Christmas, 1997

Regrettably, this may be our last holiday letter, as El Niño is coming, and we're all gonna DIE! Or at least that's what the TV told us. Seriously, it is raining now, but we're far from being washed away.

The most excitement we had this year was during two attempts at reproduction. Neither worked out, so I will say no more about them here. Another attempt is scheduled for early spring. We shall see what happens then.

Cathy is still in school. She is now in her second year, and is still very much enjoying the student life. She did survive four quarters of Chemistry, and she is extremely pleased about that. She has also learned to use electronic mail, so you can write to her at She even made her first web page for a class this fall. It can be found at ctschwarz.

I joined the Los Angeles Astronomical Society this year, so I've been taking my telescope out to their dark-sky site in the mountains. It's 92 miles from home, but the view is much better. Of course, it's nerd fun, so I won't go into details.

Work continues on. It's been pretty quiet on the earthquake front this year, so there haven't been too many nights I've been late coming home. Still, I have to say that this is the most fun I've ever had at work.

Vacation this year was a week at Lake Tahoe, which was quite a lot of fun. We got to hike, eat, gamble, and relax. The single-deck blackjack game at Harrah's was pretty good. There were several very good restaurants, so it was pretty much an ideal vacation spot for us. We did get suckered into going to a time-share presentation there, but after surgeons removed the salesman from our bodies, we got $50 in cash for our time, which we put towards a nice dinner.

Other highlights of the year included a visit to the Titanic exhibit at the Queen Mary, where we got to see artifacts recovered from the wreck. Another was the JPL open house, where we got to stand on the surface of Mars as simulated in Pasadena. Also, Cathy paid a visit to Austin and her friends there. I, naturally, did not go along on this particular trip. We also saw a return performance of Tap Dogs, which we enjoyed immensely, and several very obscure movies. The most entertaining was a documentary titled ``East Side Story'', which dealt with musical films produced in the Soviet Bloc during the Cold War. They tried mightily to make socialism look like fun, but the singing pig farmers were hard to take seriously.

And this is the Reader's Digest version of our year. We hope that yours was equally entertaining.

Stan and Cathy