of making their respective state tournaments.  None did.  Stuff happens.  In lieu of timeline appropriate photos  . . . 

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[Yes, you must begin harvesting lefse in March to have stock on hand for the holiday seasons . . . ]

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April

I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store, and he asked for my autograph.  ~  Shirley Temple

[Happy Earth Day! The Super is holding the “We have no planet B” sign on the left, in Big Ole park hard by the shores of Lake Agnes on April 22nd . . . ]

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[The Super is holding a pizza slice in the middle of the photo.  This was at The Depot, at some point after the Earth Day march.  Pizza is a known planet saver . . . ]

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May

That’s the true spirit of Christmas; people being helped by people other than me.  ~  Jerry Seinfeld

[With Elsa Lee at the winery on May 4th . . . ]

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[Indicative of where we were going next . . . ]

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[Next door to the winery’s events center for the Run for the Roses fundraiser for Theatre L’Homme Dieu.  Here the Salty Dogs amused and inspired the attendees . . . ]

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[Voted most likely to get lost on the way home . . . ]

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[So, how about quilting?]

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[On May 10th, the Prince Quilt Touring Exhibition alit in Ashby.  This was a nationwide tour . . . ]

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[Native Ashbyans (Ashbyites?) Helen and John Etnier joined us there . . . ]

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[And on that same day, we purchased a Traveling Ole at the Runestone Museum in preparation for our upcoming trip to Norway . . . ]

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[On May 17th, Sam Miltich (guitar) and Friends presented “The Improvised Life: Exploring Intersections of Mental Health & Creativity through Jazz” in Evansville under a state grant program . . . ]

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[The very next day we were at the winery, again, to watch Sam’s uncle, Anthony Miltich, perform during wine pick up day . . . ]

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[And then that night we hustled down to Glenwood to see Patchouli.  They have three top 5 internationally charting albums including Of Sea & Stars just won ZMR Award “Best Instrumental Album of the Year 2017” (from their website) . . . ]

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[On May 19th, the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra’s 10 Years of Music concert.  Brad Landbrecht delivered his maestro’s notes to those who arrive a half hour early . . . ]

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[Which would include us and that well-known couple from Ashby . . . ]

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[And lots of other people in the high school’s Performing Arts Center . . . ]

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[It was an accomplishment of significance . . . ]

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[As was Lake H2Obert at twilight on May 25th . . . ]

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June

The best Christmas present I got from my husband was a week to do whatever I wanted.  ~ Olivia Haigh Williams

[June 2nd, the Super demonstrated the proper way to enjoy summer at the winery in Vacationland USA, while soaking in the musical stylings of . . . ]

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[Again, the Salty Dogs, with fine chapeau’s sported by Greg and Erik . . . ]

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[On June 7th, the Killer Vees (the Velline family) were at the winery’s events center . . . ]

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[With Anthony on June 9th at Lure Lakebar, with Lake Le Homme Dieu at my back . . . ]

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[Old home week, with the Boyz of ’65 at lunch at Interlachen on Fathers’ Day . . . ]

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[The management and staff from Theatre L’Homme Dieu stopped by the winery on June 15th.  The TLHD season 2019 began the following week . . . ]

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[And the next day Patchouli was at the winery . . . ]

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[Skol!  June 18th, Oslo, Norway, go figure . . . ]

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[The first day of a 20-day adventure, most of it cruising Norway, Scotland, and England.  Here with traveling partners, Anne and Bill Gross, in front of the Storting building, the parliament of Norway . . . ]

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[Tiger sculpture (Norwegians don’t waste words) outside Oslo’s central train station (behind, upper left) . . . ]

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[We stayed at Thon Opera Hotel in Oslo.  Here’s the Super visiting with Olav Thon.  She reported he was very shy . . . ]

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[On June 19th (as are the following 10 photos), the lobby of our hotel.  I don’t know if Olav was responsible for the sculpture . . . ]

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[Our guide Helen in Vigeland Park.  She did a great job herding American tourists . . . ]

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[Smooth as a baby’s bottom . . . ]

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[Apparently a place for hugging.  Who said Norwegians aren’t huggers?]

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[Photobombed by Helen.  Whatta hoot!]

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[You’d be grumpy too if everyone kept rubbing your . . . ]

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[The Royal Palace.  I wonder if they’ve thought about downsizing?]

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[Ahhh, art!]

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[“The Scream” by Edvard Munch is probably in the top ten of all-time famous paintings.  I just don’t know why?]

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[I could understand why this would be in the top ten (an actual sign in Oslo) . . . ]

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[On June 20th, Ole took a ride on the Flam Railway . . . ]

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[Oh, Ole, you’re such a hoot!]

