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:
Here is December 2006's annual update:
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Excuse us again our laziness in sending out this form letter, but we sure are busy. This is the only way we can do a half-decent job of keeping you in touch.
Starting with the youngest, Alex is thriving. He loves his soccer as much as Charlie, and is a star in his own right now. His coach’s favorite striker, he scores almost every game. Like Charlie, he has an innate gift for moving the ball around and inspiring his team.
At the same time, he loves doing math, and scored one of the school’s highest grades ever in the State's 2nd grade "STAR" testing, which cheered his principal up, not to speak of his parents. And he continues to play the violin regularly and at times soulfully, with a lot of help and support from his mum.
Snip, one of the resident black cats, has an unfortunate habit of wetting Alex's bed, as a result of which we're constantly reminding him to keep his door closed. Snip wetted our bed for the first time the other day, and when I complained that we'd have to keep our door closed, Alex responded drily, "welcome to my world!" He turns nine in January.
For reasons which escaped us, his project of the autumn was having blond highlights colored into his hair. We finally acquiesced, and Alex was delighted to confuse his teacher, who took a while to learn to distinguish Alex from Charlie now that each had almost the same color hair. They do look more alike.
The photo on the right was taken near Grand-père's home in Brittany during the summer of 2006. Check out their expressions: they're barely holding themselves back from teasing each other, or worse!
The big news this year for Charlie has been that at age 11 he “finally” (that’s his point of view) moved into his own room. Daphné moved out into our cottage during the summer, freeing up her room for Charlie. Alex now has all to himself the room he shared with his brother.
Soon after the move, Charlie started writing stories for his new teacher at Happy Valley School. They have characters with names like “Smurf-smurf,” and assorted superheroes confront challenge after challenge before finally winning through. He’s begun a relationship with the English language, to complement his continuing fascination with films and TV shows like Will Smith’s “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
Although he gives plenty of lip these days, he is bright and charming and remains spontaneously kind. He has been asking for a drum set for a while, and finally had his wish on his eleventh birthday, but has yet to really put it to use. And his mother does not have the familiarity with drums that she has with the violin: needless to say, nor is she particularly eager to develop that familiarity!
Charlie's still a star at soccer, and was in the final of the local District Cup. His Breakers team was tied 1-1 at half time, and the play was hard and tense and great to watch. About ten minutes into the second half, Lynden took the ball down the left, crossed it to Isiah in the center, who headed it on to Charlie on the right. He volleyed it with one delicate touch over the quickly advancing goalkeeper and it dropped in a parabola just inside the top right corner of the goal.
We realize that this is a lot of detail for those of you who are not mad about “football,” but the crowd went crazy, and the U-11 Boys Breakers won the Cup, and this was one of the high spots of Charlie’s year. He is confronting real world issues, as his teams get more competitive and the level of the other players improves, and we're proud of the way he's dealing with them.
At three weeks younger than Alban, Tom is the third youngest. He had a banner year, made up of soccer and the guitar. Soccer for him was a veritable minefield of doubting coaches and nagging injury, but he persevered and made himself a much better player and a character. His coach toasted his “craziness,” heading a ball next to an opponent’s foot on the ground! He also became very fit, in part by running up and down our driveway dozens of times. Try it!
The self-confidence that the soccer gave him added to that stemming from his increasing mastery of the guitar. He works and works at it, and immerses himself in the work of his heroes, the John Lennons and Bob Dylans of this world. Now if he could just immerse himself a little more in his school work . . .
Santa Cruz passed a voters’ initiative in November instructing the local Police Department to treat adult marijuana violators as the least serious criminal in their allocation of enforcement resources. In the car on the way home from school the next day, Tom announced with glee that all you needed to do now to avoid being arrested for pot smoking was have a friend jaywalk (cross the road other than at a pedestrian crossing) in front of the policeman! We did point out that at 17 he was not yet an adult.
The photo on the right was taken on Mother's Day at Seascape Resort. The photo of the eight of us on the home page was taken the same day.
Alban also tends to think that he is already an adult. He spends most of his weekends out of the house, or at least most of the weekend evenings. Returning at 6 am on Saturday or Sunday morning and sleeping all day is not unusual for him.
But, finally, he has been mixing this intense social life with a little schoolwork. After getting the repetitive and incessant message from the parents that his being given a car depends on his getting good grades, he began getting good grades. Just like that! He put in the necessary effort, and the better grades arrived immediately.
We’d like to share more about Alban’s life. In fact, we’d like to know more about Alban’s life! It is sometimes hard to believe that we all live in the same house. At 17, he is what Marie-Hélène calls a “dedicated” teenager, committed to his skateboarding, his buddies and his girl friends. We periodically meet his friends, normally as they pass through the kitchen seeking a snack before again venturing forth. As far as we can tell, they’re good kids too.
Daphné turned 19 this summer, and celebrated by moving herself (and on weekends her boyfriend Matt) into our cottage, the studio with a bathroom and kitchenette that is just down the hill from our home and still on the property. Independence! Well sort of. We live in the woods outside Santa Cruz, and she was disappointed to feel how nervous a night alone in her cottage in the woods can be, and how many noises there are all around.
She’s still studying at the local junior college, Cabrillo, still focusing on handling criminal behavior, and still working part-time. Wells Fargo Bank is her current employer, and she much prefers the hours to the department store that preceded it. She is somehow less difficult to handle than her adolescent brothers, although in attitude can seem very similar!
Nicholas turned 20 in the summer, and if you listen to him his life seems to consist principally of playing poker and computer programming, with a little studying thrown in. He too continues at Cabrillo, and continues to find work as a programmer, one of the advantages of living right next to Silicon Valley. His most recent occasional job pays $35 an hour, and he does not have a degree yet!
His father took him to a Web 2.0 event at Google’s HQ, and insisted that he dress appropriately. To be fair, he did so, with the added embellishment of a baseball cap on backwards. The star presenter of the evening was a recent college graduate named Kevin Rose, who co-founded Digg.com. (If you don’t know the site, it’s worth checking out). Guess who was the only other person there with a baseball cap on backwards. Yep, and Nick was thrilled to be dressed the same way as the star presenter!
He’s still living in an apartment in town, currently with a young French couple, but did return home sporadically during the summer while we and the little guys were on vacation in France. Fortunately, we did not live through three adolescents (Tom was in Paris) sharing our home while we were on the vacation, and neither did any of the plants on our deck! The automatic irrigation system was accidentally switched off, and not one of them even noticed that all the plants on the deck had turned from green to yellow in the baking summer sun and were dying!
No further comment is necessary. Our children have always been a source of wonder, and we the parents remain vaguely bemused by it all, still very much aware that these are our good old days. Except for those poor plants!
We hope that this finds you well, and wish you Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays, whatever your flavor, go for it!
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban