Christmas 2010

[The past few years I've wondered why I don't just post this online and save all the hassle of mailing it, but then I remember that my aunts and uncles would never find it that way. Besides, it wouldn't be a Christmas "letter" then.]

It was a very busy year – but what’s new? Every year we take on more activities. Somehow we find time to do it all, and it makes our lives more interesting and rewarding.

John (the Dad) started the year with his first ever broken bones. Alas it wasn’t the sort of injury that resulted in a cool cast that all his friends could autograph. He slipped on the ice while walking Duke and fractured two vertebrae and suffered a nasty whiplash. The recovery went well, but it involved many weeks of physical therapy. He still complains of the occasional pain-in-the-neck but we’re not sure if that’s due to the injury or something else.

John continues to spend his days at Thomson Reuters. This year was especially busy with some new duties, and tons of glamorous business travel. The highlight of his business travels was dropping his BlackBerry in a cup of coffee while returning home – one day before the family vacation. The result – no work BlackBerry on the family vacation – excellent timing!

When he’s not dropping BlackBerrys in coffee, John keeps busy with his duties on the Roseville Planning Commission. They re-wrote (updated) the old 1959 zoning code this year – lots of work, and what seemed like a million public hearings.

John and the kids performed in two Rosetown Playhouse productions this year – the summer production of Oliver!, and a crazy version of A Christmas Carol in December. John enjoyed his first speaking role in A Christmas Carol, but it was nothing compared to Maria’s “love scene” as the adolescent Belle (Scrooge’s lost love), and a beautiful musical number. John-John played Random Reveler #1 – a role he excelled in.

Shana continues to make history at the Minnesota Historical Society. When she’s not carting the kids around to after school and evening activities, she is active in Girl Scouts and various volunteer activities at Rosetown Playhouse. Dad and the kids haven’t talked her into coming on-stage yet. She seems content to sell tickets, concessions, and usher. Some day!

Maria turned 13 this year. As always, Maria lives a life immersed in song. In addition to two different church choirs, Maria sings in a school choir and the Giovani choir – part of Project Opera. One of the highlights of the year was Maria’s performance in the Minnesota Opera’s production of La bohème at the Ordway.

John-John (age 10) – stays out of trouble with school, plays, basketball, drumming, and piano. One of the highlights of 2010 was the boys (Dad and John-John) trip to Washington, D.C. for spring break. They enjoyed spending time with Shana’s brother John and his wife Sue (and Otto – of course). The boys also walked (and walked) all over DC checking out the museums and other cultural landmarks. The highlight (according to Dad) was coming within 20 feet of the President as his motorcade left the White House. Not bad for just stumbling upon this while walking around the White House. Too bad the President was looking the other way. We did confirm it was the back of his head.

The family zoo welcomed a new member this year with the addition of a stray cat John found in a local park. That cute little kitty subsequently attacked Shana, requiring a trip to the doctor for Shana, and a visit with the Vet for the stray. Luckily no one had rabies, but Shana had to take monster-sized antibiotics while she waited for all the scratches to heal. That makes three cats – Roscoe the original, Patches who we are keeping “temporarily” for a friend, and Reggie the attack cat – who has adjusted to life in his new home quite nicely.

Duke the Golden Retriever continues to enjoy life with only a few emergency trips to the vet this year – the latest for ingesting too many mushrooms. We also lost one member of the animal family when Chubby [or was it Haley] the hamster passed away.
We didn’t spend as much time at the cabin as we would have liked. The first part of the summer was taken up with rehearsals and performances of Oliver! Later, in August, we flew to Maine for a week on the Atlantic shore. We stayed in a very nice home and took lots of pictures. In fact, all the pictures on the Christmas card were snapped there. After a crazy, crowded day in Acadia National Park, we spent the rest of the week enjoying the smaller, out-of-the-way attractions in all the little towns nearby. It was fun to explore along the beach – though it was a work-out as we climbed and jumped from rock to rock (really huge boulders) that make up the “beach”.

We hope you have had a great year, and wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

John, Shana, Maria, and John-John


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