Saturday, December 15, 2001

Happy Holidays 2001 from the Palmer/Rauterkus Family

108 South 12th Street, 15203
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Advent is a time of anticipation and as long as we expect, as long as we hope, someone will light a candle against the revailing darkness -- and neigh the winds of hate nor the gales of evil will extinguish it (John A. Taylor)

In the midst of world crisis, there has been joy in the Palmer/Rauterkus household and we thought we would share a little of it with you. We hope you are finding joy in this season and hope to see all of you in the coming year.

Mark provided lots of new and interesting activities and friendships as he ran in the primary as a Republican candidate for the mayor of Pittsburgh. Although he didn't make it beyond the primary as a candidate, he transitioned this energy into being an advocate for many city related issues. Mark continues his involvement with the Unitarian Universalist church of the South Hills and currently is creating the web presence for the congregation. Mark made a new foray into being a swim parent (instead of head coach) this summer as Erik joined his first swim team -- Mark did a great job of cheering everyone on (with secret coaching of Erik during free swim).

Catherine received tenure at the University of Pittsburgh this year which was a great milestone for the whole family. Her work teaching, doing research, and directing the Audiology clinic in the medical school continues to keep her challenged and rewarded. Meetings this year included visist to Denver, San Francisco, Philadeplhia, St. Louis, and Chicago. The whole family made it out to San Diego and we combined Catherine's meeting with lots of fun visiting our friends (erik's godparents) the Bratts (from San Francisco).

Erik is a first grader at Phillips Elementary School where he seems to have a talent for math and is quickly learning to read. He continues his violin music and has performed in several concerts this past year. He also is now part of the children's choir at church and will be a singing manger animal in the upcoming pageant. Erik proved to be a terrific athlete this summer as he brought home ribbons from all of his swim meets (a ver fast six year old frestyler). He is missing both hit top front teeth this Christmas!

Grant just turned four and is enjoying a few days per week at the University Child Development Center (pre-schoo). Otherwise, he and Dad hang out during the week. Grant is well known in the political scene since he did much of Mark's campaigning with mim. Grant started violin this fall and also had a summer of terrific swimming. With a new pair of hockey skates for his birthday, Grant no is joining Mom and brother at the local ice rink (Schenley). Grant's curent passion is reading the bible; a few of his more interesting intrepretations include,

"I think Eve was just bored and wanted more ups and downs in life."

"I don't think anyone would name their son Cain."

"If Noah took tow of every animal on the ark and the first thing he did on dry land was sacrifice a lamb, hos is that we have sheep today?"

We'll cover the New Testament (or as Erik says, "the sequel") next Holiday letter.

Trips for 2002 include a visit to Maine in the spring to see Grandpa, a visit to New England in the summer to see much of the Palmer family and college friends, another great trip to Virginia to enjoy SUUSI, and a visit to California in the fall to see lots of friends. Hope to see you in our travels or here in Pittsburgh.

The flip side of the one page letter had a page from the past on my web site. It showed the results of the WTAE TV poll hosted at -- and gave my "winner's inishgts."