Images by John 'K'

Life as seen through my lens…

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008

OK, so I admit it – I’ve been absolutely useless at keeping this site up-to-date. A very busy work schedule combined with an unexpected bout of ill-health has kept me occupied during the last couple of months. Now we have the holidays out of the way, and as we start out into 2008 I thought I’d recap on the last year.
2007 has been an interesting year – we started it on a bit of a low, feeling separation from the rest of our family back in the UK. We’d had my eldest daughter and her family visiting for the Christmas holidays and they’d just headed back for home as we started 2007. At the same time I’d been doing my best to try and convince a friend to work out some problems that she was going through in her marriage, while at the same time consoling another friend that the divorce she’d just been through was in fact for the best. Sarah was in a relationship with a guy who lived over the other side of the country (she’d met him on-line) and he came to visit for a few days in mid January. He seemed like a nice guy, and got on well with my wife and I, and at the time Sarah seemed to like him too.
In February the Queen Mary 2 made her first visit to San Francisco, overcoming a number of logistical challenges to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge and into the San Francisco Bay. We were there to experience this once in a lifetime event. Later in the month my wife and I made a trip up Highway 1 north from San Francisco for a post-Valentines Day getaway. At the same time, the friend who I’d been helping through a rough time in her marriage flew across the country with her husband to visit San Francisco and the coast. We took a day before our trip north to take them to Monterey, show them the aquarium, and watch the sun set from Pacific Grove. It seems that trip was what they needed to get things back on track in their own life – they’ve been closer than ever since then – moved to a new house in the middle of the year, and they are still going strong now.
In March my wife and I started to explore some of the regional parks – going out for weekend hikes and taking in the wonderful scenery that is around us here in California. I also had my first business trip since moving to California – I travelled to North Carolina to spend a couple of days in our support centre there. The weather there reminded me very much of England, and the scenery reminded me a lot of Belgium – was an odd experience. We also welcomed some of the cutest new visitors to the Monterey Bay Aquarium as we experienced their new otter exhibit before it opened to the general public.
April saw the arrival of Gemma (our 2nd eldest daughter) and her then boyfriend (Steve, aka Ste) for the Easter break. While visiting, Ste took the opportunity to get in some coaching time with a local soccer team (he’s studying sport at University), and Gemma volunteered at one of the local cat hospitals (she wants to work with/care for animals). During their “busman’s holiday” we managed to get in a few sightseeing trips. At the same time, we also had a return visit from the guy that Sarah had been “seeing” on-line. San Francisco once again gave us a nice place to visit – we spent time at the Golden Gate, Fishermans Wharf and Pier 39, and Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately though, Sarah decided that this guy was not for her and ended the relationship as he was to fly back home.
May found me winding down after a very busy end-of-year time at work. We made arrangements to visit the UK for summer, and managed some more trips out to local parks, including my first trip up Mount Diablo, and a return to Capitola for Memorial Day. Jan’s tutoring was keeping her busy, and she found herself having to get up in the morning (a shock for her after a year or more of not having to do so). Sarah got herself a part time job at the local mall. Paula seemed to be having a hard time focussing on school. She’d been lured into a somewhat worrying on-line relationship by an older guy through a game she played. Things came to a head in April and we did what we could to show her why this was wrong, how the other guy was using her, and we did what we could to put a stop to things. Paula’s grades, which had suffered during this relationship, were picking up, but things were not back to normal.
On the surface, June was a pretty quiet month. School finished. Paula had to do Summer School for not doing well in a couple of classes, and Sarah decided that schooling wasn’t for her. Sarah flirted around between a number of on-line acquaintances, and Paula was starting to get drawn to a guy in one of her summer school classes.
In July, to celebrate my wife’s birthday and as an early anniversary present for us, Jan and I headed back up the coast to the Howard Creek Ranch, where we spent a couple of wonderful days away from everything. Back home we were preparing for our trip back to the UK, Paula’s summer school was going well, and Sarah was starting to get involved with yet another guy on-line, but unlike others she had “met”, this guy was very secretive about any personal details – hid behind a false name, didn’t give a phone number or address, and acted in a very controlling manner with her, but of course she was blind to all of this. As concerned parents, Jan and I did what we could to try and make Sarah see what was happening, but all we did was make ourselves look like we were her enemies.
August came, we continued to deal with the issues being caused by Sarah’s “relationship”, and we headed back to the UK for our vacation. The vacation was an interesting one – we met friends and family that we hadn’t seen since we moved to the US, and we also found ourselves dealing with a number of unexpected property issues at our old house. All in all though it was a good vacation, and amongst other things it served to reinforce our decision to move to California.
September saw the relationship between Paula and the guy she met at Summer School come out in the open, and the situation with Sarah and her distant “boyfriend” finally came to a head too, and she finally saw that we weren’t bad people after all. Paula, who had been driving throughout the past few months on a permit, took her driving test and passed, so we got her a car to use. If Sarah ever finishes learning to drive, we’ll do the same for her too. For my birthday, Jan took me back to Monterey for a weekend, during which we went whale-watching (an experience I’ll not forget in a long time). The whole weekend was wonderful. I love my wife…
October saw me get an early Christmas present and we used it as an excuse to get in a few more weekend hikes as I took photos of the wonderful scenery with my new Nikon D40x. Sarah found herself working more and more and moved on from yet another on-line relationship, and Paula settled into the basketball season as a member of the girl’s JV team.
November was relatively quiet at home and very busy at work, but we managed to find time to celebrate Thanksgiving in our own way, and Jan Sarah and I popped into San Francisco for the annual International Car Show (which has become a bit of a Thanksgiving ritual for us).
As the month drew to a close my own life took an unexpected turn as I picked up a nasty infection that had me off work and "confined to bed" for a couple of weeks, although I did manage work from home a lot so the impact to my job was less than it might otherwise have been. As things settled down medically for me, I eased myself back into work just in time to hit the December holiday season. Paula continued doing well at school; the basketball season continued, and she turned 17. Sarah continued to work heavy hours at work in the run up to the holidays, and she also got hooked up with another guy over the other side of the country. Only time will tell how this one goes….. Christmas was quiet but good – after the chaos of the previous year’s Christmas, it was quite nice to have a simple stress-free Christmas at home with just the 4 of us. Then on the Thursday after Christmas Jan Paula and I went to San Jose to see Jesus Christ Superstar with Paula’s drama class – it was interesting to see it performed as a touring show as many years ago I’d seen it performed in London’s West End while I was at achool – it brought back many memories. December also brought Jan and I something to look forward to for 2008 – we’ll be visiting China during spring break.
So all in all it wasn’t too bad a year. It had its stressful moments for sure, but on balance it could have been a lot worse. So here’s to 2008. Oh and before we hit the end of 2008, I have set myself a challenge to cycle up Mount Diablo, so wish me luck with that…
There’s a selection of pictures from 2007 in my albums

One response to “Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008

  1. Maria January 9, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    WOW China!!!! You kept that quiet!!!!

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