November 24, 2020
In September we moved to Sonoma County, just north of the San Francisco Bay Area. Our new address is 1354 Oak View Cir Apt 228, Rohnert Park, California 94928.
Our “push” motivators were how crowded and expensive Santa Clara County had become, and the fact that we could do many of our professional activities remotely. Our “pull” motivators were the fact that in 2018 Ellen and Rick had bought a lot up this way and were planning to start construction this year. In spite of changes to assumptions and plans due to to the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors, we are moved, settled in, and enjoying exploring our new environment.
Travel, prevented and accomplished
In May we had a Road Scholar trip planned to the Channel Islands off the coast of California. In June we were supposed to celebrate a number of monumental family birthdays, anniversaries, and other events. Of course, both trips were cancelled because of COVID-19 issues.
However, in October we were lucky to make it to Minnesota to see our Blomquist family. All three kids are now teens: Archer and Glen are 15 and freshmen in high school, and Helena is 13 and in the 7th grade. There are now 3 Blomquist dogs: puppy Skylar joined the family earlier in the year.
Two virtual graduations
In the late spring two family graduations were moved to a virtual format, and we proudly cheered on Matthew and Miranda on the TV screen in the Livengood back yard. Matthew received a BS in kinesiology from San Francisco State, and Miranda got her AA degree in computer science from West Valley College.
Enjoying education in whatever format is available
We managed to complete two courses at Stanford before the pandemic called a halt to in-person learning. (They were special also because we shared them with Ellen, which we have done a number of times over the past several years.)
Since then both of us have taken a number of on-line classes, Anna in Spanish and Dick in math. We just finished a virtual Road Scholar “trip” focused on Spanish language, culture, and history from instructors based in Seville. It was really quite delightful!
Although we started 2020 still volunteering on the cataloging effort at the Computer History Museum, by March that activity was also shut down because of pandemic restrictions. We were sorry that the museum didn’t, at first, entertain possible remote projects. However, recently they have hinted that remote work might begin soon. Yay!
Anna worked until July as a text annotator at a Silicon Valley AI start-up. Her total time in that position was about 1.5 years. It was fascinating, and it motivated us to do a major collaborative R and D project.
We continue to do professional projects in linguistics, technology, and genealogy, and we blog regularly to our websites (newsfromnan.com and vrcommunications.us).
Our general health has been pretty good this year. We credit good genes, good luck, and the exercise regimen that we follow strictly. Besides our morning workout, we try to walk or jog 2-3 miles every day, and we’re pleased that our new neighborhood provides us with the environment that should allow that to continue.
We ran one 5K for Valentine’s Day and had planned other races throughout the year. The pandemic shut down everything but virtual races, but we have even done a few of those. We’re hoping for more of the real thing in 2021!
We have been saddened and overwhelmed by 5 deaths in Anna’s family since July. The one closest to home and heart was Richard William “Dick, Coach, the Rapper” Van Raaphorst, who was more like a younger brother to Anna: we were only two years apart in age, and we lived next door to each other in Michigan as we were growing up. He had suffered some serious health issues in recent years, but recently available drugs had greatly improved his condition and prospects. Suddenly in early October his heart just gave out. I am missing him a lot.
The other deaths were Anna’s maternal relatives. Her cousin Louis Kelley “Kelley” Riedel had made it to 100 in March; he died in September. Gretchen Westman Braswell, who was always full of life in spite of MS, is now gone, as are Samuel Michael “Mike” Symons and Janet Sidebottom Ziegler.
We also lost a grandpet, Morgan Livengood, this year. (See his photo above with Miranda.)
I’m glad I can close on a happier note: We have two new puppies in the family, Skylar Blomquist (already mentioned, see her photo above) and Bailey Livengood (see her photo above). Of course they are the cutest!
Stay safe, everyone! See you in 2021!