Family News
(Click on any picture to enlarge it - click "back" to return to this page.)

Yes, it's true Sandy is 80, but does that mean she has slowed down much? Not really, since it's now 3 days past Thanksgiving, it must be time to start organizing for Christmas!

Great Grandson Colby turned 8, so it was party time, and cup cakes are the latest party thing. Colby worked on blowing out the candles while everyone held their breath!

On a recent weekend, Mike and Sandy joined several dozen others from their church on a 6-boat flotilla up the Sacramento River for an over-night stay in Old Town. Sunday morning they gathered on a beach along the American River for services before heading back down stream and home. (Mike is easy to find, wearing his bright red baseball cap.)

Sneaky Mike quietly worked for months organizing a big surprise party/brunch for Sandy's 80th birthday. (Yes, 80 IS hard to believe!) More than 60 attended, including neighbors, church friends, high school class mates, former Walnut Creek neighbors, friends from Sandy's charitable work, etc. And the giant chocolate cake was delicious!

Sandy and Mike's church in Danville is 4 years into a 10 year project at Sintaro Village, in Ethiopia. The church is working with an Ethiopian charity, and so far has dug a well and installed a new system to bring clean water directly into the village, and has built the first half of a village school (for grades K-4). Mike and Sandy are providing a scholarship for Tinsae, now in 4th grade. The pictures show the school, the village kids, and Tinsae. The school building has solar panels on its roof, and batteries allow some lights for evening adult classes. (Villagers are amazed at the lights -- most have never seen electric lights at all.) Land is now being acquired to expand the school building to include grades 5-8.

Sandy and Mike were thrilled to be at the wedding of their Great Grand-Daughter Kerri and Alex recently. The newly weds are now living on Guam, where Alex is serving in the Navy.

Mike and friend Marv have ridden their bikes onto the new Bay Bridge before, but now the bike path is finished all the way to Yerba Buena Island, so another adventure was in order. Here they are on the Island with the new bridge's tower behind them.

You can see pictures of some other adventures Mike and Marv have tried here.

Great Grandson Colby traveled with Mike up to Jamestown, where they rode the old steam train, and saw all the old trains in the round-house maintenance shop.

In July, Great Grandson Colby spent the night, and Grandpa Mike took him up to the top of a hill where the view of the Country Club's Independence Day fireworks show was excellent!

Mike and Sandy's youngest Great Grand-child, Addison, had a BIG one-year birthday party recently. It wasn't clear if she understood the symbolism of everything, but really easy to tell she liked the birthday cake!

Mike and friend Gary went to the top of Mt. Umunhum near San Jose for amazing Bay Area views. This peak has a massive concrete building which housed a huge Cold War radar installation, plus the modern day radar site for the Weather Bureau (the images you see on the TV news weather reports come from here).
Mike and Sandy traveled to the Palm Springs area to see the big remodel job wrapping up at son Rick's condo, and to visit with friends who live nearby. In addition to touring the big windmill power generation operation out by the Interstate, they took in the Palm Springs VillageFest, a weekly street fair. Here's Sandy and son Rick.

Grandson Jon lived with his Dad in Roseville, near Sacramento, so they had more opportunities to do some travel and adventures together.

Mike hasn't skied in about 10 years, but when his jury duty was cancelled, he decided to head to the mountains for a day of Spring skiing. Here he is at Boreal Ridge summit. And no broken bones!
Mike recently went to his church's annual Mens Retreat at the Mount Hermon conference center down in the Santa Cruz mountains. He's in the auditorium, ready for the evening program.

Mike and Sandy joined neighbors and friends for a New Year's Eve dinner party at the Country Club.

Mike and Blake recently enjoyed a water-side tour of the Port of Oakland, which bills itself as the West Coast's largest container port. Here they passed near the two largest container cranes at the port.
You can see more here about previous Mike and Blake adventure trips.

Mike's daughter Patty is now settled in at her new apartment in Concord, and enjoying being closer in to town than at her previous digs.

Sandy's niece Erin married Jason Miller at a beautiful outdoor location near Denver. There was snow the day before the wedding, but things cleared up for the big day -- just a bit chilly.

