WARNING:  This is way too long.  Apologies.  But I spent months (OK, more time than I wanted to) whittling it down.  The supervisor and I, however, are of an age where there is dark at the end of the tunnel.  So we are now rushing through life with a Bucket List, trying to have a much fun as we can.  And this is our report.

This was a year like no other.  Principally, it is believed to be the only year in the history of our species to be labeled “twenty-fourteen.”  There are unsubstantiated rumors that there may have been a “twenty-thirteen” previously – is looking into it.

In other “like no others,” we took three major trips, I got two new eyes (thank you Dr. Gess and Medicare), we had an interstate car accident, I peeked up Marilyn Monroe’s dress, we lost a great friend and local entertainer, we lived long enough to see the new high school, and a partridge in a pear tree.

We decided to lead off with Lisa again this year.  And why not . . . the best Christmas video I ever shot.  🙂


And now, with a bit of adieu and apologies to Dave Barry (as always), may we present 2014, the year-in-review . . .



If you go to Minnesota in January, you should know that it’s gonna be cold. You don’t panic when the thermometer falls below zero. ~ Peter Lynch

No one ever regarded the First of January [a/k/a, the supervisor’s birthday] with indifference.  ~  Charles Lamb

You may recognize from the attire and background in the opening photo that we were not in Minnesota.  How observant of you.  But it was nice to have a photo of us together to lead off the letter (it is ours after all), because most of the time one or t’other of us is on the other side of the camera.  We spent the first two weeks of the year in San Marcos, California, joining Ruthie’s sister, Rita (a/k/a, Reetz or Biddy 1), in a house she rented to escape the brutal Nashville, Indiana, winters.  Locals may recall those two weeks were ungodly here in Minnesota as the polar vortex was setting all kinds of low temperature records.  We timed our escape well.  The San Diego area was sunny and 75 everyday, as advertised.  But California has issues . . .

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Below, we discovered the Pacific Coast marine layer, a lost bikini top, Biddies on the beach, my long lost twin, Biddies having fun, and going “bats” at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park:

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[So, how did you like our first week in the San Diego area?]

Below, we have Marilyn and me in Palm Springs where we were visiting Beryl and Don, Lucille Ball, and other things fun:

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Below, it was then back to the beach, dining in La Jolla, watching the sun go down in San Marcos, and winding up two great weeks in which we celebrated my roommates’ one-day-apart birthdays:

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Below, back home we celebrated the quilt Jami made from our old t-shirts, a book signing with Jess, and me schlepping out the garbage at oh-dark-thirty:

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But February made me shiver with every paper I’d deliver.  ~  Don McLean

Below, whatta winter with snow, cold, sun dogs, and the Polar Plunge in beautiful Lake Darling:

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We were warmed by our annual Valentine’s Day anniversary at SAWA, and by our annual trek to the girls’ state hockey tournament:





It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~  Charles Dickens

Below, shortly after the girls played the last Cardinals’ basketball game ever at the old Jefferson High School gym, the boys’ team, and the girls’ coaches, made it to the state tournament at venerable Williams Arena. The super and I made the most of state tournament time by visiting venerable Al’s Breakfast in Dinkytown:

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We also had time to appear in photos with some of our close personal friends, and in the latter, we’re just slightly out of the frame behind Jennifer Lawrence:

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Till April in Paris, Whom can I run to, What have you done to my heart.  ~  E. Y. Harburg

Below, April is a transition month.  On the 11th, Robo and I were the first to play our golf course; on the 20th the ice was gone from in front of our house; by the 26th the wind had blown it back:

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The month of May was come, when every lusty heart beginneth to blossom, and to bring forth fruit  ~  Thomas Mallory

Below, on the 1st, I got my first of two “new” eyes (on July 8, the pasta sieve went on the other eye); on the 2nd, the super got a new car; on the 3rd, we reunited two old friends from Grand Rapids, taught Deb how to “put bread in [his] jar,” and ran for the roses for Theatre L’Homme Dieu; and on the 4th, brother Cam and I were at the old high school for a kind of all-class good-bye:

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On the 12th, we lost, the community lost, and the world of music lost our friend, Bruce Kelly.  We all think of him often whenever his old groups play:



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Below, Bruce and friends remind us of the hazards of a Minnesota winter!

