looking for a few good ideas

  amongst the irregular verbiage

Summing up the rest of the Year

Last time I posted something here we were on a business trip to Arkansas in November. Upon review I realised I had missed out a few interesting events from the previous month or so.

In September we were very happy to offer accommodation to our friends Trudy and Vinessa, who were travelling back to New Zealand from a holiday in the northern hemisphere. Trudy had been in England for some time when Vinessa joined her for an extended jaunt around Europe and the States.

We did our best to show them a good time, visiting Golden Gate park, seeing the film _The Red Violin_, taking them out to dinner, and generally having a great time. The visit was shortened by our having to go to Arkansas, but we gifted them with a few days staying at a hotel in the middle of San Francisco, where they could see stuff and shop to their hearts content.

In October Halloween decorations started going up around the neighbourhood, from cobweb-draped trees to the occasional hacked-up corpse in the front yard. We seem to be in a neighbourhood that generally goes in for decorations, with more than 50% of the houses in the surrounding streets sporting at least pumpkins, if not a full compliment of ghosts.

After I made a fuss of all the great pumpkins, Lisa relented and we picked out a couple of good ones at Scotty's market and took them home and carved them up. I also constructed a "Blair Witch Project" twig-man and hung him on the door. The kids from next door were very impressed! On October 31 we had a few kids come around trick-or-treating, but not as many as we'd thought. Derek pigged out on our candy supply for weeks aferwards.

Summer didn't seem to want to end. The sun moved over to the southern side of the sky, but the weather stayed warm and the nights mild. Clear skies made for great viewing of Saturn and Jupiter through our new telescope.

After the latest trip to Arkansas (which I wrote about last time) we came back to hear that the Bay Area had suffered a strong storm and very cold temperatures. Sure enough, the next time we drove down our street, all the maples had turned red!

We have a number of different species of trees in our neighbourhood, and most of them turned from late-summer green to combinations of yellow, gold, red, brown (and even the odd purple) in the space of two-three weeks. Now, just in to January, most of the trees that are going to lose their leaves have done so, with just a few suspicious looking holdouts.

Our back yard is largely still green, populated as it is with evergreen-style foliage. The fig, apricot, and apple trees are bare, with a couple of them already pruned ready for spring.

The neighbourhood went bezerk again, lighting up houses and garages and trees with christmas lights. Nothing spectacular or record breaking here, but again, more than 50% of them had something, er, more impressive than the standard front door light.

Recent movies we have seen and recommend: _Being_John_Malkovich_, _The_Green_Mile_... and for those of you out there that read the story and loved it, I recommend _Bicentennial_Man_. Even Robin Williams' urge to rap stand-up couldn't detract from the sentimental journey of a robot to humanity. I loved it.

Derek and Josh were with us for the Christmas/New Year break, and we took advantage and played lots of cribbage and ate lots of chinese food.