2009 Annual Report: Are We There Yet?

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
—W.B. Yeats The Second Coming

We realize that we have used excerpts from Yeats's poem The Second Coming before, but it seems so appropriate that we're using the entire opening stanza. We can hope that things aren't as bad as in 2004.

This is the official Annual Report, keeping to the restriction that the entire report fit on a single page (front and back), though we've taken a few liberties this year. If you want to print a copy for yourself, this PDF version is Linda's Official Annual Report.

Jim and Linda

We did a lot of traveling this year. Two trips to California, one a quick trip for Kiera's first birthday, and one a long car trip with stops in New Mexico and Arizona for birding arriving in El Cerrito for Kai's birthday. Then, in August, we spent several weeks in Uganda, where we saw the famous mountain Gorillas, as well as Chimpanzees, Leopards, and 455 species of birds.

Linda is retiring as a Nurse Practitioner on the installment plan. First, she dropped to four days per week, then two days, and finally toward the end of the year to one day of house calls. She is quitting for good in January. The four birding trips we have planned for 2010 may have had something to do with it.

Meanwhile, Jim has switched from claiming his occupation as homemaker to simply retired. He celebrated his 65th birthday with a “finally elegible for Medicare” party. Thanks to our Senate, it appears that most of the country will have to wait for health insurance.

The exceptional drought in Austin finally broke this fall, without the usual flood. The fall colors were better than usual this year, and the creek filled up nicely.

Our adventure in remodeling came to an abrupt end in 2009 with the collapse of the housing market.

Charles, Amy, Kai and Kiera

Charles continues to work as an archivist/librarian for the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). This is the group that fights the Discovery Institute and others who don't want evolution taught in public schools. Amy has a very demanding job as a nurse midwife and women's health care nurse practitioner.

Kai is now three and a half , a dynamo. He has transferred his main affection from Thomas the Tank Engine to Bob the Builder, and remains fascinated by all sorts of dump tractors (road building equipment.) He discovered iBird Pro on Linda's iPhone and latched onto it. He loves to play the birdcalls, especially the American Flamingo.

Kiera has a definite mind of her own. She now walks everywhere and grabs the finger of the nearest adult to go with her. She steadfastly refuses to talk, although she understands everything we say to her. Our cats fascinated her, and she was gentle with them, but they didn't reciprocate the affection. Besides "mama" and "daddy" she also says, "Kitty."

The family managed two trips to Austin this year: once in August, when Charles attended an archivist convention, and again for Thanksgiving and Jim's week-long birthday celebration.

Linda and Jim returned the favor, showing up for Kiera's first birthday, Kai's third, and a special trip in June to take care of the kids while Charles and Amy went scuba diving. We also plan to spend Christmas in California this year, so we'll see everyone again.

Claire (and Ron!)

Claire, as is her wont, traveled extensively this year: Skiing Snowboarding and Mountain Biking near Lake Tahoe, Blue Grass Festival in Telluride, Philadelphia, New York City, weddings in North Carolina and Los Angeles, as well as two trips to Austin. Just before Thanksgiving, she and Ron Ricci announced plans to marry! We are delighted. She tacked on a quick trip to Houston during Thanksgiving to introduce Ron to the Houston clan. She and Ron plan to ring in the New Year in New Orleans.

When not traveling, Claire practices Pediatric Anesthesia at Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland, CA, same as last year.

Ron is an excellent cook and gardener, as well as a sports fan, and plays in a band. He even wrote a couple of songs for Claire. He still works at a day job, with Advent Software.

Other News


We held a memorial service for Lil, Linda's mom, in Austin in January. Following her wishes, in August we scattered her ashes on Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis at dusk with a beautiful sunset in the background. We also caught up with friends and family in Minnesota following another memorial.


Our comensals are different from last year:



Raccoons, Deer, Etc., are still abundant. And, of course, we still have birds at the feeder.

Best wishes to all for 2010. Let us hear from you.