Highlights 1998

November 30, 1998

10970 Lucky Oak Ct, Cupertino, CA 95014

it’s a chilly, dark, rainy winter day, and the last day of the Thanksgiving weekend.

Ali week it’s been cold rain alternating with sunny but windy weather, and, fortunately for us, we got sun yesterday when we were babysitting Matthew and had promised a trip to the park and the farm. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, we have a working farm close by us. complete with animals and (several times a year) new baby animals. On October 30, Pearl the pig had 6 piglets, and they are at a cute stage, romping and biting and napping in their straw in a row, like little logs. Yesterday they were in the barn enjoying lunch, and Matthew got to see that as weil as a sheep, goats, a rabbit, a cow, and chickens.

Education about the ways of baby animals will serve him well, because … he’s going to have a baby brother or sister in June! Of course, we’re really looking forward to being grandparents again!

Nan and Anna
Nan and Anna

Mom [Nan] has been in relatively good health this year, although she recently had a pulled muscle in her back that laid her low for a couple of weeks, and excess fluid forced a recent change in her blood pressure medicine (the change seems to be working well). She was at our house for Thanksgiving, which we celebrated with the Livengoods. (On Friday we had lunch with the Livengoods, Tim, and Colette. Jill is wrapping up her master’s degree this year, and stayed in Minnesota to write papers. She’ll be home for Christmas. Mom tells me she’s been “sleeping it off ever since Turkey Day” – not a bad activity given the generally dreary weather. She still reads as much as ever, and her current top hobby is collecting the names of counties – I’ve been printing her information off the Internet. She is still as skilled as ever at writing.

I just got back from a business trip to the UK to teach a class about my company’s product. (It extracts data out of SAP, cleanses and transforms it, and puts it into a data warehouse or data mart.) I was in the Thames Valley high-tech area west of London. It’s the first time we’ve tried to travel with ail our training equipment: 12 laptops and a server running on a LAN we need to set up in each location. It was quite a feat, but we made it across and back without any serious incidents (lots of minor ones, though). I was supposed to go on two additional trips in December, but I’m secretly glad that they got canceled in favor of one in Palo Alto (our headquarters location).

I’m director of product communications for a software start-up – a job I took in March. I had been consulting (as I’ve been doing most of the time for about 6 years now) – on my last job I was substituting for a manager who was out on maternity leave. This new opportunity appeared out of the blue, and having long thought I’d relate to the craziness of a start-up, I bit.

This is probably a typical one – started by two engineers a couple of years ago. When I joined in March there were about 35 people – now there are over 70. The words that come to mind when I try to describe it are intensity (in the work realm), orchestrated chaos (in the operational area), food, and parties. We recently got a CEO, which will probably bring additional operational control, and a CFO, which will certainly cut down on the food and parties!

Corporate award
Corporate award

Dick was honored this year with an IBM corporate award, which he was presented at a ceremony in June. This was for the ADSM storage management product. Right now he’s working on the data path optimizer for the new Versatile Storage Server that IBM recently announced. This coming August he plans to fly to British Columbia to hike to the Burgess Shale fossil site – something he’s been thinking about off and on for several years.

After a year of negotiations and preparations, Tim’s Ethnobotanical Desk Reference (published by CRC Press) is due to be “on newsstands everywhere.” Well, maybe not that accessible, but it is available from CRC. He now knows first-hand about the long lead times typical in the publishing world. And this is his “night job.” During the day he’s still contracting (most recently with Wells Fargo) in the website architecture area – specializing in the area where websites and databases intersect. If you know anything about Cold Fusion… Tim has been working on Cold Fusion-like applications for several years now.

Colette has been honored (after some skilled negotiations on her part!) with a one-year contract to manage the native plant nursery at the San Francisco Presidio. The Presidio has a very well-recognized program to reintroduce native plants. Colette and Tim are going to a native plant symposium in Corvallis, Oregon, in December.

Jill will graduate in June from the University of Minnesota with a master’s in public policy – her specialty is legal affairs. Her current plans are to get a job in the San Francisco Bay Area. Of course, we re all happy we ll be seeing her a lot more often. She thinks she’d like to go to law school eventually – she’s been working for the Hennepin County (Minneapolis) attorney’s office for about 6 months, and loves it.

Ellen is one of two audiologists in the hearing aid center at Kaiser Santa Clara. They’ve been extremely successful both in financial terms and also for high patient satisfaction. She’s thinking of a couple of possible career changes, but that will probably be postponed until after the new baby is “launched.” She’s feeling fine – only a little more tired than usual.

Rick just led a high-visibility demo of the chip debugging equipment and process his department is in charge of. He’s generally involved in the latest generation of Intel chips – the debugging equipment is made by a company in the Boston area, so he travels there frequently. On the home front he’s working on a design for a garage – he and Ellen are trying to make extra room in the house for the newest member of the family.

Matthew's first haircut
Matthew’s first haircut

Matthew is, of course, a delight. He’s passing out of the “terrible twos” and is entering a more easygoing, companionable stage. He’s fascinated with the world around him and has a great imagination. He’s partial to things “bad” right now – dark caves with “mean” alligators, and dinosaurs. Although his extreme interest probably indicates a little apprehension, he seems to feel that he has these creatures under control. We talk a lot about “punching them in the nose” and “twisting their tails.” Ellen said the other day she told him about the freeway graffiti they were passing, and he latched on to it and talked for the rest of the trip about “look at that, Mommy, why those bad people do that, they should have a time out!”

40th high school class reunion
40th high school class reunion

The trips Dick and I took this year were short but fun – to Colorado in March, New Mexico in May, and we hosted the whole family up at Fallen Leaf Lake (Tahoe) in July. We also went to my high school class reunion in Irvine in October – we combined that and a short business trip with visits to Helen and Bill (Palm Springs area) and Netty and Jan (Los Angeles area). Bill is just starting recovery from a long bout with a viral flu, which resulted in a neurological condition that has left him pretty much wiped out. We’re grateful that he seems to be feeling better.

We have reservations for a short get-away in Mexico over the Christmas holidays – San Miguel de Allende, which is known for its natural beauty, an artist and writer colony, and language study. We’ve never been to Mexico except for border towns, so we’re looking forward to seeing what another part of the country is like.

We wish you all health and happiness in the holiday season and for the New Year.