Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy Holidays 2012

Much like Congress and low-GPA undergraduates, Andy believes we should always wait until last minute to do anything. That's why he waited until the very, very, very end of the holiday season to actually write this.

He had hopes and dreams of doing this earlier, but then his kids got out of school for two weeks and any hope of getting anything done quickly evaporated. Little-known fact: Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness after he spent two weeks with his kids at home during holiday break. Which explains "The Horror! The Horror!"

(L to R): Alex, Susan, Michael, and Winston, all on their iPads

Alex and Michael

Alex and Michael are almost 8 and in second grade.  As far as sports go, they are too short to play basketball, they're afraid of a 40-mph baseball, and there's no way that Andy and Susan would let them play football. So by elimitation, soccer has become their sport.

Alex (L) and Michael (R) in their Texans jerseys
They are also doing Cub Scouts. This means that Andy is spending a lot of nights sleeping on the ground, which he says is now on his Murtaugh list (Murtaugh is Danny Glover's character from Lethal Weapon, who constantly says "I'm too old for this sh*t"). Andy looks forward to the kids graduating to Boy Scouts and not needing a parent to go along.

They also enjoy watching shows about blowing things up on Netflix.  While it's probably too soon to say they discovered their dream job, it may be that in 20 years they're blowing things up professionally. They also watch a lot of sci-fi and World War II history shows. This leads to interesting debates, such as, "Who would win a fight between Darth Vader and the Battleship Missouri?"  No clear winner yet on that question.

Max: 2003-2012

In sad news, our loyal Weimaraner Max passed away in February after a brief but courageous fight with cancer.  He was a good dog and a valued member of the family.  We miss him every day.

RIP, Max

Meet the new dog, same as the old dog

During a brief bout of insanity, Andy and Susan decided to get another dog to fill the Max-sized hole in their hearts.  They went to the North Texas Weim Rescue and got a 6-year old Weim named Winston, whose owner had to give the dog up when she went bankrupt.

Winston has his own views about how a house should be run and where dogs are in the pecking order.  We'll just leave it at that.

Winston: the new dog
Kasper is now the senior dog in the Dessler house, and enjoys all of the privileges that august position receives (none).  Kasper is glad 2012 is over: during the year, Max died, our turtle Tex died, the neighbor dog died, Andy's parent's dog died ... it was, as Kasper describes it, a bad year for pets.  He looks forward to a much better 2013.  Claws crossed.

Kasper: the senior dog


Susan continues to work in the office of a local psychiatrist. This means she knows who in town is mentally ill – and that definitely comes in handy.  Her new hobby is making jewelry, which she sells at craft shows.  Andy visited one show and was amazed at how thin he was compared to everyone else there.  She also spends a lot of time driving the kids around and doing things like being an assistant den mother of the Cub Scout pack.  All in all, she is busy.


Andy continues to work on and teach climate change.   His research focuses on the effect of clouds on the climate and he is also working to better understand how stratospheric water vapor is regulated.  He'd like to be able to just teach and do research, but this being climate change, that's not going to happen. During the year, he had a FOIA request for his email (note to reader: be careful what you email him).  This in turn led him to be interviewed for an episode of Frontline entitled Climate of Doubt (watch the video here; read an extended interview with Andy here).  It's quite a good show.

Andy being interviewed by PBS film crew 
The only good news is that the truly weird weather we've had over the last year (droughts, floods, tornadoes, Hurricane Sandy, etc.) is beginning to shift public opinion on climate.  This may allow Congressional leaders to do something.  Andy hesitates to be hopeful given the inability of Congress to do much of anything.  But hope springs eternal ...

Have a great 2013!

Here's hoping you and your family have a great 2013 and beyond!

Andy, Susan, Michael, Alex
(and Kasper and Winston)