Side A & B. Our Holiday letter 2013

9 Dec

familyforxmascard HAPPY HOLIDAYS, ONE AND ALL!
Since we have already been getting people’s holiday letters and Christmas cards, I realize I’m way behind this year–I usually start this missive on the day after Thanksgiving. I suppose my delay is because this has been a rather rigorous year on some fronts, so let me just get all that out of the way, then I’ll highlight the happy news. The year began with the deaths of dear old friends, operations, illnesses, anxiety and panic attacks–there, I said it! But we’re still here and doing fine. I’m glad I kept a Gratitude Jar this year, so I can remember the good stuff, from which I have culled these highlights:
–Our old Philadelphia friends Linda Frank and Lee (Rob) Robbins arrived on New Year’s Day at 6:30 a.m., and we took them to their seats to watch the Rose Parade. It was great to see them after 30 years!
–En route to a short trip to Taiwan, our old Canberra friend (now living in Massachusetts) Harold Persing saw us during his airport layover, and we were able to take him up to Palos Verdes to see whales migrating down the coast to Mexico.
–In February, we went up to Santa Barbara to celebrate the 90th birthday of my high school German teacher, Frau Hance. George was the only man in a room full of very formidable octogenarian German ladies (plus me and Fr. Hance’s daughter, the youngest people in the room!). He handled himself with great apolmb.
–Max also visited in February, and we went on a ramen expedition–yum! We love LA for the tremendous diversity of eating opportunities. Max came again briefly in June, and we ate more ethnic goodies.
–THE BEST birthday present: Opening Day at Dodger Stadium! And what a fun baseball year it was!

The highlight of the year was our trip to North Carolina in September for a week with Max and Dottie (where the photo above was taken–I like Dottie’s suggestion that I hold the vase of flowers that we bought for them at the local farmer’s market). We had a lovely time–Chapel Hill is a perfect-sized town. Max continues on his post-doc fellowship at the University of North Carolina, and will start teaching at a local black college in January. Dottie is in the thick of her nursing program at UNC, and will spend 2 weeks in Guatemala with other nursing students before flying here to join us for Christmas.

For Thanksgiving, we had our newly married friends Michael Saint-Onge and Leonardo Chalupowicz over, and were able to cook the whole feast for the first time since coming back from Australia! The meal was delish, with lovely friends to feed and share stories.

George continued to make his sweet little booklets, and was thrilled when a group of bilingual 4th graders in Milwaukee (Marianne Case’s students) sent him thank-you letters and photos of the art they produced in the booklets he made for them.

Erika gave a talk on her book in Berkeley at the–wait for it–Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, an old-fashioned leftie think tank filled with good old-fashioned leftie academics. What fun! I also continue to work as the Librarian at the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. That’s a mouthful to say when I pick up the phone! I was able because of the job to write a chapter for vol. 3 of OUP’s The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines–on my favorite German magazine of the 1920s, Der Querschnitt. Someone must have read it, because I’ve now been invited to give a talk about the mag at a German literature conference in New York in February. I have also received the wonderful news that my inveterate queen of the grants Prue Ahrens received funding from the Terra Foundation for a Pacific Rim photography conference in Brisbane in July 2014. I will be a keynote speaker–so a free trip to Australia! I’m hoping George will come, too, and we’ll visit all our Aussie friends, and check out retirement options. In other news, I continue to worry about my addiction to Facebook, despite my pleasure in making so many new friends on the site.

And on that note: in October, I announced my retirement from LACMA for this coming June (after a major exhibition that we’ve been working on at the Rifkind opens). I can’t wait! I like the job, but I can’t bear the commute anymore. We will both turn 65 next year–yikes! George will work for another year, then we hope we can manage to figure out a way for him to retire, too, so we can have some fun before we are too old to enjoy it. Our dream is to spend part of the year in other places–Australia, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Portland, Oregon, Barcelona, Trieste, wherever. That’s our “bucket list”!

And so, dear friends, we end with a photo of the real masters of the house, Zuma and Kolo:

George & Erika, 450 N. El Molino Ave., Pasadena, CA 91101/tel. 626 744 0208, E. cell 626 644 2389, G. cell 626 394 5445/ CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE: (we have put up all of the chapters of my book, and lots of new stuff in the Australian Blue Guide section, too!)

%d bloggers like this: