Happy New Year!
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the death of Thomas Crapper, we send our fondest Christmas wishes to you from the Neves Clan™. Our first full year here in Houghton, Michigan has been crystalline. Like a swan gently gliding over the ruffled terrain of a wild pomegranate, we had a heckuva year. How could one complain? We only received 150.5 inches of snow, with zero snowfall in March – like, gag me with a wooden snow shovel! LOL. Ironically, we encountered our worst winter weather of the year in Utah, of all places, when we were down there for my niece’s LDS bar mitzvah-wedding: we got stuck in the “storm of the decade,” or at least the storm of the “look at the mess it made.” Seriously. LOL.
Anyway, here’s a random run down of our fabulous 2010, replete with only the sexiest of highlights:
♂♀ Lara and I got away on a much-anticipated date to Chicago for some sweet Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Gino’s Pizza, Ghirardelli brownie sundaes, and the beautiful Chicago Temple. Seeing the Chicago Symphony live was the utmost thrilling experience for us, and to boot they played an all-Berlioz concert, my favorite composer! Unfortunately, of necessity we also had to visit the most anti-male store in recorded history: The American Girl Place. The place was dripping with estrogen, perfume, and coupons; it was worse than being in the bra section at Wal-Mart. LOL. But Lara did get for our precious Bria, Chloe, and Sophia (on behalf of their Mamah) some amazing dolls that they will forever treasure. (You are not allowed to tell them this until December 26, however, or I’ll have my TSA friend grant you an “enhanced pat down.” LOL)
♂ Joel-Maestro (age: 36) enjoyed a concert season that included him conducting everything from Bizet to Verdi to Bernstein to Elgar to Tchaikovsky to Ravel to Beethoven. (Beyoncé’s “Immorality Knowles No Bounds” and William Hung’s “Hung for the Holidays” is on the docket for next year. LOL) But seriously, how’s the crowd doin’ tonight? Anyway, Joel really loves working at Michigan Technological University way up here in the Great White North, eh: a laid-back place with super nice people, incredible talent, great innovation, and a general populace thoroughly emancipated from the restrictive social expectation of wearing deodorant. To impress people, I’ll tell them that I work at Michigan Technological University so they think I work at that more famous institution down south. LOL. My department has asked me to teach History of Rock and Roll next summer – Partridge Family, here I come!
♀ Lara-Matriarch (age: ??) has astounded all around her, yet again, by creating a plethora of astounding photographic essays, witty and touching blog posts, beautifully rendered concert arias, vastly improved voice students, tasteful and cute home décor, spiritually nourished flocks at church, and well-adjusted, happy children. She would put Lynda Carter and Barbara Billingsley to shame! LOL. Lara fulfilled her dream of singing in a professional opera company this summer, as she sang in Pine Mountain Music Festival’s La Traviata, the uplifting tale of a whore who dies of consumption. Lara loved dressing up all fancy, memorizing gobs of Italian, and looking astoundingly gorgeous on stage. She even received unsolicited love notes from the surtitle operator up in the catwalk (i.e. me). LOL. When I first tenderly kissed Lara’s inviting lips on her parents’ driveway (it lasted 1.5 seconds), she said that all she wanted to be was a mother. I was so impressed then—for many reasons…—but I’m even more impressed now as I see her consciously sacrifice her wants and needs for the betterment of her children. Based on her recent performance, I’m happy to announce that I’ve extended our marriage contract for five more years! LOL
♀ Bria-Fashionista (age: 10) has become obsessed with everything fashion, sewing, cooking, or violin – and she’s totally awesome at all of them. But not motherhood. She recently told Lara: “I don’t want to be a mother when I grow up because it will hurt to have babies.” LOL. Bria’s violinistic skills and joie de vivre have exponentially increased as she’s dedicated herself to practicing daily. Case in point: two days ago, unprompted, she asked Lara: “Mom, is it OK with you if I practice my orchestra music?” Um, no brainer! That’s like saying, “Mom, is it alright if I get straight As in school, marry a great guy, and stay away from marijuana?” LOL. Bria’s highlight must have been going down to the beautiful Mackinac Island—the famous Michigan destination where the movie “Somewhere in Time” was filmed—with her mommy and Girl Scout troop. She went letterboxing and sightseeing, ate fudge, stayed up late talking to friends, and had gobs of fun. Luckily she didn’t find a penny minted in 1979 in her pocket, or she’d have been transported to “Somewhere in Montana” in 2046. LOL. Bria’s most endearing trait has been her growing maturity and helpfulness around the house. She loves to wake up in the morning and quietly clean the playroom and then surprise mommy and daddy. We just love her. We will continue to let her live in our house.
♀ Chloe-van Gogh (age: 7) is an artiste extraordinaire that tirelessly draws day and night, always with an eye for the minutest details. (Ever wonder what an object placed directly behind a balloon might look like? Chloe figured it out!) She also gets abnormally excited about school subjects. She’ll bring a friend over after school and say: “Let’s play consonant clusters!” Or she’ll randomly blurt out during family night: “Keynesian economics just doesn’t work. It’s a pathway to socialism!” LOL. Chloe goes either hot or cold with her unique Italian-Hawaiian-Mormon temper. Sometimes she gets so frustrated that she’ll start snarling and growling like a menopausal wildebeest. LOL. But she can also be saccharine sweet – she recently wrote a note to her mommy saying (verbatim): “dear mommy I love you. you are the Best mommy ever! I wouldent have a better one then you. and when are you going to give me a hug?” Chloe is loved by all and a joy to be around. She has a cute personality, a perky smile, and a wonderful sense of humor. She is a social butterfly that intuitively befriends those who are ostracized, shunned, or scorned, like that shy kid named Matt at her school; or supporters of ObamaCare. LOL. Chloe is truly the kumquat of our eyes.
♀ Sophia-Cavewoman (age: 4) sends greetings from Thad and Goorock of her native tribe. Sophia rules our house with a copper knuckle, demanding strict obedience of all so fortunate as to live under the same roof as her Paleolithic majesty. LOL. She recently set clear parameters on Lara’s authority: “You’re not a queen, Mom! You’re just a mom!”… on how to escape parental discipline: “I wish I was a girl Batman – and you wasn’t – then I could fly high up in the sky and you could not catch me.” … and on religious devotion: “Daddy say I can do whatever I want today because it’s my birthday, so I don’t have to say prayers and read scriptures!” From the mouths of babes…. LOL. Sophia has an electric energy about her that is immensely charming – but this quality can also become embarrassing in public places. Daddy will take her on a semi-weekly “daddy daughter date” and get her a treat at the local store. Whenever she gets her treat and we go pay for it, she’ll turn to the cashier and other customers in line and (with her hips swaying) shout at the top of her lungs: “I’m a lucky girl! Oh, yeah … uh huh … it’s my birthday … oh, yeah … uh huh … I’m LUCKY!” LOL. This indomitable spirit possesses the cutest, most inquisitive, most endearing of personalities. She puckers her lips as big as Lake Superior to give us hourly kisses, and virtually everything that comes out of her mouth either makes us laugh, smile, or wonder how we lived decades without this cute little Neanderthalian noonoo puff.
So there you have it – the bizarre, quirky, socially awkward, dysfunctional, yet utterly joyous Neves Clan™. Our year has been the best it’s ever been; we are as happy as ever; we are as blessed by the Lord as ever; and we just love it here in the wild snowy woods of northern
. We are riveted to templates which happiness plasters within confines set by impressive buckets of virtuous family scrapbooks. Seriously. LOL. Michigan
Joel, Lara, Bria, Chloe, Sophia