Happy Gnu Ears!  AppleMark



We started 2004 by traveling with Li's mum to visit the breathtaking yet frosty national parks in the Southwest, including Arches, Canyonlands, Mesa Verde, Natural Bridges, Bryce, and Zion. Boy, our down jackets and handwarmers came in handy during those 20F days and -8F evenings. Using the car trunk as our "natural" freezer, we will forever look back nostalgically at our frozen block of Silk chocolate soymilk and cottage cheese. Sliding down icy trails in Zion's Refrigerator Canyon, we stared in disbelief at the photo of Claude Elk wearing her red shorts on the cover of Lonely Planet's Southwest guide.



Standing below the eroding walls of Zion


Li is officially halfway through Boalt. Whee! This past semester, Li got to extern with Magistrate Judge Zimmerman at the U.S. District Court in Ess Eff, where he realized that he never wants to be convicted of a federal crime. At school, Li works on the California Law Review and serves as an executive editor for the Ecology Law Quarterly, for which he is writing an article about government's inability to control invasive species introduced by ships' ballast water (so don't tell us if you're going on a cruise).


Over the summer, Li helped his mum stay up until 3 a.m. nightly to remodel her house, painting the interior and installing oak floors. In his spare time, he volunteered for the U.S. Department of Justice in Sacramento. Don't worry, he was in the Environment and Natural Resources Division, so your sordid secrets are probably safe with us, even though Ashcroft has started a file on Li. Li also had the honor of officiating Derek & Carolyn's June wedding with Carolyn's sister Allison.


Yvette continues to work with Alameda County, providing adolescents access to healthcare in schools. As part of her 2003 resolutions, she started practicing yoga and by mid-year finally lost the pounds she gained over the 2002 holidays pigging out (though she may need to do more than just downward dog after visiting the Paris buffet in Las Vegas last week).





Yvette's favorite: ruby-crowned kinglet

Yosemite with Brandon & Katie

Dad as Howard Stern in kung fu outfit


Yvette still takes singing lessons and volunteers with the SF Bay Bird Observatory. A pleasant surprise, Taylor, her 10-year old niece has become a bird enthusiast and goes banding with her once a month. We also roughed it in the great outdoors of Yosemite with 8-year old nephew Brandon and 11-year old niece Katie. (You should have seen them choke down their oatmeal. Mmm, mmm.) After missing two Halloweens in a row, we were finally able to make the Leung's annual monster bash. By a hair, Yvette's dad won the costume contest.



Yvette shredding down Blackcomb

We went on two exciting trips abroad this year. In April, we visited with Li's mum and Uncle Al in Vancouver and took the opportunity to snowboard Whistler/Blackcomb. Yvette has decided that she's now too old to shred on double black diamonds, but Li ignores his fear for eating snow and ice as he rides the rails in the terrain parks. Ride on, mogul boy!

In August, we spent a week in Costa Rica to scuba dive, watch birds and wildlife, and bask in the thermal baths heated by the Arenal volcano. Our bodies definitely needed the heat and massage therapy after we willed our 4x4 over the woogedy dirt roads and potholes. The highlight was seeing Lora tortugas scoot onto the beaches to lay their eggs under the full moon at Ostional. Our guide, Mauricio, drove across four rivers to cut a 4 hour drive in half.



Yvette holding baby sloth


Reflecting on 2003, we are resolved to continue to rediscover the virtue of laughter, which sustains our hope and optimism. We hope that we will be able to share many laughs together with you in 2004 and remain optimistic that this year will bring a rejuvenation of a positive American spirit.


Peace and love,


Liwen & Yvette



More Southwest pictures: Part I     Part II