Lasley Holiday Letter - 2011

The year started with lots of crazy fun as we ran around Miami with Ben, Yanessa, Jacqui, and the rest of the Stanford Band (LSJUMB), as they trounced Virginia Tech. The football team also won.

Jacqui spent her 19th birthday in NYC with friends. It snowed and they enjoyed the Big Apple at its prettiest, before the snow turns grey and mushy.

Laura finally found an electronic piano that sounded and played enough like a real piano that she let Dan get it for her. A first of many musical purchases this year - we’ve got GAS!

Dan and Laura went to Bonaire as a pre-birthday surprise for her Dad, who would turn 80 in the Fall. It was a nice warm break from our cold winter. Later, we hosted ? of the neighborhood Round-the-World progressive dinner. We did Chinese of course, but next year we’re thinking of going Greek.

During the winter, ¾ of the 2010 blues band got back together, with Laura joining in, and a shift toward eclectic classic rock. After a few sessions we decided that we should play more regularly, and actually began the process of creating songlists and working on harmonies. Laura’s guitar playing really improved with the regular sessions and patient teaching from her new bandmates. With any luck at all, you’ll find us in a bar or local street festival by the Spring of 2012.

Dan enjoyed coaching his girls soccer team despite losing a lot of games 1-0 or 2-1; they were without a striker due to injuries. The team was merged with the A-team in June, and Dan was left without a team to coach - hopefully temporarily.

We saw Average White Band and Tower of Power in concert in a double-bill - guess which one we liked better? We also saw Pink Martini, Sting, and Keb ‘Mo. All excellent events, especially as 2 concerts were at Longwood Gardens...10 minutes from our house.

Despite one or two detours, Ben finally graduated from Stanford. The grandparents and Jacqui were able to attend, and we went around campus with Ben and Yanessa and assorted friends. Graduation itself was wonderful, with typical Stanford quirks. Ben found a summer job with insanely good pay, which gave them a two-income cash flow for 2 months. He continued to manage The Band until November; he’ll lend his wisdom as emeritus through the Fiesta Bowl Jan 2nd. By next Spring he should complete his masters in Computer Science and move on down the road into the real world.

Jacqui stayed in San Diego for the summer, taking an extra class which re-aligned her science schedule with the normal sequence. It used to be the students who wanted to take extra years to graduate, but now I think the schools are making it more dificult to finish on time. Jacqui also volunteered at a vet’s office, and they quickly figured out that she knew what she was doing. Occasionally, she teaches dogs to ride surfboards.

This year we took our normal sailing vacation, returning once more to the Chesapeake. For the first time, there was no crew to mutiny. Guess who was captain and who was first mate? It was a peaceful trip.

We hosted a July Jam on the deck, which was great fun. With both new and repeat players, we sang well into the night. Next we attended the annual Riverside Jam, which was held on an alpaca farm in Ewing NJ. The younger ones seemed intrigued, and the older ones ignored us. As always, there was lots of music and good food. Each year has a different vibe; this one was truly enjoyable, especially the impromptu jams in the hotel lobby.

Through the summer, Dan’s job was getting strange. His boss had left back in February, and they didn’t pick a replacement until August. Since they didn’t pick Dan (doh!), he started looking, and landed the position of head of Engineering for a start-up - run by his previous boss. So far so good, though this is truly the smallest company he’s ever worked for!

Laura continued to play soccer, going to clinics and playing pick-up both indoors and outdoors. She hopes to join a team next Spring. Let the recruiters know!
Christmas will just be the 3 of us. Laura is working Christmas night; we’ll be sure to get all the presents open before she has to go in.

While Jacqui continues to excel in her classes at USD, she has found that she needs more sleep than the average college girl, and started the tortuous process of moving off campus. If all goes well, she will be in an apartment near campus when she returns from Barcelona in late January. Oh yeah, she’s going to Barcelona to complete her language requirement.

2012 looks quiet so far, with no major trips planned (though 2013 looks crazy!). So the odds are good that we’ll be home if you happen to pass through Philly - feel free to drop by and visit.

Have a wonderful and safe Holiday, with your family all around you.

Peace and Love
Dan, Laura, and Jacqui