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Topherchelle's 2014 Year In Review

Hello friends and family!

2014 was a mixed bag of joy and sorrow for us. We'll share the sorrowful news first to get it out of the way.

In July, we said goodbye to Michelle's grandmother, Dorene Wyett, in Oklahoma. She was 93 years young (!) and enjoyed a wonderful life with 69 years of marriage to her husband Lloyd. She raised four children and experienced the joys of many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She leaves behind quite a legacy! We traveled with the rest of the bay area Wyetts to Oklahoma for her funeral, which was a nice chance to spend time with all the family there.
A couple months later, Chris's mother Joanne succumbed to her declining health and passed away peacefully in her home on September 14th. Chris's whole family made it to Santa Barbara in time to say their goodbyes, which involved a 21-hour emergency travel day for us since we were in Key West when we got the news. The family held a memorial service for Jo at Shoreline park, one of her favorite Santa Barbara spots, on the weekend of what would have been her 86th birthday. You can see more about Joanne's legacy at the memorial web site Chris put together at
On the career front, Chris's work continues to change, but also stay the same, if you can figure that one out! In February, the office moved to a hip new space in San Francisco and Chris's commute went from 10 to 60 minutes, so he now prefers to work from home. In April the company re-organized his team into two and brought in some new leadership. But Chris was given "Platform Manager" responsibility for Aplia, which means that in addition to the people-management of engineers, he now also establishes the direction and priorities for the application. He has served the Aplia mission for almost 10 years now so this couldn't be more fitting, and Chris is proud to be delivering technology in the higher education space. He misses all his departed co-workers from the past though, so he created a web site for them at and they continue to stay in touch on Facebook.

Michelle also continues to thrive in her work at Ensenta, doing online check deposit technology. Her company continues to grow at a controlled pace, and even scored a major new government contract this year. Michelle is happy that the stress around this growth is manageable thanks to the team bringing in new talent and also promoting from within. Plus, the CEO is a foodie, so they have great holiday parties, this year at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose.
Vacation-wise, there was nothing too major to shout about this year. We did our annual camping trip to Oregon over July 4th, where it's always fun to meet up with our friends from Seattle.

Our friends Andrea and Christine from New Jersey paid us their annual Labor Day visit and we took them up to wine country, where we stayed in a nice AirBnB with a productive chicken coup and a campfire pit in the back yard!

In September we ventured to Florida for what was to be two weeks of fun in the sun and Disney time, but it unfortunately got cut short with the news of Chris's mom. That wasn't before a few fantastic days of kayaking, jet skiing, and lounging around at the luxury hotel pool, however.
On the housing front, we had the real estate bug itching away throughout the summer when the market was going crazy. We want to be closer to family in the south bay and have a bigger lot for Michelle to play in the garden and for Chris to park the future RV. This led to making offers on two houses that were both out-bid by the competition. Since we're happy in San Mateo, we won't settle for anything less than our dream house. But that seems to be out of reach, so we let go of the idea....for now.

Instead, we decided to go ahead and make more improvements to the San Mateo house, including new tile flooring! We replaced almost 500 square feet of linoleum and laminate in four rooms. It looks beautiful!
The dogs are good too! Teak had a little health scare over the summer when he went in for routine teeth cleaning and the vet found abnormal numbers in his liver test (a routine test before anesthetizing for the teeth cleaning). After an ultrasound, a biopsy, and other diagnostics, nothing conclusive was found and he seems fine. He's just 11 years old, that's all.

Baker is his usual attention hogging, food oriented, furry bundle of cuteness. Chris loves being able to slap his knees and have Baker jump in his lap any time on demand (though he occasionally gets dissed).
As is becoming a tradition, we celebrated Turkey Day at our house again this year and Michelle produced another fabulous dinner for 15 people, with the capable help of her sister and mother. The unfortunate part was Chris over-ate and landed himself in urgent care the next morning with severe stomach cramps. The tests revealed gallstones and surgery ("cholecystectomy") was recommended, so Chris goes under the knife on Dec 16th. (Update 12/17/14: Chris made it through alive!) He's finally thinking (and Michelle is lecturing) that it may be time to start eating healthy like Michelle. She's been eating a paleo diet for months now and is fitter than ever! Her blood tests results agree.
This year we celebrated our 10th dating anniversary and hence the 10th company holiday party that we got to bring each other as a date. As you can see from the photos at the right, we haven't aged a bit in 10 years!

2004 Keynote Holiday Party

2014 Ensenta Holiday Party

Well, that about sums it up for us in 2014. If you made it this far, please use the form below to say hello. We'd love to hear from you!

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