The Lasley Holiday Letter - 1999

After a visit with the Lasley Grandparents in Punta Gorda Florida over Christmas ’98, fishing and relaxing (if you don’t count Jacq’s trip to the local hospital for a GI bug, or Laura caring for a premie while she was there!), we returned to a relaxing winter. Jacq started skating lessons and Ben started with the rehearsals for the spring play. We went skiing a couple of times, but otherwise things were quiet.

We went to the BVIs for spring break, chartering a 35’ sloop and sailing all around the island of Tortola. The wind and weather were wonderful for the entire week. The kids learned to snorkel (fun!), and the islands were beautiful. Ben learned how to drive the Zodiac, and Jacq was the youngest waitress ever one night in one of the beach bars, Billy Bones. We met up with a nice family that lives less than 10 miles from us here in CT.

When we returned, it was time for soccer to start up again for both kids (and Dan too!). Unfortunately, Ben’s team went through a lot of turmoil with major changes in the roster and a new coach, resulting in a less than rewarding season. Jacq’s team fared better, with most players returning (Coach Dan too) and playing better than before.

The spring production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe went into high gear. The classical music, black-lights, and wonderful costumes provided a great foundation for the emotional acting and energetic sword-fights. As usual, Ben ran the soun, Laura ran concessions, and Dan just ran around; Jacq disappeared somewhere backstage.

In our free time (?), we spruced up the outside of the house. We had a new raised fieldstone flower bed built in front, and filled it with roses and annuals. We also had the entire yard leveled and re-seeded. Dan was very happy that it rained for 3 days after the grass seed was spread – who knew it would be the last rain for 10 weeks?!?

As the school year wound down, the kids had their concerts and recitals. Both children have improved significantly. Ben’s Jazz Ensemble did very well in competition.

To top off the year, we were all involved in the Middle School Talent Show and Gourmet Dinner (called the Bistro). The Lasley clan was in charge of the main stage, where we shuttled 29 singing, dancing, and/or comedy acts on and off in 3 hours! In addition, one of the last performers was our Rock’n’Roll band consisting of Laura on guitar and vocals, Dan on bass guitar, Ben on clarinet and tenor sax, and Jacq singing backup. Ben’s friends Steven (vocals) and Nicole (drums), and Steven’s dad Louie (guitar and vocals) rounded out the group. We played When I’m 64 with Ben on clarinet, followed by Under the Boardwalk and Moondance with Ben on sax. We were told that we sounded pretty good, and it was a lot of fun.

Summer started early, with Grandpa Kwaan pulling Ben out of school before the last day, “dragging” him to London and Paris for lectures and a conference. Ben enjoyed most of “the sights”, although the historical significance may not have sunk in.

Annie returned to shuttle the kids again for the summer, taking Jacq to her various activities. Ben went to work on the summer production of “Pippin”, having been recruited by the director to run the sound. Ben also sailed his Laser around Saugatuck Harbor.

Ben made a new friend while working on “Pippin”, and discovered that she and he had many things in common, including a love of sailing. By the end of July, they were an “item”, sailing and hanging out at our house on the weekends. Samantha is older, taller, and smarter than Ben; characteristics that his parents approved of.

In August, we went canoe-camping in the north woods of Maine. We paddled 85 miles down the Allagash river as part of a group of 12 plus a guide. Laura and Dan got pretty good at running the mild rapids, and the kids had fun swimming and camping out. It rained almost every night, but the days were mostly clear and not too hot. We saw lots of bald eagles, as well as other wildlife, but only 2 moose. The food prepared by our guide was excellent every night, and that the rest of the group were good companions.

After we returned, Annie went back to college, but she got her younger sister’s ex-boyfriend to watch the kids through Labor Day (go figure). We went sailing on the catamaran as often as we could, taking friends and going for picnics on the nearby islands. It was a good chance to relax, since we knew that the fall would be very busy.

In the middle of all this, Laura was diagnosed with a broken thyroid. Sometimes it’s hypo- sometimes it’s hyper-, but it’s almost always out of whack. She began taking an eclectic mix of medications, and felt better, but still not “right”.

September came crashing, with school (Ben in 7th, Jacq in 3rd), soccer (Ben’s team returns to it’s former glory, Jacq’s move up to the big time – goalies!), and the fall play.

While Ben and Dad hoped that the fall production of Li’l Abner 2000 would be “more of the same”, it turned out just to be “more” – much more. In addition to the 10 wireless body mics and 4 field mics, the director added a TV camera and reporter crew, a reverse projection screen showing computer animations, and a pit orchestra, all aimed at bringing this updated tale into the next millennium. Dan got much too involved in the extra technology, but it was a rewarding experience as always. The last two shows ran perfectly, and high-fives went all around in the tech booth. Laura ran the concessions again, this time with Jacq as one of her prime helpers.

One casualty of all this activity was that Ben and Samantha broke up. Between their numerous time conflicts (she’s a dancer and also had a lead in the play), and the 7th vs 8th grade stigma, we were impressed that they lasted the 3 months. Dan and Laura are very proud of how Ben conducted himself in these “uncharted” waters.

Of course, Dan and Laura still went to work, which was good. At least this aspect of our lives has been uneventful for once. Laura went to two conferences in the fall, one to deliver a presentation on some clinical research she co-authored, and one to go to Chicago and see the Bears and the Bulls play, and attend at least one lecture.

Soccer ended just before Thanksgiving, with both teams doing very well. The holidays are supposed to be quiet, but you never can predict. The Kwaan Grandparents are coming for Christmas, and Dan and Laura have to work the following week. Laura is on call for New Year’s weekend; she is NOT interested in any millennium babies!

Two weeks after that, we’re off to New Zealand for the America’s Cup races. We’ll be there for 3 weeks, spending time on both the South and North Islands, stopping in Hawaii and San Francisco on the way back.

As always, we invite you to visit us anytime you’re in the NYC-Boston area. We hope your year/decade/century/millennium has gone well, and we wish you and yours all the best as the world’s odometer “rolls over”.

Dan, Laura, Ben and Jacq