As fear and disruption caused by the Covid pandemic continue to recede, life seems to be returning to what it once was. But, when considering other world events – overhanging clouds of existential geopolitical and environmental threat – one can feel strongly that living on this planet has somehow permanently changed. Nevertheless, because time and health and the people we love are our most precious personal commodities while living this life on Earth, shouldn’t we savor these good things and cultivate gratitude for them? Perhaps this is something to reaffirm as we enter a new year.
Chris remains busy at Christina Andersen Floral Design, her 25th year in business. (She says: Yikes!!!) CAFD earned another Hoboken Green Business Award for Chris’ earth-friendly practices, such as composting, recycling, and choosing a 100% wind power electric supplier. At the awards ceremony, she received a special shout-out from Mayor Ravi Bhalla – who also happens to be a frequent CAFD client (as was former Mayor Dawn Zimmer).
Martin abides at New Jersey Symphony, completing his 44th season as the orchestra celebrated its Centennial year. You’ve already heard about his participation in the film Maestro (reduced to five seconds of obscure screen time 20:25 in), now also on Netflix. He is once again teaching at Stevens Institute of Technology, as well as keeping busy with private students and the NJSO’s youth orchestra program. And of course, the usual time-intensive involvement with the musician committee/music union.
Christina & Martin:
We enjoyed three trips this year. June found us attending a McIlwain (Chris’ family) reunion in Rockford Illinois. Had not gotten that many – 40, comprising three generations – together ever before. We made our yearly trip to Palm Springs, California to visit Martin’s mom. At 93, Ruth enjoys good health and lives in her own home, with the help of her friends. (Martin made another visit in June, after attending a union convention in Las Vegas.) In August we returned to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, for the Grand Teton Music Festival. One afternoon, sipping drinks with new local friends Terry and Gary Trauner on their backyard patio, Chris spotted the sudden appearance of a large bull moose making its way through the edge of their property, barely ten yards away. Chris commented that it must be such a common occurrence for them; but Gary replied that it never gets old.
In addition to our usual time spent in Grand Teton National Park, we were able to get away for a few delightful days in nearby Yellowstone, which we had not visited in a decade. Yellowstone being such a vast and varied place, it was a delight to see both the old familiar sights, and a few new ones, including recently-built visitor lodges and facilities which we viewed with mixed feelings. While there, we acquired a piece of “ledger art” from an indigenous artist, Evans Flammond, who was exhibiting his works at the Yellowstone Tribal Heritage Center, a stone’s throw from Old Faithful Inn. We had a social Christmas and Holiday season, celebrating Christmas Day at Chris’ sister Melinda’s home in Brooklyn with family and friends; New Year’s Eve with many friends a few blocks from our place at the home of Susan Copeland and Brian Mynard; and New Year’s Day back in Brooklyn.
We’re looking forward to spending two weeks in the mild winter desert weather of Phoenix, Arizona and Palm Springs at the end of January. We’ll be visiting Chris’ brother Morgan and wife Laura living in Scottsdale, and Martin’s former colleague Toni Thompson in nearby Mesa. Then on to Palm Springs, to spend time with mom and enjoy even more warm, dry air.
January 5th was our 33rd wedding anniversary.
Wishing you a fine 2024.
Martin and Chris