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Letters from the ❤️: December 2023

Letters from the ❤️: December 2023

| December 20, 2023

Reflecting on the year 2023, I would like to share some highlights that made the year. Professionally, it was a new, high interest rate environment, in which our economy survived and the stock market stabilized.  Personally, it was a year of a lot of inner growth and the end of a life chapter. As my youngest son, Dima, graduated college and for a few months my husband and I got a taste of empty nesting - we had a lot to reflect on the season of child rearing and think about the next stage of our life. We celebrated our 20th anniversary by cleaning the garage and doing a road trip in Europe. Garage project was a great test of the strength of our marriage. Europe was a pure delight; it was as if it scratched an itch, I forgot I had. I haven’t been back to St.-Petersburg, Russia for over a decade. With the war, it's unclear when it might happen next. This trip filled that hole with food (bread specifically), architecture and deep history. Therefore, I nominate this as my top experience of the year. 

Top Books

  • Dr. David Hawkins’s ten book series ”Power vs Force”
  • Konkordia Antarova four book series “Two Lives” (my longest book in Russian in 20 yrs)
  • Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now & New Earth
  • Michael Singer Untethered Soul and Surrender Experiment
  • Peter Zeihan The End of the World is Just the Beginning

Top Tools

  • Google lenz - allowed to translate foreign menus by holding the camera.
  • Chat GPT was instrumental in writing my renewal of the vows and love poem for my husband.

Top Movie

It may be cheesy, but I would give it to Barbie - I had a great laugh! 

Top Quote

I would give it to one of my favorite sages who passed away this year, Charlie Munger. He was lawyer by profession and a lifelong business partner to Warren Buffet. Despite not being as famous, he played a huge role in the success of Berkshire Hathaway. I always loved his comments because they were short, often funny and to the point. I am so glad I got to see him in May this year.


In 2007, Charlie Munger gave the the commencement address at USC Law School and this quote is particularly special to me because it relates to the high level of trust that I experienced in America and I believe that’s what makes it strong: 


The last idea that I want to give you as you go out into a profession that frequently puts a lot of procedure and a lot of precautions and a lot of mumbo jumbo into what it does, this is not the highest form which civilization can reach. The highest form which civilization can reach is a seamless web of deserved trust. Not much procedure, just totally reliable people correctly trusting one another. That’s the way an operating room works at the Mayo Clinic.

If a bunch of lawyers were to introduce a lot of process, the patients would all die. So never forget when you’re a lawyer that you may be rewarded for selling this stuff but you don’t have to buy it. In your own life what you want is a seamless web of deserved trust. And if your proposed marriage contract has 47 pages, my suggestion is do not enter.


For Eric and his wife, Jennifer, this year included a lot of traveling. It started with a trip in January to Disneyland, where Eric built a lightsaber. Eric and Jennifer made several trips to Nashville to see their grandson. They also went to the Wyoming and Nebraska State Fairs at the end of summer. The highlight of the year was going to North Carolina in December for their youngest daughter’s graduation from the Duke University School of Nursing with a Master’s Degree as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.


Eric and Jennifer attend plays and concerts throughout the year, being season subscribers at several Denver area venues. In addition to the yearly Labor Day weekend Phish shows, they also enjoyed Greta Van Fleet and Queen at Ball Arena.  Eric also went to his first out of state Phish concert in Nashville this October.


Top Book: The Little Liar by Mitch Albom

Top Movie: The Boy and The Heron (Japanese Anime)

Top Concert: Bruce Springsteen at Ball Arena

Top Tool: Pattern Keeper for tracking my cross stitching, a real game changer!


Thank you for reading!


Eric and I hope that your holidays are warm and cozy. We would love to hear about highlights of your year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!