Advent 2016

To our friends and family: Greetings!


Here's what has been happening to us since we reported in early December last year.

First we went on a two week cruise, starting in Buenos Aries, to Uruguay, the Falklands, Patagonian penguins, around Cape Horn, through the Beagle Channel enjoying the Chilean glaciers, Santiago. We have a few pictures here on our website, and many stories to tell. Click the first picture to run the slide show, and open the info button (i) at the top right on the picture pages for some commentary.

When we got back we got the news that Leo's father-in-law James “Ski” Kalinowski was deteriorating fast, after such a long time fighting cancer and various complications. He died on Christmas Eve and was buried in Rome with full military honors.

We went to Guatemala in February with the Unbound charity to see our sponsored girl, Deisy. It's a little different from Nicaragua. On the way back we stopped in to Florida, since it was on the way, and had nice visits with Jim's cousin Louise and his dad's cousin Marcel D'Hondt. There's a small sample of pictures here.

In the spring we got back into house renovation, and renovated the front bedroom which only guests inhabit. Only our main bedroom remains to be done, next year. Then we start all over, probably. Our well pipe plugged up, so the front lawn is now mostly mud.

MM's onions were happy, and predict that winter 2017 will be mild. The garden responded well to the ton or so of kuhscheiße we spread on it, and the raised beds constrained the weeds. Jim harvested another 22 pounds of garlic.

Unfortunately, we were not around to harvest a lot of our veggies, because we took a trip to Europe. But first we went to see some more penguins, at J.T. Van Hout's wedding in Florida.

Heinz-Bernd Padberg, a relative of MM's, invited us to his 50th birthday party near Koln, and a two week road trip afterwards. So 15 of us visited France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein. A small sample of our pictures is here. Afterwards, we cruised more of Germany and Belgium by ourselves, and visited Jim's brother Steve in Holland and the Van Hout clan in Belgium. Those pictures are here.

We took a couple trips to Michigan, one in September for MM's 50th high school reunion. Jim's Dad is doing well for 95; he's had some hospital and nursing home stays but is now back at home. Of course we took many trips to Rochester, NY to see the grandkids.

Leo's family just spent a week at Disney World. They also visited Boston and NYC to see Marieke, Curt, Jan and Olivia; and great-grandpa and the Van Hout cousins in Michigan. Avery is 11 years old and in 5th grade. Annika is almost 10, in 4rd grade. The girls play instruments and do softball, drama classes, soccer, altar serving, basketball, and swimming. Vaughn is 5 and enjoys hockey, Star Wars, and all things sports.

Leo continues to work for Karl Storz Endoscopy. He plays volleyball and coaches the girls. Katie is active in the girls' school and spends a lot of time chauffeuring between activities. They continue to teach premarriage classes at their church. Katie's sister Christine's family recently finalized the adoption of their daughter Grace.

Jan-Luc writes that he was dragged through the US medical system gauntlet early in the year. Four doctors and several MRIs later, he was diagnosed with left eye Horner’s Syndrome. Springtime was spent photographing an abandoned resort and Psychiatric Hospital and taking a trip with his partner Olivia to Niagara Falls. In June he took a sick road trip from NYC to Tampa, FL for his cousin John’s wedding. The superabundance of 2016 standout events include a UFO Fair, a Zombie Drive-In weekend, Central NY excursions, working on TV shows, Bon Jovi music videos and commercials. Life took another dramatic twist during a lugubrious separation with Olivia, with a stunning reconciliation bringing them closer together. They live a town & country lifestyle, enjoying the spoils of NYC and the solitude of nature alike. Love you all and have a happy 2017! janlucvd at yahoo dot com. Twitter & Instagram: janlucvd. (Write him for clarifications.)

For Marieke and Curt, 2016 was another year of personal adventures and professional pursuits. Marieke is completing her first full calendar year as Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Society. She has professionalized many of its activities and has developed community programs that have attracted attention around the city and in the museum community alike. She also works on several museum-related side projects; see her Joyful Museums website for more. In November, she was elected to the New England Museum Association's board of directors.

In March, Curt joined Harvard Business Review as Senior Editor after nearly ten years covering business and technology at WBUR, Boston's NPR news station. In addition to working on the podcast HBR IdeaCast, he writes the occasional magazine article and edits stories for (And he’s still a regular guest on the NPR show Here & Now.) They still love Massachusetts. If you find yourself in Greater Boston, please give them a call!

Kateri spent a quiet year, since she and her longterm boyfriend, Laford, were saving their money for a down payment on a house. She was able to make it down to Tampa see the family and celebrate JT and Yoon's wedding. It was a quick trip because she needed to be back upstate for the exhausting process that was buying a house. But it finally happened and they moved in this summer. They're happily settled in, now. They enjoy entertaining, since the house came with a pool table! Kateri continues to work as the Lab Manager at LensCrafters, and helps out with Laford's store, Syracuse's Original Carmelcorn.

MM still has a few paying jobs, interpreting for the Deaf, and Jim is quite used to retirement. We're still teaching natural family planning  classes online. MM is still excited about genealogy.

Our previous newsletters are archived on our homepage. Keep in touch at the addresses at the bottom of the page. We hope you are healthy and happy. Best wishes for 2017!


Jim, Mary Margaret/Tunkin, Leo & Katie & Avery & Annika & Vaughn, Jan-Luc, Marieke & Curt, and Kateri