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:
2009: Journal Main Page
This is our 2009 Journal, complete with sub-topics:
From the left going around the table: Ian, Marie-Hélène, Charles, Alban, Tom, Maureen, Daniel, Nick and Alex.
As ever, there were few if any photos taken of us all together this year. As our older offspring move out of the house, it is harder to organize group shots.
Two occasions for such shots presented themselves this year, first Laura and Damian's February wedding in San Diego (more later) and then Tom and Maureen's visit in September (ditto). Tom had been living in Paris for 20 months before coming home to visit.
A passer by took this shot at El Palomar in Santa Cruz on the night before Maureen left to return to Paris. He did a great job: it is really hard to capture nine different faces in a photograph, let alone capture them in a presentable manner.
Maureen, who had been seeing Tom for about a year when they came over to visit us, is sitting between Tom and Daniel, his photographer buddy from High School.
An interesting quirk of this photo is that, unusually, this dinner occurred on a school night: Maureen was leaving on a Thursday. So Alex and Charlie, who had both been at soccer practice after school, brought their homework to dinner. Alex's is on his lap.
Daphné spent almost all of 2009 living and working in San Francisco, and couldn't make this dinner. Hey, seven out of eight of us ain't bad!
* * *
The big event of the early part of the year for us was Laura and Damian's wedding. Laura is Ian's niece, his sister Sue's and Derek's daughter. Born in England, she was raised in California from the age of ten, educated here and settled here in San Diego, where she met and fell in love with Damian.
They decided on a February wedding, which would have made no sense at all except that they were in San Diego. On the right is our favorite shot of the bride and groom. Their faces are unfortunately not visible (okay, okay, we know that this is a significant omission!), but the image of the bride and groom sharing a quiet moment in the midst of all that hectic activity seems to us to convey a lot. The wedding took place in a park on Coronado island, and San Diego was across the sunny water as the boats sailed and cruised by on a 70 degree afternoon. February schmebruary!
All of us were invited, which was really kind of Laura and her parents because there are so many of us. And we all made it down, except for Tom who (in Paris) was a bit too far away.
We had such a great time: thanks again, guys!
* * *
Of course, some of us have a great time wherever we are, and find weddings and trips and other distractions completely unnecessary.
On the left are Charlie and Alex roughhousing in the living room at home in February. This happens very regularly. The only unusual part of this particular occasion was that Snip joined in. She normally has much better instincts for self-preservation!
Also in February, we had a serious storm. Rain in Santa Cruz is relatively rare, and is rarely the grey drizzle that those of us raised in the UK and France grew up with. When it rains, as pessimists say, it pours!
The photo on the right was taken out of our front door after the skies opened. Inches of rain fell in a day. It was loud, and we worried about power cuts (storms equal trees falling equal downed power lines) and mudslides.
Then starting in about April we had about four or five months with no rain to speak of. That's nice too, especially for those of us raised in the UK and France.
* * *
Next comes the triumph of the year, from a sports point of view. Again, it occurred in February: quite a full month, looking back.
Alex's soccer team played very well at the beginning of the year, well enough to win the Nor Cal State Cup for the first time. The year before, the same team made it to about the quarter finals, but this was their year!
The main soccer season for children here is in the fall and ends in November before Thanksgiving. State Cup is a tournament that starts during the season and then continues from weekend to weekend until the team is eliminated or makes the final.
The photo is of the boys after winning the final 2-1 (they came back after being a goal down), telling each other that they were number one. Alex is looking this way, behind number 25. Their coach, Russ Hanlon and Ian are in the background, enjoying the feeling with them.
Here is a page of more sports from 2009. It features soccer, of course, but also other sports we were involved in during the year.
* * *
We had a bird feeder at home during the early summer, and it was a raging success. Before we abandoned the idea, because of the rabbits and other creatures who moved into the garden, encouraged by the grains the birds dropped on the ground, we were happy to indulge in a little amateur ornithology. The woodpeckers live in an old tree on the property, and found the feeder lots easier than the bugs in their tree.
