Christmas, 1996

Here we are again. Still enjoying being back in the real world.1 It's been a good year. Lots of fun, and also some big changes.

First off, Cathy quit her gig at Musician's Credit Union and has gone back to college. It's been a bit of an adjustment for both of us, but more for her than for me. I've been playing math and science tutor a bit, and I think it's amazing just how much I can remember from Freshman Chemistry after 20 years. She seems to be enjoying the experience so far, so overall it looks like a hit.

My job is still here and still fun. We survived the two government shutdowns last year, one major system upgrade this fall, and numerous other trials. Aside from this, the earthquake business has been kind of slow this year.

We've made a lot of progress on fixing up our house. Cathy cleaned up the attic, and we rented some dumpsters to clean up the yard and garage. Also, we made many trips to the L.A. County Toxic Waste roundups to drop off stuff that was hanging around the garage. We even got a new water heater, which was significant in that it was the only time we got any use out of that damn home warranty thing that we got when we bought the house. Still, the biggest single project was during the summer after Cathy had quit the Credit Union and decided to repaint the kitchen. This involved stripping off the old wallpaper, removing the dropped ceiling, building some cabinetry, sanding, and a lot of painting. It was pretty involved, but now that it's done, it looks very nice.

We also got a new dog this year. She is another mutt, probably a mix of Cocker Spaniel and some sort of weiner dog. Her name is Ripley, and she and Cosmo like to keep each other company. She is a nice dog with some peculiar quirks. I have never seen a dog so excited by dry dog food. Even the dogs in the commercials on TV aren't drooling on the floor when they see the kibble.

Other fun stuff this year included a week's vacation in Hawaii. We hiked around on several different volcanoes, ate lots of good food, and didn't go to the beach. We also played tourist at home, riding the new Red Line subway (As seen in ``Speed''!) and the newly rebuilt Angel's Flight funicular railway downtown. We rediscovered the Museum of Neon Art at its new location in downtown L.A. We signed up as members this year, so we now get invited to their new-exhibit receptions, which makes us feel just so `in the know'.

My big thing for the year was to rediscover my old hobby of amateur astronomy, after being away from it for almost twenty years. This has been a lot of fun, although Cathy is not especially interested in it. Still, I've managed to get her outside a couple of times to look through the telescope.

Finally, this year marked our eighth anniversary. It's been great fun.

Stan and Cathy