Grandson Ryan had a birthday, but why stick with a traditional birthday cake when you can enjoy Grandma Sandy's famous cheesecake? Here's the birthday boy, with Dad Mark, sister Trisha, and nephew Colby looking on.

Labor Day each year sees the annual Jacaranda Drive block party, held at the end of their street. It's a cul-de-sac with no traffic, so there's plenty of room for tables, umbrellas, etc.

Son Rick continues his hobby of skateboarding (even though he could be called a "senior skateboarder" from several perspectives). Here he is at a friend's house, who has a swimming pool-shaped skate bowl in his backyard.

Sandy made the local newspaper, with her group of ladies that provides birthday gifts for Meals On Wheels receipients.

Easter brunch was even more festive this year with two pre-schoolers searching for the elusive Easter eggs!

Mike went to Mexico for a week camping out with 210 teenagers (and some other adults) from Mike & Sandy's church to build new houses for 14 poor families. The project was in a "shanty town" area east of Tijuana. Here he's showing how wall framing is done. You can read more about the project, and see some pictures, here.

Sandy continues in the cast of the Assistance League's "Show On The Road" production which entertains twice a year at area Assisted Living facilities. (Assistance League is one of Sandy's main philanthropic efforts.) You can see her in some earlier year's costumes by scroling further down this page.

Grandson Ryan Darius recently married Courtney, expanding our family. The newly-weds just bought a house in Martinez, and like new home-owners everywhere, are repainting and tailoring it to their needs.
Grandson Jon was up from Bakersfield for a visit, so he and his Dad walked the Golden Gate Bridge with Mike.

Sandy has never played Bocce Ball, but gave it a try when a friend celebrated his 60th birthday (just a kid!!) at an Italian place in Livermore.

Well at least Sandy got into the Halloween spirit! Here's she's in costume heading out to a bridge group event.
Sandy's son Rick bought a 2nd home in Kernville, in the mountains east of Bakersfield, where he is a river rafting guide many summer weekends. Sandy was invited down to admire the new house, and Mike was invited dow to fix some things on the home inspection report. Here's Sandy and Rick overlooking the nearby Kern River.

Mike and Sandy enjoyed a trip to Yosemite recently for the wedding of friend's Pat and Jesse's son and a beautiful young lady whose family hails from Fiji.

Grand-daughter Trisha was the host for the Christmas morning brunch this year, giving Sandy a break. Son Mike and Grandson Jon, up from Bakersfield, get the "longest distance traveled" award. Here's everyone, except for Mike the photographer.

Son-in-law Blake chose an Italian restaurant to celebrate this year's birthday, maybe because of the yummy deserts they offer (which somehow got slid over in front of Mike).

Son Rick has a day job, but one of his loves is being a guide on river rafting trips. Here he is coming through the Grand Canyon on a recent Colorado River trip.

Mike convinced Sandy it would be great fun (just once!!) to join the New Year's Eve crowd in New York's Times Square. Here they are about an hour before the ball dropped, and the view down the street -- about 1 million people there -- cold weather, but no snow. Along with friends Buzz and Doreen, they also took in the 9/11 Memorial, the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, and other New York sights.

You can see more here.

Sandy is a regular performer in the Assistance League's "Show on the Road" troupe, which visits assisted living facilities around the area. In past shows, Sandy has appeared in many roles, including a "flapper" in a Roaring 20's production, in a "Grease" -type show, as one of Snow White's dwarfs, as a lion, etc.

Mike was a volunteer for the complete rebuild of the San Francisco City Academy building, a major project of Sandy and Mike's Danville church. This took almost 3 years of work, and almost $1.4 million in fund-raising. The Academy, a Christian K-8 school, is very successful, with over 100 students now enrolled.
You can see some pictures of this big project, Mike's work there, and a little of its history, here.

Mike and Sandy recently joined a family party which saw Sandy and all 3 of her sisters together, a fairly unusual event, as the four live in different towns, hundreds of miles apart. Here's Sheila, Barbara, Sandy (the oldest), and Carla, in a rare picture.

Sandy and Mike owned a lake house for six years. You can see a few highights of the good times there here.