Dear Far-Flung Friends,
Gung Hay Fat Choy! Belated Happy Chinese New Year! This actually started out to be our end of the year newsletter, but…time flies. I have wasted enough time over the last year surfing the web and playing with electronic gadgets that I might as well try to make the boring yearly newsletter an exciting multimedia experience, complete with hyperlinks.
The year started off with a tropical vacation: sunny Venezuela. We planned our trip to visit Carol’s niece, Katie McCoy and her husband, who were living in rural Venezuela as Maryknoll missioners. They ended their volunteer service early, but we went anyhow, and had a great time. Our trip started with a midnight ride from the airport at breakneck speeds in the back of a pickup along a coastal road with hairpin turns, sheer 1,000 foot drops to the ocean below, and three young Venezuelans in the front (the driver, his girlfriend and his buddy) passing a bottle of aguardiente. We spent a few days at the fishing village of Puerto Colombia. Before leaving, we dropped in on the World Social Forum in Caracas, where we ran into anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan. That’s Carol on the right:
My big news is, I have left the Star Tribune after 22+ years, and accepted a position as interim executive director of the Twin Cities Media Alliance. My job in the next six months is to convince my board of directors that I deserve to have the job permanently – and to raise enough money to keep the organization operating. TCMA is the non-profit organization I founded, that publishes the Twin Cities Daily Planet. The Star Tribune was recently sold to a private equity group, and I was one of 24 employees who decided to take advantage of a buy-out clause in the Guild (union contract) and take severance, rather than stay on with the new owners.
The Daily Planet won a Knight-Batten Award for Innovation in Journalism this summer, and is featured on the portal page of the company that was awarded the contract to build the city of Minneapolis’s citywide wireless network. Thanks to the Daily Planet, I have gotten to do a lot of traveling this year, making presentations at conferences in Washington, D.C., College Park, MD, San Francisco CA, and Amherst, MA. You can see my presentation at the AEJMC (journalism educators) conference in San Francisco, and watch a fun video about the launch of the Twin Cities Daily Planet by clicking on the cake:
Carol had a busy year as a consultant, helping a New Jersey-based energy company bring its operations into compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley business reporting requirement. But she put in nearly as much time this fall on a labor of love, helping to launch Urban Earth, a neighborhood gardening coop. Carol also started taking accordion lessons this year, and is rapidly becoming a squeezebox virtuoso.
My son Micha, 16, has lived all his life with his mother in Vienna, Austria, came to live with us this fall. It wasn’t an easy adjustment for any of us, and especially for Micha, who missed his friends back home. He decided he would be happier back in Austria, so he returned just before Christmas.
Our niece, Tess, whom Carol raised from the age of 9 till she went off to college, is living in Philadelphia and majoring in Art History at Temple University. Tess is spending the semester abroad in Rome, studying art history, and is having a great time – though she says she is getting tired of pasta.
It was a landmark year for our parents. Carol’s parents, Elmarie and Ed Bouska, celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary with a special mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Protivin, Iowa, and Ed gave a brief homily on the secrets of a happy marriage, which you can watch on YouTube, by clicking on the picture below.
(For those of you who don’t have high-speed broadband, Ed says that there are five things that it is very important for married couples to say to each other frequently:
“I love you.”
“Please forgive me.”
“I forgive you.”
“How was your day?”
It has worked for them for 65 years and counting.
My parents also passed important milestones: my mother, Wilma, celebrated her 85th birthday on March 23, and my father had his 80th birthday on December 7. Their joint autobiography, Two Lives in Uncertain Times: Facing the Challenges of the 20th Century as Scholars and Citizens was just published this year by Berghahn.
Finally, our two cats, Eddie and Hazel (below) spent another year living in the eternal present.
That’s about all for now…
Best wishes for the new year,
Jeremy and Carol