Yuletide Greetings - 2006
Welcome to Laurel’s mid-life crisis Christmas Letter (as sanitized and edited by Mark).

Erik graduated from high school this spring and has started attending the University of Minnesota this past autumn semester.  His classes include Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, and English.  Next semester, he is looking to adding some language and history classes (like ancient Babylonian or Russian).  As a result, I have had to spend more time with Mark.  I miss the kids.  The pets are not enough buffer space…and did I mention I am the root beer apprentice when Erik is in school  “Whoa is me!”

Diana has given up the import-export business and is now working for a publishing company (still in Chicago).  Her first assignment with the publishing company is doing manuals for Harley Davidson.  She still lives four blocks from the Wrigley Baseball Stadium and seems to relish in the Chicago lifestyle.

Speaking of major milestones of life, Mark & I are now officially at mid-life.  I turned 50 in April and Mark in September.  Mark did nothing for my birthday (he says it was not his intention to draw attention to me).  But, for Mark, I organized a trip along the north shore of Lake Superior.  We started off playing golf at Black Bear Casino/Hotel, toured as far up as Grand Marais (and met Mark’s folks at the Naniboujou Lodge), and finished up at the executive suite of the Fitger's Hotel in Duluth.  It was a big thrill for Mark sleeping under all that beer just brewing away.  Very nice time!

The whole family did get together for Thanksgiving in Wisconsin Dells.  My folks, Mavis & Dick Bryson, joined us.  I tell you ladies this is the way to go.  No turkey to stuff or dishes to wash, and after the meal, I did the big Thunder/Tornado water slide with Erik.  Hey, at 50 I still can splash with the best of them.  Dad, Mom and I found time to shop and go to the casino while Mark and the kids played video games, shopped and scouted out restaurants.

Big news this year – I kicked the root beer business and the guys out of my kitchen.  Erik & Mark built a brewery in the back yard.  It is about 30x50 feet large, with 10 foot ceilings.  In-floor heat, walk-in cooler, stainless steel sinks, and best of all a place to hold social events so the mess in not in my house.  I even let them run four taps off of the cooler.  I highly recommend every wife (or girlfriend) let the men build their own brew pub.  Keeps them happy and out of your kitchen!

In our spare time we raised 4 turkeys again this year.  They did not get as big as a couple years ago, but they were between 22 and 32 pounds each.  3 were smoked at Nick’s in Hayward, MN.  Yummy!

For Christmas this year, we plan to have a bit of an open house for friends and family that don’t have anything better to do on Christmas day.  Smoked turkey, hot cider, and a pot luck arrangement is the order of the day.  It should be a nice time of relaxed celebration, so if your plans don't sound so good, consider joining us up in the brewery.

From the Glewwe Estate in Prior Lake, we wish you all a wonderful Christmas season and best wishes for the New Year.
Laurel and Mark, and the prodigal children (Diana & Erik)

PS: Pet update:. Shadow, the cat, is doing well.  She has now accepted Mark as a casual friend if only good for a occasional scratch.  She relies on me for the basics – food and water (since the kids are gone).

Xena has decided that for better care she has now made the garage her new home.  She is much too good for the dog kennel.  Ahh.. I think the pets are our kids now!