2013 - Year in Review

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This has been written for the Pesavento and Gamso families and friends who enjoy laughter through stories & photos.

We, Linda and Gary, celebrated a 30th wedding anniversary, attended 3 lovely weddings (2 in the Pesavento family and Ryan's best friend, John Gardner), hosted a
sisters weekend, traveled to Europe, attended 5 Bow Tie Affair concerts, completed 3 golf trips (2 for Gary + 1 for the family in Manhattan, Kansas), celebrated a 2nd place finish at the annual War of the Grills, hosted a Thanksgiving visit by 2 Pesavento families and hosted a Christmas Eve dinner for our closest family & friends.

In our timeline below, we share our year's big events. Each event has stories that follow, with the usual photo log of activity, laughing, and celebrating.

If you have additional stories or corrections please contact Gary.

A year of wedding vows & vow re-newal

Congratulations to Raegan Reber and Kevin Conlin, plus Bobby DuBois and Krissy Grant on their marriages and extension of the Pesavento family tree.

Linda & Gary celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary in March. Then, on the Cornish coast in England, Michael and Nancy Gamso shared a tender moment holding hands and looking onto one anthers eyes at an ancient english castle's church alter.
From our family videos dating back to 1985, it was really cool to see the love & warmth shared amongst the family during holidays, and how my parents related to one another as they learned parenting (...at our expense...).
Brett Gamso

Year End Thoughts

Leawood, Kansas

Lessons Learned from Nelson Mandela
  • He grew up around a Chief and learned about good government and effective leadership
  • He taught people the meaning of the rule of law and inspired people to achieve its aim.
  • He made the Afrikaans's Government reverse a previous ‘never’ statement – more than once.
  • He forgave.
  • He gave Hope, Peace, Democracy, Truth & Reconciliation, Rule of Law, Magnanimity toward All.
  • Victory was Won already; the only obstacle is fear.
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For 2013, it’s been a great year. Some years are good, this one was great. You can see our pleasure in this blog - witnessing our family's men and women grow, spending more time with our family, working toward good health.

Next year, we will change a few things - new home; retaining loving & aging relationships, abet on differing terms; we’ll chase new friendships with like minded friends; we want more time with family; we'll work toward good health, and, we'll travel.

In 2014, I’ll pursue a few personal interests. I’ll travel alone, returning to a place I’ve grown to like - Africa. I’ll spend 12 days in the “bush” in a photography lab with a professional guide and a personal friend, Steve Lumpkin, who’ll mentor my photography. Plus, we spend time among the predators and their game, sleeping in tents among them. What an adventure.

Then, we’ll setup our new home, move & adjust our lifestyle to a new environment. We look forward to entertaining family & friends in our new home.

We’ll visit Rick & Gina Pesavento during the US Open. Linda works while Gary and Rick enjoy time together on golf courses & in Pinehurst. With Brett & Ryan, we’ll travel to Lake of the Ozarks area for a weekend of golf and over-eating (a family field trip).

Linda and I want to visit Brussels, Brugge, Vienna and Budapest. I’ll plan something we’ll both enjoy & see how many we can hit in 15 days or so, plus get to visit with brother Michael, if he gets assigned to Europe.

Lessons learned from life, my family, and many fine friends
  • Don't try to hold someone to a commitment they make after 6+ drinks (you know who you are).
  • With Linda, I regret our loss of Nelson Mandela's presence, but see the hope he's given people throughout the world (see the Elder's Ethical Leadership initiative).
  • My big take-away for the year - the nobility of all work, whether business leadership, yard work, meal preparation or raising children.
  • I have a wonderful wife & soul mate, to whom I dedicate my good times and with whom I share them.

Gary & LInda Gamso
May you achieve good health, live a long life and gain the mercy of a quick death
(If this sounds a little weird, you haven't read about our visit to the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor bridge in Paris with our "love locks.")

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30th Wedding Anniversary (March)

Los Angeles, California

Linda: We traveled to LA with the boys, staying on the Queen Mary, where we were married by the Ship’s Captain in 1983. For 2 nights we ate on-board in Sir Winston’s, where our waiter remembered Captain Gregory who officiated at our wedding 30 years past.

For one dinner, Jaci and her current beau, Nick join us for a full evening of 3-course food & drinks at Sir Winston’s. At the time, Jaci was applying to graduate schools and worried about getting in (she’s in). We visited Universal Studios, Hollywood, the beach towns with Brett & Ryan. We watched March Madness at local sport’s bars and ran across a Leawood peer of Ryan’s who lives in LA trying to break into show biz.

