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:
Much as we share and agree on, there are a few topics which have caused, shall we say, disharmony, in the past, until management's point of view prevailed.
One was our motor home, which we bought on credit early in 1998 and sold at a substantial cost three or four years later. Management christened it "Edgar," after the butler in the Disney film "The Aristocats" who tried to poison his mistress's pussy cats. Not an auspicious origin for the name, and Edgar's role in the household was less than auspicious.
But let us start at the beginning.
Here is the RV during our first trip in it in around April 1998 up into the mountains to Truckee. Our old Mazda is behind, still attached, after being towed from home in Santa Cruz during a late season storm.
Beautiful snow, warm late-season skiing, and eight of us, including a three-month old baby, sleeping in the motorhome! Okay, so you women are starting to see the germ of a problem!
Not papa. he was thrilled with his new toy, and parked it in a trailer park called Trailer Villa near Palo Alto when his long hours of work at Wilson Sonsini made an hour's commute each way almost impossible. It was the internet bubble period and in Silicon Valley's largest high-tech law firm, eighteen hour days were the norm. Of course, his law firm colleagues did not exactly understand this arrangement, although it did give them something to laugh about!
Well, we did not see any problem with Edgar, at least not at first. And it wasn't that much of one, at first. The opinions of stuffy people have rarely preoccupied us. There were beds for seven of the family, and Alex slept in his baby bed. The dinette in the photo below right turned into a short but double wide bed for two of the children, and the sofabed was a queen for three. The slide, visible from the outside in the photo on the right and from the inside in the next, created a real sense of space inside, even with us all in there.
The children loved Edgar. Even before they figured out that they could watch TV or play video games in the rear bedroom on long drives, they loved it.
But it was a love affair that was doomed. The beginning of the end came during a trip to Yosemite about two years later. We were cruising East while Marie-Hélène was preparing a baby bottle for Alex, which spilled as we went over a bump. She was furious, a feeling which was not improved when Ian suggested that she could have asked him to stop before making the bottle! Her coffee ended up half on Ian and half all over the floor and seat of the motor home. "It was warm," she says describing the coffee when we recount this little family tale to our friends, "not hot!"
There were a few fabulous trips, notably one on the Coast Highway (California Highway 1) up from Disneyland and Los Angeles when we parked just above the ocean below Hearst Castle and the children went rock scrambling before breakfast. But the trips were too few and too far between. After a period of reflection, to permit us to realize that it had to be done, we sold Edgar over the internet.
There had been a kind of premonition that motorhome life was not going to work out.
Edgar was typically parked at the bottom of the driveway at home, where there was plenty of space although the trees overhead created problems in keeping it clean. Which is nothing like the problem the trees caused when one of their number was no longer overhead! The photo to the left shows the sorry result of a Bay that fell during a storm. We had only owned the RV for less than a year when that tree fell.
We still have great vacations, of course, including the occasional great road trip, great skiing, great trips to the likes of Vancouver BC, New York or Florida, but some of us still miss Edgar a teeny bit! Maybe some day . . .
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban