2018    Newsletter

変化 Happens! The Japanese character 変化 (henka : ”changes”) characterizes many of the events in our lives during the past year.  Many of them good; several quite challenging.  A few as yet on-going.
変化: In early January, while camping aboard Stella (our Airstream) down in Big Sur, we received official word that Danielle had been promoted by the head of the art to the rank of 7th degree (dan) black belt, putting her among the highest ranking women in Aikido.  It is recognition of her tremendous ability, dedication, and outstanding contributions in promoting the “Art of Peace.”  The local news weekly featured her in this article.  In late February she was presented her shosho (certificate) by her teacher Frank Doran, 8th Dan.  And in March a big celebration event was held at the dojo in Monterey.  I am so very proud of her!

] Bucket list item:  Lara Fabian is one of Michael's favorite female vocalists, but most of her concerts are in Europe.  So when he saw that she was scheduled to appear in Pasadena in early February he immediately grabbed two of the best available seats.  Much of her repertoire is sung in French, including fan favorites "Je T’aime" and "Je Suis Malade", which she included in the program.  Even though we often don’t understand the lyrics, it is Lara’s beautiful, passionate singing that makes her so special.

変化: In mid-March we received notice that the building that we had rented since 1992for the Aikido school had been sold.  The landlords gave us 30 days to vacate the premises.  It took a great deal of effort and support from the students to help clear everything out. Concurrently, we searched for a suitable site to relocate the school, but without success.  At nearly the last minute, we unexpectedly were offered space at the local Buddhist Temple social hall, which we gratefully accepted.  Our class schedule was significantly reduced, but the space is beautiful and affordable.
😊 Being grandparents.  Throughout the year we had many occasions to spend time with the kids and grandkids.  In April we took the 3 older grandkids to see a new, made for young audiences, musical adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” in San Francisco.  Afterwards the kids had a chance to meet and take photographs with several of the main characters.  In June we drove up to North Highlands to spend a couple days with them and to celebrate Brennan’s third birthday by taking him to visit the nearby Aerospace Museum of California (photo below of Brennan in the cockpit of an F-4 Phantom jet).  All three sets of grandparents gathered together at Jaclyn’s parent’s home in Soquel to celebrate Keeva’s (the youngest grand-daughter) 1st birthday.  The kids joined us for Thanksgiving this year at Sharon (my sister) and Kent’s home in Gardnerville, Nevada.  Danielle and I arrived several days early to take advantage of my sister’s generous offer of her timeshare to stay at the nearby ‘1862 Hot Springs Resort and Spa’ for some much needed R&R.  Friends of theirs provided two RVs, parked in their driveway, for additional accommodations as there were ultimately 22 adults, 6 children, and 4 dogs gathered for Thanksgiving!  Two weeks later, we took the Airstream for a 3 day trip to Rancho Murietta, where Danielle’s sister, Lisa, had flown from Florida to judge at an AKC Agility Trials event.  On the last day of the event, Colin came with the grandkids to watch some of the dogs perform.