The Year in Review - 1998
Anne & Stewart French

Phone: (972)618-4238

Time once again for the French time capsule entry of the year. We have a theory that these will be a hoot to re-read when we're old, or we'll have great bird cage liner... time will tell. The year started out with a bang - a tremendous amount of rain caused a retaining wall at the end of our street to burst, sending a torrent down Bronze Leaf. The water made its way to our doorstep but not quite inside, while surprised floating motorists were guided away from each other by wading neighbors. No one was injured and we met all our neighbors.

On into the year and the mundane settled in. Anne's project at work evolved into a new product line with lots of learning curve which Stewart found interesting too so both of us took some night classes in data communications. We also took a stocks/bonds class at SMU triggered by our recent company sales/mergers which forced us pay attention to our 401K and pension issues. The work itself has been interesting this year. Since Anne's new company, Bosch Telecom, is pretty small (the US part of it anyway), she got to be on the site selection committee to pick a new location and help layout the engineering area. And Stewart's been heavy into debugging the new processor going into the F-16 fighter jet's mission computers, still working for Raytheon which recently completed its merger with Hughes.

In a funnier vein, we got a few chances this year to babysit Tom & Joyce's girls, Emily and Mia. We had great fun playing in the park, making cookies, and watching videos till both girls would climb up on Stewart and take a nap.

March brought serious bike weather back and we had some great rides from then on this year: Possum Pedal in Graham, Kerrville Easter Hill Country Tour, Muenster Germanfest, Wildflower 100 in San Antonio, Peach Pedal in Weatherford, Goatneck 100 in Cleburne ("Yo Quiero de Cabrito"), Hotter'n Hell 100 in Wichita Falls, Hot Rocks in Rockwall, Grand Prairie Grand Prix, Comet Classic in Richardson (UTD's first annual). Since the LOW temperature never got below 80 degrees between May and September, several of these rides ended in the 100-110 degree range. The CamelBak slogan rules: "Hydrate or Die". We took lots of really intense indoor power cycle/spin classes this year which got us in the habit of drinking water continuously so that helped a lot. Either that or they induced brain damage so we biked outdoors anyway.

May through September was incredibly busy. We got to attend a Software Conference in San Francisco in mid-May which included a Chinese New Year-themed party at the Cable Car Museum. Then it was off on the "up north" road trip to visit parents on both sides and a few sisters. In St. Louis, we had a great time as Kath took mom, us and the kids north along the Mississippi to a seafood restautant with aquariums built into the wall. Brenda showed us her Dorothy Halloween costume after Anne braided her hair, but Tom wouldn't let her braid his hair. Then up to Indianapolis where Trese took to see Everest at the Omni downtown and we tried out a nice microbrewery. Visiting the French's in Kentucky, we got to see Aunt Roxie and Joyce at their new home which looked great despite the tornado that took out the front windows, and the cat which was working on taking out the walls. We also made it to the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, a fun side trip.

June brought the resumption of pool parties and we got lots of the Webbs up for it along the Fort Worth contingent and several friends from the company formerly known as TI. This year the underwater disposable cameras were a big hit, and some kids overcame any fear of water for the chance to get shots of each other with their cheeks puffed out like chipmunks. When the lighter weight girls, Melanie and Brandi, started taking bricks to the bottom of the pool to hold on to for better poses, we figured out that some safety reminders might be a good idea.

We finally realized that October vacations were silly since they took us away from Texas right during its best weather. So this year we did a biking vacation in Puget Sound the first week of August. It was beautiful, and plenty challenging including a six mile trek up to the top of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island. We got to spend some time in Seattle too with 60-70 degree temperatures we had not experienced since April. Stewart used his "mussels" to fuel the biking.

At the end of August, Anne hooked up with sister Trina and joined the Paul cousins for a reunion in Washington, DC. Nell gave a great tour around the city, and it was terrific catching up with Nell, Mel, David and Susan, Pete and Betty, and meeting Jack, Jane, Roger and Kendra. I'm really looking forward to the next one in Maine in October.

Over Labor Day, we got the chance to see Stewart's brother, Morgan, and his family in Lake Charles. We got up to our elbows in steamed shrimp and crab around the pool, then joined Cliff and Meredith for some water sports. Anne had to see the antennas on the top of the Hibernia bank building Bosch had just installed for a trial of their LMDS wireless system.

October brought some baseball excitement our way since the Texas Rangers made the playoffs for just the second time in their history. It was pretty memorable as they came home down 2 games to none having lost very low scoring close games to the Yankees. We got pretty good seats at The Ballpark and watched yet another pitcher's duel until a front came through in the sixth inning. Two lucky Yankee batters caught a wind shift and drove balls out with 35 mph tailwinds just before rain stopped the game. We waited through 3 hours of rain delay and 6 inches of rain to dash to the car during a slight letup. The game resumed an hour later without us (12:35am) and that ended the Rangers' season. But Stewart, the weather hound, is anxious for next year's playoffs since he found this year's to be great fun.

Sports and October are a great match in Texas so we took the chance to see Doug play in one of his last football games as a senior at Spring Woods. It was a gorgeous day, and the chorus (mainly Melanie and Trina) were in full voice, never mind the score.

Thanksgiving was on us before we blinked this year and the temperatures stayed moderate as Glenn & Minako joined us for a barbecued turkey. So this year we didn't have to contend with sleet pinging off the grill like the last time we tried the barbecue approach.

It's hard to believe it's Christmas already with the temperatures still in the 70's even in December. But just change the words a bit and we'll get in the spirit: "Oh, the weather outside's delightful, and a fire would be so frightful...." Merry Christmas!!!