Looking Back On 2017, Looking Ahead To 2018

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Is it really 2018? Wasn’t Y2K just a thing? Time is flying by, and the older we get, the faster it flies. We hope you had a great 2017, and that this (late holiday greeting) finds you healthy and happy. Things were very crazy in the Santangelo household all year. 2017 was a good year for our family, although Scott and I lost two of our dearest friends to cancer. They will always be in our hearts, and we have many fond memories of fun times with them. As you can tell, we are very proud of our kids and love watching them develop into enjoyable, successful adults. They turned 21 in October! Lexie, our four year old Border Collie/Lab mix, keeps us laughing and is a true joy to have in our family. She is obviously spoiled, and has taught us all to speak ‘dog’.

Scott was a busy “ringmaster” for all things Music Hall this year. Some renovation is still ongoing behind the scenes, but Cincinnati’s historic theater re-opened on schedule, the first week of October. It is gorgeous. So many original architectural features were uncovered, and previously bricked-up windows were re-opened. The chandelier in the main auditorium was returned to it’s sparkling glory, and many murals and paintings were discovered and meticulously restored. Everyone seems pleased with how Music Hall looks and sounds. Scott is very happy the major renovation is finished, and he can get back to business as usual. If that wasn’t enough, his book, “The Ohio Valley Jazz Festival”, was finally published. It is a retrospective on the Jazz Festival started 55 years ago by his late father, Dino, to whom the book is dedicated. It’s for sale at bookstores all over Greater Cincinnati, and there was even a book signing at Barnes & Noble. There are pages and pages of old photos, celebrities, and lots of memories. This was something he had been talking about doing ever since we met. He’s still Chairman of the Kenton County Code Enforcement Board, and in his ‘free time’ enjoys making his custom wire turks-head knot rings. Every once in awhile, he gets a ‘cha-ching’ sound on his phone, which means someone bought a ring on Etsy.

Last spring, Michael was “tapped” to become a member of the Cincinnatus Honorary Society, which “recognizes a student who has demonstrated spirit and enthusiasm for the University of Cincinnati through their contribution to the recruitment and retention of students.” Not many sophomores are ever tapped – here is a snippet from their declaration about Michael: “. . .This student’s sincere and earnest efforts show in everything from his brilliant campus photography to his positive and enthusiastic encounters with everyone he meets. This student holistically embodies the mission and spirit of Cincinnatus in all that he does . . .” After working as an RA (Resident Advisor) as a Sophomore, Michael spent his summer working as an intern in the HR Department at Best Buy’s corporate office in Minneapolis. He enjoyed discovering a new part of the U.S., with frequent visits to the Mall of America and a pilgrimage to the famous Cheese Curd Festival in Wisconsin. We visited him when he first moved there, and found that it’s a really nice city (at least in the summer). He made some valuable contacts, and they would love to have him back. After the internship, he decided to live at home for his Junior year. We love having him home and surprised him by rehabbing his room ala IKEA. While consistently maintaining his status on the Deans’ List at the University of Cincinnati, he works in Admissions and the Career Center. That, plus being a ROAR (tour) guide on campus and various other clubs, keep him very involved in campus life. They even voted him ROAR Guide of the Year in the spring. We are so happy for him that he has accepted an HR internship at Liberty Mutual Insurance in Boston this summer. His services and expertise were in high demand, and he had to turn down multiple other offers. Looks like a trip to Boston is in our future (Scott is excited about visiting “Old Ironsides”). We are so proud of Michael and his accomplishments and looking forward to seeing what the future holds for him when he graduates in the spring of 2019.

Olivia spent two weeks this past summer in Washington DC for an honors class and loved it! She was there studying the various diverse neighborhoods, and they got to see the monuments and memorials. She remains on the Deans’ List at Western KY University, and is focused on teaching high school science after graduation in spring 2019. Student teaching, volunteering, Women’s Choir, a full load of classes and working as a Community Advisor (in charge of the RA’s) in a residence hall with 26 floors of Freshman girls, keep her super-busy. This semester, she has even more required teaching and observation hours in a High School classroom there. Olivia plans to stay in Bowling Green over the summer to work in the residence hall and get another required class under her belt. A double-major can hardly be accomplished in four years anymore. She has made some great friends in her service sorority, OPA, and will have ‘sisters’ for life. We couldn’t be more proud of her. Christmas day she left for Australia on a Study Abroad geology trip for almost 3 weeks. She spent time with the Aboriginals, snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef, and experienced things that we will never see or do. It was an experience of a lifetime!

I am busy selling real estate, and the market is great! As you already know, late last February, I was recruited to join Coldwell Banker West Shell. It was a very difficult decision to switch brokers. Fortunately at the time, Scott and I were spending a few days in Chicago on his business trip. Being away and in a hotel room all day helped clear my head. It turned out to be a great career move for me. I have many more tools at my disposal and have surpassed several of my goals. It is a stressful career and sometimes maddening, but I love it. It’s like matchmaking, and I was able to help match 28 people with 28 houses last year. It is so satisfying to see people get the keys to their new home, and by then, we have usually become friends! One of my goals was to get some help by the end of 2017. In September, I hired an assistant. She has been a lifesaver, allowing me to take time to breathe, and making sure things get done correctly. Last August, I checked something off my bucket list – I got to see a total eclipse of the sun. My brother, Bill, and I picked up Olivia in Bowling Green, KY and drove another hour to Hopkinsville to be able to see it in its entirety for 2 minutes and 40 seconds. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. In the total darkness, the chirping birds were replaced with crickets and a hush like I’ve never heard. It was totally worth the effort and nine hours in traffic back. In June, Mom joined us at the gorgeous Florida beach condo we rent every year, situated between St. Pete and Clearwater. She is hooked now, too. There’s nothing like relaxing in a beach chair, feet in the sand, sipping a cold drink and watching the waves come in. And the sunsets are breathtaking! Watching Survivor and HGTV with Scott, hanging with my kids, and getting together with the family are still my favorite things to do . . . well, and sitting in that beach chair.

We sincerely hope you have a happy and healthy 2018.

Kathy, Scott, Olivia and Michael Santangelo