Happy New Year, 2000

Dear Friends,

The New Year is the biggest holiday in Japan.  I am merely conforming with local custom by sending my annual greeting then. Well, that, and avoiding the Christmas mailing rush, and giving myself the luxury of time during vacation to compose it.

This picture of the winter solstice moon setting over Cape Chojagasaki will give you an idea of the beauty of my surroundings.

Here, the sunset over Sagami Bay is reflected in the windows of my apartment.

Fantastic February

In February, I moved into this apartment overlooking the bay with a view of Mount Fuji (when it's visible).  It is such a delight to come home from school and relax to the sounds of the waves; I have my two favorite Oregon vistas: the Pacific ocean and a spectacular mountain. You can see more pictures of my apartment with its fabulous views and evolving collection of oriental furniture at http://www.surfline.ne.jp/janetm/beach.html

In the last few minutes of my birthday, Brian and Sarah delivered twins!  Brandon and Nicholas at nine months look like they're rarin' to go, don't they?

Marvelous May

Karen graduated from Vassar in a May downpour.  The college thoughtfully provided ponchos but visiting parents and friends were drenched below the knees.  Her last soccer season was somewhat disappointing, although Mom got to see a couple of games in California in October.  She graduated with general honors, departmental honors, and distinction on her thesis, part of which will be published in a book shortly after the first of the year!

On the way back to Japan, I spent nearly a week with the twins.  Brandon was in the hospital with pneumonia, so I spent days with Nicholas while Sarah was at the hospital.  (Both boys are fine now.)  It's amazing how quickly one recaptures the maternal moves.

Brian finished his tour of duty with the Marines in January, acquired his Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer qualification, and is now working as a computer network administrator with a small health care company in southern California.  Sarah's still working part time for Starbucks (which has GREAT health coverage, thank heavens) while Grandma Judy cares for the boys and some other youngsters during the day.  Brian and Sarah got engaged on her birthday in October, so perhaps we'll all be together for a wedding in the year 2000.

Karen has been exploring career options before she decides on graduate school.  This summer, she worked for Oregon Fish & Wildlife surveying stream habitats near Warm Springs Indian Reservation in central Oregon.  They didn't have hip boots small enough for her!  Then she spent November in Europe, meeting up with her Dad and the traditional Thanksgiving group in Italy.  Now she is working with coyotes at a National Wildlife Research Center in Utah, although she took time off to spend Christmas with Brian, Sarah, and the boys.  A trip to Australia is still on the horizon; perhaps we'll share next Christmas there.

I spoke at a couple of conferences this summer, and published a couple of articles.  I'm keeping up my professional connections as well as demonstrating the power of long distance collaboration through telecommunications by serving as Associate Editor of MultiMedia Schools magazine.

I sold my house in Portland.  Long distance landlording, even with a property manager, became unbearably stressful when I found out my renters were running a daycare.  There's also some capital gains advantage to selling within three years after it was my primary residence.  My sister's "reward" for handling the sale is a trip to Japan, so I am looking forward to sharing Spring Vacation with her.  Karen may also visit; YOU can too!

Wishing you peace in the new year.

(I'm much better at e-mail than traditional correspondence.)