Merry Christmas

from Treasure Island  of Florida's Gulf Coast


See Pictures of this Christmas Letter

        The deeded name of our beach lot „Shores of Treasure Island” hits the nail on the head. This Treasure Island is a paradise and we are grateful to be able to live here. It is now already the 4th year that we are enjoying paradise and gradually we are adjusting and temperatures of more than 70°F no longer prevent us from getting into the seasonal mood that is usually brought about by snow and coziness in the north. This morning thermometer indicated 50 °F which we sense as being ice cold. That is all we need to celebrate an appropriately tempered Christmas. This Christmas will be special: Our entire family – , Dietmar and Heidi, Annemarei, John and Syrah, Mark, Lisa, Fritzi, Sabine and Meike will reunite here on Casey Key to celebrate the event under a similar tree as the one of 2001 shown above. We are eagerly looking forward to this year’s Family Christmas.
        What happened 2004? Again, many dear friends visited us. First John’ s parents came in January, Dietmar’s Mother in February, Schedewies in March, Dietmar’s dear friend Charlie and Pat in April, Dietmar’s nephew Nils in June, Don and Diane Herron in July, Annemarei und John with Syrah in August joined by hurricane Charley, Ingrid Kracht and also Sven Schiller with his wonderful Fabienne in September. Similarly Hurricanes Francis, Ivan und Jeanne honored us with their intense visit in Sept., damaged a lot of plants, tore down some roof tiles and brought incredible amounts of sand to our beach. Unfortunatedly the last hurricane took the sand off again. Now shores of Treasure Island are 6 feet lower and much broader. The crystal clear turquoise waters of the Gulf, however, remain unchanged.
        This year Dietmar walked about 1000 km on our paradise beach and played with our smart wirehair fox terrier Milou. Dietmar became an official turtle watcher and was busy during the turtle season that lasts from May 1st to the end of October (this year the hurricanes ended the season prematurely).  He has watched, registered, and reported all turtle nesting and hatching activity and photographed every week all 49 nests of zone 7 on Casey Key. Some pictures became promptly part of the summary presentation of this year’s turtle activity at Motes Marin Research Lab.
        Heidi, on the other hand, became very interested in nature printing techniques. We had been introduces to the art of nature and fish printing by Erika and Klaus from Hamburg who are friends of Helga Wendt . Erika is a professional goldsmith and very involved in the international activities of nature printing. Heidi is in the process of learning the art and has already produced satisfactory pictures in her own studio and in the club study at Selby Gardens here in Sarasota. (see web pictures )
        When you live in Florida there is no need to travel. Nevertheless we did travel this year and left our house 3 times. In August we went to Hamburg to celebrate Lona’s 90th birthday. We also visited friends in Hamburg, Antonia and Klaus Jaenecke, Ingrid Kracht and importantly Helga Wendt an all her children whom we had not seen for over 30 years. We were amazed how little they have changed over the years.
        Dietmar went with his friends Peter and Wolfgang on the obligatory and traditional biking tour through the Kloevensteen Woods and adjacent para-elbian marsh land. He later went together with Gisa Tolksdorf to her cottage at the Baltic Sea in Neustadt/Ostsee.  Dietmar spent also a few days with Walter & Uschi Zinner and aunty Mie in Karden within the Moselle Valley and enjoyed after that the 5 hours train ride with his mother to Hamburg Klein Folttbeck to visit Antonie and Klaus Jaenecke. During that time Heidi prepared Lona’s Birthday that we celebrated with many guests on the sail ship Rickmer Rickmers and that became a great success (see pictures). Memorable too is the nice evening we spent together with our Blankeneser friends in Ingrid’s garden, and Antonie’s birthday party in the Blankeneser Waldschenke.
        From October 9 to 12 we were in New Orleans at the ACS meeting. During the beautiful car ride along the Gulf shores to New Orleans we witnessed the impressive destructive power of hurricanes. In some subdivisions almost every 2nd roof had come off and in the woods of every 2nd tree trunk was broken not to talk about the I-10 highway bridge that had been blown apart for over a mile or so.
        The big event of October was Pat and Charlie Aprahamian’s 50th wedding anniversary, celebrated at Elmgrove’s Women’s Club, the same place where we had celebrated Mark and Lisa’s wedding some years ago.  – That party was a full success, on one side because Charlie’s six sons performed a great, entertaining and witty show, and, on the other hand, because it was wonderful to have such a friendly reunion with almost all of Dietmar former colleagues from the Department of Surgery. Dietmar, all of a sudden, realized how much he had missed his friends from the department and stated having second thoughts about his early retirement.
        We stayed in Wisconsin in the very beautiful log house of Don and Dianne located in the middle of a subdivision on Diane’s former farmland. Don and Diane also introduced us more intimately to US politics by taking us to an election rally for John Edwards in Racine. John and his presentation were impressive under blue skies on the background of Lake Michigan . The potential Vice President, amongst other things, addressed the issue of medical advertising abuse. It sounds to us like a great plan to outlaw medical advertising like in Germany. Medical advertizing is misleading anyway, like one add for example, that deceitfully promises to help patients by stopping hyperacidity but in fact keeping the disease going while the add conveniently avoids mentioning that a one week therapy with certain drugs may eliminate the disease forever.
        This is a nice paradigm to discribe current President who repeatedly provides similarly flawed information and creates artificial problems to suit his agenda, which is different from the agenda of most. We did not understand that so many fellow Americans voted for this man, whose hypocrisy to be a Christian is too obvious as he is constantly violating the 9th and 10th commandment.  When I asked friends why they voted for republican I got always answers telling me how bad the democrats were, never how good the republicans are. I think Bush is a big problem for GOP at the long run. It is amazing how much the political climate has deteriorated since the “Fin de Siècle” enthusiasm that we tried to discribe in  our Christmas Letter at the conclusion of last century.
        Finally we do not want to miss mentioning some important issues of this year. Anna has completed her postgraduate fellowship at the University of Virginia and is now partner in private practice in Atlanta, an exciting and very integra- ted city that seems to be entirely located in forests. We drove already twice the 500 miles on I-75 to visit them. Anna, John and Syrah enjoy living in a small neat house in Atlanta’s forests. John is a graduate student of the School of Philosophy and seems to enjoy philosophy very much. We are very proud to have a philosopher in our family. You may find more information about John, Anna and Syrah at the following link on our website:
 http://www.colonna.net/5-Family/anna/Index-anna.html .
Mark, Lisa and their three girls – it is a pleasure to see them grow – report on their own website http://www.witticrew.com/
If you want more information about us and see 2004 pictures, go to our website at www.colonna.net. We sincerely hope that this letter reaches you in good health and spirit. We also  wish you a piecful  year 2005 and are looking forward hearing from you
  Yours Heidi und Dietmar