Year End 2012

The final day of 2012 is upon us and the year is ending with a beautiful snowfall coming down. I’m staring out the window at the snow and I start thinking about all that has happened with our family over this past year. There have been some sad and scary times, but overall has been a great year. Sally writes our annual Christmas letter, but I thought I’d take some time to write down my thoughts about the last year.

We started out the year by experiencing a heartbreaking loss at the Cotton Bowl; Kansas State lost to Arkansas 29-16 and we had to wait 6 more months for the excitement that was Kansas State Football 2012. More on that later…

We go to see Yo-Yo Ma perform with the Kansas City Symphony – one of the highlights of our musical escapades.

My grandmother died on March 6, but we were able to remember her in such a wonderful and loving memorial service. People were so happy knowing that she was finally with my grandfather and in heaven, it almost didn’t hurt to have her gone.

Anna was confirmed into the Catholic Church (along with 68 other young men and women). We are so proud of her faith development. Emily is currently going through the confirmation process.

We spent a wonderful week in Cozumel – a place we hope to return to soon. The beautiful waters, endless drinks, and warm sun are just too hard to stay away from.

Linda finally got the Prius that she’s been wanting for so many years. We are no longer a minivan family. This has actually been a big adjustment, because it means the girls can only each invite one friend to go somewhere (and that’s if I don’t go along). We’ve had to take 2 vehicles sometimes, when previously we’ve been able to pile into the minivan. However, Linda loves her car and the 43.5mpg is hard to complain about!

Anna and Emily stayed very busy with piano, flute, violin, and dance. They have each begun really spreading their musical wings and becoming individual unique musicians. The next 3 year years will be exciting to see them in all of the high school activities to which I’m sure they will be attracted.

Linda and I did a lot of biking – but not as much as we wanted. My bike crash in June with the resulting fractured pelvis really put a damper on things. However, Linda was able to bike across Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and Mississippi with friends while I drove the support vehicle. This was a really fun adventure (but I would’ve been much happier riding instead of driving).

Speaking of driving, Anna received her restricted drivers license and is looking forward to driving any opportunity she can. Emily will be starting in just a few months….

Also, speaking of Tennessee, the four of us visited Memphis and Nashville for our summer vacation. We were immersed in American musical history. What a great vacation. We also extended our presidential library visits this summer (Dwight D Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln, and Andrew Johnson).

Further family vacationing saw us spending a long weekend with Linda’s family at a 4H family camp. Archery, horseback, rifle range, crafts, bunk beds, nature hikes, and cafeteria dining brought back a lot of memories of camps as a kid. We had a lot of fun.

I moved to a new job this year, joining an old friend from med school and residency. I’m enjoying my new group of partners and look forward to continued professional satisfaction taking care of patients in the emergency department.

I started singing with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus as a bass. What a challenging, yet incredibly rewarding adventure. We performed Carmina Burana, Handel’s Messiah, and a marathon Christmas Festival. This next spring we will be performing Rachmaninoff’s The Bells.

Finally, the Kansas State Wildcats football team gave us quite a thrill this year with a 10-1 season. We were number 1 for one week (if not for that nasty loss at Baylor). Collin Klein flirted with the Heisman trophy. After all these years of being considered an afterthought in any football conversation, we seemed relevant. We will be playing in the Fiesta Bowl in just 3 days (in fact, many family and friends have already started heading towards Arizona). We will be watching the game with friends here at home – hoping for a big win over Oregon. I hope I don’t have to start next years look back with a loss at another bowl game.

Happy New Year everyone!

Happy Birthday, Carlene

Today we travelled to Topeka to celebrate the birthday of The Mother-in-Law (what she calls herself). What’s even better is that Elaine, Ed, and the kids are still in town. All 10 of us gathered for presents and then went to Red Lobster for a seafood feast (at least as good as you get in Kansas).

Happy Birthday, Carlene.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Featherstons.

For into us a child is born; unto us a son is given.

Let us be reminded that Jesus was born into a poor family in a lowly stable; God came among us so that we might all be saved – all of us. May he be born into our hearts in a new way today.

Funeral in Seneca

Today we travelled to Seneca, about 3 hours away, to attend the funeral of Linda’s Uncle Melvin (husband of her mother’s oldest sister). Coming from such a small family, I’m always amazed at the number of family members there are on the maternal side of Linda’s family.

It was a touching service in the beautiful older church, Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The music was provided by the Knights of Columbus mens choir (Melvin was a fellow Knight). This was followed by a bitterly cold graveside blessing that lasted approximately 5 minutes; 19 degrees and 30mph winds hastened the retreat to our cars. Finally, we reconvened back at the parish hall for a nice lunch prepared by the volunteer women of the church.

The priest noted during the homily that we normally are celebrating and joyous at this time of year; however, we were meeting to mourn the loss of a beloved family member. However, there is comfort knowing that Melvin will be waiting for us when we come to the end of our earthy journey. Although a sad occasion, it was wonderful meeting up with all of the family.

***Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him***

Cats at The Sprint Center

Last night we went to The Sprint Center to watch the Kansas State Wildcats basketball to take on #8 Florida Gators. After losing earlier in the season to #4 Michigan and #14 Gonzaga, I think most everyone assumed the Cats would lose this game. However, we won 67-61.

We were pleasantly surprised with a hard-fighting squad, led by hometown hero, junior Will Spradling. The place was loud with lots of cheering and clapping. There was also a lot of booing as the referees somehow had trouble spotting obvious fouls. As you can see by the view from our seat in the rafters, fouls apparent to us should’ve been seen by those standing right there. I did my part and yelled as loud as I could (not really a good thing to do if one is singing for church the next morning).

We had an awesome time. In fact, the four of us were joined by Ed, Elaine, Connor, and Helen. Linda tried to snap a quick picture of us as we were getting ready to enter the arena:

KC Symphony Chorus Christmas Festival

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You’ll notice that there was, yet again, another break in the posts on this blog. Since Linda’s birthday, I was busy with work and also performing with the Kansas City Symphony Chorus and the Christmas Festival. We had rehearsal on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday – with shows on Thursday, Friday, and then two shows on Saturday and again on Sunday. Needless to say, I was exhausted.

Despite being exhausting, it was a wonderful concert with music from the Kansas City Symphony, the Symphony Chorus, the Allegro Children’s Choir, and the Rezound Handbell Choir. It truly was an amazing show – with numerous opportunities for getting misty-eyed.

I’m enjoying time off now and spending time with the family. I’m looking forward to spending more time with Linda and the girls. The Christmas season is about to arrive and we’re thankful that we’ll get to spend it with all of Linda’s family.

Procrastination…

You’ll notice my last blog post was exclaiming the news that K-State was number 1 in the BCS polls. That lasted a whole week – because we got BEAT by Baylor the following Saturday and fell from our lofty pedestal all the way down to number 6.

I knew the right thing to do was to post about the loss, especially since I’d been posting every win all season long. However, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I kept meaning to – but it never happened. Seems that if I didn’t write about it, I wouldn’t have to really think about it.

Then, I got very busy. I had a lot of rehearsals and performances at that time for the Kansas City Symphony Chorus. The night of the Baylor game found me at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts singing Carmina Burana by Carl Orff. Linda and the girls were there, too. Fortunately, we did not witness the destruction of our beloved Wildcats because we were immersed in voices and percussion. Check out the video clip of our dress rehearsal:

Finally, the good news is that K-State won their last game of the season at home against Texas and are now the Big XII Champions. Last time we did that was 2003 at Arrowhead Stadium against Oklahoma (a game that Linda and I attended). Now, we will be playing against Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl on January 3. Watch party at my house?

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By the way, there were some piano recitals and other musical events for the girls in the past 2 weeks. I plan to post those here in the next few days.