Christmas 2019

Greetings to All This Holiday Season!

“Larry doing Larry things” watching Mrs Maisel in 4K UHD Early this year, Cathy decided that our family room needed redecorating. On her dime, the walls were repainted, and the fireplace was replaced with a new surround, insert, and an 82-inch TV above it (my contribution). The sofa and chairs went bye-bye, and in its place are now leather sofas. Push a button and a footrest extends and the seat reclines. Why an 82-inch TV? Simple, because Dave’s TV is 75 inches.

Cathy and Tori

Awards for LAPD work and Scholarship work Cathy, now a 25-year LAPD veteran, is midway through an online master’s degree in Forensic Psychology, gaining skills she might use in a future phase of life. On the job, she is in charge of her training unit, but she and her team visit schools, assisting them in preparing for an active shooter incident that they hope will never occur. She has also authored web articles about surviving an active shooter event.

Cathy with Kelly Place at Cathy’s 50th birthday celebration In February, Cathy hosted a 50th birthday party at the house, a party facilitated by long-time friends Kelly and Steve Place.

Tori’s face on three Christmas ornaments Cathy is secretary of the PTA at Sequoia Middle School and does the techie stuff for the annual talent show and its numerous tryouts and rehearsals. She also serves as my sounding board and therapist.

Tori is now a 7th grader, a time of life when kids transition to teenagers—Tori turns 13 on January 18. I sighed as I decorated our Christmas tree on December 1, hanging numerous flat coaster-like ornaments adorned with Tori’s face, showing her evolution from a baby to a near young adult.

My Changing Life—Susie and I Break Up

Susie and I hiking in Los Flores Ranch Park southeast of Santa Maria In June, my lady friend Susie Wilson and I broke up. Susie had been the wife of my officemate Taylor at JPL in Pasadena and the four of us had gone to England together when Taylor and I took new jobs with ICL (International Computers Ltd) in 1976. In July 2018, Susie had sent me a message regarding Taylor, who had passed away in 2017. She had not known of Mary’s passing. She and I got together subsequently, and a relationship blossomed.

Initially we were in frequent contact, even traveling together around California, but her life was centered in Santa Maria, two hours away, and mine was centered here. We remain good friends.

I Meet Cheryl

Cheryl and I in the Old North Church in Boston Some time after the breakup, I connected with Cheryl Garfield through Match.com. We met on a Saturday morning at Starbucks and talked for 2½ hours. In the afternoon, we shared popcorn at the movies, watching Downton Abbey. That evening, we dined out.

For months, I had been hoping to travel to New England to see Fall Foliage there. Cheryl and I quickly became good friends and before long I popped the question, “Will you go to New England with me?”

There was hesitation initially, but she finally said, “OK,” and on October 3, we were off to Boston.

Cheryl and I See New England Fall Colors

Cheryl and I at a rest stop along the famed Kancamagus Hwy Cheryl was born in Rhode Island, moved to Connecticut as a child, and came to California as a young adult. Her two siblings remain in New England, as does her heart, and to her, this trip was like going home. She stays in California because that’s where her three daughters and three (soon to be five) grandsons live. I asked her at some point, “If during the trip, you had decided this was a huge mistake, did you have a getaway plan?”

She replied, “I would have just called my sister in Connecticut, and said, ‘Jackie, come and get me!’”

NYC: Cheryl embraces M&Ms; we visit the Rockefeller ice rink We spent three days in Boston, a week driving New England roads, and three days in New York City, without a single disagreement! We saw great sights and had visits with 19 people: 4 friends of mine, and 15 friends and relatives of Cheryl. It was a remarkable trip and I expect there’ll be more travel for us in the new year.

Jenny

Jenny treats Tori and Lucie to the “Wicked” musical in Fresno Jenny has worked at Meyers Nave for about five years, and in early December was one of three lawyers selected to be elevated to principal there in January 2020. She's delighted to "have the opportunity for more responsibility and to help guide the firm going forward," she says, and our family is very proud of her achievement.

On the side, this 1999 graduate of Northwestern Law School has become a foster mom for cats, taking homeless cats into her home and caring for and loving them until the cat is adopted.

Brian and Marion

At Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks Hiking with Marion, Brian, Nicky, Jamie, and Lucie east of Oakland Brian’s Adobe work on managing teams for their numerous subscription plans continues. Likewise, Marion’s work on graphic design projects keeps her busy. This summer their family of five flew to Rome, in response to the kids’ desire to see Pompeii. From Rome they took a train to Munich and stayed with Marion’s parents for the rest of their vacation.

The twins turned 10 in September and Lucie becomes a teenager on January 1. The three decided they needed more mature names and Lucie, Jamie, and Nicky are now Lucia, James, and Nicholas.

Dave and Jen

It’s December 1 and Lucas turns 2 Dave and Jen have moved to Mar Vista, just south of Santa Monica. Lucas turned 2 on December 1 and sometime in May will become a Big Brother, a role he’ll savor. Jen and Dave work mostly from home, and Jen’s role as Director of Sales at Maven Clinic now affords her a chance to use the benefits she sells.

Cheryl sits atop Dave’s Split three-wheeled motorcycle Dave’s role in acquiring new users for internet-based companies continues to be profitable, but being the risk-taker he is, he and a friend have founded Split, a ride sharing service like Uber or Lyft that uses lane-splitting three-wheeled motorcycles. You don’t drive but simply ride. He expects big growth in the new year.

Dave hosts Cathy and Volker (16 years separate Volker from Dave) Our family and Jen’s family got together at Thanksgiving at their home and had a wonderful time, with Teresa (Mary’s sister) and John, the expert turkey barbecuer, joining us. My sister Sue flew out from Chicago. Last year we celebrated in Paso Robles, in deference to Teresa and Mary’s dad, a World War II veteran who had led a remarkable life, but who passed away on June 10 at the age of 98.

Volker and Marion

Volker, Marion, and Alex with Cathy in Santa Monica My German son Volker, wife Marion, and my 8-year old grandson Alexander visited us in the summer after a trip to Arizona and Utah. They, Cathy, and I cycled from the famed Santa Monica pier to Muscle Beach and back.

Alex repeats the phrase he saw all over Arizona The trip gave Alexander an opportunity to practice his English. He learned the expression “But it’s a dry heat!” to explain the frequent 100-degree plus temperatures they had encountered.

Year End Celebrations

For me, Thanksgiving is now the focal point among year-end celebrations. Christmas gift-giving among us adults has devolved into just an opportunity to treat the grandkids.

Fitbit stats from Nov 30 to Dec 14 I continue to help others with computer issues, setting up Windows 10 machines and typically spending a few hours each day in front of one. At the same time, I’ve averaged over 100,000 steps per week on my Fitbit.

My workstation consists of three clean 27 inch screens If you need a new computer, simply invite me to your house. I’ll help you buy it, set it up, and regale you with stories that will amaze and entertain you. Any takers?

We wish you a wonderful new year. May you prosper and maintain good health.