Saturday, January 14, 2012

Moberg Family Blog -- 2011 Update

January 2012
Hello friends:

Keith, Jessica, Kate, and Alex
This past year 2011—particularly during the late spring and summer months--was active and at times stressful, full of transitions, health challenges, and other pressures.

Daughter Kate obtained her Master’s in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May.  In August she took a short-term contract as a reference and instruction librarian at the George Washington University in D.C. Earlier this month, she began a new, permanent position as the College and Career Reference Librarian at the Arlington County Public Library
.  Next month she plans to move into her own apartment less than a mile away from us. 

Jessica, Alex, Carla, Kate and Keith
hiking in the Presidential Mountains
Son Alex continues as a research associate at an environmental consulting firm in Cambridge MA.  He works on GIS and other analysis of topics such as the Gulf oil spill, whale migration, and endangered species.  Although he has stayed in the same general location, in late August, we helped him move from an apartment in Medford to a small shared house in Somerville, closer to girlfriend Carla, who that same month began a PhD program in American Studies at Harvard.

Over the summer, we moved Jessica’s 90-year-old mother Kay, from her apartment into an assisted living arrangement, staying within her continuing care community south of Philadelphia.  This involved sorting out family heirlooms and also helping deal with Jessica’s sister Margy’s things, since Margy had been living with Kay part-time, helping her cope in spite of growing disabilities.  Kay, barely mobile even with a walker, is relieved to be in her new quarters.

Jean and all her grandchildren
Before completing the move of one mother, Keith’s mother Jean fell ill, with multiple hospitalizations from diverse causes.  Notwithstanding more than a month cumulatively in the hospital over the course of the summer, Jean attended (and even danced at) two family weddings on Keith’s side – one here in DC late June, of cousin Brooke , where we served as host for out-of-town relatives,  and the other on the Maine coast in late July, of nephew John.   By September, Jean was recovered and able to celebrate her 90th birthday back at in her apartment.

At Glenn Falls in near Pinkham
Notch, New Hampshire
Somewhere in this mix, we dealt with a flooded basement (February), temporarily moving all furniture upstairs and general rehab including gutting of our basement (July), and then re-flooding (with sewage blockage) just an hour before we departed for the Maine wedding and summer vacation in NH.   Fortunately, by phone, we were able to arrange for trustworthy local firms to enter the house, diagnose the problem, and then “snake” the main sewer line drain to the street, enabling us to return home to working plumbing.

Thanksgiving dinner with Kay, 
Jessica's sisters Margy and 
Bethany, and Bethany's family
Our busy work lives have also continued to evolve.  Jessica faced a stressful spring at work when she had to completely redesign a project operation under huge time pressure.  In August, while in the midst of all the family moves, she had to move her office to a different World Bank building, after sorting through more than eight years of accumulated papers.   She’s also had to deal with Bank requirements to regularly rotate from one region to another.  With 32 years, she has the dubious distinction of being the longest-tenured staff person in the rural development sector of the Bank (and this does not count her summer intern positions in 1976, 1978, and 1979).  So although she will be only 58, she is taking a buyout as of March 30, 2012.  (Please note that her work email will not function after that date – please contact us directly if you want to request her new contact information.)  Leaving the Bank would enable her to regain some balance and have the time to devote to personal matters, especially Kay and Jean.   She has already handed her work on the Krygyz land and real estate registration project during a fall trip to Central Asia.   Until March 2012, however, Jessica’s work responsibilities in Tajikistan will continue to take up almost all her time.  These involve land tenure and sustainable upland management projects as well as a Rural Vulnerability and Resilience Study, and include a final trip next month.

Keith, who turned 60 this year, is also thinking about the future.  After six years under the umbrella of another non-profit organization, Bikes for the World
incorporated separately and established its own board of directors (February), took over payroll (April 1), received its IRS non-profit letter (April 29), and took on all the joys and risks of an independent existence.  Despite these institutional changes and increased expenses, the organization--with three dedicated staff members and many hundreds of volunteers—continued to operate in the black, and maintain the flow of donated bicycles to programs overseas.   Although production has remained constant during the last four years, Keith believes that it is poised for expansion in 2012.

Our health is always a concern.  In early November, taking advantage of a large gap between international trips, Jessica squeezed in foot surgery to deal with chronic arthritis in her big toe, and has found the recovery process frustratingly slow.  Keith, meanwhile, is keeping better control of his blood sugar levels with a continuous glucose monitor – providing family members with peace of mind.   With an inch-long transmitter/sensor inserted above his waist, he jokingly refers to himself as “the bionic man”.

We cannot end this note without noting some of the drama in the world—some negative, such as the continued unemployment and debt burdens of people both in the U.S. and abroad, and the demagogic focus of some politicians on issues that ignore injustice, divide the nation, and actually forestall economic growth and environmental sustainability; and some positive, such as wider political participation in some Arab countries, greater public recognition of the perversity of concentrated wealth, and stronger prospects for cuts in military expenditure.  May we work toward greater justice and prosperity in 2012.

Warm wishes,

Jessica and Keith

P.S.  In case you want to see our blog from past years, here is the link.  

Moberg Family Blog

Dear Friends and Family,  

We are going to use this blog address to post our annual family letters and other periodic news, and then distribute the link via email.  

Warm regards, 

Keith, Jessica, Kate and Alex