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 Starting another Year

December 30, 2017 - January 5, 2018
Written January 2+
Dear Diary and Friends and Family,

It is a new year, our twentieth year of recording our lives and sharing with family and friends.  Year 2017 was more active than I had thought (see Xmas letter) with TWO travel highlights - Cuba and The Eclipse.  Resolutions are not much changed from a year ago, except "lose weight" becomes "keep weight off".  The parts about "visit family and friends" and "try interesting travel" remain, although they are still a bit of a challenge due to Fresno obligations.  We'll see.

I thought I would see how New Year's celebrations and resolutions had changed over the years, but that has turned into a considerable project!  Rather than delay any sort of "regular new year news", I am sending that review of the past down to a footnote.  Some resolutions took years to implement and some are still pending!  Continuous improvement is the goal, I suppose.

So, what do we expect as we start 2018?
It turns out that our first "event" will be another showing of Marianne's artwork at the M Street Arts Complex.  A couple days before the new year, she contacted Ma Ly, the complex organizer, to follow up on an earlier suggestion to have a showing and Ma suggested the January Art Hop, less than a week away!  Marianne agreed, of course, and we immediately went downtown to see the space.   Six hundred square feet of walls may be a challenge since her newer works are less than a square foot each.  We'll see.

d171230_10_exhibit.jpgd171230_12_poster.jpgWhile at M Street, we were impressed with the quality of many of the new displays.  I particularly liked the series of large panels prepared by Fresno State University (?) students as part of a project commemorating the 75th anniversary of the internment of Japanese-Americans.  If you get a chance, go see it.  (And, check Marianne's work too -- as soon as we get it up.)
d171230_22_selecting.jpgBack at the Art Hut, Marianne had to jump right in to finishing works, while her technical support did what he could.  (Note the new studio lighting!)  She is no longer nervous about displaying her work, but there are plenty of needed details: finish works-in-progress, buy and paint new frames, mount works in frames, update the price list, assemble enough business cards, clean signs and tables, and wrap everything for transport.  In the gallery, we will need to make sure the walls are clean (my job) and then determine a display scheme (her job).  Marianne will have three types of work to show, so how to mix and match?

We did take a break for our normal New Year's Eve celebration:  wine and good "finger-food" while watching CNN and the crowds in Time Square. I think we took particular pleasure in being in relatively warm California since those New Yorkers had to suffer 10F (-10C).  That's cold no matter how many folks squeeze together.  We managed to stay up until midnight (Central Time Zone), partially aided by the Fresno practice of  setting off plenty of fireworks and gun shots. Where DO those bullets land?
New Year's day started early, as do most days.  That also is a part of our aging, I'm afraid.  The start included a nice breakfast-for-two, probably my favorite way to start the day.  No champagne or Mimosas.  Maybe next year, to remind ourselves we are not THAT old.

The middle of the day included art (Marianne) and a 60-minute walk (John), activities that may be keeping us young, at least that is our hope.  Besides, she has a show to prep for and I have food and drink to compensate.  d180101_12_toast.jpgd180101_10_walk.jpg

In the afternoon, we brought Marianne's mom over for our family New Years celebration. We walked our quiet neighborhood and came back to the house for our celebratory champagne. At 98 years old, Magdalena is a reminder that graceful aging is possible.
Chef Marianne followed champagne with a very traditional dinner of sauerbraten, red cabbage, and home-made noodles and creme brulee.  The meat had been marinating for a couple days and then slowly cooking in the crock pot for hours.  The ginger-cookie flavored sauce was wonderful.  Even Marianne, her toughest food critic, said everything came out perfect.  d180101_16_customer.jpg

She was right.

And that was how our New Year's celebration went.  Quiet memories, for sure, but ones we will look back on, just as we can look back at New Year's past below.

The rest of this diary will cover the week's activities, most importantly the Thursday Art Hop.

Art shows start with setup and on Wednesday we transformed a bare room into a gallery of 19 wonderful works of art.  Pictures of each are below.

d180104_02_artist.jpgd180104_04_goodies.jpgPromptly at 5pm Thursday, we posted Marianne's "bio" and put out cookies and wine.  I remember that for her first show, it took days to create the two-page personal history, this time it was a simple reprint.  The first shows nibbles were home made, but this time they were direct from Costco.  Marianne is getting more relaxed.

d180104_08_lookers.jpgd180104_12_morelookers.jpgThen we just had to wait.  We really were not expecting too many people, since the January showing was after people had already spent their disposable cash on Christmas presents.  Nonetheless, a few dozen people came by, including our Cambridge neighborhood.   Both neighbors and strangers were actively interested, particularly in the multi-layer plaster and color process for the wood panels.

d180104_16_buyer.jpgd180104_18_buyer2.jpgThere were a few think-about-it potentials and a gallery that was interested in a longer-term relationship.  And our friends helped it be a commercial success with a pair of sales.   All in all, a very positive evening.

And next?  Nothing on the horizon until a trip to Monterey in a couple of weeks.

Stay tuned.

John and Marianne

Art Inventory




Twenty New Year's Days

ps:  For this diary, I also looked at the past years and where we were on New Years Day.  Amazed myself.  It's been a busy pair of decades.

2017  Monte Sereno to the Sierras. We celebrated NY Eve in Monte Sereno, just Marianne, me, and Charli, Gabby's new puppy.  On NY Day we headed to join the little family in the Sierra snow.  A fun start of a new year - with no record of resolutions or prognoses about 2017.  We were having too much fun.

2016 Fresno.  We were making progress on the standard resolutions: lose weight, exercise more, visit family. The diary looked back over a quiet year and forward with worry about the national and international prognoses.  Not too much different in 2017.

2015 Fresno.  We started the year with a new car and a Monterey visit to family.  No resolutions noted, but they hardly ever changed anyway.  Marianne was facing gallbladder removal and heart ablation.  Glad THAT all turned out OK!

2014 Newly-arrived in Fresno.  Waiting for house closing and our sea-shipped furniture and car.  No time for New Year's resolutions!

2013 Pommersfelden.  Brought in the new year by ourselves, with a nice meal in our 250-year-old jewel box.  Year started with a Budapest family visit from Klara and Gabor.  Soon we were off to local travel in Goslar, a UNESCO World Heritage city.  I'll admit, "local travel" used to be more interesting than the San Joaquin Valley towns.

2012 Pommersfelden.  Again no stated resolutions, maybe because I was having a hard time even writing the diaries.  New Year's dinner was with friends at Marilyn and Dieter's house, and we had just returned from our Christmas swing through America.  Germany was cold.  (-26C/-12F)  THAT part we do not miss, but we do miss friends.

2011 Pommersfelden.  Resolutions: lose 50 pounds; exercise; improve my German; save for retirement.  Six years later, I'm happy with three out of four.  We were looking forward to local and family-in-America trips.

2010 Pommersfelden. I was too tired from our Christmas swing through California, Colorado, and Virginia to even write a New Year's diary.  No resolutions.  No prognosis for 2010. 

2009 Pommersfelden. A standard New Year's Eve start:  quiet dinner at home and resolutions to lose weight, exercise, improve German.  Retirement prospect had taken a hit due to 2008's stock market tumble.  No prognosis except looking forward to family and friends visits.  Some things stay the same.

2008 Pommersfelden.  New Year's fireworks provided by neighbors, a local tradition.  Sixteen-point resolution schedule for John.  What was I thinking?

2007 Pommersfelden.  No resolutions or predictions, just a snapshot of our quiet village life, even quieter in winter.  No hint that I would spend considerable 2007 time working in the US, leaving our newly-restored house behind.

2006 Bamberg (for the night).  A wonderful New Year's Eve memory from our favorite Bavarian city.  Too enjoyable to worry about resolutions, etc.

2005 Frankfurt.  No New Year's diary or anything, probably because we were not yet caught up from our family gathering down in Garmisch-Partenkirche.  Certainly no mention of the huge change in living conditions: taking on the restoration of an 18th Century house in Pommersfelden in mid-2005.

2004 Frankfurt. No real New Year's diary, just an off-hand comment in this mid-January diary.  Once again, we had been on our three-kid, three-state, Christmas travels, so I understand why New Year's just passed by unrecorded.

2003 Over the Atlantic (returning to Frankfurt).   The big life change was immediately restarting a two-career lifestyle, when Marianne started teaching at Halvorsen-Tunner School at the Rhine-Main Air Base. No resolutions.  Just survive.

2002 Maryland (on the Road)  Clearly this was our most unsettled New Year's Day ever.  We were in the middle of driving our new Porsche through Europe "until the money runs out".  We were unemployed, by plan, but I was worrying if I could ever get a job again.  Anywhere.  The next six months would be a combination of once-in-a-lifetime travel and never-again worry. 

2001 Santa Cruz, California (in transit back to Kiev)  Back in these pre-web-site days, we sent emails to family and friends, emails that eventually were converted to Trotter.ws web pages.  On New Years Eve, we celebrated with friends before heading East ten time zones.  The website actually has no entries for the first half of 2001, probably because we were frozen.

2000 Kiev.  Marianne and I celebrated with champagne, sitting on a snow-covered bench, in front of St. Michael's church. Fireworks were rising from Kiev's main street, Kreschatyk.  A magical moment for sure.  Shortly after the beginning of 2000, we started the process that would see us buy and remodel a wonderful turn-of-the-century flat.

1999 Maryland (in transit to Kiev) No New Year's-specific memories, just pictures from "about then".  I am certain we had no lofty resolutions other than to stay warm. 

1998 Above the Pacific (en route from Shanghai to San Francisco)  Another story with no record except yet-to-be-organized pictures.  A project for 2018!


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