Sunday, December 19, 2021

The Haugen Christmas card

 "It's time!", as Bruce Buffer would say, for the annual Haugen Winter Solstice newsletter where I inform you of happenings around our household from the year 2021 in case you don't follow us daily on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or read the court news in the newspaper. (For you young'ns, newspapers are big sheets of paper that used to print local news, sports and entertainment.)

Some accuse me of being cheap for not sending out Christmas cards with a pretty picture of the fam. But that's not the case. I'm simply lazy. Besides it's usually the most visited post of the year on this blog, oddly enough, just edging out any posts where I mention Amanda Knox. Seriously, Google sends everyone here when I mention her name. I don't understand it but ... did I mention Amanda Knox?

Once again, in 2021, the State of the Haugen Union was strong. 

First, the big news. Looks like Nancy and I are going to be grandparents. My favorite child, Rylee, is set to have my favorite granddaughter, probably named Lena, on April 25. Fans of the Miss Congeniality movie will know that is the perfect date

When pageant host William Shatner asks Miss Rhode Island to describe her “idea of a perfect date,” she infamously responds: “April 25th — because it’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket!”

Rylee and Stetson continue to reside in Champaign, Illinois, where she teaches seventh-grade science (this year in person and not via the interweb) and coaches cross country, and Stet is putting the finishing touches on his doctoral thesis at the University of Illinois. He's explained his thesis to me several times but, near as I can tell, it's basically "Why nobody likes Aaron Rodgers." Or it might have something to do with the Dawes Act of 1887. One of the two.

They spend a few weeks each summer at the Haugen compound outside Rapid City; and we're especially looking forward to having them this summer. Hopefully they'll bring Lena too. It'll be a welcome change of pace cleaning up baby puke instead of dog puke. 

Speaking of which, Stanley and Huck are still going strong. Stanley is still the best dog ever in his golden years, and Huck continues to be the ornriest. They are 12 and 9.

Oldest daughter Katie is still hanging out with her mountain man, Kwinn, in the Hills of Black near Keystone. She hit the big 3-0 this summer but doesn't look a day over 21. She's still running the show West River for Congressman Dusty Johnson and I see her a lot as our day jobs cross paths. They got a cat named Neville, who was kidnapped this summer by a vacationing Minneapolis miscreant. They drove to the Twin Cities and, after a tense standoff, rescued Nevs from the loon (probably named Karen and probably a meth-head). Most of that is a true story.

Luke passed the one-year mark for his job with a defense company in the suburbs of D.C. doing stuff he can't tell me much about because I "don't have a high enough clearance." He likes to drop that line on me for payback for all the embarrassing ping pong losses he's suffered at my hands over the years. Luke also notches probably the second biggest Haugen news of the year as he became engaged to his college sweetheart Kayla. She will be wrapping up her Master's degree in June from Drexel University in Philadelphia. (Trivia question: What's the Drexel University nickname? Trivia answer: The Dragons. As you can see, I try to make these updates not just entertaining but educational as well.) Her degree, near as I understand, is in public health/epidemiology. (It would be nice if some of these kids did things I could understand, like be simple English majors, but noooo.) Kayla can tell you about all things COVID or the next thing to plague us, and then you can choose to believe her and do something about it or just go drink your horse dewormer. It don't matter to me. They're looking at an October wedding.

Lastly, but not leastly, Nancy continues to befuddle many by remaining married to me. Thirty-three years is my best guess. She continues as a chiropractor's assistant in Rapid City. She's always bringing home gifts from clients, including cookies, jams, fresh trout and 9 mm ammo, so apparently I'm not the only one who likes her. She also continues to befuddle me by being amazingly nice to people. Have I mentioned she's the best person in South Dakota? Seriously.

I'm wrapping up my 17th year with my best boss ever, Senator John Thune. The nation anxiously awaits his decision to run, or not, for reelection. (Hint: I think he will but you didn't hear it from me.) If he doesn't, I plan to move on to my final career goal: Renting umbrellas to co-eds on the beaches of Florida, probably near Twins spring training camp around Fort Meyers. Another mostly true story. I also published another book, the third in the Bags Morton detective series, probably the best books nobody has read. A fourth is done and will be published soon, as I just can't shake the guy. You can get the first two for free now through Jan. 1 thanks to a deal they're doing at; and then buy the third one at Amazon. You might think it crass of me to be pimping my books during a Christmas letter, but then you don't know me very well.

Otherwise, this past year, Nancy and I continued to pilfer Deadwood of money, hit as many live bands as we could, and watched lots of boxing and MMA. We spent a week in March frolicking at our favorite hide-away in Florida and the kids joined us for a few of those days. Then we all reunited for a long Labor Day weekend at Luke's place and did a bunch of touristy things in the D.C. area. 

Looks like everybody will be back in the Hills for Christmas. The place should be hopping as Luke is bringing his young German Shephard named Klaus and the Rylee bringing her cat, Aria. Stan and Huck are in for a treat.

Those are the highlights of 2021 for us, pretty memorable actually, with few low-lights. We're hoping yours was well and that 2022 is a winner for all of us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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