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[A stop at the magical Kjosfossen Waterfall.  Huldra, a forest siren, hops out to sing to you here . . . ]

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[On June 21st, Ole pointed to Flam on the globe.  No matter where you go, there you are.]

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[And then we cruised Nærøyfjord on an all-electric boat . . . ]

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[Ah, this is the life . . . ]

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One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.  ~  Professor Dumbledore

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[Ole, the Norwegian flag, the fjord, and the Super . . . ]

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[On June 22nd, the Super and Ole logged aboard our Viking cruise ship in Bergen . . . ]

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[Ole in the Atrium of the Viking Sun, the same ship we took through the Panama Canal a year ago . . . ]

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[Waiting for the piano man . . . ]

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[On June 23rd, our usual hang out for most of the cruise.  A choice of seeing where you’re going rather than where you’ve been . . . ]

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[Continuing on June 23rd, atop Mt. Floyen, achieved by funicular . . . ]

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[From which you have this beautiful view of Bergen . . . ]

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[The Super posed with trolls throughout Norway . . . ]

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[This is my heritage laid out before you . . . ]

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[June 23rd, fine dining aboard our boat . . . ]

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[June 24th, why one could understand that living on a cruise ship might not be too bad.]

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[The almost 400 steps up Fossevandring waterfall in Geiranger.  Be very careful!]

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[Almost to the top, with views up and down . . . ]

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[Huffing and puffing . . . ]

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I haven’t taken my Christmas lights down. They look so nice on the pumpkin.  ~  Winston Spear

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[The Super looking down and back at Geiranger.  One can appreciate why this village of about 200 people attracts a million visitors a year . . . ]

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[Lake Djupvatnet near Geiranger – not big but over 600 feet deep . . . ]

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[On June 25th, the Super hit the spa – her favorite spot on the ship . . . ]

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I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. But if the white runs out I’ll drink the red.  ~ Anonymous

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[On June 25th, a shipboard celebration of crossing the Arctic Circle . . . ]

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[The Super and Ole successfully crossed the pool’s “Arctic Circle” . . . ]

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[And celebrated accordingly . . . ]

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[Aquavit, ’nuff said!]

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[And the real crossing of the real imaginary line that is the Arctic Circle . . . ]

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[And we have this fact witness of the event . . . ]

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[June 26th, the Super met another troll . . . ]

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[On June 26th, cod appeared to be in critical need of cod liver oil . . . ]

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[On June 27th, Norwegians displayed their abnormal fitness desires in Tromso . . . ]

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[And on this same day, Anne was able to find the house where her grandmother once lived.  She only had a picture, not an address . . . ]

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[The Super and friend in Tromso . . . ]

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[I recently read an article about “Larks,” people who naturally awake abnormally early.  I’m one of those.  But being such, on June 28th I had the shipboard “living room” all to myself . . . ]

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[Later that day, the Super with a Sami, the indigenous people of northern Scandinavia, who are close personal friends with reindeer . . . ]

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[North Kapp, the northern most accessible point on the European continent . . . ]

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[And the windiest?]

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[OK, this spit is a little more northern but there’s no road to it . . . ]

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[The Super and Ole and friends in the information building at North Kapp . . . ]

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[The North Kapp monuments . . . ]

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[June 29th, cruising south to our next destination, the British Isles.  The Super and Bill took advantage of a beautiful photo op along the way . . . ]

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Happiness, not in another place but this place, not for another hour but this hour.  ~  Walt Whitman

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[I really like this photo of Anne and Bill, the view they had from their vantage near the top of the world. So there . . . ]

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[Rainbows this far north must require a passport?]

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[This is Greta Thunberg.  We did not meet Greta in Norway.  Greta is from Sweden, not Norway.  I have never been to Sweden, but if I should someday I would like to meet Greta.  Greta is trying to save the world which seems a most worthy cause . . . ]

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[On July 30th, enroute to the British Isles.  I have to believe Norway feels conflicted about becoming the greenest country through its oil wealth?]

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July

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year.  ~  Victor Borge

[On July 1st, Yan Yan remembered us from the Panama Canal cruise.  How did I not remember her?]

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[Later that day, the Super met a Shetland pony on . . . Shetland Island . . . ]

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[And then playing tourist in Shetland’s only burgh, Lerwick . . . ]

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[Ole leaves Shetland . . . ]

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[July 2nd, enroute to the Orkney Islands . . . ]

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[Ole met Orkney . . . ]

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[At the Orkney Ring of Brodgar, possibly older than Stonehenge . . . ]

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[I still haven’t finished blogging Scotland and England, so no further photos from the cruise (I heard that!).  We were then home for a while before we went off to Camp Brosius on July 28th.  We made our usual first stop at the Tiki Bar on Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, with Katie and Rita . . . ]

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[A wild lepidoptera enjoying the goodlife in Elkhart Lake . . . ]

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[July 31st, year-to-year, my forever memory photo of camp . . . ]

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[Has anyone seen my chauffeur?]