We took a yoga class from Rebecca before going to a Spanish restaurant for dinner. Paella, a new dish to me, was known to Ryan who enthusiastically embraced the meal. He corrected my pronunciation from pay – ella, to pie- ah – uh (several times.) Our waiter noticed my Billy Elliot T-shirt that said: “If you want to dance, dance.” He said ‘I love to dance’, so I said, ‘then dance’. He danced for us which was very cool to be dining Paella in NoHo with a dancing waiter.

We dined Saturday night near the Marriott Courtyard in Beverly Hills where we stayed. (Thank goodness for points!) During that dinner Brett and Ryan told us how much gratitude they had toward us for staying together, happily. They both spoke of their many friends whose home life is not as idyllic as theirs and it almost embarrasses them to have so much when some of their friends have so little in this regard. That so touched my heart to hear them say that. And, one of them, Ryan I think picked up the bill.

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Gary: What fun I've had in my role of travel planner, organizer, navigator. It's taken many hours of work to strike a balance between the "control" techniques needed to get us city-to-city and airport-to-hotel vs. the "audible" we all enjoy calling to just-do-it when we see a side-trip that looks like fun.

To illustrate our mid-course changes to itinerary, any time Kansas or Michigan was near tip-off for basketball playoffs, we found a sports bar within short driving distance catering to our teams. Here at the street level, we met (or observed) Los Angles people enjoying an afternoon with friends.

In the time Linda and I spent in LA before the boys arrived, we re-visited Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beaches, plus a drive through Palos Verdes. While the weather was cool and a bit overcast, we enjoyed a lunch on the beachfront, amid surfers in wetsuits and acres and acres of beach volleyball courts waiting for weekend use. We both reminisced about visiting these areas when we lived in the area before meeting one another and when we were first married.

Also, with the boys, we visited Marina Del Rey, Venice and Santa Monica beaches. In those three stops, the boys got a pretty good feel for the
melting pot Los Angeles has always been. Walking the beaches, we saw many people who place high priority onto the relaxing side-of-life (as opposed to working). Walking side-by-side with them were very affluent, hard working, entrepreneurial elite who can afford to life beach-side. Los Angeles has so very many samples of our American culture, both the best and the most painful.

Linda and I enjoyed the Queen Mary. With our view of Long Beach city lights at night, it obscures the fact it's docked within one of the busiest shipping harbors in the country. With cocktails in the forward Bar and dinner in the aft Dining Room, we re-lived our original visit. Our diner waiter, who had served with Captain Gregory had great stories of his 30-year service on the QM-I, including the festivities one night earlier when the Queen Mary II had docked off the aft of our ship.

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The “Original” Pesavento Sisters Weekend

Leawood, Kansas

Linda: Annually, the Pesavento sisters meet-up somewhere in America. They timed this year's visit to Kansas with a Bow Tie Affair concert.

Sister’s weekend coincided with a gig for the Bow Tie Affair at Californo’s in Westport. It snowed that day and the driving conditions normally would have suggested restraint. But, the band was playing and this was the sisters only time to see them so, with Gary as our designated driver, we braved the snow.

Before that, we stopped by Ryan’s house on Wednesday night when everyone arrived, to listen to band practice. Drew said he was more nervous about playing in Ryan’s basement to the sisters than he was with a live audience at a bar. We clapped.

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Gary: In the photo above, you see Sandy and Patricia in the background & Brett (a fan) plus Ryan in the foreground. Laura Aube (photo on left) with her sister Julie Clark (wife of the band's lead guitar player Andrew) and Taylor Gardner (new wife of the band's keyboard artist John) have been the band's biggest fans. The photo (on left) with Laura also has a few band parents in the background.

With 2013, Bow Tie Affair completed it's first full year as a band. Originally, sisters weekend was scheduled to coincide with St. Patty's day celebration where BTA was scheduled to play a bar in KC's Power & Light District. With a scheduling conflict, the bar owners cancelled BTA & inserted another band. So, the band scrambled to add another venue at the last moment, allowing the Pesavento sisters to attend while in town. So, with a surprise spring blizzard, we weren't about to miss seeing the band play for weather conditions.

The band has been very nice to allow me to photograph their concerts. One of my goals for 2013 has bent to raise my photography to higher level of quality (and intensity). I've spent considerable time with a photo mentor and coach, Steve Lumpkin (an old boss & genuinely great guy). The photo journey has required new investments of time and $$$, and I've needed "laboratories" to practice the art and science of photography. BTA concerts, family reunions and travel have more than fulfilled my need to document our family culture through a lens (stay tuned for video).
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