Family at Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome
St. Peter’s Basilica in background

Happy Holidays to Everyone and Best Wishes for the New Year!

Dear relatives and friends,

Thank you very much for the many well wishes on my 80th birthday in April.  My male ancestors died early.  I am blessed… in the last 120 years none of them got as old as I am now.

All my life I’ve felt suspicious about the number 13, but now that the year 2013 is almost behind us, I’m grateful that I can reflect back on a fortunate year:  no hospital stays, the business climate was good, and we were able to enjoy time with family, not only at home but also abroad.  In addition, new technology continues to keep life interesting and fun.

In April the whole family traveled to Rome to celebrate my birthday on the 16th.  Former Pope Benedict was also born on 4/16, but he had resigned shortly before.  (See Vatican postcard on attached picture page.)  We also visited Assisi, in honor of the new pope’s namesake, Saint Francis of Assisi, who is often depicted in pictures with a bird in his hand.  (See attached photo of Peter of Assisi, taken by his girlfriend, Hannah.)

This past fall, Brigitte and I visited Italy again, including the Art Biennale in Venice.  This time we traveled by boat and stayed overnight.  We brought our hotel with us, so to speak.  The curators claimed they were guiding us through the modern art scene like Moses guided the Israelites through the parted sea.

Technology dominates my professional day to day life.  We increased sales considerably this year, but our profits stayed flat.  A couple of days ago, Space X, a privately held space transport company, sent its first satellite into orbit… for less money than their competitors.  Earlier this year we made measurements for Space X.  We also participated in environmental research this year by providing the University of Arizona with an instrument that measures the properties of molten salt at high temperatures, information of interest to the solar power industry.  Due to political upheaval in Egypt, we had one close call…  Just when our engineer was going to head over to Cairo to install an instrument,  Morsi was removed  by the military and a revolution broke out.

Technology also dominates my daily routines:  I have my iPhone on me all the time.  The photos on the attached picture page were taken with it, and the text of this letter was dictated using the voice recognition feature.  When I dictate in German, the text is accurate about 90% of the time.  It is fun to see the words appear on the screen after they are spoken.  Everybody should try it.

We are looking forward to celebrating Brigitte’s birthday with the whole family in Florida this upcoming January.

To see the extended version of this letter, as well as additional photos of 2013, please visit my website:

We hope this letter finds you in good health and we wish you a happy and peaceful 2014!

Gerhard and Brigitte

LINK to 2013 Rome trip