December 2011

This year we took a domestic flight! We can't recall the last time both the flight destination and terminus were in the US of A. Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we continued Tahoe trimming, contracted step 2 of ??? in operation Curb Appeal San Jose, and enjoyed down-time with family, friends, and felines.

Where to start? ... How about construction? Our Tahoe to-do list grows shorter (YAY!) and is trending to complete in 2097 (insert invective here). All doors and (mostly) floors are framed and stained while only varathene remains. Baseboards grace every room, minus the one wall whose size morphed between measuring, cutting, and installation. Transformation San Jose continued when we contracted the replacement of the past its prime, cracking driveway and entry with pavers. We, and the neighbors, love the new look and have enjoyed varying the pathway lights from plain to ghosts to Christmas penguins. The paintbrush and roller made their appearance when we obliterated the 17+ year old paint in the family room, master bedroom, and hallway. It is amazing what the difference a coat of paint can do.

Tahoe labor hours were reallocated to focus on family fun. We indoctrinated snow-shoe virgins, Mom and Jim, and tromped through powder to build an exceptional, one of a kind, sledding slope with niece Ashley, & nephew Kyle. When the rest of Schumacher/Janz clan arrived, we had great fun train sledding. In the summer, we biked along the Truckee River with the Schumacher's and then rafted it where commando Kurt randomly "enticed" people into the cold river water. For Dad Janz's 70th birthday, we headed to Africa .. OK, it was Safari West which sounded like Africa with all the wild animals. The highlights were catfish eating raw chicken, Lori being head-butted by a giraffe, and discovering the sole Wifi spot in the campground to hear the Sharks win in playoff overtime.

This year, we enjoyed time with old (what do you mean old?) school friends. In June, we flew to Utah for Greg's wedding, who Mike has known since they were both 2' tall. Greg met the woman of his dreams, Jennifer, at a party neither wanted to go to - how is that for destiny? While in Utah, we reconnected with Peter and his family, whom we hadn't seen for at least 15 years! In July, we broke out the kayaks and paddled Elkhorn Slough with John and Michelle to visit with the otters, pelicans, and harbor seals.

We took two extraordinary dive trips this year. A couple from Lori's work was headed to Bonaire in April for their anniversary, so we invited ourselves along. The highlight of the trip was our last dive when we bonded with a school of squid. Tom and Sandy must have appreciated our diving style as we just booked a trip together for next year. For our 17th Anniversary, we spent a phenomenal week living at sea and diving off the Sun Dancer II. We dove to our deepest depth (135' at the Blue Hole), spent nearly a day breathing bottled atmosphere, and saw our first dolphin while diving. How's that for our 198th safety stop?

Our career compensation continues to cover our excursions and San Jose Sharks© hockey tickets. Mike just finished his 18th year at Lockheed-Martin and loves being unable to take work home with him. He has been cancer free for 12.975 years (but who's counting?) and in his free time performs family IT support. Lori has been at Intel for 11 years and is the program manager for Intel's 2012 CPU (Ivy Bridge). She designs and makes handmade cards, and gives piano lessons to her niece Ashley.

The kitties continue to be cats. Magic is 17 1/2 and is starting to show her age, however, the boys know she is still the queen. Marleau and Murray are nearly 6 and despite protesting going to Tahoe, are more affectionate there, and even resist the return home.

Next year, Lori will be traveling to Israel (again!) in January. We will be heading back to Belize, and are considering Palau, Fiji, or the Galapagos for our 18th Anniversary. Cocos Island sounded great ... except for the 36 hour boat ride in rough seas. We'll continue to check items off our Tahoe to-do list, and in San Jose, we're deciding whether to replace our 1989 post-Loma Prieta earthquake carpeting with hard wood floors and/or continue the pavers into the backyard.

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


Mike, Lori, Magic, Marleau, & Murray