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Brief History



Our Family Hobbies

  • Books - We love books and own almost 18,000 volumes. We have 19 bookshelves in our apartment and dread having to move this collection. :) Ben and I have almost all of the Hardy Boys books (including both new and old versions!) and a few years ago purchased a fairly large bookcase to hold this collection. I also have almost all of John McPhee's books (as well as his autograph!), along with numerous other collections. Liana is also an avid reader and book collector and we can really appreciate each other's great finds.

  • Autographs - I have written letters to and received autographs from almost 250 scientists, engineers, and other great thinkers. Thomas Kuhn write me a nice letter, I exchanged several letters with Eugene McCarthy, and I have some nice letters and autographs from John McPhee, Freeman Dyson, and Glenn Seaborg as well as about 15 other Nobel Prize winners. Interestingly, when I presented my autographed book collection at a University of Michigan "Student Book Collection Contest," one of the judges asked me "Is that all you have, textbooks?" I was holding Seaborg's book at the time and he is the ONLY person in history to have an element named after him while he was still alive! I suppose any book could be a textbook, but that question still stunned me.

  • Puzzles - The whole family greatly enjoys putting together a nice puzzle and we usually have one going. After having a long discussion with a bright young woman that I was trying to recruit as one of my students, I wrote a piece about how earning a PhD is like putting together a puzzle. Our favorite puzzles are those by Kim Norlien, manufactured by MasterPieces, Inc.

  • Thrift stores - Our whole family loves shopping at thrift stores. I started really appreciating this hobby when I worked as a field engineer. I needed to wear decent clothes but they wore out quickly at all the construction sites so I would get my shirts at the local thrift store. Liana even bought her wedding dress at a consignment shop!

  • Music - We love music, all kinds. <more to come>

  • Bicycling - I used to bike about 150 miles a week and still bike to school every day. (And have year round through snow, pouring rain, etc.). After getting hit by three vehicles (including a UM bus!) I bought a nice fluorescent jacket from Alert Shirt.

  • Food - <more to come>

  • Tea - This one is bizarre. I gave up coffee a decade ago and since then have really enjoyed drinking a nice tea with the sweet wife. In the past few years the kids have really enjoyed sharing tea with their mom and dad and now we all keep an eye out for new flavors of teas. This is bizarre because on several occasions our then three year old insisted on buying a colorful package of tea to share with her "packy" (me). We have enjoyed teas from Celestial Seasonings, Stash, Twinings, Bigelow, Numi, Tazo, Republic of Tea, Kalahari, and Island Rose and keep our eyes out for many others. (I am putting this list here because some of my friends and relatives think only "Lipton" when it comes to tea, heh!)




/făm'ə-lē, făm'/
n., pl. -lies.

A fundamental social group in society typically consisting of one or two parents and their children.

Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another, and reside usually in the same dwelling place.

  1. All the members of a household under one roof.
  2. A group of persons sharing common ancestry. See Usage Note at collective noun.
  3. Lineage, especially distinguished lineage.
  4. A locally independent organized crime unit, as of the Cosa Nostra.
    1. A group of like things; a class.
    2. A group of individuals derived from a common stock: the family of human beings.
  5. Biology. A taxonomic category of related organisms ranking below an order and above a genus. A family usually consists of several genera.
  6. Linguistics. A group of languages descended from the same parent language, such as the Indo-European language family.
  7. Mathematics. A set of functions or surfaces that can be generated by varying the parameters of a general equation.
  8. Chemistry. A group of elements with similar chemical properties.
  9. Chemistry. A vertical column in the periodic table of elements.
  1. Of or having to do with a family: family problems.
  2. Being suitable for a family: family movies.

[Middle English familie, from Latin familia, household, servants of a household, from famulus, servant.]