|This was certainly a colorful and eventful year for us. The main themes involved work, travel, Aikido, love, and family...
CatalogCity.com continues to grow and as it does it sometimes makes enormous demands from us. Usually around the holidays, especially Christmas. However, with the recent shake-out of dot-coms, we are both grateful and very confident that we will be one of the survivors and that our opportunities are better than ever. Sure hope so.
In January, Danielle and I escaped for a quick (but, much needed) 6 day vacation. We went to a placed called the Manta Resort: a small resort (only 12 bungalows) on a tiny (almost microscopic) remote island called Glover's Atoll, 25 miles off the coast of Belize, Central America. It was a short trip, but very enjoyable and quite relaxing. Check out their website. We also have more pictures and stories of our trip elsewhere on our personal website.
In April, for my birthday, we drove up with Rita and Jordan to San Jose to see the new Cirque du Soleil show "Dralion". Of course - it's the year of the Dragon!
In May, Danielle's Mom came to visit for a few weeks. She went down to Mt. Baldy with us. Frank McGouirk told her last year that he wanted her to come back and help him teach the QiGong practice. She had, at that time, completed over consecutive 660 days!
Of course, the most significant event of the year was Danielle and I getting married (on May 29, Memorial Day) at the end of the Mt. Baldy Retreat. After the wedding we drove over to Las Vegas. We spent 2 nights at the Bellagio Hotel and saw the Cirque du Soleil production "O". Fabulous!
In June, we took Danielle's mom to a baseball game between the San Francisco Giants and the Seattle Mariners at the new ballpark in San Francisco. We all had a great time even though the Giants lost the game.
A few weeks after the wedding, Rita and Jordan hosted a wedding reception for us at their house. It was a nice opportunity for us to share our wedding with our non-Aikido friends. And, since it seems we were doing everything else non-traditionally, it even included a suprise "Bachelor's Party" - they had three belly dancers! It was a wonderful gift from Rita and Jordan.
Again, Aikido played a significant role in our yearly activities. In addition to Mt. Baldy, we attended week-long workshops at Santa Cruz and San Rafael. We were also privileged to host a workshop here in Monterey with Anno Sensei (8th Dan from Shingu, Japan). He is the highest rank teacher ever to come to Aikido of Monterey. We had a nice turnout and Anno Sensei taught a great class - 2 hours straight. I got totally dehydrated and had to leave the mat about 15 minutes before the end. Afterwards we went to dinner at the Robata Grill (in the Barnyard) and had a grand feast. Anno Sensei (and Linda Holliday) both stayed at our house that evening . The next morning I made German Pancakes for breakfast. It was (as I expected) a new experience for Anno Sensei, and he enjoyed it very much (oishi-des!).
In September we hosted our 9th annual Weapons Retreat down in Big Sur. We probably had around 80 people or so. The guest instructors were Faye Baker (sifu, tai chi, teaching an Iron Fan kata) and Toma Rosenzweig (Aikido sandan, teaching aiki-spear). So, it turns out that throwing a spear is not that easy. Well, throwing it is. But actually hitting a target - or anywhere close - (and we had pretty large targets) much less actually piercing the target, is quite difficult.
Just before the Weapons Retreat, Danielle took a really wonderful trip to France with her son, Colin. It was very meaningful and very memorable for her to have had the experience of traveling around France with Colin and of being with him for his 21st birthday. She really enjoyed flying business class (using frequent flyer miles!) - spoiled her totally I think! On her way to France she engaged one of the female flight attendants in a conversation about her travel plans. When they arrived in Paris, the flight attendant presented her with a box of Godiva chocolates and a bottle of French champagne wrapped in a cloth napkin. She had the hotel chill the champagne and then on Colin's birthday they bought some cheese and baguettes and had a picnic celebration on one of the bridges that crosses the Seine River near the Louvre.
Also in September, Catalog City relocated out to Ryan Ranch (near the airport). I sure miss having the office so close in Pacific Grove, but it is still much better than driving up to Scott's Valley, or beyond! So... I decided to sell my tricycle. And was able to sell it almost immediately - and for nearly what I originally paid for it. So that was good, but I sure miss it on nice weekend days. It was a real blast to ride. To kinda make up for my feelings of loss... I used the money from selling the trike to buy myself a Harley! It is a new model, FXDXT, introduced for 2001.
In early December, we pulled out the motorcycle for a short ride. My brother John, with his latest girlfriend on the back, rode his bike down from Morgan Hill. It was cloudy and a bit cool for a ride, but this was a special event. It was the 16th annual Christmas Toy Charity Ride sponsored by the Monterey chapter of the Hell's Angels motorcycle club. No, we don't belong to the Hell's Angels. We just wanted to join in the charity ride. There must have been around 300 motorcycles participating - what a sound we made! The 'parade' left from Seaside; went up Highway 1; then left on Carmel Valley Road out to Laureles Grade Road; back over to Highway 68, and then back to Seaside. It was the first time I had ever ridden in so large a group. Interesting in that, instead of local police or Highway Patrol, it was Hell's Angels club members that controlled traffic at all the intersections that we passed through! Definitely not an everyday sight.
This newsletter comes late this year due to some sad news.
Danielle's mom, Jeanne, passed away on Sunday, January 28.
Jeanne had been battling stomach cancer for the past 2 1/2 years. When first diagnosed, the doctors admitted that there really was no specific therapy for this type of (particularly aggressive) cancer. They did not expect her to live 6 months.
Jeanne had been visiting us since around the middle of December. Originally she was going to return to Ohio around January 15. However she had an emergency surgery on January 6 for a blockage in her upper colon. She had been staying with us since being released from the hospital on January 14 and had been doing quite well in terms of recovering from this most recent surgery.
Late that Sunday morning Danielle had just helped her back to her room and was only away for a couple of minutes. When she came back she discovered mom had collapsed and was not breathing and had no pulse. She immediately began CPR and continued until the paramedics arrived. However, the doctors believe she experienced a sudden pulmonary embolism which essentially caused her to become peacefully unconscious before her entire system shut down. There was nothing anyone could have done...
Jeanne did 927 consecutive days of Chi-Lel chi gung practice following her initial surgery for the stomach cancer. Her spirits always remained remarkably high. She lived life fully until the day she died. Her doctors and hospital staff were all quite impressed - we were inspired.
We miss her a lot; she was a great lady.