Christmas 2020

Greetings to All This Holiday Season!

A Tale of Two Cities: It was the best of times… “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

Now how in the Dickens did he know that COVID was coming?

Impact of the Pandemic

Quotes that suggest life during COVID-19 Cathy and Tori had been living with me. However, by mid-March they had moved out. Cathy has signed a year-long lease on a nice home only a mile away. Lately, a surge in positive COVID-19 cases among LAPD employees has given her concern about workplace safety.

Jenny’s Meyers Nave office is effectively shut down and she has been working from home. Depositions are now conducted via Zoom, saving her commuting time to a courthouse or law office.

Just as he had been doing before the pandemic, Brian has been working with Adobe teams in disparate locations around the globe. Now, however, he has stopped making weekly treks to the San José office.

Dave and Jen no longer travel, although Dave did make a quick trip to Denver and back in the summer. Both still work from home, although Jen did take some maternity time off.

Among the Grandkids, Boys Lead, 5-2

Lucas and Parker, each shown at 16 days old On May 12, Parker Bailey Riggs entered the world, giving Lucas, now 3, a young brother to tutor. I’ve only seen Parker three times, so it seems like he’s growing in spurts.

My Dating Life

Early this year Cheryl and I chose to downgrade our relationship to simply friends. Larry the Lively posted on four (I know, it’s pathetic!) dating sites, and on March 8, I shared coffee and a croissant with Judy Blades, whom I had met through Ourtime.com. Judy and I started dating and on June 16, I asked her to go steady. (Pay no attention to what Wikipedia says: “The label “going steady” fell into disuse in the 1970s, and by 2018, the practice of going steady had largely disappeared.”)

About Judy

Judy’s boat, Ships and Giggles, ready to cruise on the lake at Westlake Judy and I relax on a bench at Fiscalini Ranch, near Cambria Judy grew up in San Clemente, where in May 1952, six polio cases were reported in the city; among them was one death. Judy and her brother were both victims. Both survived that scare, but Judy’s face was partially paralyzed. I think that polio may have empowered her, and inspired her. She obtained a B.S. in nursing from the University of Portland and had a career as a nurse, a medical teacher, and a Naval Officer. To keep her skills sharp, she maintains a boat on the lake in Westlake Village.

She’s a Lieutenant Commander, so I salute her and call her “Ma’am.” If I don’t, I must do ten pushups. It keeps me in shape. I’ve met her three children; two are local and one lives in Colorado.

Our SoCal Travels

Judy and I tour Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara Elephant seals and Hearst zebras seen north of Cambria She and I have done some local traveling limited to three days and a three-hour driving radius. At Big Bear Lake, we rented a cabin, hiked extensively, and kayaked on the lake for two hours, earning me a nice sunburn on my bare legs.

In Santa Barbara, we dined outside at restaurants near the beach. From Carlsbad, we drove to Julian, famed for apples; so of course, we ate apple pie (mine was à la mode). At Balboa Park in San Diego, we visited the Air and Space Museum. Judy is a history buff and was fascinated by the exhibits there.

Nurse Judy greets WW I nurse in 1917 Model Ford ambulance In Cambria, we sampled famed olallieberry pie at Linn’s. Elephant seals and a herd of zebras north of the town provided an additional diversion.

As the pandemic expanded, we agreed to postpone any further mini-vacations until the new year, likely until after we are vaccinated.

What the Kids Are Doing: Cathy and Jenny

The family that talks together stays together Cathy will complete her online master’s degree in Forensic Psychology in early 2021. This year she entered DROP, LAPD’s Deferred Retirement Option Plan, enabling her to collect both a salary and a pension during her last five years as a cop. Come 2025, she may employ her knowledge and skills to advise police agencies somewhere in the world. Tori is doing remote learning from a computer and discovered last month that she could even “go to school” while in the car driving to Berkeley with her mom. Cool!

Jenny and I model COVID masks and hair styles I see Jenny every other Saturday, when she brings me my groceries after which we eat outside. Cathy often brings us lunch and the three of us talk for a couple hours. When we part, we give each other “air hugs.” It’s my fortnightly adventure. Jenny and her law firm now represent the County of Santa Barbara in a dispute with Southern California Edison regarding potential liability for the 2017 Thomas Fire and subsequent Montecito debris flow.

What the Kids Are Doing: Brian and David

Brian, Marion, kids, and I at Ventura Pier after Thanksgiving Each morning Brian walks upstairs to work with teams that are creating version 2 of the Adobe online subscription software. Lucie, like Tori, in the 8th grade and turning 14 in February, sports shorter hair, no longer looks like a child, and even prefers to socialize with the adults. Jamie plays the guitar and he and Nicky collaborate on games written with an MIT-developed programming language called Scratch. Marion manages the busy household and even finds time to occasionally work on a project, employing her graphic design skills.

Proud father Dave holds sons Lucas and Parker Jen and Dave celebrate with Parker and Lucas, 3 on Dec 1 Jen continues to work for Maven and Dave's computer work now includes developing tools to be available via subscription for putting ads up on the internet. After Parker was born, the parent to child ratio in their household became 1:1, so let’s see, now … who gets Parker? Oh, I know! Jen. David enjoys his new responsibility of reading to Lucas before bedtime, bathing duties, and lots of dino playtime. Their close friend Kendra is available to help care for Lucas during the pandemic, and a nanny for Parker gives them relief so they can both focus on work. Lucas begins school in January, delayed only six months due to COVID-19 closures.

What I’m Up To

This is the start of one of my StoryWorth essays Small sampling of photos await scanning and identification I occasionally am summoned to help someone with a computer issue, and I respond, masked and enthusiastic. But I have begun a massive project—using an Epson high-speed scanner—to scan and annotate old paper photos (many of which have faded), as well as documents, including letters, articles, and stories.

Last year on Father’s Day, my children gave me a subscription to StoryWorth. Each week I am given a prompt to write to. So far I’ve written about two dozen stories, with lots of illustrations, responding to prompts such as:

My stories will be published in a book available to my family after one year’s worth of writing. So far, the “book” is over 200 pages long.

In summary, my life is active and busy. I am not bored or lonely, and I am optimistic about the coming year. I hope that each of you has been spared suffering during the past year and we all can end the next year in a positive frame of mind.