2022 Evans Family Holiday Letter


Holiday Greetings to one and all – here is  2022 update from the Evans Family.


Our oldest has been clowning around the Pacific Northwest since moving to Portland in 2020. He spent the first half of the year living in Beaverton and working on the customer care team at Columbia Sportswear. He enjoyed helping people, but wasn’t entirely satisfied helping people find the right pair of hiking boots. He also missed his friends. In June, Zack moved back to Portland, into a gorgeous craftsman in the Alberta Arts District. He now has five loving roommates—two 30 year olds, an 18 year old, a 9 year old, and a very talkative dog—and he is grateful for the unique perspectives shared in his multi-generational home. Zack quickly found work at Portland’s premier jazz club, the 1905, and considers himself lucky to be paid to listen to world class musicians every week. Meanwhile, he prepared to return to school and pursue a counseling license. After a five-year academic hiatus, Zack enrolled full time at Portland State University in the fall and is excited to have finished his first term. Channeling his parents, Zack traveled twice during the term—once to Denver for a bachelor party and once to Arkansas for a wedding—and in between fought off several weeks of covid or covid adjacent illness. Despite obstacles and awkward transitions, Zack finished with almost all A’s, and is confident he’ll do even better next term now that he’s adjusted. He expects to receive his bachelor’s degree next fall, and has goals for more travel and a master’s degree, in that order. We all very much look forward to his continued accomplishments.


Grant and Lauren

Our middle child, Grant, has been living in Seattle since 2014. He works as a Software Engineer at Microsoft working in their internal Finance organization. He enjoys the challenge and appreciates the fact that he is able to build things with his mind every day. Within the last year he has led and released two new financial applications for internal Microsoft employees, and has begun the development of a third. Grant works from home, and over the last two years has outfitted his office into something he would be reluctant to ever give up. He lives with his lovely girlfriend of three years, Lauren, and their two cats, Obi and Neo. Lauren is currently a nurse at the Seattle Children’s Hospital and is pursuing her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at the University of Washington. Obi and Neo make sure to keep the two of them very busy in their downtime. Although he is getting tired of the cold and rainy Pacific Northwest winters, he always looks forward to the pristine summers in Seattle. Once Lauren has completed her degree in 2024, they plan to break from the PNW and see where life takes them.


Drew and Emily

Drew and Emily found themselves living in the lush greenery of Kauai, Hawaii, for the past year and some change. With Drew working as a Production Analyst for the largest coffee plantation in the U.S., and Emily working as a Seed Biologist for the National Tropical Botanical Garden, they both pursued their passions in paradise. Adjusting from the college lifestyle, to the covid lifestyle, to the island lifestyle proved to be interesting and filled with growth. Drew picked up the hobby of body-surfing as much as he could, while sticking with his roots of video games and music. Emily continues to hike (and beg Drew to come along), crochet, and make new connections. Starting in the new year, Drew will move back to the Bay Area (and in with the parents) full-time, searching for a new in-person job in a similar data facing role. Emily is sticking back in Hawaii, with visits planned for the both of them. He is happy to be returning to good food, live music, and Rocco & Scar, but will miss the 80 degree days, non-wetsuit required ocean and Emily!



Claudia continues to live and work as an English language assistant in Granada, Spain. She spent her first year there working with high school aged kids, and has since transitioned to working in a primary school, which means she’s getting pretty great at Simon Says (or Simón Dice in Spanish). She keeps herself busy by giving private English lessons to different families in the city, attending language exchanges, seeing live music, going out for tapas with friends, acting as a tour guide when her friends and family come to visit, and of course traveling. After her school year ended towards the beginning of June, she embarked on a six-week European adventure — spending the first half of the trip with friends and meeting up with Karen for the second half of it. After visiting almost 20 cities in that short span of time, she was still unable to squash her travel bug. She went to LA in September to spend time with her friends from LMU before heading to Hawaii to meet up with Grant and Andrew (leaving her with great memories and a less great scar on her knee from their surf lesson). She is excited to spend a couple weeks at home for the holidays before heading back to Spain.

Karen’s Side of the Family

Dick Weisbaum (Papa) continues living on his own in Sedona.  We had the good fortune of connecting with him in Palm Springs, Maui and Portland so far this year; he will join us for Christmas in Orinda.  We also connected with Karen’s brother Bruce and SIL Courtney in Portland for Thanksgiving.


Marc’s Side of the Family (aka Big Family)

No increase in size this year – we are currently at 21 that includes my sisters, their spouses, children and grandchildren.  Most of the family got together in Santa Barbara in March for Rose’s 13th birthday party – planned by her 10 year-old Sister Bea (2 of Robin’s grand-daughters).  We also connected in August for a family birthday in Castro Valley at Kevin & Tina’s (Steve & Joanne’s son).

