Carlos Plummer's 2000+ Newsletter


Friends and relatives,

This is my end of 2000 newsletter extended to cover 3/4 of 2001. Links connect you to photos or more information.

I was incredibly busy during the first half of 2001 so couldn't get it written. In addition to going back to teaching full time after being off since the previous June, my publisher decided to move up the publication of the 9th edition of our textbook. The highlights of my year follow:

In January, 2000, Beth and I completed 5 years of spousal equivalency; that became 6 years in 2001.

We took a trip to Mexico in January 2000. Beth had never been to Mexico. We spent 2 very active days in Mexico City, then flew to the Yucatan Peninsula, where we rented a car. Drove to Chichen Itza and spent the night. Went through ruins and drove to Akumal on the coast an hour south of Can Cun. Spent some time lounging on beach and snorkeling in the lagoon. Mostly, we spent time in scuba diving instruction. In the end we got our open water certification. (Beth had been certified years ago when she lived in Wales, but the record had been lost. She had forgotten everything anyway.) We took day trips to the ruins at Coba and Tulum and had a nice tour of a cave. For more details go to Notes from Mexico

For photos: Mexico photos Jan.2000

Began teaching again at the end of January. In April, Beth, Doune (her Scotty) and I spent a nice weekend in the gold rush town of Jackson, about 50 miles from Sacramento.

May 3, 2000. Dustin arrives and bounces off the walls for a few hours. Some explanation. Beth had always wanted a child but kept punching the snooze alarm on her biological clock. So she signed up for the fos-adopt program, in which she would become a foster parent with the option of adopting. So, after Beth almost decided to get off the list, the social worker came up with Dustin. Dustin was a very hyper, blue-eyed blond, not quite 4 years old. He had been abandoned by his mother in Bakersfield. he had been left with her boy friend's mother who couldn't look after him. (For one thing, she had to start serving a jail sentence.) A week after Dustin's initial visit he moved in with us. Things were pretty hectic for a while, but slowly we got used to it as Dustin settled down somewhat. For 2000 and 2001 photos of Dustin go to Dustin

May 18-22. Charlie and I fly to New York for a long weekend to attend Brian's graduation from Sarah Lawrence. It poured the day of graduation and everyone was wedged into a large tent. Still, I was very moved to see my son graduate. I only got to see a couple of the buildings on the campus I had been pouring money into for 4 years, because of the rain. During the weekend, we drove to Orange, Connecticut and visited my cousin whom I had not seen for over 4 decades. The next week, I was a faculty marshal at graduation ceremonies at CSUS, geographically and culturally a world apart from Sarah Lawrence.

June 3. Beth goes east with Dustin for 3 weeks to attend a workshop in Buffalo and visit her family in Pittsburgh. The county actually paid for Dustin's plane fare, because her trip was a commitment Beth had made before Dustin moved in.

September 16. A rugged day hike in the Sierra Nevada with the Sacramento Volcanological Society to see some unusual rocks (orbicular granites). I was glad to see that I could still hike a full day without benefit of trails. I got mildly lost when I came back alone-the rest of the group remained in the wilderness overnight. The trip was co-led by Jim Moore, a well known geologist. He is one of the geologists described in the book, Volcano Cowboys, a book I highly recommend.

Oct. 21-29. Beth and I go back to Mexico City for the annual meeting of the Vertebrate Paleontological Society. While we were gone, a friend of Beth's moved into her house and looked after Dustin. The morning after we got there we left for a 3 day field trip to Oaxaca.

We saw some nice geology, pretty scenery, visited Monte Alban and other Mayan ruins. Our stay in Oaxaca was all too brief. It's an interesting city and we would have liked to have seen more. For photos, go to: Mexico October photos

On the 24th we got back to our hotel in Mexico City and Beth had a message to call her brother. Her mother had died the day we left for the field trip. Beth spent most of the night on the phone calling brothers. At first, she was going to fly to Pittsburgh. After much discussion it was eventually decided to postpone memorial services and Beth decided to remain in Mexico for the rest of the trip. Although saddened, we did get to see things as well as attend meetings. By now, we were adept at taking the subway to the far reaches of town. We took a taxi to the pyramids of Teotihuacan and took a bus back to the nearest subway terminal and the subway to the Basilica de Guadalupe, then back to near our hotel. During our stay we also went to Plaza Garibaldi and videotaped the crowd and all the numerous mariachis playing. We made a whirlwind visit to the Anthropology Museum on our last day there. Of course, we had some great food.

A week after our return, Beth and Dustin flew back to Pittsburgh for her mother's memorial service.

Nov. 12-16 I went to the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Nov. 18. Dustin was officially adopted at a ceremony at the courthouse. All of the kids in the county who had fulfilled adoption requirements during the year were adopted that day. Hundreds of kids and family numbers. Each visited a judge who signed the papers. Then there was cake, clowns, etc.

Dec. 27-29. We go to Reno for a couple days skiing. My only skiing last season. Part of the idea was to introduce Dustin to snow. He didn't like the ski school. Brian and Charlie came along too. Brian did amazingly well at gambling.



Feb. 17. Beth's father died. Once again, she flew to Pittsburgh for a funeral and stayed to help settle affairs. I looked after Dustin for about 10 days. Being a full-time father is a lot easier when your younger.

Feb. 28. My niece Jennifer's young husband, a fireman in Ft. Lauderdale, died of Cancer.

In May, Beth's only aunt died. Beth and her 6 brothers went to the funeral in Milwaukee.

August 6-16 Beth, Dustin, Charlie and I went to Hawaii. We spent 5 days at the Kona coast on the Big Island and 5 at Kauai. During the Hawaii portion, we spent most of the time looking at geologic features at Kilauea, etc. Beth and I took a scenic plane flight around the island so we could see the lava spewing into the sea. We also went to a presentation for a time share condo at a new resort, Waikoloa, north of Kona. We ended up buying into it. So now we have to go back. At Kauai, we concentrated on beaches. Our condo overlooked the surf. We surfed and snorkeled and did some sight seeing. Beth and I went to a luau, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Charlie continues to live in my condominium, where I spend most days, but few nights. His schizophrenia is marginally better after some modification in his medications. He attends a class or two at the local community college and listens to music or plays his baritone ukelele. Brian is still looking for meaningful employment.

Coming up in November: I'm going trekking in Nepal. I'll spend a couple days in Thailand on the way back.

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