December 11 , 2004

Our big news is about CONSTRUCTION. We broke ground on September 15. It's now not quite 3 months later and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The original estimate was 4 months. About a month ago the contractor thought he'd be done sooner, but a few delays have occurred so it looks like we'll come in a little ahead of schedule, but not much. But we're very happy with the results! I don't have a separate web page for the construction project, you can see pictures, by date, at this location. We just picked out our door handles, and most of our bathroom accessories today, and are working on colors. Tile is starting to be installed, and the hardwood floor in Val's room and on the steps is installed. It's all very exciting!

My knee recovered well from the "lateral release" arthroscopic surgery back in August, after about a month of physical therapy. Not quite "as good as new" but pretty darn good.

Val and I had a great trip to to Pismo Beach September 19-22. We used a certificate I'd bid on at the silent auction at the DeFrank Center's anniversary party in April. We stayed at the Sea Gypsy Motel, which we enjoyed.

Haley's birthday party was great fun. It was difficult, though, because that was also Yom Kippor, the Day of Atonement, a very serious Jewish holiday where observant folks fast. I took the girls to temple for the children's service in the morning, had a break, and decided that for us the holiday would end a little early so we had the party at 3pm.

I did little on my actual birthday, but the next day Val put together a big group of people to celebrate with me at Benihana's, which was great fun.

On October 17 I repeated my aborted worktrip to Oracle's development center in Nashua, New Hampshire for work. (Last time I tried to go in August, Haley broke her arm and I cam e home early, without ever making it to the office.) This time everything was fine, and I had a very productive trip.

Halloween was great this year. I was able to attend both of the kids' school parades. We went trick-or-treating in Kathie's neighborhood. Both kids were Ninjas. We carved pumpkins with Aunt Susan and Lee. (picture1, picture2)

As usual, Katelyn accompanied me to the voting booth. Val, too, this time. Too bad the results weren't nearly as fun as the voting experience. :-(

Val went on a 16-day trip to Europe for work starting on November 2. She visited London, Rotterdam, and Genoa, in addition to working a "second shift" supporting her group back home. Needsless to say, she was exhausted when she returned.

Bring gone, she missed the huge 50th-birthday celebration Susan Takalo threw for herself on the 6th. It was a great party, complete with wonderful food, a slide show, casino games, and excellent company.

Saturday, November 13th was one of those crazy days. I found out the night before that one of Katelyn's best friends was having a birthday party. We already had a lot planned. But we made it work! We got up early and went to Walgreen's for a present. (Thank goodness they have Pokemon.) Then to the library to drop off books, then to get haircuts. Then home to meet friends Terry and Carmen for a visit. At the same time Heather came to do some work with me. Oh, and the contractor had the drywall contractors there that day too, to make things even more interesting. Then off to the birthday party, then dropped the kids at Glynis & Susan's. Then to Dark Garden in SF to get fitted for a new corset (for which Val got me a gift certificate for my birthday), then home to collapse. Whew!

Our big family travel was to New York over Thanksgiving weekend. Mom left on the 17th, the girls and I left on the 24, Val joined us the morning of the 26th. Ashley's bat mitzvah was on the 27th, and spent a lot of the weekend hanging around with family. We came back on the 29th, after which Val got very ill, the girls got little colds, and I hovered on the edge of being sick.

Katelyn got her first report card of second grade. All is well! She loves reading, and is great in math and spelling.

Val and I attended the Triton holiday party at One Market Street on Friday the 10th.

We had lots of other fun things going on: