Here's a link to the 2013 yearly letter.

Time to celebrate another year and the final month of the “teenage years” at our house.  Joseph will have his 20th birthday in January 2014.


Charles will turn 22 years old in the same month. Where have the years gone?


We hope you are enjoying the holiday season. We are most anxious for our Christmas festivities to begin.


In fact, Joseph has visions of sugarplums dancing in his head…well maybe they are actually visions of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!


We certainly had our share of travel adventures this year.

Charles headed for Italy, after recovering from jet lag for a few days in Zurich, Switzerland.  He ferried around beautiful Lake Como...


...went hiking in the Italian Alps (the Dolomites)...


...and swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.


The views were spectacular…


...as he made his way to Verona, Venice, Florence, and many stops in between.


Charles spent a couple of nights in Umbria at a vineyard.


The final stop was Rome, and then back to school for a well-deserved rest!


Joseph and Dave also had an amazing trip of their own as they made their way in an RV to the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada.


As they approached the site of the festival, they were met with the world’s biggest traffic jam to nowhere, as almost 70,000 people arrived to setup camp on the dusty playa. That is not a typo – this festival is huge!
When they finally made it to their assigned desert campsite, it was time to explore the many, many visual and sensory treats.
After a long day of walking, Joseph found a comfy place to rest in the “Center of Attention Chair”.


A parade of awesome vehicles regularly passed by their RV.  Some, like the giant octopus that spewed flames, were unbelievable.


Others, like the huge ship on wheels, were totally unexpected.


And some were just hilarious, like the giant piñata with people throwing candy off of its observation deck.


The two hundred art installations also did not disappoint. They ranged from the ridiculous - like spinning monkeys, complete with synchronized bongo drums and strobe lights…


...to the sublime - the Temple, a divine structure built without nails, screws, or glue where attendees go to seek healing, to release their pain and anger, or to simply say farewell to a loved one, invoked strong feelings in Dave. The messages written on the interior walls were extremely moving in their emotional rawness.


In the center of the 9 square mile city stands the “Man” who is ritually burned near the end of the festival. Much of the amazing art is burned throughout the week. When the festival is over, the entire "city" disappears, leaving no trace.


It is hard to believe the time, effort, and money that people annually spend to participate in this art extravaganza. If you would like to see more photos of the Burning Man Festival, go to …….

Dave and Joseph's amazing Burning Man adventure.

In the fall, Jean and Dave took a two-week trip to Scotland, Jean’s “dream destination”. We spent several days exploring Edinburgh with its magnificent castle.


We took a day-trip to Stirling Castle, where Jean and Dave took their rightful place on the throne.


Jean fulfilled her lifelong wish to stand on the “bonnie banks of Loch Lomond” and to dip her fingers into the water.


Then it was off to the Highlands. We stayed in the lovely river-based city of Inverness…


… and went to the nearby Culloden Battlefield and its award-winning interpretive center. Culloden marks the site of the final brutal battle of the Scottish fight for independence, and the ultimate defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie. It was a sobering and sad experience to stand on the moor and to listen to the story of this bloody turning point in Scotland's history.


Our next stop was the  quaint Village Of Pitlochry, full of lovely flowers. In the nearby woods, we attended the annual Enchanted Forest music/light show. As we walked along the paths through the trees, we were treated to a magical show of synchronized music and changing colored lights illuminating the branches.  I half expected a unicorn to come trotting by at any moment.


The final destination was St. Andrews where Dave attended a conference at the 600 year old university.  Our hotel room looked out over the bay.


We visited the castle ruins and learned about its horrific dungeon…


...and the imposing ruins of the Cathedral and cemetery.


While Dave was working hard, Jean spent two days hanging out with a lovely Scottish family and visited the local botanical garden and village shops.


It really was a memorable year!


Email us!

Dave (at) fleck-family.com or dfleck (at) computer.org

Jean (at) fleck-family.com or jmherman (at) pacifier.com

Charles (at) fleck-family.com or badkarma (at) pacifier.com

Joseph (at) fleck-family.com or hinsburg (at) pacifier.com

2017 pictures are here

2016 pictures are here

2015 pictures are here

2014 pictures are here

2013 pictures are here

2012 pictures are here

2011 pictures are here

2010 pictures are here

2009 pictures are here

2008 pictures are here

2007 pictures are here

2006 pictures are here

2005 pictures are here

2004 pictures are here

2003 pictures are here

2002 pictures are here

2001 pictures are here

2000 pictures are here