Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Camilla Wins Softball Championship 2016

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Mary Ellen Steussy Shanahan, 1937 – 2016

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Mary and Larry undated

My aunt, Mary Ellen Steussy Shanahan, passed away today at the age of 79. She was an English professor, married to Larry Shanahan, another English professor. She had a wit, a tongue, an education and a taste for the good life.

Wedding_1965Her Official Obituary: Mary Steussy Shanahan, born January 30, 1937, passed away on Wednesday, May 11, 2016 in New Glarus, Wisconsin after a brief illness. She was the daughter of Edwin and Helen Freitag Steussy and was predeceased by two brothers, Robin and Calvin Steussy. Mary is survived by her husband Lawrence Shanahan. She was born in Madison, Wisconsin, attended West High School, and graduated with a Ph.D. in English from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After she completed her Ph.D., she taught at Nebraska Wesleyan in Lincoln, Nebraska and Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma. After retirement, she taught for more than 10 years at Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. Mary is survived by a large loving family of cousins, nieces, and nephews and an even larger family of students whose lives were so enriched by Mary’s gift of teaching. Mary’s two passions in life were teaching and beauty and she leaves a rich legacy of each.

Mary married Larry in 1965 in Monticello, Wisconsin at her grandfather’s stately rural home. Larry was her companion and her muse, always present and always devoted, for the past fifty-one years.

I’ve known Aunt Mary all my life. I remember her brief visits to my childhood home in Indiana, as well as our many visits to her in Wisconsin. She introduced me to good cheese, wry conversation and martinis.

She taught me cocktail party banter and etiquette. Her wry sense of humor and education mixed seamlessly. This was also true in her everyday life, as she had a cat named Fitzgerald and a car named Lord Byron. I will miss her.

With Mary’s passing, a generation of Steussy’s have left us. The void they leave behind, Robin, Cal and Mary, is vast and deep.



Mothers’ Day 2016

Sunday, May 8th, 2016


Mothers’ Day at the new house. Daniel is still asleep; Dad is fresh back from New Glarus and Aunt Mary. We’ve been living in the house for two weeks now.

15th Anniversary

Sunday, February 7th, 2016






Yes, today is our 15th anniversary. The photos above were chosen from an algorithm on Facebook, but I think they are appropriate. And what do we get for this milestone?


A new house! We close escrow on March 14.

Jurassic World

Sunday, September 13th, 2015

jurassic world

Last weekend, Daniel (12), Aaron (7), Camilla (10) and I went to see this movie.  Despite being PG-13, Gabi and I determined that these three could see the movie, Nika (6) was too young.  Mind you, the kids harangued us all summer to see this; it was popular enough that it was still in theaters three months after the opening. Not only have the kids seen all three movies from the 1990’s, but I’ve been reading them the original novel at bedtime … and they’ve loved it.

I’m writing since this was probably the most enjoyable movie experience I ever had.  The movie was just fine, but the kids’ reactions were even better. Camilla was hiding behind a seat for parts of the movie, bobbing her head out to look every few seconds.  Aaron had a different reaction. Just as the dinosaur attacks a pair of kids in a spherical plastic golf cart, Aaron looks at me and says, “I need to go to the bathroom.”  He does this three times during the movie; I’ll have to wait until we rent it at home to find out what happened then.

The experience brought me back to Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors. I read Pirate Latitudes for the first time (quite good, very much like playing Sid Meier’s Pirates in book form); I re-read Sphere, a book that does not do well on a second reading. Very much in the Michael Crichton vein is the new book, the Martian, by Andy Weir. Solid, well-researched, informative. I miss Crichton.

Father’s Day 2015

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

Penultimate cigar

Dad died five years ago. When he passed away, he left a stash of recently purchased cigars. As the sole family member with any interest in cigars, these boxes passed to me as part of my inheritance. I’ve smoked Dad’s cigars on special occasions: law school acceptance, graduation, passing the bar, being hired. Yesterday, I smoked the next-to-last cigar remaining.

I lit it using matches Dad had taken from the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel in Moscow. This was the hotel I arranged for my parents when they came to visit me when I was working for Apple there in Summer 1993. The hotel looks down on Red Square and the walls of the Kremlin; it was one of their favorite travel hotels of all time. After a few days visiting me there, he and Mom left on a train for Beijing, the most adventurous trip they ever took.

Transiberian Railway

Transiberian Railway 1993

While smoking, I’m reading what is probably the last travel book by Paul Theroux. His first travel book, The Great Railway Bazaar was one of Dad’s favorites. Thus, this Father’s Day is spent, at least partially, in homage to Dad.

Gene Steussy Photographs

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

This is my favorite image of Mom and Dad. They are older, but still in good health and their ever-present good spirits. Taken at their second home at Lake Santee sometime around 1990. More images below the fold.


Gene Woodfin Steussy

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;

The ship has weathered every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribboned wreaths
—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear mother!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, her lips are pale and still;
My mother does not feel my arm, she has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchored safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Gene Woodfin Steussy. September 15, 1921 to June 5, 2012

Gene Woodfin Steussy

10th Anniversary Today

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

It was a great decision. Our celebration today? Cleaning up the house after three days of Thanksgiving parties and guests. Then home with the kids for a video movie. And we’re perfectly fine with that.

Adventuring Niece

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

I have two traveling, adventurous nieces. Please visit them!