2012 Annual Letter from Kurt & Marieluise Riegel

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Another great year. Wow are we blessed. With so many problems in the world, we've had good fortune so far in our "luck of the draw."

So here's another in our series of annual greetings, summing up our events of the year and conveying our our best wishes to you for a wonderful 2013!

We thank our friends and neighbors for allowing us to inflict this message upon them and beg their forgiveness. We realize that this annual tradition probably pleases us more than our patient readers, so we must be grateful for the rocks that have not been flung through our windows.

Our Home Town

Since moving across the river into Annapolis we've become ever more deeply involved in a fine neighborhood in a wonderful city. It's great to be living in a walkabout neighborhood in Annapolis, and that we are now able to do many of our to-and-fros as pedestrians or bicycle riders instead of car drivers.

Maise successfully exhibited and sold her crafts at the Oktoberfest celebration on the streets of West Annapolis. It's an annual tradition here, with an oompah band, dancing, beer, wurst, kids games, dogs everywhere, and dozens of vendors ... a great way to meet more of our neighbors.

We saw the passage and implementation of an ordinance allowing residential chickens at last, Mayor Josh Cohen handing Kurt a nice citation acknowledging his efforts to get the ordinance passed.

Alas, we are not able yet to benefit personally from its taste of freedom, but some grateful neighbors are. Ironically, the city council in Lexington VA voted down a similar measure. As a boy Kurt kept chickens there and nobody thought it unusual.

Kurt created and ran the West Annapolis Civic Association web site and neighborhood directory, useful to all but especially to us to accelerate the process of connecting with neighbors.

We delight in participating in the West Annapolis Dinner Club, a monthly dinner that roves among neighbors' houses and we've continued attending performances which abound here, including Colonial Players theater and musical events/venues.

Our neighbors the Cathy & Bill Byerly hosted an amazing wedding anniversary celebration which included Them Eastport Oyster Boys, fine food and drink to a party of celebrants that overflowed their house into the entire block.

We sailed on The Voyager, Todd Croteau's sailboat, as he participated in the annual Parade of Lights, winning a well-deserved prize.

Yet again this year we witnessed the outbreak of hostilities initiated as always with a presentation of a formal Declaration of War by the Maritime Republic of Eastport in a meeting of the Annapolis City Council. A tug of war, the rope spanning Spa Creek, settles the affair but mostly the competition centers on whether Eastport or Annapolis will host the better parties and music.

Matt Rutherford arrived back in Annapolis after the first solo nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas, an amazing feat for the cause of Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB). Kurt was joined by Dick Morgenstern at a glorious welcome party. Annapolis is a drinking town with a sailing problem.

Annapolis had three major storm events, Derecho knocking out our power and taking down some tree limbs; and Hurricane Sandy which had us mostly on the west and south sides of the storm thereby treating us relatively mildly; and a freak failure of the main power line feeding all of Annapolis, plunging the entire town into darkness. For all three events, we got through by bringing our sailboat's portable generator home to power our critical appliances: refrigerator and basement sump pumps. Nighttime Annapolis is beautiful during power failures!

Diversions, Travel, and Miscellaneous

Maise had a wonderfully successful show, exhibiting and selling her crafts at a huge street fair in Alexandria VA. Of all the venues she's tested in the past few years, this one generates the most traffic, interest, and sales relative to the difficulty and expense of setting up a booth. Our only regret was that it coincided with the Small Craft Festival in St. Michaels so we missed it this year.

As is our custom now, we again rented our house out during the Naval Academy's Commissioning Week (graduation) and went sailing, this time across the Bay and northward to the Corsica River for a most enjoyable time rafting up with Ed & Linda Gray, and Doug & Laura Tilley. We hailed a waterman while at anchor, bought a dozen blue crabs and had the freshest and most wonderful feast imaginable.

We sailed to Rock Hall, north and across the Bay for the annual Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend.. Hilarity prevailed, just what the doctor ordered!

Maise's craft work has focused on design and fabrication of amazing garments made from sweater and other materials. She has an online shop at Etsy and is gratified by the positive response she's had from customers distributed world wide.

We travelled to California to see Kurt's children and their growing families. Tatiana & Veronique have created a masterpiece in their year-long project to restore a house atop Mulholland Drive with perhaps the best view in Los Angeles. Theirs is just a few houses from the likes of Quentin Tarantino, Drew Carey, Justin Timberlake, Sandra Bullock, etc., pretty rarified stuff.

Eden and Andrew have nurtured their son, our grandson, Jack and he is doing marvelously. His similarity to Andrew is striking, so much so that the family joke is "we know who the father is, but we'd really like to know who Jack's mother is." Andrew's success in screen writing and producing are impressive, and Eden is juggling both Jack's care/education and a variety of showbiz stints among which are voice-overs, acting and auditions.

Sam and Quyen introduced their son Maximus to the universe, giving us yet another reason to scoot out to California to see them. He's fantastically cute, growing and developing wonderfully. Sam does voice-over work and has taken on a new job directing voice talent in Disney films featuring a new animated character, Sofia the First. Quyen juggles a new baby, tending their multi-terraced garden, gourmet cooking, photography and cinematography. Sam's adventures chasing down a garden varmint were entertaining, and involved time lapse photography at night, trapping both a skunk and raccoons, and transporting them under cover of darkness to places far away.

We had a nice bonus in Los Angeles, having reunions with Kurt's college roommate Bill Varney, who organized a fabulous tour at Griffith Observatory where we met with my old UCLA student Ed Krupp, the observatory's present director. We also met with Kurt's colleague Maxine Savitz for wonderful conversation and food/drink at here place in Westwood.. We find that maintaining these ties to the past becomes more precious with time.

Our most ambitious sailing adventure last summer was a 9 day voyage that began with our first night at : Harness Creek in the South River. Then we went across the Bay to the Choptank River, back across the Bay to Solomons on the Patuxent River, back across the Bay to Tangier island, where we bought a slip and walked about that interesting town where people still have an accent reminding one of English seamen. There are almost no cars on Tangier island but golf carts abound and Lexi was struck by one, scary but no injuries. We took the dog for a nice swim at Tangier Island's beach. Next morning we crossed the Bay again to the Piankatank River and rendezvoused with Dick Morgenstern & Devra Davis for a pleasant raft up with the Tilleys.

Next day on to Mobjack Bay's East River, anchoring for a reunion with Butler & Diana Burton most pleasant evening of conversation, fine food and wine. Then off to Yorktown and a fine walk about that historic town, a night at anchor there and we reversed direction to set sail north for Mill Creek on the western shore's Great Wicomico River. The next day we sailed farther north to Solomons and a very stormy night with a dragged anchor incident, next day making it back to Harness Creek for our last night at anchor, back to Starducks' home on Beard's Creek. The boat performed well and our only complaint is that the wind was unobliging, blowing from the south when we were sailing south, and reversing just as we headed north back home, but we were still able to avoid motoring more than seven of our nine days.

Skiing at Park City was fabulous, thanks to Linda & Ed Gray who kindly include us at their new place there. Laura & Doug Tilley, and Mark Stewart joined us there. We skied well mostly except for Kurt's fall on flat ground after a full day of skiing black slopes, with a 50% tear in tendon in the right shoulder rotator cuff complex. Lots of therapy and he's nearly, but not quite, back to normal. Why is it that bad falls mostly happen on flat snow?

Harvard Business School had a big DC presentation of their Competitiveness Project. It was nice to see Michael Porter again after all these years, and several fellow alumni from my time there.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Alumni Association met in DC for a convivial gathering of former colleagues.

Maise visited her parents and sister Stefanie in Germany, attending a wedding and excellent musical performances in Kiel.