* * *
From Santa Cruz to Paris and the Isle of Wight. . . . Tom spent the entire year living with his mom in Paris, except for the month of September, spent visiting us and his friends in California.
We miss the sounds of his guitar strumming away (a little less during the night than during the day!) playing his favorite songs. If ever he feels very far away, we put on "A Time for Heroes," from the Libertines, and it is as if he is right back with us!
Fortunately, he was pretty good about keeping FaceBook and us (in that order!) posted with photographs and updates on his life. We use some of those FaceBook photos here.
Here is Tom, and on this page, at the Isle of Wight Festival. The T-shirt shows Pete Doherty, the Libertines front man.
* * *
On the right, this bus with its wheels in the ditch offered us a little distraction. It is perhaps not easy to see, but the rear of the bus is resting on the shoulder of the road and the wheels are hanging in the air over our creek, which flows under the road there, when it flows, that is. The bus was turning toward the Mystery Spot, and didn't quite make it. It took the tow truck quite a while to pull it back on the tarmac.
* * *
One of the consequences of our older children's increasing independence is that we parents do more with the younger boys as a foursome. There's the soccer, of course, and errands on the weekends, but also vacations and other trips.
The four of us spent a weekend visiting Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada, thanks to Debra and Tony. They invited Alex for a long weekend, and the other three of us showed up in the middle of it for a quick visit! No shame!
Tony took us all out for a quick cruise on the Lake, and his, our and other children visiting (a very hospitable family!) spent a fabulous couple of hours jumping off boulders into the water and blastering.
That's what Alex is doing in this photo, only he somehow managed to do it backwards! (For those of you who don't know, as we didn't until the boys were doing it, blastering is riding on an inner tube towed behind a motor boat.)
* * *
Daphné worked at Bubba Gump's on Pier 39 in San Francisco for most of the year, and we occasionally visited or grabbed a bite there. The photo on the right was taken between Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf during one of these visits. Some of us are serious fans of Ben and Jerry's!
* * *
Daphné and Alban went to Paris to visit their father and his side of the family during the month of August. Those visits have occurred on and off since we all moved to the US. The difference this time is that Daphné took a whole album of photos, and gave us copies: YES! So this year we have a page of photos of Alban and Daphné's summer vacation in France!
The photo here shows the two of them just after they arrived, having had almost no sleep in 30 hours, in the taxi on the way into town.
* * *
Soon after Alban and Daphné returned from what was obviously a wonderful vacation, Tom came home to visit us in Santa Cruz for the first time in 20 months, bringing his girlfriend Maureen for almost the entire visit.
It sure was good to see him! A bit of a relief too, because at his age (he turned 20 this year, things can change quickly and it is difficult not to worry, even though he is living with his mother in Paris.
As it turned, no changes for the worse while he was away: more for the better. He's still glued to his guitar, and went busking in downtown Santa Cruz on a couple of occasions, perhaps for old time's sake, perhaps to keep himself in touch.
His High School friend Daniel took the one on the right, looking from the Marin headlands across the Bay to the San Francisco skyline, with the evening fog rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge, just off to the right of the frame.
* * *
Tom timed his visit well, arriving just a couple of months after Ian bought an RV for weekend camping.
Here are Tom and Ian posing in front of "Cookie," as this top-heavy RV is affectionately known. Of course, some refer to the RV as "Bismarck" or make other such references to its Teutonic heritage! We prefer "Cookie."
Ian drove Tom and Maureen in Cookie to Santa Barbara one weekend during their visit, with a stop in Big Sur, and to Yosemite for another. They had a great time, and instinctively took to RV life.
We parked on the side of the road north of Santa Barbara for the night, and Maureen and Tom slept in the upper double bed while Ian slept on the lower double bed. (That's what all that height is for, fitting in two double beds, vertically!) There is a large skylight above the upper double bed, and the next morning both Tom and Maureen raved about the stars that they watched for hours as Ian slept below.
Here are the 2009 Journal pages: Laura and Damian's wedding, sports in 2009, Tom at the Isle of Wight Festival, a weekend in Tahoe, Alban and Daphné's summer vacation in France, and Tom's visit to California.
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban