2014 Annual Letter from Kurt & Marieluise Riegel

[Click here for prior years' letters]

It was a fine year. Here's what happened.

(Click Images to View Larger Ones)

  Maise and Kurt hiking in New Hampshire


We begin with the usual best wishes for you and your family, friends, and all who are important to you, and with our apology for inflicting on you yet another annual letter.

While we enjoy recapitulating the events of our year, savoring the memories as an exercise in discipline, we acknowledge reality. Does anybody really read this stuff ?!

Yes, of course. Everybody does. Each and every word, every link and every video and enlarged photo, maybe three times.


Our Growing Family

Veronique and Tanya  


There were so many family highlights that their collective luminescence is nearly blinding.


Tanya Riegel has been working on her largest film so far, The Finest Hours, and Kurt had the treat of visiting the set to sit with her and director Craig Gillespie as they edited, roving around the largest set ever.

She and Veronique have married, continuously improve their house on Mulholland Drive, and traveled from California to France, Boston, etc.

Tanya's mother Susan had a bump in the road requiring certain tortures at the hands of health professionals, and we are very happy to report success.

  Sam, Maximus, Quyen, Kestrel


Sam Riegel and Quyen brought their second child, daughter Kestrel, into the world and have continued their Hollywood careers, she as a cinematographer and he as director of voice talent for Disney cartoons among other activities too numerous to record. Kestrel and Maximus are terrific children.

Jack, Andrew, Henry, Eden, Riley  



Eden Riegel and Andrew Miller, even with hands full with sons Jack and Henry, pursue their own Hollywood careers.

She has been performing, auditioning, and doing a lot of voice-over work, and he has his hands in many projects mainly as a screenwriter, example Backstrom.

  Mark, Taya, Jamie, Kurt, Maise, John, Pasha, Craig


Pasha and John Marlowe, children Josh, Emily and Jamie, continue their amazing life in New Hampshire in a rebuilt barn that is now a house and a fitness studio.

We had a nice visit with them at Christmas, with exploratory walks in beautiful lake country. John's special interest, starting with African music, has been to support a small village in Guinea through very personal efforts there, story here. Josh is off to Lawrence Tech for a promising car design career, and Emi will continue athletic-academic adventures at Dartmouth or the Naval Academy.

Tonya and Kevin Sweet  


Tonya and Kevin continue to teach at Victoria University in beautiful Wellington, New Zealand ... awesome scenery and exquisite seafood.

During semester breaks they explore the southern alps on the South Island.

  Tonya, Taya, Mark, Pasha


Mark and Taya Stewart were married last summer, in a wonderfully delightful, unusual, and well organized wedding that took over a sustainable farming operation and most of its buildings for guests drawn from several continents.

They're working on a major renovation of their new house in Silver Spring.

Kurt and his mother Jane  


We brought in the New Year at Kurt's mother Jane's place for both 2013 and 2014, at Gulchleigh in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

She'll turn 105 next week, is doing great all things considered, and we treasure both her and her willingness to stay around with us!

  Werner Baeck and Maise in the Alps



Maise's father Werner continues life in Hannover, Germany.

The two of them had a wonderful trip down memory lane in Germany, Austria, and Italy in regions where Werner and Maise's mother Ruth spent 50 years hiking and skiing.

We were touched by visits by both Sam and Tanya at our Annapolis house, and by many other friends who were able to join us during the year for one or another frivolity.

Brother Quentin celebrated a garage renovation in Bowie with, what else, his garage band. A good time was had by all.


Life in Annapolis

Maise in the Alps  

Maise continued her Maisestudio operation on Etsy, creating and producing stunning works of fabric art now worn by fun-loving ladies world wide.

She also did several juried and other shows in Alexandria and Annapolis. She brings art, beauty, comfort and care to the Riegel family, helping to keep us all connected and moving forward.

Her garden is a marvel every summer, drawing positive comments from all who pass by.


  Kurt and Sam plotting a legislative takeover


We continue to delight in living in a walkabout town, often moving where we need to or want to go by foot or by bicycle, a human and healthful way to travel.

We do not miss suburban life that requires a car for nearly everything, and delight in chance encounters with friends and neighbors as we move about our town. Mostly, that does not happen in suburbia where people move in boxes, between boxes.

Kurt taught his course again at Johns Hopkins University, in Environmental Compliance Management, enjoying both the discipline of keeping up with environmental an management issues, and interacting with graduate students who are usually professionals themselves with needs or interests in managing environmental compliance requirements within their organization. He's teaching it again starting January 2015.

Kurt's civic engagement consisted this year of serving as Chairman of the Annapolis Environmental Commission (AEC), Commissioner on the Severn River Commission, board member of the Severn River Association, VP & board member of the West Annapolis Civic Association. They are varied, interesting, and give a sense of contributing toward a better environment. He has 5 cages of oysters hanging on a nearby dock, cleansing Weems Creek and the Severn River.

An ongoing controversy involves the Crystal Spring development, the largest in this town's history. It is proposed to involve the removal of nearly 50 acres of mature contiguous forest near the South River and the destruction of natural habitat. At issue is the scale and configuration of the development and compliance with a number of environmental laws. It is an important public issue, probably tilted the outcome of the last election against the then incumbent mayor, and will cause civic tensions for a long time. Kurt presented the AEC's environmental recommendations and penned an OpEd on this subject.

Elvia Thompson hosted Kurt twice for radio interviews on WNAV, stimulating.

Maise and Kurt attended the City Council meeting at with the Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE) delivered its formal annual Declaration of War on Annapolis (Westport). This is now a solid tradition, a residue of bad feelings in Eastport caused by the closing without notice of the Spa Creek bridge. The conflict is settled annually by a tug of war, using a rope that spans Spa Creek. It's hilarious.

Political engagement is another facet of Kurt's interests. He organized interviews by the Sierra Club of local and state candidates, contributing to their list of endorsements in the November election. He worked actively on the campaigns of several, Councilman Chris Trumbauer and Speaker Michael Busch. Finally, he was appointed Ward 2 member of the Annapolis Democratic Central Committee (ADCC).

We went to events around town without number, some notable ones being the July 4 Parade, the Festival of Lights on boats in Spa Creek, First Night, fund raisers, neighborhood supper club, Maryland Day with Kurt emceeing a fascinating talk on the now defunct Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad that we wish we still had.

Sometimes We Play

Twin passions of sailing and skiing were pursued as usual, with delightful trips. We sailed only in the Chesapeake Bay this year, under conditions that ranged from boring to terrifying. That's what sailing is. As ever, we particularly enjoyed sailing with friends Ed and Linda Gray, Doug and Laura Tilley, Nancy & Doug Fineberg, Todd Croteau, and others.

  Kurt, Maise, Linda, Ed at Park City UT

Our sole ski trip was again to Park City, a place we've really become fond of. Weather and skiing were great, the companionship of Ed and Linda Gray with their daughter Bonny Mitchell, are the icing on the cake. Activities include not only skiing, but also films usually shown first at the famous Park City Film Festival, bar/restaurant hopping, art galleries, and long walks around a very interesting town. We especially like the public transportation system, free to all passengers, supported by the town. It makes it possible for the business and tourist success they have, and we can't help but wish that Annapolis could also get its transportation act together and transcend its obsolete dependency on the single passenger car.

Our long-planned Brothers sailing adventure happened, kind of, although one couldn't make it so it became the Brothers Three sailing over to St. Michaels for the annual Small Craft Festival. Kurt, Mark, and Quentin were on board and had a great time indeed, photographs here.

We got to see Seldom Scene again at the Limekiln Theater in Lexington Va, tickets sold out so we volunteered to earn our admission and had a fabulous time. Another favorite is Them Eastport Oyster Boys, whose guitarist Tom Guay is an environmental colleague.

Odds 'n Ends

Getting older beats the alternative but we had to endure a few annoyances: surgery at the hands of dentists and eye specialists, TURP (look it up), endoscopic diagnostic procedures, etc. We're happy to report emerging from the tunnel hale and hearty, full of beans, and raring to go for the new year.

We rented out our house again for the US Naval Academy's Commissioning Week, and had a fine sail over to the Severn River to watch the Blue Angels try to hit our mast. They missed. Barely.

Kurt noted that he'd never even been summoned or served on a jury. Lo and behold, a letter arrived requiring him to appear for jury selection at a Baltimore Federal Court. He went, got grilled with 20 other prospective jurors, and was rejected along with every candidate who happened to have an advanced degree. Go figure.

We cut the TV cord, dumped Comcast and its ever escalating prices, and subscribed to a faster Verizon FIOS Internet only at a 1/3 price teaser rate. Yes, we'll evaluate again in a year.

We enjoyed opera in HD at the Met with Lina Vlavianos and friends, thinking it is superior in some ways to live performances. Attended a fine bluegrass concert with neighbor Bill Douglas.

We lost several Annapolitans who were active politically and stimulating to get to know, Tony Evans and Scott Bowling. Kurt's cousin Peter Cox died, and the passing of Pete Seeger was tough to take, a great man.


Pictorial Supplement
(click and be amazed)


May health and happiness be with you during 2015. Enjoy life, create memories, and let the small stuff go. Have a wonderful year, keep in touch with us, come visit or sail with us on Starducks, and we look forward to seeing you soon!


Address   307A Monterey Ave, Annapolis MD  21401
E-mail   Kurt.Riegel@gmail.com       Marieluise.Riegel@gmail.com   
Verizon cell       410.507.2999   410.997.2241
Facebook   facebook.com/kurtriegel   facebook.com/marieluiseriegel
Skype name   kurt.riegel   marieluise.riegel


(- 73 - 88 - 30 -)