Greetings From The Hudsons 2017

2017 has been a very eventful year for us.  The major event was the wind-driven firestorm here in northern California.  See below for a description of our experiences.

The family is all well and busy.  Suzy is teaching Spanish two days a week at a school in a neighboring town and finds it very demanding – 9 preparations each day.  Edmundo continues with his computer repair business.  Eric is still at Lam Research and continues to find his work interesting.  Sandra is working part-time at a hospital in San Francisco but doesn’t enjoy the commute.

We now have one grandchild in the Navy (Cassidy), two in college (Sofi and Francisco), one working and about to start college (Zak), and one in 7th grade (Isabelle). 

Cassidy has been stationed on the east coast all year but we hope his submarine will be transferred to San Diego soon.  We look forward to seeing him more often than once a year.  Sofi attended Santa Rosa Junior College during the spring and summer in addition to working part-time at The Whole Pie, a shop that makes and sells hand-made pies.  This fall she took a semester abroad in Barcelona, Spain.  She fell in love with Barcelona and so did Judy and Larry when they visited her there.  Francisco graduated from high school in June and is attending Occidental College in Eagle Rock, CA.  He worked at Montecito Sequoia Camp as a counselor, teaching guitar, all summer and will be working there again after Christmas this year.  Zak graduated from high school in June and has been working at Chick-Fil-A since then.  He plans to attend Santa Rosa Junior College this coming spring.
Isabelle is very comfortable at her middle school, enjoys working in the school garden,  and is looking forward to working on the school play this spring.

Our trip to Barcelona was very enjoyable.  We were especially struck with the amazing architecture there, not just the work of Gaude but also the many other impressive buildings. And the food was wonderful.  We recommend Barcelona as a great place to visit.

Our friends, Dave Flaherty and Mary Starr visited us in July and it was fun tooling around the wine country with them.  Judy went to Chicago to visit Bonnie Bryant and especially enjoyed the architectural boat tour on the Chicago River and the visit to the American Writers Museum.

Judy is still volunteering at Luther Burbank Home & Gardens but retired from her volunteer job at the Sonoma State University Library in June.   She continues to play bridge and Mahjongg and is active with the art group of AAUW.

Larry is busy maintaining our large photo collection, and adding new photos and videos from time to time.  In the summer he grows tomatoes and zucchinis.

We hope that you had a good year.  And you have our best wishes for a happy  2018!

The 2017 wildfires of northern California

We went to bed on Sunday night, October 8, aware that the air was smoky, but we didn't know how close the fires had come.  At 2:12 a.m. on October 9 we were awakened by the strongest wind we've ever experienced, roaring through our back yard and into an open door in our bedroom, with a lot more smoke in the air along with cinders. 

We turned on a radio and learned that the fire had jumped across a nearby thoroughfare, Hopper Street, the last significant barrier.  We started to pack a few things quickly, and fortunately we have a large plastic box with emergency supplies ready to go -- we call it the earthquake box -- food, water, radio, flashlights, blankets, etc.  At that point one of our neighbors banged loudly on our door and confirmed that the fire was approaching. 

We drove away into a heavy traffic stream that was, fortunately, moving.  About 5 minutes after we left the house both of our cell phones made a loud noise, and a text message appeared saying "Evacuate now."  One of our neighbors texted to invite us to shelter in his son's church about 3 miles away, which had been opened to evacuees.  All through the night we could see flames in the sky to the northwest, west, and southwest, but according to the radio and the TV that was playing in the church, the fire was no longer moving rapidly in our direction.  We learned later that starting before midnight the flame front had traveled with the wind at about 60 miles an hour!

Early the next morning one of our neighbors drove back to our street and called to tell us that our house was OK.  Around 10 that morning we went back.  We had no electricity, and shortly after that no gas.  But we had a house.  And the Suzy's house, on the other side of town, was OK too.  The Erics experienced lots of smoke in Berkeley for a while, but the fire never got that far.

The air was smoky for the next 3 days and we remained ready to evacuate again if necessary.  The closest approach of the fire was in an area called Coffey Park, the edge of which is about 1/2 mile from our house.  That neighborhood lost about 1,500 homes (including the home of the neighbor's son who had invited us to shelter at his church) and now looks like a scene from post-World-War II newsreels.  Fireplaces standing in open lots, cars burned down to the axles.  7,500 homes were destroyed in and near Santa Rosa and 44 people were killed.  Clearing has begun.  The community has come together to help.

Slide-over maps of the burned areas before and after can be found at:

A funny thing.  We remembered our meds but we both forgot to bring our passports.  That could have been bad because a week later we were scheduled to go to Barcelona, where our granddaughter Sofi is doing a semester abroad (see above).  If you would like to see a video of our trip, go to:   It runs 46 minutes -- even we can't sit through it all at one time.

If you have not given much thought to a possible emergency in your neighborhood, consider this:  In addition to maintaining a box of necessities that can be quickly loaded, you might want to upload your family photos, videos, and important documents to the cloud for safekeeping, now, before it becomes urgent.  Google will give you 15 gigabytes free at and more is available at a reasonable cost.  Amazon Prime gives you free unlimited cloud storage for photos at .

Our 2017 family photo

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