Happy Holidays!
2001 Newsletter from Kurt & Marieluise Riegel

9564 Wandering Way, Columbia MD 21045 tel. 410.997.2241
Kurt@cheerful.com Maise@cheerful.com


It's been a good year for our family, with exciting changes, invigorating exploration, pleasant time with friends and yes, some close calls from which all emerged in earnest gratitude. Going roughly chronologically through the year, here's what happened.

We went skiing again in the Alps, this time in Switzerland. Starting with a fine week in the pleasant town of Davos, we intended to spend a second week in Grindelwald. But on our last day skiing Davos, an ice ball leapt up and bit Marieluise, tipping her into a spectacular fall. Her injury provided entrée to the Davos Spital, probably the most experienced hospital in the world for orthopedic ski injuries. Swissair, skilled in pampering ski-injured customers, placed us gratis in fully adjustable seats and medicated us both with an ever-full glass of champagne. Yes, Swissair really did go bankrupt a few months later, but we deny any responsibility -- that's our story and we're sticking to it.

Kurt retired from the federal government in May, unleashing travelers upon innocent friends far and wide. We had a wonderful 3 weeks in Hawaii with pleasant explorations of the islands of Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii and reunions with friends. Great snorkeling -- did you know that Hawaii has a state fish? We luckily spied the Humuhumunukunukapua'a often in its native habitat and are gratified by both its beauty and by our ability to pronounce its name.

Jack (college roomie) & Pat Davis showed us treats on Oahu and Hawaii we would never have discovered on our own and warmed our hearts in reunion with them and their wonderful family. With them we trudged volcano craters & lava tubes, stuffed ourselves silly with everything from the world's best ahi to funky pizza, got up close & personal with sea turtles, met Waikiki's best hula dancer, and countless other treats. Pam Cochrane launched us into the splendors of Maui and the best snorkeling ever. Roy Dalthorp, a fellow Yellowstone Park fire alumnus, generously introduced us to the wonders of Kauai and jogged memories of other Yellowstone chums. We subsequently had wonderful reconnection experiences, especially including sailing with Bern & Anne Marie Shanks recently relocated to Seattle/ Orcas island - they can run but they can't hide from the Riegels.

Sniffing around for a new place to alight has been a consistent if erratic enterprise for us this year. We had a great trip to Colorado and Utah in June and sampled widely of Nature's treats. We hiked/ camped in the Rockies in high altitude scenery; saw Arches and Mesa Verde National Parks with amazing natural features and Pueblo Indian cliff dwellings; we did lots of house hunting, even bidding on one in Durango; and re-sampled Adolph Coors (nee Kors) dreadful beer.

Thanks largely to the positive influence of our wonderful skiing/ sailing buddies Ed & Linda Gray, we're doing some serious poking around Annapolis. It's a wonderful place. We are distressed to discover that word of this has leaked out, with discernable effect on real estate prices.

Friends Tex & Jeannie Harris have been delights. Tex got us to a Redskins football game, even evoking enthusiasm; he also provided the initial prod to join a sea cruise as a lecturer. But Sep 11 killed tourism and our Florida => Athens cruise was cancelled.

We're pursuing a mad scheme to convert a remarkable water tower to our residential use in Lexington VA. Initial discussions with the city were favorable but there are hurdles yet to leap. We'll render opinion on whether local government is any more efficient than the federal government.

Our children deserve mention not only because they are the nucleus of our galaxy, but also because of their incredible interests, exploits and experiences.

Tanya completed Million Dollar Hotel as lead editor for Wim Wenders; we've seen it and love it, as do its European reviewers.

Sam and Eden can make it anywhere, having done so in NYC: Eden as 'Bianca' on ABC's All My Children, and Sam as film director/ producer/ actor/ TV voiceover artist and improvisational actor/ teacher.

Tanya, Sam & Eden all had close calls Sep 11 since the apartment they were in was 1 block from WTC. Tanya & Eden had left, but Sam & Quyen awoke to a crash, dismissed it as 'only a truck or something', and took it seriously only after Tanya's phone call from our house. They dallied, exiting their building only seconds before the first collapse began. Racing toward the protection of a river wall, they narrowly escaped dire effects of WTC shrapnel, smoke and dust. The attached photo was taken by Quyen a week later through their shattered living room window - it was picked up by AP and published widely..

Pasha, Scott and children relocated to Moultonborough NH, establishing a new pastoral life far from any urb; she's running a children's museum and aerobics classes and he's started an architectural stone business activity.

Tonya continues at Rhode Island School of Design, attracting early notice as furniture designer and as the cover artist for RISDE's catalog, its primary recruiting publication.

Mark continues at the University of Maryland, satisfying the outrageous demands of professors, running a wide range of formal student activities such as concerts/ performances, and leaping from airplanes atop dirt bikes.

Marieluise had an interesting and successful (juried) Sugarloaf Crafts Show featuring incredible mitten and hat designs and an unusual specialty item - microwavable flaxseed-lined mittens and neck warmers, always popular with the arthritis set. In addition to her therapeutic massage practice, she is a dynamo of house decoration and redecoration, painting, and projects too long to list. One day she idly gazed at a blank wall in Kurt's study, picked up a sledgehammer and bashed it in, and then transformed it into a delightful and attractive "book nook". If she visits you, keep her busy and away from heavy objects.

Kurt had a very good, if demanding, experience teaching his Johns Hopkins course in Environmental Compliance. He deludes himself into thinking he knows more than the students and enjoys the give and take of the classroom experience. He even organized a "field trip" on the Hopkins campus to assess that fairly complex enterprise's environmental compliance management system, which is beset by special problems and constraints especially so after the events of Sep 11 and afterward heightened sensitivities to bioterrorism.

Our plans for the coming year include more travel perhaps to the Northwest and to Germany to visit Marieluise's mom, dad & sister, skiing in Vail, and more teaching and crafts. We are hopeful that we will finally undertake our big project and relocate into another house or to another region. And of course, finally getting a rooster and a dog, possession of which is Kurt's primary index for whether one is living life as it should be lived.

We wish you the best of everything during the coming year and hope that we will see you soon and often!