The family has enjoyed living in Arizona - for more than 45 years. The climate, although very warm (sometimes really hot) in June-August, is wonderful, and the people are generally easy-going and pleasant. Libby and Mike have occasionally driven to San Diego for vacations (a relatively easy 5 hour drive), but they certainly haven't participated totally in the "Western lifestyle". That's been one of the apparent benefits of living there, where you can do what you like...or not.
One thing Mike and Libby have done regularly is spend a weekend in, at the well-known . The've been going there for more than 38 consecutive years, and it's an established part of their lives that they have shared with half a dozen friends during this time. It's a weekend of total relaxation, gourmet food & drink in a wonderfully pleasant part of northern Arizona.
In the meantime, they raised Regan and Becky, who still live nearby in Phoenix - so they've accepted the Western lifestyle, too. The girls, both, have had various jobs; both are in the all-important service industry that drives so much of Arizona's economy. Thus, there are no grandchildren in Mike and Libby's life...
Mike and Libby have faired well in their life in Arizona. Mike worked at Honeywell (which was bought out by Groupe Bull) for 27 years, but the changes in the computer industry had a serious impact on the company, resulting in 3 years of perpetual layoffs which eventually caught up with Mike (in 2000). From a workforce of ~2500 when he started, he left a firm that had about 300 employees...a site that's extinct today.
Other changes for them took time, as well. After Mike got laid off, he and Libby decided it was time to make changes in their "habitat"...motivated partly by the change in their economic situation. Mike was unemployed for 7 months: an unpleasant and degrading process of getting weekly unemployment checks that didn't make up at all for his salary. He was 60 years old, too soon for retirement but a bad age to find new employment in his field. On his own, he had for some years been working with a new computer language called. His activities on Internet technical forums with that language had earned him a certain international reputation.
The experience with and knowledge of this new programming language was important in the new job Mike got: at. This company had been using a Pascal-like language called , and they were embarking on a large expansion of their systems to support a new Government mandate, called . Their new need fit very well with Mike's experience, and he was hired as a contractor...which soon evolved to be a full-time employee position once Mike proved himself. Better yet, the job's location was even closer to Mike's home.