Hello! December 1999
Greetings from California and Wellesley. The big news for us is Karen's going away to college -- she is now a first-year at Wellesley College in the Boston suburb of Wellesley. The picture is from Lee's visit this fall; she is in front of her neighboring dorm and dinning hall. She describes it like living in a castle.
Karen is thriving on the experience. She travels into Boston on many weekends for parties, the ballet, or to just "hang out" with friends. Her fall semester consisted of Intro to Psychology (too much Freud she says), Physics (her professor has asked if she would be a TA), Philosophy, and a seminar on reproductive issues.
The emptying (it's not empty yet) nest syndrome has hit; though it's not as bad as expected. Helen flew with Karen to Boston to help her settle in. Lee stopped by for a few hours one Sunday during an east coast business trip; and later attended family weekend. He enjoyed attending two of her classes and watching the Head of the Charles race.
Karen's senior year of high school afforded us several wonderful memories. As part of her senior prom, Helen and Lee cooked dinner for her, her date, and nine other friends. During a fancy four-course dinner, it was wonderful to see the group interact; she developed a great set of friends at CPS. For her graduation, both sets of grandparents traveled from Los Angeles to celebrate.
Paul is half way through 8th grade, his last year of middle school. He is busily working on his high school applications. His essay to his first choice requires a mock letter to a pen pal. He is addressing it to Jerry, the cat that adopted CPS and roams the campus.
Last summer, Paul and Helen adopted (from the SPCA) another cat to keep Yoda entertained during the day. Thus, Cleo has joined our family.
Paul had several fun projects over the year. He participated in a school play, doing props with Ellen, a neighbor and fellow student. Unfortunately, the play was The Man Who Came for Dinner and had three pages of props! He survived, though the mummy case that Ellen and he built was nearly their end…. Paul placed first in his school in a statewide math contest; and his team placed 8th out of 198 in the state. And he placed second in his event at the statewide Latin convention.
During the summer, Paul pursued his favorite sport: Computers. He spent two weeks at computer camp, completing Advanced C++. Then he disassembled Karen's old computer, upgraded several parts and reassembled it. He loaded both Linux and Windows on the machine, and connected both operating systems to our home network.
Perhaps Paul's greatest joy (he says biggest achievement) was when he became taller than Helen and Karen. He is counting the days until he passes Lee; he already wears a larger shoe size.
Helen's big news is that she is starting a new job! She enrolled in four month intensive program for a certificate in systems analysis at the University of California at Berkeley Extension last September. During the program, she discovered she especially enjoyed working with databases; when her teacher mentioned the company he worked for was hiring, she jumped at the chance. Receiving an offer almost before she assembled a resume, she starts work at GeoWorks in January. She will technically be working within the Marketing department on a project to develop a database application to track customer reactions to coupons that GeoWorks transmits to pagers and alphanumeric cell phones. So, she is on the edge of the Silicon Valley dot com madness….
When not studying, she is also serving as the chair for the local League of Women Voters study on the Oakland city government (a "Study in Jerry Brown"). Helen and Paul helped Helen's parents move within Pilgrim Place in Claremont from their house of 15+ years to a smaller apartment.
Lee continues at Kaiser Permanente. He is beginning to experiment with digital photography and has been having fun with his major birthday present: a DSL connection to the Internet that allows transfer rates up to 100K bytes per second.
During the summer, we had two wonderful days in San Diego. We spent the night at the Observers Inn, a 2-room bed & breakfast near Mount Palomar. In clear mountain air, on a moonless night, we had a two-hour "sky tour" through several 10-14" telescopes. Then for an encore, the Perseides meteor shower provided a spectacular display.
The next day, we took the Photographic Tour at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. In an open truck, we drove out to the tundra among the rhinos, giraffes, zebras, buffaloes, and other wild creatures. Lee and Karen, in particular, loved it.
We wish you a happy 2000!
Yours in peace,
Lee, Helen, Karen & Paul
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25 December 1999