Welcome 2013.

We had a good 2012, but we are mindful that 2012 was a horrendous year for many, many people.  With mass shootings and "natural disasters" causing so much suffering for so many people, and wars around the world, our hearts ache for human kind.  And we pray that 2013 will bring common sense and Good Will toward others and toward protecting the environment and other species.

Last spring, Bill and I meandered on a bus tour to Pennsylvania Dutch/Amish country in Pennsylvania.  We had previously spent time there, searching for the graves of his ancestors in Lebanon PA, and doing research in the National Archives in Philadelphia.  What a thrill to find the first census records in the first file, top drawer!  And there they were: Johannes, Heinrich, John, and Jacob.  We even found the old Light's Fort still standing in Lebanon, and we found the graves.  Some marked as Revolutionary Patriots and Casper's as a Pennsylvania Volunteer in the Civil War.

I heartily recommend you research your ancestry, if you have not all ready done so.

This spring we did D.C.  What a thrill it is to tour the Capitol, to visit the Museums and Monuments.  A week is not enough time to visit them all, but you cannot help but be proud of our USA if you get there.  Be prepared to walk, and walk, and walk!  Cllimate change altered the bloom time for the cherry blossoms, but the trees are still beautiful.  Our National Gallery is filled with priceless works of art.  My father worked at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, for many years, and he visited the National Gallery every Sunday.  We prefer the Flemish and Dutch masters, but there are modern paintings in the newer building, if that is to your taste.  In the Museum of Natural History you can see moon rocks, and the Hope Diamond.  You can view the gowns the First Ladies have worn to inauguations.  The collections of history, of natural phenomena, of every day life from every era is vast and inspiring.  There is also a new Holocast Museum and a Museum of Native American History.  In the rotunda of the Capitol, is a beautiful bronze statue of our own Sakawea.  We also toured Arlington National Cemetery and saw the changing of the Guard and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Very moving ceremony.

Nearby is Mt. Vernon, Jefferson's Monticello, and  Madison's home, Montepelier.  There is so much history within less than a day's drive.  If you can, by all means, visit D.C.  You will be so proud of the USA!

And you never know who you will meet there---while we were having breakfast, at a table just a few feet away, was Sally Deutsch!  We had a good chat and laugh as I used to tell my students that they had to behave wherever they went, as there would be someone there from ND, who knows their cousin or some relative, and whatever they did, would eventually get back to their mother!

Be good and be grateful to live in the USA and in ND.   HAPPY NEW YEAR to all!