Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping Up 2012: Our Bests and Worsts

Katja’s Smart-phone photo in Venezia

Dear George,
I’ve always successfully avoided writing an end-of-the-year letter, but, now that I’m doing a blog, it’s hard to avoid it.  Just to give it a try, I made a list of our “bests” and “worsts” for 2012.  Here’s how it looked: 

  • Best holiday of the year: Thanksgiving, when our cutie-pie four-year-old NOLA grandchildren, V and L, and their courageous parents came to visit us in Cincinnati.
  • Best extended family gathering: August reunion at Farm at Menominee/Birch Creek with West Coast, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Cincinnati attendees.
  • Best speech: Katja's paper to the Contemporary Club (“My Favorite Year”) about her junior year abroad.  Lots of smiles and laughs – a big hit. 
  • Most exciting family media event: Anna DeVeare Smith's "Let Me Down Easy" on PBS which featured a segment about our daughter-in-law K's experiences as a doctor in New Orleans' Charity Hospital during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
  • Fanciest travel experience: Katja’s March-April trip to Rome, Florence, and Venice with her sister Ami, brother David and sister-in-law Susan, and friend Jean.

Katja in the Surgery Ward at University Hospital 

  • Most amazing medical procedures:  Katja’s knee replacement surgery (June) followed by shoulder replacement surgery (September), making her a 75% bionic woman.
  • Cutest new zoo animal:  New baby giraffe Lulu who our grandkids, V and L, got to see running around during their visit.
  • Favorite destination(s) for hikes with sheepdogs:  Eden Park, Fernbank Park, and Miami Whitewater Forest (a three-way tie).
  • Stupidest mistake: Failing to see a red light and sideswiping an oncoming car. 
  • Favorite opera: "Maria de Buenos Aires" at the Music Hall ballroom, featuring world champion tango dancers.
  • Worst weather: the hottest summer on record with a seemingly endless stream of 100+ degree days.
  • Favorite physical activity: Tuesday night line dancing (because it’s enjoyable and helps maintain my delusion that I’m younger than I used to be). 

Flea ‘N Tique at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds

  • Best monthly antiquing/flea market expedition: Dayton Flea ‘N Tique with Phyllis S-S.
  • Longest unsuccessful camping trip: Five days at Lake Cumberland in southern Kentucky where we were unfortunately beset by flies and excessive heat.
  • Scariest moment: Hiking at Lake Cumberland when I let the dogs off the leash and later discovered Mikey was no longer with me.  I flagged down a truck for help, and the driver had already picked up Mike on the road.
  • Favorite photo location(s): Burnet Woods and the Cincinnati Zoo (tie)
  • Most enjoyable sports outing: the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in nearby Mason, featuring Roger Federer, Serena Williams, and all the world’s other top-ranked men and women players (thanks to Paula D. and Frank C. for tickets). 
  • Best art exhibition:  "Old Masters to Impressionism” at the Taft Museum (glorious French art).

The Esquire Theater, Clifton

  • Most fun weekly group: Our Friday night “movie club” (Donna, Katja, and myself)
  • Worst dental experience: Katja's crown falling off three times in three days, requiring multiple 20-mile trips to the dentist in a distant suburb.  
  • Favorite photo exhibition: The Herb Ritts L.A. photography show at the Cincinnati Art Museum (celebrities, fashion, nudes -- so hip, beyond belief).
  • My most adventuresome personal outing: Live band karaoke at the Northside Tavern.
  • Clumsiest moment: Spilling a cup of coffee on our computer keyboard (which successfully destroyed it).
  • Worst scam which some of us fell for: Contributing $$$ to a so-called veteran's charity which we later found out distributes zero dollars to veterans.
  • Most erroneous nagging: Katja’s suggestion that I get a hearing aid because of her mistaken impression that I don’t hear well.  (What did you say?)
  • Favorite movie: “Moonrise Kingdom” (a magical fantasy which connects to the inner child in all of us).
  • Favorite TV show:  “Homeland” on Showtime (which combines sex, terrorism, torture, drugs, mental illness, adultery, deception, political intrigue and corruption, treason, adolescent angst, murder, the Middle East, national security, and a few other themes into a spellbinder).

At the DeYoung Family Zoo, Wallace, Mich.

  • Most exciting animal experience:  Visiting the DeYoung Family Zoo in Menominee County where you get close and personal with Bengal Tigers, hyenas, black bears, etc.
  • Favorite book: Dave Barry, Dave Barry Turns Fifty
  • Favorite new downtown restaurant: Jean-Robert’s Table (dinner out with the Johnsons and Feinbergs)
  • Favorite new West Side restaurant: Nick & Tom’s (thanks to a gift outing from Donna)
  • Favorite neighborhood restaurant: Skyline Chili (five-way chili, diet coke, extra crackers). 
  • Most unusual lunch:  At an East End restaurant where the sixtysomething members of the Red Hat Society were conducting a noisy karaoke extravaganza.
  • Worst sheepdog behavior: When I boosted Mike into the bed, Duffy lunged and bit him under the eye, resulting in a $200 trip to the vet.
  • Best sanity resource: My university office which enables me to go out in the world and imagine that I’m meaningfully employed.

Katja’s Ready to Shop at Sea Shell City

  • Kitschiest Store:  Sea Shell City off I-75 near the Mackinac Bridge (unrivalled for homey North Woods souvenirs).
  • Best museum show: "A Day in the Life of Pompeii" at the Museum Center (which told an amazing story and showed us mummified bodies).
  • Worst theater experience: Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the university with a sound system that prevented one from understanding a single word.  Being masochists, we chose not to leave at intermission.
  • Best canine event: The Cincinnati Kennel Club Dog Show in Hamilton where we returned unexpectedly for a second day.
  • Best Symphony outing:  Saxophone soloist Branford Marsalis performing Prokofiev, Jacob TV, and a jazz trio encore at Music Hall. 
  • Best end-of-the-year holiday event:  Xmas day dinner with the Minkarah family (nonstop laughter). 

I’d have to conclude that 2012 was “pretty good”.  That’s because there were twice as many bests as worsts.  When I first looked over my list, I rated the year as excellent.  But then other people’s Xmas letters started arriving, and our year got more boring by comparison.  It’s all in the eye of the beholder.  Probably other peoples’ lives always look more interesting.  Anyway we’ll try to put in a few more adventures in 2013.  We’ll let you know how it turns out.

G-mail Comments
-Terry O-S (1-4): "when our cutie-pie four-year-old NOLA grandchildren, V and L,"  When I read this phrase, I could hear your Dad's voice, since "cutie-pie" was one of his favorite expressions
-Gayle C-L (12-31):  David,  Awesome as usual.   Great blogs all year . 
I realize the time it takes to put onto the blogs They are so appreciated!! 
So another year has gone by and the good thing is that we are all still here healthy and sound !  So.  Have a happy new year!  Lets see what exciting the new year will bring.  Lots of love.  Cheers !!! 


  1. Did you honestly stop at Sea Shell City??????

  2. We did. We always stop at those places. : >)