Greetings 2008!

It’s been many years since we’ve managed a holiday letter, and on this New Year’s Eve  we feel so blessed for all the amazing adventures this year, we wanted to share the highlights.  We’ve just returned from 3 weeks in China where we toured and studied Qi Gong (a medical form of martial arts, like Tai Chi) and toured and visited amazing temples, palaces, gardens, and climbed along the Great Wall. We toured a week, studied a week and toured another week.    My favorite experience was being in the parks watching the retired people play.  Groups gathered around musical instruments with sheet music to sing along, couples ballroom dancing to a boom box, guys playing cards, and all kinds of games, groups doing Tai Chi artfully with big red fans and swords.  There were badminton games, and line dancing, and groups performing plays and singing opera. Lots of individuals doing all kinds of stretching and exercises.   It was the most joyous gathering of adults I have ever seen  - like a children’s playground, with exuberance and pure delight!  You could find these activities every day, at every park in all the cities we visited. Simple joyful fun!   



All this just 2 ½ weeks after returning from a photo safari in Africa!  While we had planned the China trip a year ago, the Africa trip came together late in the summer with the opportunity to take Ken’s parents, 85 and 89 on Mom’s dream trip.  It was a magnificent experience, and so much fun to travel with Bill and Elsie. They are real troopers and we all had the time of our lives!  In Africa, elders are revered, (how refreshing!)  so Bill and Elsie were celebrities!  Everyone we traveled with enjoyed them.  The animals, were of course, spectacular, and the people warm, quick to smile, laugh, and ever so willing to help us learn Swahili.  It’s a fun language. 



I finished two years of study with week long trainings in Sonoita Arizona in January, April and May, resulting in my Instructor rating for Equine Experiential Learning. in the Epona Method  Ken joined me for another week of horse massage training


We have continued our esoteric studies, several weekend and weeklong workshops studying Chi Lel Qi Gong, Voice Yoga, EFT,  monthly attendance in our 4th year of energy class, and participated in the Oak Dance, in early June with Ken acting as Guardian Chief, responsible for everyone’s well being and physical logistics. We are so enjoying the company of the sincere people of spirit involved in these communities.  There is so much to learn from native traditions and other cultures and non-traditional ways of understanding our world. We are grateful for the exposure to so many different viewpoints.

Skiing!  A thrill for us both, I got back on my skis, and we carved turns and grinned, celebrating my full recovery from the motorcycle adventure of 2004.  It was fun to ski with Kevin and Shawn and her husband, Gerard, too. In June The entire Koerwitz family, all 33, gathered in Tahoe for a few days including a ropes course, floating the Truckee, and multi generational games. 2008 will see visits to the NW to visit and play with the Case clan.

I spent 4 days up in Yosemite with old friends at the first annual Chandelle Hang Gliding reunion.  It was as if 25 years really hadn’t passed. About half the group is still flying hang gliders, and we launched them each morning off Glacier Point.  We spent days hiking together and evenings preparing great food shared around the campfire with stories and catching up on what each of us is doing in life, now. Many fly planes, and there was an interesting connection to horses among us.   I was struck so deeply by the depth and soul-connection – as I had remembered, of this very special group of winged friends.  We’re looking forward to the 2nd Annual gathering.  


We took the “new” 4WD Burgundy VW Vanagon on a week-long camping adventure with Rose and Andrew & their dog, Ursa, as they trailered their “condo” along the Central Coast from Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, and north  along the magnificent Big Sur coastline.  We just had to stop at Esalen to have a massage and soak in the natural baths that hang on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  One of those peak experiences.  We hiked, and sought out magnificent seafood, cooked favorites and drank good wine. 

At the end of the summer I had another peak experience, a 5-day horse packing trip in the Wilderness of Eastern Oregon with two women friends, Judy and Patti,  a wrangler named John, and his amazing dog, Lucky.  The terrain was spectacular, the horses sure-footed, and the experience of the wilderness soul soothing and inspiring.

In between, these adventures we’ve been making the” treehouse” in Walnut Creek home, furnishing it, and in our travels, finding treasures that we never had room for on the boat.  It is great fun. Ken has attracted hundreds of hummingbirds and all kinds of other happy feathered friends to smile at through our glass house with feeders he fills twice a day in the summer.  The day we returned from China a whole flock of hummingbirds showed up, as if to say, “hi, where ya been?” and then being December, it seems they flew south for warmer climes. Only a few of the larger ones, and some very hardy little green guys with red helmets are still around.  They have provided hours of pleasure!

Throughout the year, Ken served as architect, city planning liaison, gopher, electrician and problem solver for Kevin’s tri-plex project on the waterfront in Alameda, and electrician and general moral support on Gerard and Shawn’s Victorian house that finally got the green light from the good city of Alameda to do the third floor/attic renovation..  These have been huge projects, and all the guys have really come to know the meaning of “sweat equity”. Kevin completed the front house on his project early in the Spring, and rented it right away for top dollar. He’s done his own foundation and leveling work on the back house.   The guys are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. 

Ken spends time each evening and morning that we have been home doing all sorts of computer projects… usually with at least 2 or 3 running at once.  And if all this wasn’t enough, we arrived home from China on December first to an offer on JAZZ, and an insurance requirement to haul the boat out.  So Ken and our buyer, Russ, spent 10 days in the yard repainting the bottom, and doing some minor work. It was very rewarding to see what great shape the bottom of the boat is in, after all the work during the 13 month boatyard experience and project of ’97. This haul-out was the first in 5 years, and she is in amazing condition. She begs to be sailing, and I’ve come to the understanding that you don’t “own” a boat, you “love” a boat.  It’s time JAZZ has new passionate, devoted lovers as we were for the first 12 years while she was home and adventure for us.

Our cruising buddies, Hope & Rich   have “swallowed the anchor”, too, and are transitioning back to land and staying in our cottage. We have a wonderful community on our property with them and 9-year tenant of the upper cottage, Gail.  Gail and Hope did magic in the vegetable garden this year, and Rich has taken the slack off Ken’s “honey do” list. We are so blessed to have such good friends as close neighbors.

2008 promises to be another wonderful year.  We wish you precious moments with loved ones, deep connection to what you believe in, and abundance in all that you value.  We are so grateful for friends and family, and this amazing life. 

Love,  Jan & Ken