December 1997

Once again it is time to create the masterpiece we call the "Annual Christmas letter." (pretty original, donít you think?) First, the easy stuff: We still live in the same house, our company name has not changed, we both earned promotions (Lori to Managementand Mike to Staff), we have updated parts of the house, made a few short trips, and, most importantly, we are all in good health.

This years emphasis seemed to be travel instead of home improvement. As part of agreeing to his new position, Mike made it clear he did not want to travel too much, but did not specify, how far. So, for his first business trip, he was off to China ... in July ... on two weeks notice (You need a passport when? $$$). Lori joined him one week later, where we met perfectly polite people, ate fantastically fabulous food, saw several stimulating sites, endured totally intemperate temperatures, and enthusiastically enjoyed ourselves. For the next, short notice, (relatively) long distance trip, Lori went Management training in Washington DC. Mike followed one week later, and we saw everything there is to see Ö in three days. We made the usual ski trips, took in a couple of UCLA games (go BRUINS), and made many side trips to CA, AZ, and OR. We each made one more trip in November, Mike to Indonesia (15 time zones!) and Lori recruited at UCLA. Next year we plan another trip to China (it is that beautiful) and hopefully a trip to Australia (we better start working on our diving skills again!). Who knows how many unplanned trips will discover us next year Ö

All of this travel significantly impacted our Home Improvement®. During our spare time, we only managed to install a few new windows and modernize the family room with matching couches, a surround sound system, and a 36" TV. IT IS SO COOOOLLLL!!! Upon returning from China, we discovered our water main needed replacement. The last 10 feet refused to cooperate, so friends and neighbors jumped into the trenches with us until 11pm when they realized it would be their doors we would be knocking on for toilets and showers if we remained waterless. J With all of the traveling that is occurring, Lori gave Mike two options - buy a dog or install an alarm. We still donít have a dog.

This year, our family increased by one - Puff, a wild dove was a gift to us from Cleo. Suffering from several near death experiences, Lori vigilantly nursed Puff back to health and now occupies a nice new cage. Cleo and Magic continue to grace us with their cute and furry presence, especially since it has gotten colder.

Congratulations are in order: We are expecting Ö a new brother-in-law - Congratulations, Julie! Uncle Ken has finished treatment for his Leukemia and Mike has completed the critical first year of his recovery.

We are looking forward to a new, exciting, and healthy new year. We wish you all the happiness in the world and may you be blessed with good health. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.