Gary: As Lisa has said in her blog 2005 started out as a fantastic year. It was (and still is) the only time I’ve been to Europe, and it was in many ways the best year of our lives together. We had a wonderful time in France, first staying in Paris for a couple of days, wandering the streets and enjoying the sights.
While in France Lisa and I went on a bicycle trip through Provence and also visited some family friends in another region. Our trip was really special. We stayed in castles and chateaus by night, then every morning we hit the road and enjoyed the spectacular countryside. Provence is a beautiful area, but our route took us over many steep hills, and I was typically the one huffing and puffing as the last person in the group to make it up the hills! One of the great things about the trip is that we feasted on gourmet meals, but because of the biking we didn’t gain weight! I had learned a little French before we left and I could tell that the French people we met appreciated my efforts. For some people the French have a reputation for being aloof, snobby, whatever you want to call it, but we found them to be friendly and helpful – perhaps part of it was my attempts to speak their language. I remember one time being on a train and Lisa and I were hungry. I approached a lady and tried to ask her if there was a dining car on the train. Finally, a light went on and she said “Yum-yum, Yum-yum??” I said “Oui!! – Yum-yum” and she pointed us in the direction to get something to eat. Here’s a picture of us on our bike trip (taken on one of the few flat areas!):
I had a great job at a company with an office in El Segundo, CA – just 4 miles from where we lived in Redondo Beach. I was an attorney and also was a Vice President of the company. Because my boss traveled so much, I became the “go-to” guy in the office and handled not only my job but whatever personnel issues arose from time to time. All of us in the office got along great and we became friends, and still are. Unfortunately for Lisa and I the company was sold in 2005 to a large conglomerate and over the next two years things would drastically change. While writing this I received a call asking me if I wanted to go to lunch today with 2 of the guys from the office. They are the 2 guys in the first photo below who are on the far left and far right of the picture. The other photo is from the day I left to take another job in 2007 and has almost everyone from the office in it. This was a great time in my life.
The latter part of 2005 was not wonderful at all. Lisa’s father became very ill and they moved to Redondo Beach to be closer to us. As such, we were witnesses to his decline and the futile efforts of the doctors to knock out his lymphoma. He ended up dying from his weakened condition caused by the chemo treatments, but to the doctors, they had “cured” the lymphoma. After he passed, Lisa’s mom, who had counted on and relied so heavily on her husband, came and lived with us. Even though she was in the early stages of dementia, we enjoyed some good times together before she moved into assisted living. While living with us, “Mom” is the one who got me hooked on eating chocolate covered almonds. I have to admit that I’ve become a regular chocoholic!