The Year in Review: 2011

Welcome to our 2011 Year in Review!

We hope to look back on 2011 as a year when we triumphed over adversity.

Our dear old tabby cat was hit by a car — and lived. Eric was in a car accident on his way to pick up the cat, but he was fine and the car had only minor damage. Our basement flooded and we were without power for five days, but the house is still standing. Charlotte’s name was chosen 120 out of 121 for a pre-kindergarten lottery in which there were just 99 places. But, somehow, she still had a seat in the program by the second week of September. There were more than a few moments like that.

Of course, there were great moments as well.

We spent a gorgeous and relaxing week on Cape Cod with Eric’s side of the family. Watching Sophie and Charlotte splash around with their cousin, Lucy, and explore the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary gave Eric and Rachel tremendous joy. We enjoyed the excellent food, from fried scallops and gourmet ice cream to wine direct from the Truro Vineyards. The summer also brought trips to the Broome County carousels, a day on Long Beach Island and new camp experiences for Sophie.

Sophie and Rachel took a couple of day trips to New York City, where Sophie discovered the pleasures of an afternoon at the Met as well as a stroll through Times Square. Sophie, who now wears glasses because she’s nearsighted, is talking (at the age of 7!) about going to college in Washington, D.C., (“so I can spend some time at the Lincoln Memorial”) or in Texas (“so I can ride horses and wear cowboy hats”). She has professed an interest in being a wildlife biologist or veterinarian and her latest passions include Pokemon cards and Legos.

Charlotte, now 4, has blossomed in pre-K, learning to write and taking some tentative steps toward reading. She loves playing dress-up and adores dolls as well as singing along with pop music on Rachel’s iPhone. She’s as funny as can be, with excellent comedic timing. Charlotte says she wants to be a nurse when she grows up, but the answer changes all the time.

Eric and Rachel both continue to work at Binghamton University, where he runs the news website and she edits the twice-yearly research magazine. Rachel, who traveled to Arkansas and Arizona for work this year, is also president at Temple Concord in Binghamton.

Sophie and Charlotte are taking ballet and tap dancing lessons, and we’re looking forward to their recital in June. It’s sure to be a busy 2012, with a pre-K graduation on the agenda as well. We’d love to hear from you on Facebook or via e-mail at or

— Eric, Rachel, Sophie and Charlotte

Eric’s picks for the year’s best albums:

  1. The King is Dead, The Decemberists
  2. Ghost on the Canvas, Glen Campbell
  3. The Sound of His Own Voice, John Wesley Harding
  4. 21, Adele
  5. Sky Full of Holes, Fountains of Wayne
  6. Torches, Foster the People
  7. Collapse Into Now, R.E.M.
  8. How to Become Clairvoyant, Robbie Robertson
  9. Modern Love, Matt Nathanson
  10. Guitar Slinger, Vince Gill

Rachel’s 11 favorite songs of 2011:

  1. This is Why We Fight by The Decemberists
  2. Modern Love by Matt Nathanson
  3. Set Fire to the Rain by Adele
  4. Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog) by Brett Dennen
  5. Behold the Hurricane by the Horrible Crowes
  6. ÜBerlin by R.E.M.
  7. Keep Your Head Up by Andy Grammer
  8. You Are a Tourist by Death Cab for Cutie
  9. Boomerang by Plain White T’s
  10. Sad Song by The Cars
  11. Change The Sheets by Kathleen Edwards

Eric’s picks for well-done comebacks:

  1. Move Like This by The Cars
  2. Sweetheart of the Sun by The Bangles
  3. Laughing Down Crying by Daryl Hall
  4. Fly From Here by Yes

Eric’s long-overdue reissues:

  1. Labour of Love by Nick Lowe
  2. Little Stevie Orbit by Steve Forbert
  3. Smile Sessions by the Beach Boys

Eric’s favorite videos of 2011:

  1. The Beastie Boys’ Make Some Noise
  2. Glen Campbell’s Ghost on the Canvas
  3. Sara Bareilles’ Uncharted

Eric’s picks for songs that should’ve been hit singles:

  1. Summer of ’89 by Butch Walker
  2. Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog) by Brett Dennen
  3. So Obvious by Runner Runner
  4. Threaten Me With Heaven by Vince Gill
  5. All You Need is Now by Duran Duran

Links to our previous Year in Review features:












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