Youngest Niece Alison with her daughter (youngest Great Niece Hopie):

Here is a link to a Flickr Photo Album with videos of us playing Fruit Rollup Challenge in Santa Barbara:

Marc & Karen Fruit Rollup Challenge



Karen continues to manage her severe back pain by walking, shopping, live entertainment, and travel.  This year she went to Palm Springs, Aruba, Granada, Seville, Cadiz (Spain), Las Vegas, Europe (Munich, Salzburg, Hallstatt, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Zurich, Zermatt, Lake Como, Venice, Slovenia, Zagreb, Plitvices Lakes, Split, Dubrovnik, Santorini, and Athens), Reno, Colorado (Grand Junction & Denver), Maui, and Portland.

Her favorite music show this year was Silk Sonic (Bruno Mars & Anderson Paak) in Vegas; she also saw Bonnie Rait, Jack Johnson and Elvis Costello at venues in the Bay Area.  She also goes to SF Broadway Shows and Golden State Warriors games.  Finally, she recently saw Michelle Obama.  Yes, Marc has a difficult time keeping up with Karen.


2022 Highlights:
  • Travelled with Karen


  • Continue making wine in Moraga (Old Barn Home Winemaking Club)


  • Finished remodeling 2 more units in Oakland Apartment Building (all 4 now remodeled)  and had the building exterior painted.


  • Hosted Kazak Friends in San Francisco


  • Enjoy most entertainment events with Karen, particularly watching the Golden State Warriors.


  • Volunteering to help neighborhood / community increase preparation for wildfire


  • Celebrated 31st Wedding Anniversary and 65th Birthday


  • And retired again!

Wishing everyone great health and much happiness in 2023 –

we hope our paths cross again soon!  

2021 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Hello from the Evans’ Family – we wish you good health and happiness – not easy these days.  So far our entire family has dodged catching COVID-19; very lucky, considering it appears inevitable to happen to one or more of us.  We started easing back into “normal” life this year – here is our story.

To start, here are messages from the Evans’ children – they provided the following updates as my Christmas gifts!


Despite numerous challenges, failures, and unforeseen circumstances, Zack has only gotten taller and better looking. He stands now roughly 9 and a half feet tall, and all of our necks hurt because of it. He decided in early 2020 to live amongst those most like him: the trees in Portland, Oregon, and now resides in Beaverton. He enjoys the weirdness of the pacific northwest, but sorely misses the warmth of California sunshine. The past year has been tumultuous, but every end is a new beginning. Zack is calling this his phoenix year, and many of us can relate. With a return to school on the horizon, he is ready to be reborn and burn more brightly than ever in 2022.


Grant is living in Seattle with his girlfriend Lauren and their two cats, Neo and Obi. He has been working from home (for Microsoft) since February 2020 and has built an expansive work from home setup he will be reluctant to let go when he returns to the office. In addition to working at Children’s Hospital as a Nurse, Lauren is studying at the University of Washington for a Nurse Practitioner degree (2-1/2 year program) – she just finished her first quarter.  Grant and Lauren are excited to ski this season, as they were not able to visit the mountains last year. Grant wishes all of his friends and family a happy and healthy holidays and New Year.


Drew graduated from the University of Puget Sound in May of 2021, with a Bachelor of Science in Economics & minors in math & business. He enjoyed (as much as possible) a COVID senior year, living in Tacoma with his friends. After saying goodbye to Tacoma, Drew headed home where he planned a road trip with his girlfriend, Emily, across the U.S.. Despite some bumps in the road, they were able to embark on their trip and headed Southeast, then Northeast, then due East, finding a turnaround point in Chicago, IL. Finishing in Portland, they drove 8,000 miles in about 50 days. After this, Drew stayed in Orinda, cat-sitting for a while, before he found out that Emily got the job she had been pining after, as a KUPU intern at National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawai’i. Within two months, they packed up together and moved in to a 1-bedroom in Lihue, Hawai’i. With sunnier skies and sea-breezes, they started their post-grad journey together in paradise. Soon after arrival Drew found work, applying for and getting a position as a Production Operations Analyst at Kauai Coffee Company on the island. Drew works at the largest coffee orchard in the United States!  Since then, they have met new people, experienced an entirely different way of living, and have grown immensely.  Emily & Drew are excited to grow, learn, and experience 2022.  Merry Christmas to all, especially you, Dad!


Claudia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University in May with a  degree in Political Science and minors in International Relations and Spanish. She spent the first half of her summer with her friends in Los Angeles, then spent 7 weeks in Vermont at an intensive language program at Middlebury College. This was excellent preparation for her next adventure: living and working as an English Language Assistant at a secondary school in Granada, Spain, where she has been working since September. She’s been enjoying the facilitation of a pen pal activity between her students and students in the USA who are being taught by her former high school Spanish teacher, a rare and inspiring experience for her and her students. She is excited to continue traveling in 2022, and Karen is excited to keep visiting!

