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:
For reasons which are currently obscure, this year's annual update is less interesting than some. So we're going to add to it here and there. There were a lot of great photos, and we'll include some of those.
First, before every Christmas, the children write to Father Christmas to affirm how good they've been during the year and state a few preferences when it comes to gifts. Here is a letter to Father Christmas dated December 15, 2000:
Cher Père Noel,
Cette année, je voudrais te demander beaucoup de choses parce que j’ai été très patiente avec mon mari malgré tout ce qu’il m’a fait subir. J’ai aussi supporté les enfants et si tu vivais ici Père Noel, tu saurais que ce n’est pas facile. Je te fais donc la liste complète mais tu n’es pas obligé de tout apporter tout de suite, je pourrais attendre jusqu’à la Saint Valentin pour le reste :
- un canapé club en cuir marron
- une chemise de nuit blanche en dentelle tout coton
- un humidificateur d’air pour ma chambre
- un meuble pour cacher l’horrible téléviseur qui enlaidit le salon et ramollit le cerveau déjà atteint des enfants
- un casque sans fil pour écouter la télévision sans déranger les ronfleurs (mon cerveau est en bon etat)
- un ensemble de huit belles chaises pour la salle-à-manger, afin que l’on puisse tous etre assis
In 2007, she finally got the chairs!
On the left, Alban expressing interest in sweets at Disney World. On the right, Alban again, this time in his role of neighborhood scamp, guiding his little brothers on skateboards down the driveway. This driveway is steep!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY!!!!
It’s the season to recount our blessings!! If you want to recount with us, you can look up family photographs at www.zinzins.net, our website. The site’s not far along, to be honest, but there are a bunch of photos up there already.
Our furniture finally arrived from France, after three years of Tison’s (the moving company’s) trying to blackmail us into paying double the initial estimate. The furniture makes us feel finally at home, and reconnects us with the years gone by. The worst thing was not having our photos, which we’re now scanning into computer format. The one of mum and dad at Disneyland in 1976 is quite something! Nonetheless, all of the kids' toys and clothes have been outgrown, depriving our older kids of a part of their childhood. Bravo Tison!! We hope that you are proud.
Let's not dwell on Tison SA, the lying cheating moving company in Coignières or Maurepas, depending on the year, and especially not on M. Arnaud Bourlé, Tison's undersized manager back in 1997. No, let's go back to Disney World, this time in the water! Can you see us? From left to right, mostly waving at Maman, with the camera, it's Nick, Alban (both drenched), Papa, Charlie and Daphné.
For once, we took a summer vacation elsewhere than in France. It was a bit of a risk, because Marie-Hélène needs her annual taste of her homeland. But she spent four days in Paris early in the year, and we all decided that a fortnight in Florida would be an acceptable alternative. And off to Disney World we went! Three days in three different theme parks gave the kids something else to argue about (that was the best ride! No this was! You know the style). Not to forget Miami, where we spent a few nights in a lovely hotel on Key Biscayne, and Charlie started swimming by himself and without floats, just before his fifth birthday.
Nick started High School this year, and Daphne's in her last year of junior high. We are NOT getting older but COLLEGE IS GETTING CLOSER!! These are the good years, the good old days, but how will we pay for the follow on?! Alban and Tom start junior high next year as well. And we have another brood starting out, Charlie in kindergarten and Alex at Holy Cross pre-school two days a week. Charlie has already informed us that he prefers school to home, which we like to believe is a comment on our marvelous Happy Valley School (and little Bridget in his class) more than on the home! Home can be a bit rough at times, though. The normal petty jealousies and squabbling do get magnified in a “blended” family.
Nick turned 14 this year, and his teenage tendencies were definitely on an upsurge. Here is an excerpt from one his school projects at Branciforte Junior High School: Once upon a time there was a teacher (who shall remain unnamed), a rather nice teacher that, instead of a final exam, thought of the idea of making his students build a car. This car would have to move six meters with an egg as its passenger. If the egg fell or broke, then the car did not make the final exam. I rather liked this idea but the trouble was that the student had to write a report that was to be about twelve pages long, which made the teacher not 100% nice. I, one of those poor students, was one of those martyrs that had to write an endlessly long report.
I left Wilson Sonsini. It is a fabulous firm, but for one reason and another (mostly tied to my being an outsider here after ten years in France), I was in a box there. I am now working for a chip company (the semiconductor, not vinegar variety!), consulting for the first UK law firm to open a Silicon Valley office (Osborne Clarke, from Bristol) and on the Advisory Board of a net translation start-up. This is the best place in the world for an international lawyer that likes to do deals.
Another year banging along in the express train of our lives, our only real regret those we have lost along the way. All the best to you and yours!
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban