Christmas 1993

Greetings to you all!

The year that began with rain and flooding ended with firestorms; we wonder what Mother Nature has in store for 1994. We survived all the excitement on high ground with a fireproof roof.

Our really great experience was David’s soccer trip to Costa Rica for El Primer Torneo de las Américas, not a well-organized expedition but we didn’t go for the soccer. In two weeks we did a lot in between soccer games: white-water rafting, horseback riding through coastal forest (mud a foot deep in places), river cruising in the rain forest, snorkeling in 85 degree Pacific waters, volcano watching at Mt. Arenal, shopping and talking to the local kids. Dave’s lean, injury-ridden team (only 12 players) nonetheless attracted a following of young ladies despite their mediocre record on the field. Those of us who spoke Spanish worked overtime trying to further inter-American friendships.

David, our token teenager at 13, is expanding both in height and in his non-soccer interests. He negotiates with Larry for time on America OnLine, and has a string of young ladies with whom he communicates on the computer. (He invites you to send him E-mail — his moniker is Daayve.) He and a friend write and edit a monthly 10-page newsletter to a former friend, complete with gossip, movie and sports reviews. His science project on testing people’s reaction times on the computer brought lots of neighbors in as experimental subjects and got first place in the county. He and I spent a day at USC at the state competition and it was quite impressive to see what projects kids came up with. I’ve been paid off not to tell which group was faster in reaction time — males or females!

Brian (20) is in his third year at UC San Diego, majoring in computer science. He found summer work doing software module testing on the computer and put in 60-80 hours per week for most of the summer, enabling him to buy his first car, a Ford Festiva, and to pay the insurance himself. He and two friends are fending for themselves this year in an apartment furnished in Early Modern Cast-Off style, and he phones periodically for recipes like “Half-Baked Potatoes.”

Jenny (23) got out to California twice this year with her University of Dallas admissions counseling job. The latest trip included high schools in four California cities, Oregon, Idaho and Utah, all within a 6-day period. She’s moved to a single apartment this year as her former roommate is getting married, and she just got the bad news her borrowed TV, microwave and sofa are being reclaimed. I’m not too keen on helping her to furnish a Texas apartment when she really should be in California — right?

Cathy (24) is still office manager for a legal firm but continues to pursue her goal of becoming a police officer. LAPD turned her down because they misread her medical file; she appealed and is now going through the interview and testing process all over again. In her spare time she does country-western dancing and rock climbing and has been running in 5K races this year, with Larry and David.

Larry had no work at the beginning of the year, but Litton Aero Products called him back for more contracting work in March. He put in some long hours on a faltering project, brought it in successfully and on time and is now on a 3-person project that will finish ahead of schedule and under budget in 1994. He had an offer to work for another division of Litton as an employee on a multi-year project closer to home, but finally decided to continue as a contractor. He’s put in lots of running time this year, with a best of 24:11 in the last 5K — not bad for an old geezer.

I moved to one of the high schools in September and took over the program in English language development. Owing to the serious illness of the previous teacher, the classes had had only substitutes for a year and none of the state-mandated paperwork had been maintained. We will be reviewed by the state department of education in January, so every spare minute has been spent trying to get files in order for some 300 high school students. They also expect me to teach, develop the program and train teachers new to the field. Fortunately, I have the best kind of training for doing seven things at once: motherhood. I will finish a preliminary administrative credential in May and then maybe look for a real job where I don’t have to clean my own workspace and provide my own supplies.

Our kids start arriving home this weekend, and I’ll admit this is my favorite time of year, when the house is full again, the phone is ringing, the music and TV are blaring and somebody is always messing up the kitchen. It’s wonderful!

Have the happiest of holidays!