We were fortunate to see all our children, more than once, in 2021.   They even saw each other …

Karen & Marc

We reached our 30th wedding anniversary in August – very thankful to have navigated all the challenges of life over this time together.  Karen continues to enjoy a healthy retirement, albeit with back pain (though you wouldn’t know it just by looking!); Marc had a “different” year – see Marc’s Retirement Journey post.  Together we’ve enjoyed going to SF Broadway Shows (opened back up this Fall), Golden State Warriors games (have pair of 1/4 season tickets for the 2021-2022 season), living with our cats Scar & Rocco, keeping up with our children and Big Family, and travel.

First Part of 2021 Travel

Except for a trip to New Orleans in March, we did not travel in 2020. So as vacation spots began opening up in 2021, Karen & I began to travel again.  We were both vaccinated in April so felt comfortable, at least driving in the first half of the year.

In February we spent a week in Palm Springs with Karen’s father Dick Weisbaum (aka Papa); it was a nice visit as we had not seen Papa in a while.  Mostly hanging out at the pool, walks and visiting outdoor art installations called Desert X.

In April we flew to Maui, Hawaii with our close friends Patty & Mark Thompson and Michelle & Andy Winter.  We have known these couples for 30+ years (Mark, Andy and I were friends before we each met our respective spouses). We took our initial friends vacation to the Caribbean in the early 80s on a sailboat; we call our group WET (Winter Evans Thompson) Sail.  We went out to eat several times in Maui – all outdoor dining –  and snorkeled, walked, and hung out at different beaches.  Mark, Andy and I enjoyed a fantastic bike ride down the Haleakala Volcano . I did not realize this was on my bucket list and highly recommend this activity!  The weather was awesome (almost always true in Hawaii).

May Graduations

Claudia graduated from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) and Drew from University of Puget Sound (UPS), on consecutive weekends in May.  LMU was very restrictive on their graduation – it was on Zoom (which we did not attend).  But Karen & I drove to LA and spent the weekend. Claudia and her 4 roommates held a small celebration in their backyard with a few friends and family.  It was nice to hang out with her friend’s families – ordered some food, some drinks, played only a couple drinking games. Karen has yet to congratulate me on my restraint. Claudia stayed in LA through July, enjoying the warmth and excitement of a post-grad summer.

The next weekend several of our family travelled to Tacoma WA to celebrate Drew’s graduation.  UPS had an in-person graduation but only 2 people per student could attend (significant social distancing while sitting in the stadium).  Claudia, Grant, girlfriend Lauren, and Zack plus Karen’s Dad, Brother, Sister-in-Law, Nephew and my 2 sisters attended.  Drew and his friends threw a party in their backyard the day before – larger gathering, more food, more beer, and significantly more drinking games (restraint was a non-issue amongst the frat brothers) . The families also hired a photographer, which was a great way to capture the end of a college career.  Drew stayed in Tacoma for about 3 weeks before coming home to the Bay Area to prepare for his road trip; such a celebration cannot be wrapped up so easily it seems.

Summer 2021

Karen and I returned to Bakersfield for 4th of July Weekend for a WET Sail outing (has been an almost annual tradition, especially when our kids were younger).  This year it was just the 3 couples and one lone child (Claire) – hanging out at the Winter’s pool, playing games, and checking out Bakersfield’s fast-growing brewery scene.

We visited Santa Barbara in mid-July to hangout with my two sisters, nieces and their families. 3 days in an Airbnb near the home of my younger niece Alison, husband Graeme and daughter Hopie Gehlen-Wingate were spent hanging out with older niece Lauren, husband Jamie, and daughters Rose and Bea Houssain, along with my sisters Robin Gehlen and Joanne Evans.  Graeme, Jamie and I took care of the kids one day – the women in the family enjoyed a spa day and dinner without children.  It was a treat to hang out with my siblings and their children / grandchildren, our growing village, and create some sweet memories. 

We visited New Jersey, NYC, Vermont, Boston, and Washington DC in August. We started with the wedding of a good friend’s oldest son in New Jersey, followed by a week of attractions in New York City.  Karen & I both enjoy New York, lots of walking, good restaurants & museums but no Broadway Shows – we will return.  We then picked up Claudia at Middlebury College in Vermont (where she finished a competitive and challenging language program) and went to Boston and Washington DC to see the sights and connect with friends.  All 3 cities were enjoyable – there were less tourists than normal (plus DC is very quiet in August with Congress out of session).

Last Part of 2021 Travel

Karen & I went to Spain to help Claudia move for her new job in late September.  We rented an Airbnb in the center of Granada and greatly enjoyed the life of Southern Spain – people friendly streets, lots of historic sites, many tapas restaurants to choose from, afternoon naps, and walking around the town, including the famous Alhambra.

While there, Claudia found a roommate (in the same English Language Assistant program), found a 3 bedroom flat in a good part of town, practiced her commute to work (bus ride of about 25 minutes), and other move to new place type of things. I was there 10 days while Karen stayed another week to help Claudia get settled in. 

In November, Karen and I met up with her father, brother and sister-in-law for another trip to Hawaii (this was planned 2 years ago).  We spent 1 week in Maui and 1 week in Kauai.  We were hosted by her dad and stayed in Westin Resorts – what a treat.  We hit our favorite sites in Maui including snorkeling at Honolua Bay plus Happy Hour at Fleetwood’s in Lahaina.

This was our first tip to Kauai – with the added BONUS of Drew & Emily living there.  We stayed in Princeville, visited the Waimea Canyon, Allerton Garden, a water tubing activity through old irrigation canals (much better than it sounds) and of course a tour of the Kauai Coffee Company.

December Holidays

In the middle of 2021, as COVID appeared to die down, Karen and I decided we wanted to take a special vacation with all four children for Christmas. We planned a trip to Eastern Europe to experience the historically vibrant Christmas spirit of Austria and surrounding countries with our family.  So our in-house travel agent, Karen, spent endless hours making hotel reservations in Munich, Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg.  This was for all 8 of us (including Lauren and Emily) with different arrival times and departures – each city had different number of hotel rooms or an Airbnb.  It was a significant undertaking – including plane reservations to/from 4 US cities plus Granada, Spain.

Around Thanksgiving the Omicron COVID variant hit Europe – we learned that Christmas Markets were closing down and there would be a high risk of quarantine if anyone tested positive.  With great sadness, Karen cancelled the entire trip – additional endless hours getting refunds or asking for a future date.  We have were able to defer a couple hotels until next year – that vacation will be in next year’s Holiday Letter.

With all our children already having scheduled time off, we pivoted and rented Villa Castillo in Puerto Vallarta (PV), Mexico.  We reserved a couple activities – an ATV jungle tour (highly recommend), a dinner cruise with an exciting circus troupe, and our favorite zipline tour – it has been a great time.  This trip is significantly lower stress than a Europe Trip with all the inter-city travel, plus the weather in PV has been beautiful – low 80s every day.  Our place is about a 30 minute walk / 5 minute taxi ride to Old Town – beach restaurants, shops, restaurants, bars.  The place we rented had a pool and large deck – great space to hang out.

Best Wishes and Happy New Year

To all that took the time to read this far, we hope your Holiday with Family & Friends was wonderful, and we wish you health & happiness in 2022.  We look forward to when our paths with you cross again!

Marc and Karen Evans: January 2, 2022

2020 Evans Family Holiday Letter

We hope this message finds you and your family healthy!  As I write this message in January 2021, I recognize that we did not send out a 2019 Holiday Letter – at the end of this post are 2019 highlights chronicled through our iPhone photos.

Evans Family 2020 News

The Weisbaum-Evans family is very fortunate; so far no one in our extended family has caught the virus and everyone is still “kicking.”  We had a special event this year: the birth of our great-niece, Hopie Gehlen-Wingate in Santa Barbara, CA.  Ali Gehlen and Graeme Lee-Wingate are her parents – she is a happy and curious baby.  Not everyone in our family has been fortunate to meet Hopie in person but Ali shares lots of videos and facetimes with us.  At the top of our family list (when the pandemic abates) will be a large gathering to welcome Hopie into our Big Family.

Hopie was born in April – Claudia and I visited in early August when she moved back to LMU


Continues medical retirement, continues to have significant back pain, continues to never complain about anything.  She kept sane by watching cooking shows, walking (and listening to podcasts), and stays connected with friends through zoom calls.  We recently outfitted a home gym with recumbent bicycle and large TV – she is working out almost every day.

As her friends know, Karen loves to travel.  She had 2020 planned trips for us to Hawaii, New York, and Sedona, and was beginning the planning process for a visit to eastern Europe late last year.  Of course these were all cancelled – we stayed mostly in the Bay Area this year except for a short trip to New Orleans in early March (we learned later this was an initial COVID hot spot):


When Claudia returned in January 2020 to Loyola Marymount University (LMU) for her Junior Year Spring semester she had lots of plans: she moved into an apartment near school with 2 friends and began her 1 year reign as President of the LMU Pi Phi Sorority.  Due to COVID all those plans changed – she moved home in March, continued school remotely, and led sorority zoom calls.   Hard to explain Claudia’s disappointment – she was happy to be back at LMU after a semester away and then finds herself at home – opposite of an exciting college experience.  She spent her 2020 summer working as a camp counselor in San Francisco with a friend, and then moved back to LA in August to a group house near LMU with 5 friends.  She lives within a ½ mile of the LMU campus, but all school work in the Fall semester was remote.  Still, living with friends while going to school was much better than living at home – she is hopeful there will be a mix of remote and in-person learning during the 2021 spring semester.  Claudia will graduate from LMU in May with an undergraduate degree in Political Science with minors in International Relations and Spanish.  She is starting to look for work and may go to an immersive Spanish course in Vermont this summer – she was accepted last year but it was cancelled.


