It is the morning of December 29th, all four children, Karen and the cats are asleep. The house is quiet and the neighborhood too (no leaf blowers at this time of day). The sun is up and I have a nice, if somewhat obstructed, view of San Pablo Reservoir. What a great moment to reflect on all that we are thankful for in 2017.
I returned from Kazakhstan yesterday – smooth travel which is not always the case, especially during winter. We had a white Christmas in Tengiz, just a few inches of snow that made it look at it’s best. We had a low key Designs Engineering celebration after lunch on Christmas Eve, and I had dinner with good friends at the Dome 3 Canteen on Christmas Night – reinforced for me what wonderful people I work with.
As usual, my first day home I wake up early, and go through the mail. Made myself breakfast, a pot of coffee, and then found the stack of mail Karen leaves for me (primarily bills). But this time of year there are the Christmas cards and Holiday letters!! In the age of the internet and facebook, there are fewer snail mail cards, but still quite a few. Reading each card allows me to reflect on how special this is that someone wants to stay connected with me and my family. Every card has an interesting aspect: the art of the card, the family photos, and the snippets of news about the life of our friends and family. Each and every card makes me thankful that our life is filled with people that we care about, and care about us.
So in a very thankful mood, and with a second cup of coffee by my side, let me share the 2017 news of the Evans Family. In a break from tradition I will start with our youngest first.
Graduated from Miramonte High School in June, and started at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles in August. She just finished her first semester and had a wonderful experience, making good friends, joining activities (including the LMU Cheer Team), and doing well in all her classes.
What we are most proud of is how she handled the first semester – stressful at times, overwhelming at times, but also fun and interesting.
Close-up at the LMU chapel.
Stroll through Santa Monica.
Graduated from Orinda Academy High School in June, and started University of Puget Sound University (UPS) in Tacoma, WA in August. Drew had an equally great first semester, enjoying his Economics class and exploring Tacoma and Seattle area.
UPS had a week-long orientation at the beginning of the semester – to integrate the new students. Drew shared that it took him out of his comfort zone but also paved the way for making good friends that he studies with, works out with and hangs out with.
Just finished the Fall Quarter of his senior year at University of Washington (UW). He moved out of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house this year with other seniors – 11 guys in 3 story house a couple blocks from the frat. Grant worked the first half of the summer and then took a 4-week trip to Europe with his girlfriend Vanessa and others. It was an amazing trip – look him up on facebook and you can see a video that Vanessa put together.
Grant is on track to graduate in June with a bachelor’s degree in Data Science from the UW Informatics (the study and practice of creating, storing, finding, manipulating and sharing information) School.
Photo is from out Thanksgiving in Seattle – Grant is with Jacob and Tig Michaels.
Lived at home this last year working a couple jobs. He planned his year around music festivals and connecting with friends. He is going to local Diablo Valley College in January –needs a few more credits to transfer to a University. Zack plans to explore classes in a couple majors before deciding where to transfer to.
Another picture from our Thanksgiving in Seattle.
Working out at the gym most days each week, and managing her chronic pain as best she can. She has recently been working with her pain and spine doctors and trying different treatments. Karen is considering a Spinal Cord Simulator Implant – should know soon if she is a good candidate for this device.
I continue to work in Kazakhstan for Chevron, co-managing an on-site engineering group. Have been working rotation 6-1/2 years, and expect to work a couple more. I have been preparing myself a bit for retirement – joined a “home” winemaking club this year – we crushed 6000 pounds of grapes in September (Chardonnay, Primitivo (similar to Zinfandel), and Petite Syrah). After the wine has aged sufficiently it will result in ~ 300 cases of wine.
Did I already share that I am thankful? 2017 was a good year for us – we are all moving forward. We ended 2017 at home with all 4 children – recognize how special that is when that this phase of our life is soon to end.
Our Extended Family
All good with our family – Karen’s father Dick visited us for the Christmas Holidays. Karen and I made separate trips to Portland this year and connected with her brother Bruce, Courtney and Cooper. My side of the family gets together frequently – we all attended our niece Alison Gehlen’s marriage to Graeme Lee-Wingate in May – great celebration / great memories.
Happy New Year
I close by wishing ALL a Healthy and Happy New Year.