We visited Kurt's mother Jane fairly often. She's turning 103 in a few weeks and is in fantastic shape all things considered. On his best days Kurt is nearly as smart as she is on her worst days. Having her genes, Kurt realizes that he will have nobody but himself to blame if his health crashes! So he still very much enjoys his annual House Mountain climb, party hosted by Tom & Linda Black at their hunting cabin..

A wonderful extra in Lexington has been attending performances at the Theater at Lime Kiln, this year featuring a number of groups especially including the best bluegrass group ever, The Seldom Scene. Alas, two of the original members of that group have died, John Duffey and Mike Auldridge, and Lime Kiln itself died this year of revenue shortfall.

Alas, two of Kurt's PhD professors also died this year, Roger Bell and Gart Westerhout. Gart introduced Kurt to radio astronomy, was his thesis advisor, and had attended Starducks "Boat Mitzvah" with his wife Judith.

We attended several National Press Club luncheons this year, always interesting as he best speakers' venue in the world. Especially enjoyable was Kathleen Turner, whose Body Heat is etched permanently in the brains of every American male who saw it when it came out. She most recently did Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivens.

Marieluise's children: Tonya and her husband Kevin Sweet continued teaching architecture and design in the United Arab Emirates. Tonya was offered a wonderful job at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and will be moving there in January. Kevin will follow at the end of the semester, hoping to land a job there.

Pasha continuously finds ways to inspire her fitness clients to live life more fully. Her gym is a place of fun, challenge and friendship and she organizes triathlons and races for the benefit of her New Hampshire community. She and husband John Marlowe travelled with their children for an exciting excursion to Iceland, meeting Mark and Taya there.

Mark Stewart is still loving his sustainability job at the University of Maryland, has made excellent contributions to the growth of that program. He and Taya Aillery have moved to Silver Spring, a location than is approximately equidistant from their two workplaces. This year we have been able to spend time with Taya's family and report that they are fantastic people who have combined the best of France and America for an excellent and positive outlook on everything.


Environmental and Related Activities

We suspended 5 cages of oysters on neighbors' docks and continue their care, just an occasional shake from time to time in order to keep silt from accumulating on them. They will be transplanted next year on an oyster reef in the Severn River.

Kurt was appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council, to the Annapolis Environmental Commission. He served as a chief judge in the general election, a little public service mixed with an opportunity to interact with people who live and vote in our new town.

He continued as commissioner on the Severn River Commission, advisory to the city, county and state governments on watershed issues; and on the board of the Severn River Association..

He also continued as a member of the Fort George Meade Restoration Advisory Board (RAB), charged to provide advice on their programs to clean up sites contaminated by operations decades ago.

He taught his Johns Hopkins University course in Environmental Compliance Management again and is scheduled to do it again this year. In an interesting twist, he's redesigned the course to bring it up to date, to convert from one on-line software package to another, and to enliven its on-line presentation with videos and other media components.


May health and happiness be with you during 2013. Enjoy life, create memories, and let the small stuff go. Have a wonderful 2013, keep in touch with us, come visit or sail with us on Starducks, and we look forward to seeing you soon!


Pictorial Supplement also with a Few People Who've Touched Our Lives

(Click for Larger Images)

At Gulchleigh in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia


Identically posed photos, 36 years apart, Father, Son, Son's Son.

Brothers Quentin, Kurt, Hunt Riegel

Mark, Maise Kurt, Ed & Linda Gray




Linda, Maise, Kurt Laura, Doug, Ed


Gart Westerhout

Kurt & Maxine

Susan, Tanya, Vero, baby Maximus.

Laura, Kurt, Diana

Maise, Butler, Laura


Daughter Tanya built this Mulholland Drive estate for Kurt as his "retirement home."


Jack, Andrew, Eden

Maise, Taya, Chloe, Cathy, Marcel, Lorenzo, Craig, Kurt, Dorianne

Mark & Taya

Kevin & Tonya


Dick & Kurt

Maise, Kurt, Devra


Jamie, Emily, Josh, John, Pasha





Posted at home.comcast.net/~qmhdk/x2012

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