The Lasleys’ Holiday Letter – 2005

The New Year started off in the normal way – crazy! Ben went back to Exeter to finish his senior year, with his Stanford acceptance letter in his pack. He and Yanessa worked non-stop on the production of “Into the Woods”, which was not his first time working this show. In March we went up to see two performances, which were very impressive.
Jacqui had a bit-part in “Annie Get Your Gun”, which meant she had to go to all of the rehearsals, but didn’t have to memorize many lines. She made herself useful backstage as well. Jacqui also kept up with her wrestling, including going to one open boys meet, and the regional girls championships. That was her first time wrestling other girls, and she came within 30 seconds of being the champion, but accepted her second place trophy with pride. She also met some girls from Andover there, which gave her hope for her prep school years.
Dan and Laura continued to play volleyball, and once again coached a group of middle-school girls in the basic skills. It was a lot of fun.
One final time, we produced the middle school talent show. This being Jacqui’s 8th grade year, we recruited a few of her classmates to fill out a 4-piece brass section. We played “Get Ready”, “Just You ‘n’ Me”, and “Moondance”, with Jacqui playing alto sax, clarinet, and flute, switching off in the middle of the songs. It was a great show, but we set the tempo too fast! We have a DVD, but it’s pretty grainy.
In April, Laura and Dan took an escape weekend in New Orleans for a friend’s daughter’s wedding. We did the touristy things, and it was all beautiful and energetic. Dan almost convinced Laura to sing at one of the bars, but she never drinks enough. Sadly, we won’t be able to repeat that trip anytime soon.
Jacqui was very happy to learn that she had been accepted or deferred to all 3 prep schools to which she applied. She decided that Exeter was the best fit for her.
During the Spring term, Ben decided not to work on a theatrical production. Instead, he spent time in the sunshine, read a few books, and pondered quantum mechanics (the last was a class). Conversely, Jacqui went to 3 soccer tournaments as well as the regular league schedule – almost 30 games in 2 months.
And then June arrived, and it was all over. We went to Ben’s graduation (Cum Laude!), and Jacqui did all the end of school things, including earning the Connecticut Scholar Leader Award – we knew she was bright, but we were delighted to learn that everyone else thought so too.
Everyone was home at the same time for about 2 weeks, and then Jacqui took off for the UK on a soccer jaunt (thank goodness she was not in London during the bombing, as her team had moved on to Scotland), and Ben went back to Exeter to work in the theater – again!
In July, Jacqui and Dan went to a soccer Referees camp, where we learned from the best refs and instructors in the northeast. It was very hot and humid, and the black uniforms didn’t help, but it was fun and educational.
August brought the annual Riverside Jam, this time in Elkhart Indiana. Along the highway is a giant saxophone store, so we picked up a new alto for Jacqui. The Jam has grown every year, and this year was extra fun as we played on a real riverboat, as well as in a coffeehouse. It was probably one of our best performances. Pix are on the website.
Due to the kids busy schedules, we had to schedule our vacation for the last week of August. We had planned to sail from Newport to Martha’s Vineyard, but Hurricane Katrina passed close enough to mess up the weather. So we wandered in and around Narragansett Bay, which is very pretty. We didn’t learn of the destruction in New Orleans until days later – just like FEMA!
Jacqui left for Exeter soon after Labor Day. Her room is on the 4th floor, and is actually bigger than her room at home! This is both good and bad, as she has a lot of stuff. Since she knows the campus very well and makes friends easily, she settled in quickly.
Ben hung around Westport for a couple more weeks. He created a web-based referee scheduling program for our soccer club. He did a nice job with it, and was paid handsomely. Then we put him on a plane to Stanford, where Elyce met him and helped him get settled. We don’t hear much from him anymore, but we’ve seen him on TV – he’s in that crazy Stanford marching band! We think this is to keep his mind off being 3000 miles from Yanessa.
Although Jacqui was having a great time at school, she came down with some strange gut illness that caused her extreme pain. This took her away from some activities, and we dragged her home for one weekend for extra tests. So far, there is no conclusive diagnosis, but she is feeling much better.
Dan and Laura have not yet adjusted to being empty-nesters. We’ve visited Jacqui a few times, and both of our jobs have been busier than normal. After 12 years of working part-time, Dan has returned to working 40+ hours. “Who came up with this idea? 8a-5p every day, every week? Arrggh!” However, they’re enjoying the extra freedom in their schedules and fewer miles on the cars. They have committed to not taking on any new projects for a full year.
Some time this summer, our neighbors decided that they didn’t like our street name. There was a petition going around, and our street is now officially “Island Way”. We liked Ostend Avenue, but alas, that is only a memory. We still live in the same house, only the name was changed to protect the innocent (or guilty?).
Just before Thanksgiving Break, Jacqui tried out for the wrestling squad at Exeter. The day she came home, she found out that she made the team! We will be up there to see her compete this next term.
Since Laura & Jacqui have never seen the Stanford campus, we spent Thanksgiving week in the San Francisco area, where we toured Stanford (that’s a big campus!) and cooked with Elyce (fun for all) and ate enormous amounts of fantastic food at Elyce & John’s house. Laura got to see both the men and women’s basketball squads at Stanford crush their opponents, and all of us watched The Band at rehearsal and field practice.
It’s been over a year since Dan’s Dad passed away. We’re slowly moving on, but there are times when each of us really wants to ask his advice on something. Ben really missed him at graduation, and Jacqui wishes he’d had the chance to see her wrestle. Dan’s Mom got through these tough months admirably, and has found some new activities to fill some of the gaps.
Next year should be pretty quiet for the first half. We don’t have any major trips planned – we’re paying two tuitions! It’s way too early to know what the kids will be doing next summer. On the other hand, we have two rooms open for guests – very reasonable rates. Let us know if you’re in the NYC area.

Happy Holidays!

Dan, Laura, Ben, and Jacqui