Greetings, friends and relatives around the world!
Was Y2K overhyped? No way!
Y2K was a real battle, but we won it. At one site, our product
passed extensive Y2K tests but the testing was interrupted
several times, for days at a time, by Y2K failures in other
companies' products. If those faults had not been found and
fixed in advance, that site would have been closed for most of
January 2000. This was serious stuff!
In the end the world scraped by, but not as painlessly as you
might think from the media silence. About a third of all
businesses had a Y2K failure! Most of these were in systems that
had not been tested because they were less critical. One of our
banks could not process deposits for several days after Feb 29, a
known Y2K failure date.
Special events and experiences:
Won an award as top employee of the quarter, for leading a
project developing new quality control software.
Produced two CDs, one of Hispanic worship music and one of
favourite Christmas songs.
Made two vacation trips, one to the Cornerstone Festival in the
US, the other to a wedding in Saskatchewan.
Formed the Maenads - a women's Celtic music group, joined two
country bands, and played at festivals.
Drove all the way to the Yukon on his vacation,
experiencing small-town Canada first-hand.
Auditioned and was accepted into Pianos Galore, a spring 2001
concert by 16 pianists on 8 pianos.
Alan & Kathy Chattaway
Well, Y2K came and went and hopefully everyone
drew the right lessons. Far from being overhyped (see box), the
reality is that when faced with a serious problem coming on a
definite date, people did what it took to prevent it - much like
the people in Ch. 3 of Jonah in the Old Testament.
Now our family
news. 2000 gave us enough excitement for two years!
Kathy's brother Peter Sawatzky and his wife Helen left
for Paraguay, where Peter was asked to teach science, math and
computing for a year in the community where he and Kathy grew up.
Peter & Helen suggested we visit Paraguay while they were there!
Alan went to Aspenworld, his firm's triennial
conference, in Orlando, Florida. For chairing a session and
signing up all his speakers before the deadline, he won a
companion ticket, a preferred room, and tickets to SeaWorld. So
while Alan demonstrated software, Kathy relaxed by the pool.
SeaWorld was wonderful, and we also visited Universal Studios
and Medieval Times, where we watched knights jousting on
horseback while we ate with our fingers from rough pewter plates.
Onkel Peter and Tante Melita visited us from Germany, and
we attended Uncle Henry and Aunt Susan's golden (50th) wedding
The transmission in Alan's car failed (at 7 years,
250,000km) on Kathy's birthday, just after he crossed the border
on his way home, so he was an hour late for our dinner date!
Kathy's clan met to celebrate Easter at the home of Kathy's
brother Henry and his wife Selma. Kathy videotaped the
graduation recital of Colin Balzer, a tenor married to our niece
Marlene. Michelle played her compositions at the Douglas
College student composer's recital.
Kathy organized a Youth & Family campout for the youth group
of the Hispanic church she has worked with.
Dave & Sharon Esau, missionary friends from Spain, visited
Canada and made our spare room their HQ. Kathy set up a water
balloon fight for the Hispanic Church youth group; of course,
everyone got soaked!
We visited Osoyoos, a resort town in Canada's only desert,
with Kathy's brother Jakob, his wife Linda, and two nieces from
Germany. Both nieces went paragliding over the lake. Kathy
accompanied our church youth group on a three-week trip to
Mexico, where they ministered in poor areas outside Tijuana,
living under difficult conditions and learning what life is like
in much of the world.
Kathy returned from Mexico. We held a "braaivleis"
(barbecue) for anyone in this area who had lived in Northern
Rhodesia (now Zambia). It was fun watching people who had never
met before discover connections like "your cousin used to repair
We camped on Hornby Island over the Labour Day
weekend. The Hispanic Church moved away, and Kathy said goodbye
after being their pianist and youth worker for the past five
years. We volunteered at the Mennonite Central Committee annual
festival and relief sale, which raised a record $500,000 for
charity. The roof and sidewalks of our house were repaired.
We also visited Paraguay. We had a rough start as Kathy reacted to
our anti-malaria medication, but the Mennonitenheim in Asuncion
took care of us and soon we were in the "Chaco" region visiting
Peter & Helen as well as Kathy's other brother Anton and his wife
Neti, their son Peter and his wife Renate, and Kathy's many other
relatives and old school friends there. We loved staying on
Anton & Neti's farm with the chickens, cows and songbirds. We
attended a special barbecue for Kathy's 80 closest relatives.
Peter and Alan visited campesinos at a beautiful lake north of
the Mennonite area. We are very grateful to Tante Anna Thiessen
for lending us her car during our visit.
Alan returned from Paraguay, but Kathy stayed another
week to visit the Iguazu falls and Itaipu dam with Neti. On
October 31 we enjoyed a great fireworks show from Paul. He built
an interface that lit each firework on command from a computer,
so he fired them from a notebook computer 10m (30 feet) away,
with no pauses between each firework and the next - much more
Kathy returned to her piano studies after a three-year
Alan and Monica worked on a special project for
Christmas. Since this is going out before Christmas we can't say
more than that, but it was challenging and fun.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!