Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Newsletter 2007

We wish all our family and friends a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll keep this newsletter short because it's mostly a recap of events that are already covered in our blog.

Our dogs are doing well. Heidi is nine years old. She has arthritis but has responded well to medication. She seems happy and pain-free, although she misses the long walks we used to take as a family. Cleo, at 19 months, is just about full grown: weighing over 100 pounds (actually light for a Great Dane) and standing about 32 inches at the shoulder (or nearly six feet tall on her hind legs). She's tall and slender (like her adoptive mother), and strong as an ox. Mostly, she's a good girl even though there are many temptations when the kitchen counter is below eye-level. Lots of pictures are posted on our web site.

Lisa has enjoyed living in the Augusta area. She runs the web site for the Augusta Newcomers club. She's involved with the garden group, the book group and various lunch groups. She's made lots of friends through these activities, and has been introduced to many of the restaurants and coffee shops in the area. Some of her friends encouraged her to play golf so she took some lessons at our local course. Her golf pro quickly determined that she really was left-handed and needed the appropriate clubs. Many years ago, her father had tried to teach her to play right-handed and it hadn't worked out so well. We've been to the driving range together a few times, and we're looking forward to playing together. Keep an eye on our blog if you're interested in progress reports.

Steve has now been working at Janus Research Group for over a year. He describes his project as "a video game for soldiers, but without the fun stuff". Management might call it a simulation system for collaborative training on Army communications equipment. (If you were the government, which one would you pay more for?) In other news, Steve was happy to see Stanford win a couple of football games, especially the amazing wins over USC and Cal. A few more wins and we would have had a bowl game. As it turned out, we feel confident saying that Stanford was the best 8-loss team in the country. Wait 'til next year. Steve was actually in town for the Oregon game. However, he had a tight schedule so he enjoyed the tailgate party but skipped the game. It was good to see the family and friends after being gone for a couple of years.

This fall, we joined a local dining club. We've enjoyed happy hour at the Pinnacle Club whenever Steve can get away from work on Fridays. The club held their annual President's Ball, a fun black-tie event, in October. Definitely, the event of the season.

Steve's family out in California are all doing well. Our niece, Ashley, is now a teenager, and will be going to high school next autumn. Her brother, Michael, is 11 and doing well at St. Christopher's school. On the other side of the pond, Lisa's father spent some time in hospital, but is recovering and has finally managed to get back on the golf course.

It didn't take long for us to discover that life in Augusta revolves around Masters Week (in early April). We didn't win the lottery for 2008 practice tickets, but we hope to find another way to attend the tournament. Steve is trying to organize a Stanford Alumni cocktail party during Masters Week for next year. He has sent email to Tiger Woods but hasn't heard back yet.

Heidi and Cleo as Elves

Heidi and Cleo showing a little Christmas spirit, courtesy of

Saturday, December 22, 2007

trip to North Carolina

We just got back from a spending a few days at our "beach house" in North Carolina. While we were there, we were fortunate enough to attend a couple of Christmas parties with our old friends and neighbors. It was great to see everyone again. We also had time to play a little golf. Steve hadn't played for over a year, since we moved to Augusta for the new job. He managed four pars and four bogies, and took enough mulligans to keep his unofficial score under a hundred. The next afternoon, we got in nine holes. Lisa drove the cart and made a few putts, but her rib injury (thanks, Cleo) kept her from taking a full swing. She should be better soon.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cleo's Chaise

Cleo used to sleep in her crate. So if we went out for dinner she would be crated, then we would come home and she would have some crazy time and then be crated again. I felt bad for her and decided she was old enough to sleep on her own bed. Since she likes furniture so much, particularly our bed, there was no point in trying to get her to sleep on the floor. She's too big for the average dog bed, a twin size would have been great but would not fit in our bedroom, so I settled on a large chaise longue. Steve was convinced that she would never get off our bed to use it. The first night we let her snooze with us as always and then went through the same routine of putting her to bed, but on the chaise instead of in the crate. She got up and came over to me and cried. She kept that up for an hour, with me putting her back in bed and her getting up again. Then she slept on the chaise for a few hours. Then cried... She kept this up for three nights, and on the fourth, miraculously, she slept on the chaise. Success. Until the weather turned cold. Then she would come and cry to get in bed with me again. Eventually she would sleep in a tight ball on the floor at my side. I figured the chaise was too cold so I got her a sheepskin and velvet blanket. It worked.

Steve is still amazed that he was wrong. Of course Cleo and I knew it would work because we understand each other. More photos.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Stanford Beats Cal

On Saturday night, Stanford beat Cal, 20-13, at Stanford Stadium. The Stanford Axe is back home where it belongs.

By the way, as Tradition demands, the score on the Axe trophy for the 1982 Big Game will be corrected to 20-19 in favor of Stanford. Twenty-five years ago, I was there at Cal's Memorial Stadium as the The Play, which will forever live in infamy, stunned Stanford. Just to set the record straight: his knee was down and that was a forward lateral.