Christmas 1999

Seasons Greetings!

The Riggs kids have logged some milestones this year. Jenny finished law school at Northwestern, moved back to California after ten years out of state, and took the bar exam in July. She got her results just before Thanksgiving (Yea! Pass!) and was officially sworn in, along with fourteen of her colleagues, at the Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles on December 3.

She’s working for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in the heart of the city, with a commanding view of the metropolis from a 45th floor south-facing office. On a clear day she can see all the way to Long Beach and the ocean beyond. She has a relatively easy commute from South Pasadena where she and her two cats occupy one-fourth of a lovely old home converted to apartments. She seems excited and challenged by her work, but it entails long hours, often six days a week, to help the firm achieve intractable and imminent deadlines. Larry met and lunched with several of her coworkers on the day of the swearing-in ceremony and came away very impressed. Anyone working for Jones Day, rated the number two law firm in the US last year by the Virtual Law Library, has had to survive a grueling winnowing process.

Cathy became a homeowner in the spring, after deciding marriage was not in her immediate future. She had sought a place in a safe and quiet neighborhood, close to the beach, with two bedrooms. After several weeks of looking, she found a condo in Huntington Beach, in a gated community, less than two miles from the ocean. She transformed the place, stamping it with her own personality by investing two weeks of intense effort prior to moving in. Larry’s painter-brother Tim worked magic on the walls. New tile and fixtures in the bathrooms, new carpeting throughout, except for wooden flooring in her bedroom, completed the process. She was promoted to sergeant in November, a bittersweet accomplishment: it means more income and responsibility, but because of the routine transfer that accompanies this type of promotion, she now has a much longer commute. She has been assigned to Rampart Division, much in the news recently for its bad cops.

Oh, well... Although our family’s “Law and Order” team are working only about three miles from one another, I doubt if they will lunch together much, as their hours are so out of sync with each other.

Brian opted for the funky life style of Pacific Beach just south of La Jolla, and is enjoying being within viewing distance of the ocean. Well, on a clear day if you stand on a chair at the window and look between the buildings and across some roofs, you can just about see the beach...

He still works at Intuit on TurboTax, where he may stay for some time, as stock options have him handcuffed to his desk. When I broke my leg this fall, he showed everyone what a sensitive, 90s kind of guy he is. He did the sympathy thing and sprained his ankle playing ultimate Frisbee so we could limp along together. We treated the family to the spectacle of “gimp races” on the stairs at Thanksgiving, with bets flying thick and fast.

At the start of his sophomore year, David opted out of the UCSB dorms in favor of the Theta Chi fraternity house. Frat life, with its active social schedule, fits him to a “T.” He was elected secretary and he enjoys playing a major role in the fraternity’s business affairs. By his own admission, his social activities do cut into his studying, but he says not to worry, as he’s simply honing the managerial skills he’ll need some day. He knows with absolute certainty that his destiny is to be involved with a high-flying web-based company. And Larry and I have no doubt he’ll achieve his goal. He distinguished himself during his summer job at Data Systems West, a company that designs websites for major corporations like GTE and Litton, by becoming the resident Perl expert. (Perl is the premier scripting language of the web.)

His summer work also took him to the startup in Santa Monica, where he performed web-related work among bright 20-something millionaires. After his first day there, he came home telling Marco Poloesque tales. “There's a room there, filled with soft drinks, candies, potato chips, and all kinds of snacks. ‘Just help yourself,’ they told me. ‘Want dinner?’ they asked. ‘At about 6 pm we call out for pizza.’” Our powers of persuasion were taxed to the limit, convincing him he needs to finish college first. The salaries in the web design business constitute a powerful lure for a kid his age.

Larry and I logged some miles this year: to Danville for a family reunion in February; to Chicago with all the kids (including Volker, his son from Germany, and Volker’s girlfriend Marion) in May for Jenny’s graduation; and to Tahiti in July to celebrate Jenny’s accomplishment. I’m sure paradise looks like Tahiti. Larry and Brian also did a baseball tour in May: Detroit, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Chicago. It’s a guy thing, I guess. The rest of us had to work while they took in baseball games, except for Volker and Marion, who did a little touring in California before we flew to Chicago.

After eight years as a contractor at Litton, Larry was let go in July. “There's no more work,” they told him. In his semi-retirement, Larry keeps busy taking a Perl course at UCLA to learn how to create interactive web pages—gotta keep up with the kids. He’s also proving to be a pretty good househusband, as long as it doesn’t involve cooking. His prowess was sorely tried in the fall when I broke my leg bicycling and was immobile for several weeks, but the girls came to the rescue and cooked, labeled, and froze meals to be served at Larry’s Bistro. We survived, and I’m sure the dose of humility was good for me—having to ask for things I couldn’t get by myself.

We’re looking forward to a quiet New Year and a healthy year 2000. We wish you all the very best that the year has to offer!