January 05, 2010

So Long 2009 - Hello 2010

Gitta and Jo on Christmas Day

IMG_0021: Coins Are Ready
Opening Gifts
IMG_0041: Christmas Morning
Bill, Steve, Betty and Ellen
IMG_0049: Brothers and Wives
Brian, Gay Lynn and Bill
IMG_0063: Brothers and Sister

Lucy and Her Cake

IMG_0099: Lucy and Her Cake
Eva, Brian and Johanna
IMG_0090: Eva, Brian and Jo
Jo with Guests Tawny and Liz
IMG_0069: Tawny, Johanna and Liz

I hope all of you had very happy holidays!

We had a great Thanksgiving meal in November.

In December cold and snowy weather came. At least three feet of snow fell on our yard since Thanksgiving. It has been as cold as -20 degrees (-30c) at night. One of the worst storms came on Christmas Eve. Many a family gathering had to be canceled, and many relatives missed gatherings on Christmas day.
We also had many family get-togethers, the best being on Christmas. The grandchildren got lots of presents on Christmas morning. The Christmas dinner was super fantastic! We prepared a whole ham, which was the best we have had in years. Yes, it came from Ingebretson's meat market, as always. There were sweet potatoes, and corn and Betty's famous cheese-potatoes. For desert we had pumpkin pies with whip cream. Throughout there were the cookies and fudge and caramel candies that Birgitta and Betty had spent days preparing. The only disappointment was that the weather kept Brian and Gay Lynn and their spouses from coming over in the late afternoon on Christmas Day.

Just after Christmas, my brother Steve and his wife Ellen dropped by for a visit. A few days later, my brother Brian had the family over for a wonderful brunch. We so much enjoyed visiting with everyone and eating wonderful holiday foods.

For us the year ended on the first day of January. We hosted the birthday party for Lucianna, who turned one-year old on December 31st, and for Johanna, who turned two-years old on November 27th. We had a house full of people. Even with all the preparation work, it was a wonderful day.
Two days later Dain and Marleta left for Palo Alto. Their two-week visit was a wonderful holiday present.

Here is the link to our Holidays slide show. We received a number of photos in Christmas cards; the show includes these photos.

2009 in Review

We started 2009 celebrating the birth of Luciana. Then we spent a wonderful four months in Chile and Argentina. The summer was filled with projects small and large. We attended the wedding of Alex and Kat. I went back to the Oshkosh air show. Then there was the Minnesota State Fair. We spent two months traveling out west, visiting friends and relatives. And we ended with a wonderful holiday season.

You can review the year by starting with the first entry of 2009 in this blog.

You can also see what we saw at my Fickr photostream. While running a slide show of an event, click the right side of the screen and you will be able to view the title and description of the photo. Links to slide shows and collections follow:
The collection: 2009 in Chile and Argentina,
a slide show: A Day at the Zoo
a slide show: Summer of 2009,
a slide show: Minnesota Sate Fair 2009,
a slide show: September 2009 ,
a slide show: Driving Out West ,
a slide show: Palo Alto to Oregon
A slide show: Oregon to Minnesota.

A note on politics:
The USA is doing better on the world scene. Our new president continues making progress on a number of fronts. He has also made some serious mistakes.

The best example of both progress and errors is in the area of health care reform. Congress is close to passing a bill that will provide for near universal health care in the USA. The reforms are positive and significant. The error was in not offering enough leadership to start the ball rolling on our greatest need, that being the reduction of health care cost. Americans pay twice the normal rate of European health care plans. A weak yet important step toward reduced costs would be public intervention into the health care system. None of the four options that would reduce costs will be in the final legislation. Those four in their order of effectiveness from weakest to greatest follow: (1) Mandate universal coverage through existing health care insurance companies with mandatory non-profit policies and cost negotiations with drug and health providers; (2) creation an alternative government owned and run insurance program, which all Americans could choose; (3) creation of a single-payer health care system based on our existing Medicare program, which would have the authority to negotiate with drug and health care providers; (4) creation of a government-owned and run healthcare system based on our existing Veterans healthcare benefits, which would have the authority to negotiate with drug companies. Only the first and second were considered. The second was included in the House bill, but it is not likely to appear in the final legislation. What this means is that the healthcare industry will continue to rip-off Americans.
Despite the legislation's weaknesses, it does take many big steps in the right direction.

I will say no more, save to say:

Happy New Year to ALL !

40,000 Christmas Lights Illuminate the Sky
 IMG_0020: 40,000 Lights

Posted by bill at January 5, 2010 03:41 PM

Thanks for the memories and pics of your beautiful family and friends. It has been a horrible cold winter so far here in MN. Last I heard it was 27 degrees in Tampa Florida? Take care. stay safe and I look forward to the travel reviews again in 2010.

Posted by: Margie Sanroman at January 8, 2010 04:23 PM

Hello guys!

Happy Julian/Gregorian New/Old Year to you, too!

In our eyes, as ignorant foreigners, US-initiated wars are still roaming and Guantanamo bay is open. The reputation of the country on the world scene is as bad as it used to be, if not even worse. Obama created high expectations which have turned into a bunch of bushshit reminding from the previous administration. The problem with politics seems to be that only the corrupted ones can win in elections, so the only way to a change is a full-scale revolution, if one desires change.

It's cold here in Europe, too. Today it was +17C and we were freezing without proper winter clothes, which we are not going to acquire. We are hoping for the summer to arrive soon.

Any travel plans for this year?


Päivi & Santeri

Posted by: Päivi & Santeri at January 9, 2010 03:04 PM