December 2012

Dear Friends and Family,

We tried something new to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year—a road trip! In October, we headed for the Grand Canyon. Along the way, we added stops at Manzanar (Japanese internment camp), Death Valley, Hoover Dam, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Zion National Park, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Our favorite place was Zion, and we’re already making plans to return.

Our other travel adventure was a trip to Chicago in June, so Susie could attend an AFS conference for support volunteers (who assist exchange students and their host families when problems arise). After the conference, we took the train to Champaign-Urbana to catch up with friends who used to live in the Bay Area.

Ignoring the passage into official senior status (although she couldn’t avoid enrolling in Medicare), Susie continues writing technical documentation at F5 Networks. A high point on the job recently was dressing in a co-worker’s Salwar Kameez (traditional Indian garb) to celebrate the Indian festival Diwali. In addition to her new AFS support responsibilities, Susie is the liaison for a student from Switzerland.

Although John is no longer President of our neighborhood association, he continues to be active in neighborhood affairs. He was partially responsible for starting and maintaining several daily walks around the neighborhood. The walks were instituted to combat a rise in petty theft, but they have also proven to be a bonding experience for the neighbors. John was also responsible for replacing our entire front lawn with drought tolerant flowers and a natural rock wall.

Eric (now 23) has found his dream job at a start-up called Electric Imp (http://electricimp.com). We’ve never seen him so excited about a job! The only negative is that the company is located in Los Altos, closer to our house than to his condo in San Francisco.

So far, he’s happy commuting on the train with his bike, and we benefit from more frequent overnights here. Since software programming can be done remotely, Eric makes regular trips to Switzerland to visit his girlfriend, Anna, who began a PhD program this fall at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne). It helps that Electric Imp has an office in Cambridge, UK, where Eric often stops en route.

We sadly report that, after 12 years of marriage, Tiffany and Jason are pursuing a divorce. Having both experienced their own parents’ separations, they did not make this decision lightly. As those of you who have been there know, rarely is there a simple explanation for what went wrong. The plan is to share custody of Avalon, who seems to be taking things in stride. Earlier this year, Tiffany began working as a Senior Account Executive for ClearBlade, an IBM partner headquartered in Austin, TX. As ClearBlade’s San Francisco presence, she handles business in mobile applications and data analytics. You should hear her talk tech!

Avalon started third grade at a new school, only five blocks from her home. The curriculum includes on-campus after school Mandarin classes. In a departure from her artistic endeavors, she has embraced sports this year. Jason coached her softball team in the spring, and her school recently introduced her to volleyball.

We would be remiss if we didn’t tell you about the new addition to our family—Phoebe (a.k.a. Freebee), the rescue hen. A neighbor found her wandering around the ‘hood, and when we were unsuccessful in locating her owner, she joined our aging “girls,” Betty and Rita.

We look forward to good times with family and friends this holiday season, and we wish you a joyous and prosperous year in 2013.

Love, Susie, John, and Eric

johnaallen@gmail.com

susanallen@gmail.com

ericpallen@gmail.com