December 2010

Welcome to the Janz "Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice" Christmas letter. This year we meandered to the Middle East, observed ocean organisms, finessed Tahoe "cabin" finishes, and majorly modified our San Jose curb appeal.

Last year, we developed a "10 year plan" to update our water hungry yard. Our small scale start suffered from scope creep, and 3000 square feet of stripped sod later ... our front yard vanished. We re-plumbed pale plastic PVC pipe, diligently dug daily, sowed sod strips, planted plentiful plants, and bought bags and bags and bags of bark. We met many neighbors (who wanted to confirm we were not crazy) than we had in the past 16 years! The yard is fabulous, but the Christmas and Halloween decoration diagrams are in disarray.

Our "minor" DIY project in Tahoe is going well. We have furnished the bedrooms via the magic of Craig's List. All the doorways now have actual doors ... imagine that! The trim is in (mostly), and baseboards are starting to grace the floors. We still have a "bit" to go: finishing the last door, more baseboards, ceiling trim, paint the master bath and varnish, varnish, varnish. On the plus side, we managed a weeklong trip where we didn't do any work!

In the first week of September, Mike travelled to Tel Aviv and joined Lori on one of her three Israel trips. We journeyed through Old Jerusalem, meandered around Masada, drifted on the Dead Sea, and drove through the desert on a "horse" named Ford to the Red Sea. From Eilat, we walked to Jordan and caught a cab to Petra where we spent two amazing days "in the desert sun" hiking amongst the humongous carvings hewed out of the mountain sides. Who looks at a mountain face, and says, "I can carve a building facade out of this?" From Petra we drove through the desert on a "horse" name Camry to Amman where we egress to Egypt. In Cairo, we experienced the Great Pyramid, Sphinx, the step pyramid, and received an education on Egypt and hieroglyphs with our private Egyptologist. On our last day, we investigated the Egyptian Museum and enjoyed an amazing dinner with one of Lori's co-workers watching the sunset behind the Great Pyramid. What a way to end our trip!

A scant two weeks after returning from our Middle East trip, we sojourned south for a week of SCUBA diving in Bonaire - supposedly synchronized with spawning coral. Although the spawning was more miss than hit, we did see a sea cucumber, barrel sponge, and smooth starlet coral spawn. We had a great time sleeping in, going out for 3-4 dives, snapping some amazing underwater pictures, sleep, and repeat the next day. It was a very relaxing trip and we are thinking about going back in April just because.

We are blessed that we are still employed - Mike has passed 17 years at Lockheed Martin, and Lori has hit 10 1/2 years at Intel. Mike is working in Special Programs, and well, can't tell you what he is working on. Lori is still a Program Manager on the CPU side with one program launching early next year and the other in 2012.

Outside of work, Mike euphorically resigned from the Cedar Flat Board - YAY!!! Now we enjoy our trips to Tahoe without the male cow output that comes with being on the board. He continues to be healthy and cancer free and we'll celebrate in Tahoe his 12th birthday in January. Lori continues to do her stamping, although finding time seems to be getting more difficult.

The kitties continue to be, well ... cats. Magic is 16 1/2 and rules the roost. She doesn't realize she is half the mass of Marleau. Marleau and Murray are going on 5 and travel to Tahoe with us. They don't quite know what to do with snow, and Murray graces us with his vocalizations for the first 100 miles either up or back - UGH!

We hope you have a healthy and happy New Year. Feel free to email us at virtually visit and vacation with us at


Mike, Lori, Magic, Marleau, & Murray