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[These were my roommates in camp.  I have nothing further to add to that . . . ]

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August

A Christmas tree, the perfect gift for a guy. The plant is already dead.  ~  Jay Leno

[It’s not just any Christmas card that can display photos of art worthy urinals.  These, of course, are from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, on August 1 . . . ]

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[So why not a selfie here?]

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[The Biddies create a wake along the Elkhart Lake shoreline . . . ]

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[And lived to tell the tale on August 2nd . . . ]

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[Party animals later that day . . . ]

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[August 22nd at the Theatre L’Homme Dieu fundraising soiree on the TLHD campus . . . ]

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September

When I was a kid, my parents told me I didn’t exist.  ~ Santa Claus

[September 3rd, the day before my birthday, standing on the Endless Bridge at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis overlooking the Stone Arch Bridge and the Mississippi River . . . ]

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[That night we watched nephew Michael Obert (cello) perform at Ambi in Anoka . . . ]

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[Birthday booty is displayed . . . ]

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[September 20th, at the opening fundraising concert for the Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra at Broadway Ballroom . . . ]

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[September 28th with the usual music suspects, Karin and Dave Berg, at Carlos Creek Winery, our home away from home . . . ]

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October

Dear Santa, define good!  ~ Unknown

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[Rita came for a visit on October 13th for a reformation of The Biddies . . . ]

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[Sitting at the dock of Lake H2Obert . . . ]

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[October 14th, Reetz got the full Runestone indoctrination.  Her life will never be the same . . . ]

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[October 15th, we made statewide news.  Our senior college class made Minnesota Public Radio, for quality and quantity (we pack the room) of the program.  Can you find the Super and me?]

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[October 19th, The Biddies at the winery’s Applefest.  I think they’ve already been in the applesauce . . . ]

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November

This holiday season, no matter what your religion is, please take a moment to reflect on why it’s better than all the other ones.  ~  Guy Endore Kaiser

[November 2nd, the Theatre L’Homme Dieu board and staff were invited.  Minnetonka Theatre lead off the TLHD summer season with Bright Star, which drew rave reviews from all who saw it . . . ]

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[A TLHD selfie at “Chaplin” . . . ]

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[November 9th, the Super and I (along with Jeanne and Ken Howell from Alex) were in D.C. to lobby Congress on behalf of the Citizens Climate Lobby.  We were back in our old stomping grounds – in fact, here’s where we lived from 1987 to 2001, the Astoria condominium in Arlington, Virginia . . . ]

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[We visited brother Chris in Stafford, VA, at his house on the Potomac River; with sister Gretchen and brother-in-law Mohamed, who live in D.C. . . . ]

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[November 10th, the Super visited Albert Bierstadt’s “Among the Sierra Nevada, California” at the National Portrait Gallery . . . ]

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[Also at the portrait gallery, the Super with a recent president . . . ]

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[October 12th, to actually do the work we were there for, we had to walk by the Capitol daily . . . ]

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[And there was a crowd at the Supreme Court for the DACA hearing . . . ]

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[A reporter?]

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[An expanded view . . . ]

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[Here the four of us (plus 2 others) were with Zach Martin (far right) of Congressman Collin Peterson’s staff . . . ]

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[With Jeanne and Ken that night at the restaurant on the top floor of our Rosslyn Holiday Inn hotel . . . ]

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[And subsequently received this from one of our senators . . . ]

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[November 23rd, it may have been the 50th annual turkeyfest at Basketball Dan’s, but there was some debate as to which year could be considered the inaugural . . . ]

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[Thanksgiving in La Verkin, UT, with Rita, nephew David, and our hosts, niece Beth and nephew Chris.  We were there from November 24th to December 1st during which time we visited places within a two-hour radius . . . ]

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December

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.  ~  Garrison Keillor

[Members of the Anthony Miltich Fan Club gathered at the winery on December 7th.  Anthony is not sure whether or not he would use this as a promotional photo . . . ]

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[From home sweet home on December 10th . . . ]

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[Lisa came to town on December 13th.  She performed but was not feeling well.  We thought she sounded fine but she wasn’t up to making a video.  In keeping with the traditions of the annual Christmas missive, we again present Lisa from 2012 . . . ]

[Our next vacation?  Merry Christmas to all and to all may CBD bring relief.]

Climate activists Lesley Butler and Rob Bell "sunbathe" on the edge of a frozen fjord in the Norwegian Arctic town of Longyearbyen

 Let’s be naughty and save Santa the trip.  ~  Gary Allan

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