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2008 Family Portraits

How to feel on your birthday, by Alex. I’m not sure exactly how that is, but it’s somewhere between “Happy Birthday to me!” and “Bug Off!”

Again on Alex’s birthday, his maman and one of her BFs Annie take a break from their preparations in the kitchen. Dare we mention that the kitchen preparations were not overly strenuous?!

Not in any particular order, this page features a collection of portraits of us in 2008. That’s what this website is all about, after all!

Rather than adding good portraits to preexisting pages on the site, beginning in 2008 they were placed on pages in each year’s Journal. Most of these other pages refer to an event or holiday. This one simply collects portraits. Not real and formal portraits, which are far from our cup of tea, but the other kind, the more relaxed kind. 

On Father’s Day, we all went to Nepenthe, the wonderful burger joint high up on an almost sheer hillside in Big Sur overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Here’s Charlie before the food was served.

We are a family who spends a lot of time watching movies. During 2008, most arrived courtesy of Netflix, but we still made it to the cinema every so often. Here are Marie-Helene with Charlie and Alex outside the Regal Cinema 9 on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz after one such movie excursion.

2008 felt like a good year for our kind of portraits.

Birthdays and other special days are always a good time to take pictures of our older progeny. Not only is the camera out, but also they tend to show up! We are grateful for these small traditions.

Christmas eve gave us a bunch of good portraits in 2008, most notably here, as well as the one on the right below of Daphne, Alban and Noe in front of our intricately decorated Christmas tree in the living room at home. Our Christmas trees were all pretty special! 

Marie-Hélène took this one of Nick at the Ideal Café, where they enjoyed Alban’s birthday dinner. I missed this one for some reason.

Although attendance can be a little spottier as the years progress and the older children live further afield, the only one who consistently lived a long way away in 2008 was Tom. He was thus the only one missing from Alban‘s birthday, and we all missed his birthday too a few weeks later, for the same reason.

Christmas Eve at home. Daphné’s then boyfriend Noe makes up the trio with Alban. The party hats came with the Christmas crackers that we had all pulled: a fun English tradition.

He wasn’t with us all year long, which it took me a while to get accustomed to, and our principal sources of photos of Tom in 2008 were his MySpace and Facebook pages.

I duly browsed them regularly, and from time to time found a photo which was presentable in a public place: many were not! Well, that’s what happens if you’re an 18 year-old boy!

Plus he was very happy to be out and about in Paris, and to have “escaped” from Santa Cruz. That’s how he put it: “escaped.” Until he talked about why he left in later years, I had no idea how unhappy he had been, or why. Blew that one.

Here’s one that we found on Facebook, I think, a winter holiday portrait of Tom with his then girlfriend Maureen. It was snowing at her family’s place in Normandie, but this photo warmed us here.

Other pictures of Tom in Paris in 2008 are here.

We have two or three enormous stumps that may have been logged at that time. Around each of them grows a clump of young trees like those in this portrait.

“And now for something completely different!” as they used to say on Monty Python. Home in Santa Cruz features dozens of young redwoods, that have grown since the area was logged in the late 1800s to build houses in San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.

To complement the redwoods, we have learned a healthy respect for the poison oak that blossoms, if that is the word, each spring on our property.

These bright and shapely leaves are poison oak, to be treated with great respect!

If you are allergic, as some of us are, it takes a week of cortisone, a very powerful drug, to cure the body’s reaction to poison oak. Yet it looks harmless, a sprig of oak, little more than a bush at most, as in the photo below left.

This did not last! 190 pounds plonked on the poor, fragile lap of Marie-Hélène! I’m surprised that managed a smile for long enough to be photographed!

Back to people. A couple of the best portraits of the year are to be found here, one of the parents and one of Alex and Charlie.

The one on the left deserves special mention, even though it is one of the less auspicious portraits of the year!

Nick took this one on Dad’s birthday. Alban was sitting to his mother’s left, but as he was glaring at the camera, one of his bad habits, we edited him out!

Here are the other 2008 photo journal pages:

Tom living in Paris,

Alban out and about in Santa Cruz,

Ian on a short visit to family in England,

Maman, Papa, Charlie and Alex taking a long weekend down the California coast,

birthdays and other special days in 2008, soccer in 2008 and, last but not least, the main 2008 diary, which indexes the other 2008 posts.