December, 2009

Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas!

Welcome to the 10000th (in binary) iteration of the Janz Christmas letter. This year we celebrated "x0's" Mike turned 10, Lori turned x0, and Lori's Mom turned a bigger X0. We sprinkled in a couple camping excursions, travelled over and under seas, and Tahoe construction is morphing into home decoration.

On January 18th, we celebrated the first "x" - it has been 10 years since Mike's stem cell transplant and he is now officially cured! We broke in our Tahoe chalet with a "small" family jamboree -12 adults and 6 kids. Ken and Rosemary surprised us by flying in from Oregon for two more. All rooms were reserved, loved-ones filled the loft, the 7 cars were painstakingly parked with precision, cocoa was critiqued, and the dryer dutifully diligently dryed daily. Amazingly, we didn't kill each other, and everyone had such a great time sledding, making cocoa, and playing the Wii, we've decided to make it an annual event.

The second "x" was Lori's x0th birthday. For those who believe 30 - THANK YOU! A three day camping weekend at Big Basin was the party locale - no cell phone, computers, or TV. But into each life a little rain must fall... In this case, it was several inches. Those that dared the deluge linked Lori's name with expletives; however, upon arriving at our tarp village with a crackling fire, they saw the "light". We enjoyed fresh BBQ'd meals, found many banana slugs, listened to the plunks and thunks of raindrops, hiked during a dry window, saw a coyote, & acclaimed this was a birthday that will never be forgotten!

In the 10th month (octal), we partook in the Hotchkiss family reunion. Starting in SJ, we trekked to Tahoe and then meandered to Manzanita Lake on Mount Lassen. After a night of camping and not so sweet smelling sulfur, we crossed to the coast and turned right, cruising to our KOA Kamping Kabin in Astoria, OR. It was an engineering achievement to squeeze our camping gear (bikes, tent, chairs, table, stove, ...) in our BMW convertible. We enjoyed the precipitation, biked through Fort Stevens, toured Tillamook (cheese and airplanes - the B-52 was cool!), and meeting scores of relatives.

For our 01111th anniversary (binary), we jetted to Bonaire for a week of SCUBA diving. It's rating as the best dive destination for photography did not sway our decision, at all. We will remember becoming bored of all the drum and scorpion fish, (normally very hard to find), the ginormous tarpon that joined us every night dive, Mike finding a rare, odd shaped bottom dweller (aka frog fish), and overwhelmingly healthy coral. Our new found dive buddies had travelled to Bonaire multiple times, and we intend to follow in their fin-steps. Next year, we will schedule our Bonaire excursion to align with coral spawning.

The last BIG-OH was Lori's Mom's birthday - we won't hint which one. Immediately after her departure for a 2 week trip, her children (including spouses) smashed, broke, and removed her 31+ year old yucky yellow Spanish tile entry and installed beautiful beige tile to complement the rest of the house. Just for "fun", we added new slate tile to her front porch. Did we mention this was a surprise? It was worth the reaction when she arrived home to find we had transformed her front facade and entry way.

Mike continues to work for Lockheed Martin (16 years, and counting), and survived his tenure as HOA President in Tahoe - thank God! Albeit, he managed to be re-elected to the Board. Lori is still employed at Intel (will be 10 years, this May). She is still a SW person in a HW world, and is slowly learning the importance of different voltage regulators. She travelled once to Israel and expects more trips to occur in 2010. On one of these, Mike hopes to join her to travel to Jerusalem, Petra, and Egypt.

Work on our Tahoe Cabin is transmogrifying from "Home Depot" to "Bed, Bath &Beyond"! We personally installed teak flooring (several thousand nails), and framed and stained the windows. We now have 3 real beds (off with the Aerobed!), 2 complete bedroom sets, a real dining table, and bar stools for the island (no more sitting on the scratch post). So much stuff was hauled in/on our Subaru, we looked like the "Beverly Hillbillies". For next year, we hope to spend more time relaxing, as well as install real blinds (no more sheets), closet doors, door frames, base boards, ceiling trim, and stain, stain, stain. With things "slowing" down in Tahoe, our Bay Area home deserves a little TLC. We've drawn up a 10 year plan (pick your numerical base) for our yard, which we will start this coming year.

The kitties continue to bless us with their presence. Magic is 15, and is the house Diva. Marleau and Murray are going on 4. Marleau cannot walk a straight line, and Murray purrs when he wants something - water, food,... The boys frequently travel with us to Tahoe; they hate the drive, but love being there.

We are hope everyone has a happy, healthy, and financially stable New Year.

Feel free to email us at or virtually visit and vacation with us at


Mike, Lori, Magic, Marleau, & Murray