Dear Family and Friends,

“…feeling a surge of euphoria (‘rush’) accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and heavy extremities. Following this initial euphoria, the person goes ‘on the nod,’ an alternately wakeful and drowsy state. Mental functioning becomes clouded due to the depression of the central nervous system. Other effects included slowed and slurred speech, slow gait, constricted pupils, droopy eyelids, impaired night vision…”

Yes, the joys of parenthood. Strangely akin to the effects of heroin, yet still legal in all 50 states. In case you’ve been on a drug binge of your own and haven’t heard, Lisa and I had a baby girl on September 27th. Her name is Helena Rose Jaeger. Helena is pronounced like the Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (wow, a Shakespeare reference already) or the capital of Montana. We call her Lena a lot, pronounced like Lisa, which will make life easier for me because I’m bad with names. She doesn’t actually talk or help around the house, so the jury’s still out on this having kids thing.

Actually, we named her Helena to give some mad props to a few of the shorties in the family: Great-grandma Helen, Great-grandma Vereasha Eleanor, and Great-grandma Hyacinth Rose. If we were more Catholic or Latino, we would have added Great-grandma LaVerne in there somewhere. Lisa suggested the L and A on the ends of Lena could be for the La in LaVerne, but somehow I think that’s stretching it a bit far. And no, unlike Britney Spears, we’re not going for little Vernon right away. I just thought about those commercials that Ernest was in where he said, “Vern, Vern, Vern, Vern, Vern, Vern, Vern!” That’s good TV.

One of the other major adjustments in our lives this year was the selling of our house in West Allis and moving into my parents’ house in Milwaukee. No, we’re not shacked up in the basement with my Firebird in the driveway, though that would be sweet. My parents moved up to Sheboygan to retire. I know, everyone’s like, “I’ve never heard of anyone moving to Sheboygan to retire.” Well, now you have. Lisa and I closed on the house Monday and she had the baby Wednesday. Since we’ve got more junk than Sanford, we’re still not completely moved in, but like the Bacon Brothers, we’re getting there. (Check off one obscure reference to a Kevin Bacon song title). I did have to put certain tasks like setting up a kitchen table on hold in order to set up my theater room. Yep, down in my old bedroom I now have an HDTV projector so that I can watch Brett Favre fumble and every bead of sweat on Phil Collins’s face in 110 diagonal inches of glory! Lena and I like to watch the Monsters channel and the one with concerts, but I don’t let her watch the scary parts, like the close-ups of Sheryl Crow’s face.

Other stuff that went on this year includes our trip to Toronto over spring break. Boy, their speed limits are fast up there! I was glad the old ’83 Mercedes (running on grease) could keep up. The only mishap was poorly filtered grease, which I had to filter at the hotel, using the coffee maker they kindly had available. And the breakdown at a McDonald’s in Indiana, but that was no biggie. And the coolant line slice, which I was able to mend on a street next to the University of Guelph, while Lisa busied herself researching documents relating to L.M. Montgomery, one of her favorite authors. We also went up some tall thingy and looked out over Lake Ontario and drove around a lot. The region north of Toronto is a lot like Wisconsin, minus yellow foam headgear.

Amy got hitched this year, so my older sister is finally going to settle down. At least she found herself a good husband in Joe instead of buying some guy from the Ukraine named Yosyp. Her new last name is Raml, which I thought was Rommel the first time I heard it. Instead of the Desert Fox, I imagined my new brother-in-law as the Dessert Fox, eating trans fat-laden dessert cakes and telling my sister to refill his Homer Simpson beer mug. My brain hurts sometimes. But Amy’s won’t as much anymore, because she’ll have someone besides animals to associate with on a daily basis, and that’s probably good.

Lisa was thinking about our Christmas letter the other day and mentioned how self-absorbed they seem. So in the attempt to appear less self-absorbed while writing a letter to tell you what we did this year, I’d like to take this opportunity to ask you how you’re doing………….. If you said fine, that’s great! If not, I am sorry for your misfortune, but alas I can do little to help you because I did not hear what the problem was. Besides, we shouldn’t dwell on our problems, even yours, so let’s move on.

My friend Kirk and I have gone into business and are setting up a new website that might interest you if you have an internet connection and a consistent pulse. If you enjoy irreverent college humor (including a chance to share your own college experiences), this site could be for you. If you enjoy satirical takes on the local news, this site is for you. If you like wasting time at work or at home reading stuff that makes you laugh or watching a ninja do the mundane, this site is definitely for you. We’re going to have a national news page on, but our plan is to start local with a Wisconsin page at or Check for the page around New Years so you can decide for yourselves which cola tastes best warm.

I’ve been seeing a lot of signs in people’s yards this holiday season suggesting we put Christ back in Christmas. Good idea. Dad, that doesn’t mean yelling it at the TV when the Brewers, Bucks, or Packers lose. And I assume it doesn’t mean we should all go and buy a giant inflatable baby Jesus, though that might be a great marketing idea. However, since the saying’s been around a while, and I avoid the cliché, I’d like to suggest you put the Mas back in Christmas. Lisa said the mas stood for mass, but if it does, why don’t we spell it mass? No, that’s way too easy, and kind of boring. Mobile Atmospheric Spectrometer? Probably not. How’s about we say it stands for the Spanish word más, meaning “more.” Christmore. We can all act a little more like Christ. Maybe helping other people more. Or forgiving those who cut us off on the road. Or not judging people, even those who are really stupid. And by all means, if you see any money-changers at church, kick over their tables and tell them what’s up. Most of all, if you can find peace within yourself, maybe the rest of the world will eventually follow.

Merry Christmás


Brian, Lisa, and Helena

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