Happy New Year and the New Book

Dear Friends and Family –

Holiday Greetings, happy New Year, and best of 2015 to you all! Thought I’d send along a little holiday update that should’ve gone with a card or letter, but alas, will have to arrive electronically. As a fan of handwritten notes, postcards, and stories of other people’s vacations, I love those family newsletters.

Let’s see….Jude is the thing to talk about mainly, of course. He turned 12 in November, and is full-on in the midst of 7th grade at University School of Nashville (USN). They ramped up the curriculum a bit this year, so it’s things like Latin and pre-Algebra, mysterious “problems of the week” and term papers. He’s in chess and band (clarinet), keeps on with the piano, and just got braces. Over the summer, he did three robotics camps, courtesy a USN summer program, one of which was located in Manchester NH and affiliated with the First Robotics Competition founded by Dean Kasten. As always, things are changing, it’s a pre-teen world, of course, but I’m very lucky because he retains his sweetness, eschews video games for books and I-tunes for vinyl. That said, he is a millennial, of course, and very tech savvy.

In terms of travel adventures, Jude continues to rack up Junior Ranger badges and this year, it was the Everglades/Big Cypress, Yellowstone/Grand Tetons, the Freedom Trail in Boston, and Chickamauga. We also hit the Smokies again. So, this means the year was full of bird watching, swamp wading, alligator spying, horseback riding, geothermal geyser gazing, wildlife waking, founding father finding, signal flag waiving, and wilderness trail hiking. We were making memories, of course. In fact, when we returned to the Smokies in the fall, we went partway up the trail to Mount LeConte, stopped at Inspiration Point, and not much later, I wrote the poem I posted last time out (Inspiration Point, of course).

Those moments are full of awesomeness, but I seek for the same in the day to day, the board games, pizza party movie nights, cooking fun, and dinner conversations both silly and profound. In Nashville and Chicago, we hit a lot of favorite haunts like the Morton Arborteum, Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park, the Field Museum, Tennessee Vintage Baseball games, Belcourt Theater, Cheekwood, and Radnor Lake. People like lists, and so the top art shows of the year for us would have to be Romare Bearden Odyssey (at the Currier in Manchester), Watch Me Move (animation at the Frist), and David Bowie IS (at MCA in Chicago). The top concerts: Springsteen, McCartney, and Jude’s piano recital. No, maybe his band concert trumped, that’s a tough one.

Finally,  while I don’t have time to do much full-on creative writing beyond these musings and posts, I did put together some older stories, with a few new bits and bobs of poetry and short stories, for a new, low-key collection called “The Tenth Inning.”  Settings create themes and whereas my last book took place in the world of music, this one unfolds in and around the baseball diamond But, of course, the stories, like all stories, are about people and the emotions therein.. It’s a modest book, but has its moments and if you’d like one, drop me a line. Or just go here:

So, thinking of you and wishing the best for 2015, full of happiness, peace, and miracles. As Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite thinkers and writers said, “to be present in the here and now, breathing, is a miracle…to be alive is one of the greatest of miracles.”

Lots of love,

Doug (and Jude)

Published by Doug Hoekstra

Father, wordsmith, musician, creative.

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