At the bottom on the left is an alphabetical list of the pages in this web site, to help you navigate if you feel so inclined.
A guide to our family photo album covering 1994-2010, showing the principal themes, is here.
A year by year guide to our family time-line from 1994 through 2007 is here.
A photo journal beginning in 2008 is here.
The most recent pages of the album, copies of posts from my WordPress family blog, http://ianstock.wordpress.com/, are linked here:
Our 1998 Annual Update:
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!!!
Christmas brings you all our best wishes, as ever. Particularly this year, when we have often felt isolated, it is a pleasure to get in touch and remember that our community may be scattered, but it is still there.
1998 brought its best news at the beginning of the year. Alexander arrived on January 22: our first blue-eyed boy. His mother did not want to be away from her home for any longer than necessary, and was out of the hospital (with her doctor’s blessing, needless to say) less than six hours after arriving! [The photo was taken at Rio Del Mar beach on February 15, after a storm.] The little chap is big and progressing well, enthusiastically exploring cupboards and drawers all day long. Sue (my sister) thinks he looks like his father.
In honor of his arrival and (in the interests of completeness) in order to do something about the absurd disparity in life insurance premiums based on smoking, I quit on January 17. The cravings are now few and far between, and Marie-Hélène quit in October. So we both feel rather pleased with ourselves.
Unfortunately, the bad things that 1997 brought us remained stubbornly immutable. Our furniture remains blocked by Tison, a blackmailing moving company in France (“pay double the estimate or we won’t deliver your furniture”), and the French court competent to judge the matter will not even hear it before March of 1999, 21 months after our departure. One can’t accuse French justice of being ruthlessly efficient.
Nick and Tom remain in Paris, although they did visit us four times during the year, and we were able to spend a lot of time together this last summer. They dragged me panting and heaving to the top of Yosemite Falls [the photo was taken on the way down], and I realized that they are already (at 12 and 9) more fit than I (at 37, more or less!). The court that changed their residence when we left France (so that they could continue to attend French schools!) appointed a psychiatrist to examine them and us after their headmistress called in social services. He came all the way to Santa Cruz to meet everybody, and told us that the boys should rejoin us. So now we wait and see.
It still feels great to be back home. Santa Cruz remains a fascinating and diverse place, with its cafes and terraces that can delight even a Parisian and its beaches and waves for her children. It cannot be a coincidence that Alban only ever wants as a present something that ends in “-board” (but does not begin with “black”!), and that Santa Cruz’s prime industry (apart from the Silicon Valley fallout) is manufacturing various boards. If you know the trademark “O’Neill’, you know Santa Cruz’s best-known product.
I took a real job in March, for the first time since the summer of 1992. Lots of hard, hard work, but very satisfying. The law firm (Wilson Sonsini et al) is the biggest in Silicon Valley, and the “deal flow” (as they say here) is incredible. The commercial future of high-tech passes across our desks. The extra years in France have made the return here more complicated professionally, but for the moment at least even a square peg can find his place. It was a delight to discover that a chap who, as a lawyer at a firm in New York many years ago worked for Reed and my dad, has now moved to Reed and is himself a client of this firm.
Life in our “hers, his and theirs” household continues its merry rights of passage through the childhood years. The absences are disconcerting (after Nick and Tom have been absent since August, Daphné and Alban will now be in Paris for Xmas), but the noise, the amazing variety of small objects constantly appearing underfoot and the high and low moments (not forgetting the noise) remind us day after day how blessed we are. If we could just get the furniture back . . . !
A warm thanks to everybody who helped us get moving over here, most notably John Fore and Oded Eran, and a warm “salut” to all those that we miss over there. Our apologies for the late arrival of these good wishes.
We wish you all good health and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban