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:
http://www.zinzins.net/disneyland_weekend_2011.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/peace_train.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/manutd_v_barca.htm, http://www.zinzins.net/xmas_&_alex_birthday.htm.
Here's the annual update circulated around Christmas 2005, with photos and captions added:
Greetings and best wishes for the holiday season from Santa Cruz!
2005 marked the first time that our bustling household actually reduced in size. During the summer, Nick moved out, into a shared house near the Wharf (Pier in England) where he can walk to surf Steamer Lane. Needless to say, he’s delighted, but ouch! It may be quieter, but this is the beginning of a process that both of us parents would willingly delay.
On the right is a Boardwalk shot of the Log Ride, taken by the ride's own camera. Nick had taken Alex and Charlie for an evening's entertainment during the summer of 2005, after he left home. Looks like they were all having fun! Unfortunately, we were obliged to doctor this photo to remove an offensive gesture. This is the sort of thing that makes us worry about the influence of the older children on the younger: the offensive gesture was not Nick's!
Other photos of Nick with the little guys can be found here.
Nick made the Dean’s List (which means he did very well at his studies) his first semester at Cabrillo College, and found a summer job programming that he held part-time for about a year. Cabrillo is the local junior college, which hopefully prepares students for the University of California or similar follow-on. Of course, his driver’s license was suspended, but that’s another story, one that we will not go into here. . . . We know less about what he’s doing these days, but did hear that he has been recording some freestyle rapping with friends. He still visits us, in particular Charlie and Alex.
Daphné graduated High School a semester early, and is also studying at Cabrillo. The photo was taken by her maman at her graduation from Harbor High School. Even Alban smiled for the camera on that occasion!
She too works part-time, holding a few jobs this year, ranging from a hostess in Chili’s, a Tex-Mex restaurant, to a cashier in the local Halloween store. She’s now a customer service rep. at Gottschalk’s department store for the holiday season. We liked the Chili’s job, because she seated us so quickly! What does she intend to do with what she earns? Spend as much of the winter as she can afford skiing with friends at the Heavenly resort in Lake Tahoe. For her 18th birthday, she spent five days with friends in Manhattan, yes that one, paid for herself. She loved the Met, Greenwich Village, the night life, you name it. In short, she had a “blast!”
Alban (on your left in the photo) had a red letter year. Not only did he turn 16, he also began gently applying himself to his studies. With his great personal charm, it is hard to imagine him unable to make a living, but we are very reassured by the improvement in his study habits. He’s doing very well in his computer graphics class. His computer’s screen saver has featured an attractive girl for a while now, but we know little about her or about the rest of Alban’s active social life, which keeps him busy outside the home most weekends. He skateboards all over town and visits Nick regularly. Nick’s house has become a kind of second family home, parents excluded for some unfathomable reason!
It’s Tom’s year in orthodontic braces, meaning that it is hard to get him to smile for the camera. He too has marked turning 16 by making more effort in his studying, but it is his guitar which has really preoccupied him. This has its good side, his obvious enthusiasm and enjoyment of what he is learning, as well as hearing him play tunes that we recognize and can identify. And its bad side, hearing those same tunes 50 times with loud backing from his stereo! More shots of Tom and his guitar are on the music page. He played comp soccer for the first time this season, and proved to be a big and strong defender: he’s almost as tall as his dad already, but built solid! He spends more time in France than any of the other children.
Charlie (on a dune in Death Valley in the photo below) is a ten-year old pre-teen. One of the most visible qualities of our household is the influence of the older (excluding for this purpose the parents) on their younger admirers. So we now have three teens and one would-be teen in the house. Ouch!
He remains football crazy, and in the season just ended his under-10 team came first in one of the best under-10 leagues in Northern California. Needless to say his coach, Paul Gooch, is English! Charlie is a right-wing midfielder, scored a couple of times directly by bending in corner kicks, and has helped make more goals than anyone else on his team. If only his father (completely objective, of course) could calm down on the sidelines!
Alex is another soccer wizard. He eagerly awaits the day when Charlie will have left Happy Valley School so that Alex can be the best player there. At seven, he was one of the youngest on his team, a competitive under-9 team, but held his own very well and scored a couple of great goals. The photo below right is the portrait taken for his team, the Santa Cruz Sharks.
He can also be very moving on the violin, but we’re already running up against his boyish feeling of not wanting to do something sissy. He’s our only real remaining cuddle bunny (although Charlie can still give a good hug from time to time), and does very well in all subjects at school.
What can we say about the parents? Except for Marie-Hélène, we’re one year older and avoid mirrors like the plague.
I hung out my own shingle this summer, which is delightfully rejuvenating even if developing a clientele does go so slowly.
Marie-Hélène has begun to sell to friends the very attractive greeting cards that she made as a hobby: if you received this by mail, you’ve just opened one! If by email, it’s an attachment. If we can find the energy, perhaps we’ll do more with them. But finding the time between taking the boys to school, soccer practices and the like is obviously a real challenge for us. Vacations have been few and far between this year, but who cares! We live in a holiday town, four miles from the beach.
Speaking of which, it’s time for a breath of Pacific Ocean air . . ..
“May your days be merry and bright . . .”.
Here is is our carousel of time, and here are other annual updates of life of this family:
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban