November 14, 2002
4029 Redondo Dr, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
Dick and I have just reached the one-year mark at our new house in El Dorado Hills. We spent the first half of this year moving (seemed like about every other week!). We started out the year splitting our time between El Dorado Hills and our apartment in Cupertino. I was mostly up here (getting the yard put in) and Dick was mostly in Cupertino, because he was still working full-time for IBM. In the spring we moved to a one-bedroom apartment in the same complex in Cupertino, and finally at the end of July we gave up apartment living completely when Dick retired from IBM.
And all that was only a year after we had sold our townhouse, put some of our possessions in storage for 6 months, moved into the apartment, and finally moved up here. It was really brutal – we hope we’ll be able to stay put for a while. The only positive thing is that we’ve pared down our possessions by a lot.
We’ve also managed to do a number of other things this year, most of which were a lot more fun!
In April, we went to Akron, Ohio, for the wedding of my grand-nephew, Mike Van Raaphorst, and Alison Czetli. Most of my close Van Raaphorst relatives were there, and we also made side trips to Pittsburgh to see Bob (Van Raaphorst) and to Atlanta to see Dick’s sister and brother-in-law, Karen and Allan Nichols. It was a wonderful trip.
In May, I went on an Outward Bound trip backpacking in southeastern Utah. A little over a day into the trek I twisted my knee (rough terrain, and the pack was probably too heavy for me), tearing the meniscus. The group was absolutely isolated, far from any help at all, and at the bottom of a deep canyon. To get out, we went up the canyon wall, and because of my injury they had to drag me a lot of the way. We took a day to get to the top of the canyon, another to hike out to a road, and I was finally back home in another day or so. It was an adventure for all of us: except for our leader, we were all tenderfeet – no one else had any rescue experience. I was bruised and scraped from head to foot. Fortunately, I’ve healed well – my knee is not 100% (maybe never will be), but I’m back to running up to about 5 miles! I feel very lucky!
I went on another adventure (but not nearly so exciting) in June – an Earthwatch trip in the Skagit River watershed in Washington, north of Seattle. We were doing oral histories of people involved in Salmon fishing. That included Indian tribes, other commercial and sports fishermen, and the watershed council.
In July, we joined the Livengoods in Hawaii for a few days, and then brought the kids back to San Jose for a week. Rick and Ellen bought a timeshare condo, so they’ll probably be going back every year for a while. As always, we had a great time in the company of both the adults and the kids.
As I already mentioned, Dick retired from IBM in July, and since then we’ve both been up in El Dorado Hills, except when we take frequent trips back to the Bay Area to see our kids and grandkids, get our hair cut, shop at favorite stores, and eat at favorite restaurants.
We bought a 20-foot RV over the summer (according to reports we’ve read, it’s a popular thing to do!) and took our first “long” trip (10 days) to Oregon and Washington in September. It turned out to be a good trip, but along the way we almost threw in the towel and beat a quick retreat for home! Our mistake, we decided after the crisis was over, was in trying to drive too far and do too much in a short timeframe. On the positive side, we finally mastered the RV, and we also learned a lot about the psychological stresses of living in small spaces. We could probably now handle life in a submarine!
Over the past year both of us have been working on a book on El Dorado Hills, and we’ve finally finished it. We both felt from the time we first moved in that there ought to be more written about the history, environment, government structure, life, and lore of the place. I asked around and found there really was nothing, so I started collecting and writing down the information we had been gathering to satisfy our own curiosity. It’s turned into a 300-page book, complete with pictures. We’ve been getting more and more involved in the community (partly through the book effort), and we hope to do even more in the future.
Our kids and grandkids are all still close enough to visit fairly often. Tim and his girlfriend Liz Tichenor are now in Santa Cruz. Tim is still pursuing Web and database programming – he’s currently hoping to get a grant to do a large database project for the National institutes of Health. Liz is teaching high school in San Jose.
The Livengoods are still in San Jose, Rick at Intel (in a new management job) and Ellen doing technical writing at IBM. Matthew is in the 1st grade this year, and is reading a lot. He loves his collections: on a recent trip up to our house he packed his plastic glow-in-the-dark space creatures, rock collection, scorpion encased in plastic, and safe with spending money. He sometimes gets annoyed that his little sister doesn’t pack as prudently but then asks to borrow toys once they get on the road. Miranda is in “Preschool A” and is a wonderfully exuberant little girl who uses her “outdoor voice” everywhere. She loves her jewelry and pink clothes, but will also participate in whatever her brother is doing (provided he lets her).
Jill and Mike are the farthest away – still in Phoenix where Jill is in her second year of law school, Mike is working as a pipefitter and has applied to ASU for the fall 2003 semester. They recently bought a house in Chandler – very cute place in a nice neighborhood with lots of parks. Dick and I and Ellen flew down last month to visit and see the new place.
Our last trip of this year will be to visit our friends and family in Southern California. I didn’t realize it would be a yearly trip, but I (or we) have done it now for several years in a row. It’s nice to see all of them at least once a year.