Below, Awake the Lakes weekend with BAT at the golf club, with Mary and Crazy Dave, and winery, Breakfast at the Fort, and at SAWA with friends from Austin, TX, Tom and Pam:

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And what is so rare as a day in June?  Then, if ever, come perfect days.  ~  James Russell Lowell

You may have heard.  We went to France in June.  Rick Steves featured it on his program (well, he probably wishes he had).  It was the trip of a lifetime, featuring a river boat that died, a train strike that directly affected us, and Rita never met her luggage during the entire trip.  And all that is what made it so fun!  We took thousands of photos.  We could not properly feature some here without leaving out too many other, so I made a management decision not to, thus saving the internet from crashing.  If one should be so interested, just type “France” in the blog’s search block:


By now you’ve gotten the idea that I travel quite often with the sisters Callecod, a/k/a, The Biddies.  As a result, I’ve come to learn all about life in a sorority as explained in the following video by Frank Costanza:

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Don’t worry, the fans don’t start booing until July.  ~  Earl Weaver

Below, at month’s end we began our annual trip to Camp Brosius in Elkhart Lake, WI, by taking the scenic route around northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s UP.  First stop Hinckley and Tobie’s caramel rolls, then the Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, then Bayfield, where we stayed at Lucy’s and dined at the Rittenhouse Inn:

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The pleasure of jogging and running is rather like that of wearing a fur coat in Texas in August: the true joy comes in being able to take the damn thing off.  ~  Joseph Epstein

Below, on our grand tour to Camp, we cruised the Apostle Islands at Bayfield, WI, in Lake Superior; cruised Lakes Michigan and Huron on the way to Mackinac Island; had our photo taken with Father Marquette and a gull, with Al Capone, with an IU alum flag, and enjoying a champagne lunch . . . :

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And then we arrived at Camp Brosius, where, by the end, I had purchased, and modeled, official Brosius shades:

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Back home, we celebrated the first athletic event in the new high school – a volleyball game captured on “digital” by The Voice of the Cardinals.   It was followed shortly thereafter by the first football game:

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By month’s end, the supervisor was enjoying Perfidia, her favorite song by Kevin Klimek, here with partner Jim Faber as Enterprise at Bug-A-Boo Bay:


I love September, especially when we’re in it.  ~  Willie Stargell

Below, on September 2, the new high school opened for business (Echo Press photo); a shared birthday at SAWA; a routine weekend afternoon at the winery; and marching in the Homecoming parade with classmate Sara Smith Sevey:


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9-20-14-26And finally, we have to report we partook in the world’s largest hotdish at the winery; and went to a DFL picnic:

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October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup. October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins. O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!  ~ Rainbow Rowel

Below, “Weakie” and I went to the Alex cross-country invite at Arrowwood on an incredibly cold early October day.  The Hasz twins, Megan and Bethany, finished 1 & 2, as they did at conference, section, and state meets – they finished 1 & 3 (Megan wasn’t feeling well) at the Nike regional meet, and then finished 5th & 9th at the national meet.  Incredible!  Shortly thereafter we had fun (well Kathy certainly did!) at a fundraiser for our local candidates for the Minnesota house, Jim Miltich and Jay Sieling, who both performed with Anthony Miltich.  Unfortunately, they both lost as voters determined they were over-qualified for the position:


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Then we went on to the ‘U’ where some people of note were speaking; I took a picture of Senator Franken’s personal photographer, she took some pictures of us:

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In Britain, the major public holiday used to be Guy Fawkes Day… that was celebrated on November 5th with things like bonfires and fireworks… I think that made Halloween seem preferable. The idea of having pumpkins and costumes and parties seemed much more appealing than burning down your neighborhood. ~ Lisa Morton

Below, we stopped at the Science Museum (for the Monarch butterfly movie) on the way to Basketball Dan’s annual turkeyfest, girls’ hockey season began, the supervisor demonstrates her prowess on immediately notifying everybody via Facebook on what’s happening music-wise, and “Weakie’s” designated pre-hockey game meal:

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How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?  ~   Dr. Seuss

Below, last December, the Super Fans sponsored a Puck Shoot; I coveted a car; the super and her kids; me and a lamp; The Biddies at San Marcos on Reetz’s birthday, New Year’s Eve; and my biography:

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Above, the grandson and his family wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’  ~ Dave Barry

(Pssst, and did I mention they finally published my biography?)


About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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10 Responses to MERRY CHRISTMAS 2014

  1. Gretchen says:

    Wow — and quite a year you two had!! IF only I had your energy!!! Nice to scroll through and see some of the photos again. — Gretchen

  2. Anne O'Flynn says:

    Thank you so much!!! I laughed, I cried, I loved it!
    I hope you know, you two are ‘living the dream’ – and I’m so glad I get to get caught up in it every now and then. Love you, Annie

  3. Bob G says:

    It’s wonderful to see how happy you two are I guess the Minn cold agrees w you. As we get older doing the things now becomes important as later is not pretty

  4. Mark says:

    What a year in review, although the months past faster as the year goes along. Good to hear Lisa again. Happy Holidays all!

  5. JamiG4 says:

    That seagull is the best photo bomber I’ve ever seen!

  6. Greg and Val Trumm says:

    What a beautiful greeting card! You two have alot of fun! Blessings to you and yours this holiday season…Greg and Val 🙂

  7. Sandy Susag says:

    Our world in living color ..and I LOVE that so few of the pictures contain the color of WHITE …ground….wishing you two the best of Christmas ever…..Sandy

  8. Deb T says:

    I like hanging out with you guys because you are always doing something fun! I think I spotted myself three times. I don’t plan to write as much but will wait to summarize the season after it happens. May the next year be as eventful. Be merry! Deb

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