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.
"We're all here because we're not all there!"
Santa Cruz sits in California where the Redwoods meet the wine country meets the coast. Around 50,000 lucky souls share this little piece of paradise. We moved here in 1997, and live right in the middle of the redwoods. There are over 40 of them on our land. The photo on the left was taken on the property after a storm that lasted a few days in October 2004. The sun came up in the morning, and the mist poured out of the trees: stunning. Not a lot of rain here, but when it comes it makes for some good scenery.
We are 15 minutes from the ocean, and 15-20 minutes from several local wineries! Carmel is an hour away, Pacific Grove about the same, and Big Sur an hour and a half. On the urban level, San Francisco is an hour and a quarter drive, and Berkeley an hour and a half.
The town is full of characters, and has a history full of characters. There was Charley Parkhurst, the cross-dressing stagecoach driver who was one of the first women registered to vote in the US, because she pretended to be a man. This was in 1867, but her spiritual offspring are numerous here today.
If you haven't guessed, we do love it here!
A worthy cause!
Santa Cruz has what each of us needs. Here's a partial list of the highlights:
1. West Cliff for Sunday afternoon bike rides, boogie-boarding and surfing,
2. Pacific Garden Mall downtown, for coffee on the terrace watching the world go by and feeling like you're on a Boulevard in Paris, without the cold and rain most of the year.
3. Bookshop Santa Cruz, one of the last survivors of the eclectic and earnest bookstores that thrived with the hippies, founded in the late 60s and bought by the parents of the current owner in 1973. She (the current owner) is the granddaughter of the woman who looked after our children during the breaks at Happy Valley School, Mrs. C., until her retirement in 2007 at 93 or 94. We didn't ask! Below, Mrs. C. poses with Charlie at his 2007 "Promotion" from Happy Valley.
4. the remaining hippies and street people,
5. abundant opportunities for playing youth soccer on different levels,
6. Jack O'Neill, inventor of the wetsuit for surfing, originator of the O'Neill mark that you now see throughout the world, and as you can see in the photo, a true individual, US style,
7. not forgetting the star of our show on the Monterey Bay, the Pacific Ocean, with its swells and beaches and cooling breezes almost every night.
And talking of beaches, we went to Zelda's in Capitola for brunch on Mother's Day in May 2004 with the Hanlons, and the boys found this pleasing diversion! Zelda's has a deck right on the beach, which helps amuse the children while the parents converse. . . .
8. the most beautiful University campus that you have ever seen (UCSC, the University of California at Santa Cruz, or Uncle Charlie's Summer Camp, depending on your viewpoint, voted in 2002 or 3 one of the best party schools in the entire US!). The campus is an old ranch, the Cowell Ranch, that looks out over Monterey Bay from above the west side of town,
9. and a tourist train line from the Boardwalk into the Redwoods, and with a special Halloween train ride in the mountains.
10% of the votes cast in Santa Cruz County in the 2002 presidential election went with no apologies to Ralph Nader. The bumper sticker that most attracted our attention, until Marie-Hélène realized the "jeu de mots" and banned it: Gotta Lick Bush and Dick! You're right: not funny at all! Especially not at Alex's Catholic pre-school!
Below, these road signs at the entrance of town have apparently become collectors' items, with the collectors being local college students, according to city managers. The signs disappear almost as soon as they are put up, with the regrettable result that none currently survive. The City of Santa Cruz remains a nuclear-free zone, by municipal ordinance.
In an effort to encourage balance, we also do notice a few problem areas, apart from living in the middle of a serious earthquake area.
There is the effect of storms on local roads and electric pylons. We experience power cuts with monotonous regularity, as the protected trees fall on the wires, and every so often a major piece of road slides down the hillside in a river of mud. This happened to Vine Hill Road in early 2006, and we drove up to explore (see the photo on the right). It took about a year to reopen the road to through traffic.
Trees fall regularly on our and our neighbors' property. Here is a photo of one that landed on our luckless motorhome, and below is a whole clump of Bay on our neighbors' land that was eroded by the creek and fell in a storm in early 2008.
The Redwoods are truly beautiful, but should the County refuse to cut down trees, however beautiful, that create a real risk of car crashes? That is a part of the County philosophy. The beautiful trees are left standing if it can possibly be justified. Even if they cut into the tarmac on the side of the road. Some local plaintiffs lawyers have made a fortune on that one.
Also, there are no school buses in our part of the county, which is a particular concern of ours because for a while there, several years, we needed to shuttle our six children to their two to five different schools (the number of schools depended on the time). Nick, Daphné, Alban and Tom have now graduated high school and moved, hesitantly, on to college.
Of course, it is very hard for any of them to want to leave Santa Cruz!!
Listing of Pages in the Site
. . . with Alban