Drew came home in March 2020 when COVID hit but quickly learned it was more comfortable living in his group house in Tacoma – he missed his friends and girlfriend Emily – he went back in April.  He finished his Junior year at University of Puget Sound and then stayed in Tacoma for the summer taking classes.  In July he moved to a new group house with some Fraternity brothers and socializes with his house, Emily’s house and one other – pod of 15?  He lives within a ¼ mile of the Puget Sound campus and is also hopeful there will be a mix of remote and in-person learning during the 2021 spring semester.  Drew will graduate in May with an undergraduate degree in Economics with minors in Math and Business Administration.  He is trying to line up a job or internship in London this summer – he was accepted last year but it was cancelled.



Grant started 2020 working for Avanade – he joined them in September 2018 after graduation and summer travel.  He was assigned to large financial project with Microsoft as the customer – this started in 2019 and continued into 2020.  In the spring it was decided that the intellectual property of this project would be sold to another company; at this point he was not sure of his next Avanade assignment.  Through a series of fortunate events, Grant and several others from this project moved directly to Microsoft in June.  He transitioned between jobs smoothly all while working remotely – he even did his Microsoft onboarding remotely.

He lived through the year with his UW Fraternity Brothers in condos – as his roommates’ situations changed, they moved to another condo in the middle of the year but remained in Seattle.  Grant just moved in mid-January to a townhouse with girlfriend Lauren Shade – in  the Green Lake area in north central Seattle.  Lauren works as a Nurse in the oncology department at Seattle Children’s Hospital.  Karen and I had the good fortune to meet her parents Carol and Bill in Fall 2019 – we have a lot in common.


Zack started 2020 at home and ended the year in Portland Oregon.  He became unemployed in March due to COVID, collecting unemployment benefits.  As he worked in the service industry it did not look good regarding reopening, at least as a full-time job (he was right).  Zack connected with a friend from Los Angeles and they moved to Portland in July.  He continued collecting unemployment in Oregon and had been searching for a job for the last few months.  He came home for Thanksgiving but stayed in Portland for Christmas with his friends.  He enjoys living in Portland and started a new job in January.


How we Spent our December Holiday

This year the tree went up right after Thanksgiving and went down after New Year.  Karen collects ornaments including adding to our collection on most vacations.  I always enjoy reliving the memories of years past through her collection.

We were fortunate that Grant, Drew, and Claudia came home a few days before and stayed 1 (Grant) or 2 (Claudia & Drew) weeks with us.  In comparison to Christmas past it was quiet (no gathering with either side of our families) but very memorable.


As mentioned at the beginning of this holiday letter our best news of 2020 was the arrival of Hopie Gehlen-Wingate.  We have been holding Zoom Family Gatherings – we celebrated August Birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays this year.  When we are in person we enjoy playing games – always a laugh to see how competitive we can be even though the prize is just bragging rights.  This year several of our youngest generations (Chris and Carson Claas and Rose and Bea Houssain) helped us play Kahoot games.


Retired, got involved in a neighborhood group, helped the kids move (Zack to Portland; Claudia back to LA), and remodeled 2 units at our apartment building in Oakland (finishing in February).  This is the short version – if you would like to read the longer version please see blog post “Marc’s First Retirement Year” – it will be posted in the “near” future.

OK: that is enough for now – until next year’s Holiday Letter ….. wishing you and yours great Health & much Happiness.

Evans Family 2019 Blitz

Claudia continued at LMU and spent her Fall Semester in Florence Italy and traveled in Europe; Drew continued at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma; Grant continued as a Software Engineer for Avanade in Seattle; Zack continued working and living at home in Orinda; Marc continued working at TCO in Kazakhstan; and Karen planned and travelled the year away.

Marc, Zack and Grant visited Whistler in January

Karen & Marc visited Mexico in March with

Patty & Mark Thompson and Michelle & Andy Winter

Karen, Marc & Dick Weisbaum (aka Papa) visited England and Scotland in July

While in England we visited with friends Mark & Pippa Wardman

August in the Bay Area

Zack and Papa visited India in November & December

Karen and Claudia visited Paris in November


Thanksgiving at Home

 Marc and Sisters Joanne and Robin went to Warriors Game in December

Karen, Zack, Grant, Drew, Claudia and Papa visited Portugal over Christmas Holidays

 Karen and Claudia visited London in late December

2018 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Feeling Thankful – AGAIN

Greetings – hope you are well in all aspects of your life.  Our family collected great memories (again) this year – let us share a few.






Grant’s UW Graduation

We converged in Seattle in June to celebrate Grant’s graduation from University of Washington Information School with a bachelor’s degree in Informatics, Data Science.  We could say he had to work really hard to graduate (he did) but he also created great memories through his membership in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and I have memories of the annual Dad’s weekend with Huskies football; Karen has memories of the yearly Mother / Son dance).  Grant accepted a job offer with Avanade, a large IT company with Headquarters in Seattle.  He and 2 ADP brothers are renting a condo in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.





































Drew and Claudia Excellent School Experiences

Both are in their sophomore years.  Claudia continues at Loyola Marymount University in LA, studying International Relations, on the cheer team and joined Pi Beta Phi sorority.  Her motto: work hard / play hard / chill hard.  Drew is at University of Puget Sound in Tacoma studying Economics and joined the Sigma Chi fraternity.  He volunteered as the philanthropy chair and organized a charity event for the Huntsmen Cancer Institute – he, and a few brothers cut their hair off for the cause.  Claudia visited Drew at his school in October – the twin bond endures.


















At home, working, enjoying friends, music and tie dye.  He is saving $$ for travel.
















As mentioned last year Karen was considering a Spinal Cord Simulator Implant.  Early in the year she received a temporary version and felt immediate improvement.  About 2 months later, she had the permanent version implanted, and although it helps, Karen continues to work with her doctors to maximize results.  Although medically retired she gets out to see friends frequently, exercises at the gym most days, and enjoys going to the theatre in SF.










I continue working for Chevron in Kazakhstan – great people, engaging work and enjoy the benefits of rotation life.  I have been fortunate to learn about the Kazakh culture – family oriented (many times grandparents, parents and children live together), welcoming, diverse, interesting history and celebrations.  I consider myself lucky that my career brought me here.

Members of the Tengiz Big Hat Club








My new back-to-back Sharon Molnar








We bought an apartment building in Oakland.  I had been thinking about doing this for a few years – enjoy the process of caring and improving buildings.  Fall of 2017 I spent some time researching, and then we became active buyers early in the year.  Mid-year we found a sweet four unit building that has character, excellent location (near Rockridge BART), big garden, roof top deck with a view, and a “Superintendent” office.  Zack helps manage the building while I am away – so far so good.  This is not a fix and flip investment; see us owning this for 20+ years (Marc’s retirement hobby).







Up on the Roof (bee hives behind us)









Vacation in Italy

Karen and I visited Amsterdam, Venice, Florence, Pisa (day trip), Cinque Terra and Rome in September, staying in each location for three nights.  Karen was our travel agent – selected memorable places to stay in each city.  The last time we visited Europe was when we were dating (in an attempt to impress her, I took her to Paris during her last year of residency in Houston).  We comfortably worked around Karen’s limitations, had a few early nights, but did lots of sight seeing, museum visits, walking and memorable meals.  We foresee more travel in our future as this is Karen’s retirement hobby (I accompany her to carry the bags and make the dinner reservations).



















Manarola (Cinque Terra)













Sedona and Hawaii with Papa

Karen and I visited her Dad Dick Weisbaum in Sedona in February – nice hanging out with him for a few days.  In October, we stayed with Papa at his timeshare in Maui.  This was a relaxing low stress holiday – mostly chilling by the pool or taking walks along the beach.  We did visit Mama’s Fish House – food, drink and view are all top notch.

View from Papa’s Sedona Home







Mama’s Fish House







Maui pool cat







Our Extended Family

2018 was another enjoyable year connecting with family.  Most of our family was in Seattle to celebrate Grant’s graduation – Karen’s brother Bruce, Courtney and Cooper attended as well as our nieces Lauren (w Jaimie, Rose and Beatrice) and Alison (w Graeme).  This Christmas we were fortunate to celebrate with Papa, my sisters and mates, Joanne and Steve, Robin and Rodney, and our Nephew Kevin (w Tina, Chris and Carson).

Marc’s Sisters Robin and Joanne








Weisbaum-Evans Clan






Nieces Lauren and Alison







Family Christmas Gathering







Happy New Year

To you, your family, friends, pets, co-workers and anyone else who may read this.

Hoping our paths will cross again soon.

Marc, Karen, Zack, Grant, Drew and Claudia Evans



2017 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Feeling Thankful

It is the morning of December 29th, all four children, Karen and the cats are asleep.  The house is quiet and the neighborhood too (no leaf blowers at this time of day).  The sun is up and I have a nice, if somewhat obstructed, view of San Pablo Reservoir.  What a great moment to reflect on all that we are thankful for in 2017.

I returned from Kazakhstan yesterday – smooth travel which is not always the case, especially during winter.  We had a white Christmas in Tengiz, just a few inches of snow that made it look at it’s best.  We had a low key Designs Engineering celebration after lunch on Christmas Eve, and I had dinner with good friends at the Dome 3 Canteen on Christmas Night – reinforced for me what wonderful people I work with.

As usual, my first day home I wake up early, and go through the mail.  Made myself breakfast, a pot of coffee, and then found the stack of mail Karen leaves for me (primarily bills).  But this time of year there are the Christmas cards and Holiday letters!!  In the age of the internet and facebook, there are fewer snail mail cards, but still quite a few.  Reading each card allows me to reflect on how special this is that someone wants to stay connected with me and my family.  Every card has an interesting aspect: the art of the card, the family photos, and the snippets of news about the life of our friends and family.  Each and every card makes me thankful that our life is filled with people that we care about, and care about us.

So in a very thankful mood, and with a second cup of coffee by my side, let me share the 2017 news of the Evans Family.  In a break from tradition I will start with our youngest first.


Graduated from Miramonte High School in June, and started at Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles in August.  She just finished her first semester and had a wonderful experience, making good friends, joining activities (including the LMU Cheer Team), and doing well in all her classes.


What we are most proud of is how she handled the first semester – stressful at times, overwhelming at times, but also fun and interesting.

Close-up at the LMU chapel.








Stroll through Santa Monica.









Graduated from Orinda Academy High School in June, and started University of Puget Sound University (UPS) in Tacoma, WA in August.  Drew had an equally great first semester, enjoying his Economics class and exploring Tacoma and Seattle area.


UPS had a week-long orientation at the beginning of the semester – to integrate the new students.  Drew shared that it took him out of his comfort zone but also paved the way for making good friends that he studies with, works out with and hangs out with.










Just finished the Fall Quarter of his senior year at University of Washington (UW).  He moved out of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity house this year with other seniors – 11 guys in 3 story house a couple blocks from the frat.  Grant worked the first half of the summer and then took a 4-week trip to Europe with his girlfriend Vanessa and others.  It was an amazing trip – look him up on facebook and you can see a video that Vanessa put together.



Grant is on track to graduate in June with a bachelor’s degree in Data Science from the UW Informatics (the study and practice of creating, storing, finding, manipulating and sharing information) School.

Photo is from out Thanksgiving in Seattle – Grant is with Jacob and Tig Michaels.









Lived at home this last year working a couple jobs.  He planned his year around music festivals and connecting with friends.  He is going to local Diablo Valley College in January –needs a few more credits to transfer to a University.  Zack plans to explore classes in a couple majors before deciding where to transfer to.





Another picture from our Thanksgiving in Seattle.







Working out at the gym most days each week, and managing her chronic pain as best she can.  She has recently been working with her pain and spine doctors and trying different treatments.  Karen is considering a Spinal Cord Simulator Implant – should know soon if she is a good candidate for this device.




I continue to work in Kazakhstan for Chevron, co-managing an on-site engineering group.  Have been working rotation 6-1/2 years, and expect to work a couple more.  I have been preparing myself a bit for retirement – joined a “home” winemaking club this year – we crushed 6000 pounds of grapes in September (Chardonnay, Primitivo (similar to Zinfandel), and Petite Syrah).  After the wine has aged sufficiently it will result in ~ 300 cases of wine.

Did I already share that I am thankful?  2017 was a good year for us – we are all moving forward.  We ended 2017 at home with all 4 children – recognize how special that is when that this phase of our life is soon to end.

Our Extended Family

All good with our family – Karen’s father Dick visited us for the Christmas Holidays.  Karen and I made separate trips to Portland this year and connected with her brother Bruce, Courtney and Cooper.  My side of the family gets together frequently – we all attended our niece Alison Gehlen’s marriage to Graeme Lee-Wingate in May – great celebration / great memories.







Happy New Year

2018 New Year Quote: Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience. (Eleanor Hibbert).

I close by wishing ALL a Healthy and Happy New Year.


2015 Holiday Letter

Holiday Greetings to you and yours,

The tree is up and decorated, the shopping is done (of course by Karen and Claudia), the annual picture card has already been sent out, and Claudia  added more Holiday sweaters to her collection this year.  Our last bit of Holiday preparation is this letter – which I am finalizing the day after Christmas!

This year was memorable, ranging from fun to difficult, from sad to satisfying, and from challenging to astonishing (that would be the Golden State Warriors winning their first NBA championship in 40 years).

Karen is managing her back pain as well as she can.  It has been a year of follow-up, medication adjustment, and more minor surgery (on one hand due to carpal tunnel pain).  Karen pushes herself to manage our household, mostly as a single parent for half the year.

Zack moved home in the Fall from Santa Barbara – it is nice to have him home as he helps cook and other chores / errands around the house.  He has a job lined up to start in the New Year and will attend the local community college as he continues pursuit of a Film Studies career.

Grant is in his second year at University of Washington; he is studying Computer Science with focus on Informatics.  He is now in a shared room with one other frat brother at Alpha Delta Phi – survived living on the porch with the other pledges last year.  He worked again this summer as a camp counselor near home, and then just before he went back to UW in the fall he had sholder surgery (his arm kept popping out of the shoulder joint) – the recovery is progressing but it limits his activities for another 6 months until fully healed.

Andrew was also a camp counselor again this summer but at Cal Berkeley Strawberry Canyon Camp (following in Zack’s footsteps).  In the fall he decided to move to Orinda Academy – it is a smaller school but also in Orinda.  He has been attending about 2 months and we all agree it is a better fit for him.

Claudia finished her dance career attending her final competion in the summer – she still keeps up with her dance friends (and Karen with the Dance Moms).   In the fall Claudia joined the Miramonte HS Cheer team – she has enjoyed making new friends.  In addition to school she volunteers at a pet shelter and recently joined the Los Amigos program where she will visit a Centeral American country next summer (not sure where yet) to volunteer for ~ 6 weeks.

Marc’s sisters Robin and Joanne (plus husband Steve) all retired this year.  Robin’s retirement occurred in the Spring – she enjoys the ability to see her children / grandchildren more frequently.  Joanne & Steve closed their small business late this year, and by early next year they will no longer make the daily commute to their shop.

Our nephew, Cooper Weisbaum, graduated from HS (Karen attended) and is now attending Southern Oregon University.   Cooper’s parents Bruce and Courtney continue to do well in Portland.  Karen’s Dad Dick and wife Cynthia are still in Sedona and fit in lots of travel, including a visit to the Bay Area for Thanksgiving.

As for Marc, still in Kazakhstan.  We had a large maintenance turnaround this year and another equally large planned for summer of 2016 – continues to be challenging and rewarding work.  We also completed a kitchen / master bath remodel in the first half of this year – was able to be the General Contractor with help from many (primarily Karen) to keep everything moving while I was on rotation.  We took a long time planning the remodel but once we started the execution went per plan – we are very happy with the results.

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2016.

2014 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Hello out there,

I am half way around the world as I write this annual missive – is anyone out there?  If you are reading this maybe you received our annual Holiday Card?  When we ordered the card online we thought it came with a red background (at least I did) but Karen informed me that it is orange.  So in honor of the card background – Go SF Giants, 3rd World Series win in the last 5 years (we are very casual fans but always enjoy when a Bay Area team wins)!

Another year of milestones and changes, happiness and sadness, but also another year to count our blessings.  We hope you too have many blessings to count.  This year we will start with our sad news.

Marc’s mother Gloria passed away in June, just after her 87th birthday.  She had been in failing health the last year, and had a hard fall in April that she was unable to recover from.  We shed a lot of tears as we helped guide her to the end – she passed away at home with both her daughters holding her hands.  As everyone who has cared for an aging parent knows, it is difficult and sad to see their decline but a gift to come together as a family.  We did our best for her, just as she did her best for us during her life.  She is missed every day.

Next news is about Karen – she retired from Kaiser!  How did that happen, before Marc retired?  Unfortunately, due to a painful back.  Karen had her 4th surgery in spring of 2013 and it did not resolve her issues, so she applied and received medical retirement. We had hoped once she was retired it would be easier to manage the chronic pain – that has not been the case.  We are fortunate that we have good medical insurance but as anyone with severe chronic pain will tell you we wish we did not have to use it.  Karen is managing it the best she can but expects more surgery sometime in the future.

Zack is enjoying living in Santa Barbara – this is his second year at Santa Barbara City College.  He is zeroing in on Film Studies, enjoys his writing classes.  He is about to move to another apartment in December with a couple of buddies; in Isla Vista where most of the UC Santa Barbara students live.  He finds school challenging and the social experience excellent.  He tells us all the time he loves living in Santa Barbara – who wouldn’t?

Grant had a busy year, finishing up his college applications in late 2013 and a round of college visits in spring of this year.  Grant and Marc visited University of Colorado and University of Washington where we fit in a weekend skiing at Keystone outside Denver and visited our friends the Kachmers.  Both Universities were impressive but he chose UW because of the higher ranked Computer Science program.  We had a nice HS graduation for Grant – most of our family attended including Karen’s father.

Grant spent the summer working as a camp counselor at Galileo in nearby Lafayette – he gave it his all and came home tired every day (but never too tired to hang out with friends that night).  He moved up to UW in September and pledged Alpha Delta Phi fraternity – he lives on the top floor “porch” of the dorm with 26 other freshman.  He too finds school challenging and the social experience excellent – the fraternity does have its parties but they also have scheduled study sessions each week.  As he finishes his first quarter it appears he made a good choice.

Andrew is a sophomore this year, enjoys his computer science and Algebra / Trig classes the most.  He was a Junior Counselor at Cal Berkeley Strawberry Canyon Camp in the summer – we observed him grow in leadership and responsibility, at least that is what the camp administrators told us.  He is planning on going back next summer and looking forward to the pay increase.

Claudia continues with her dance, has been going to the same studio in Concord (about 30 minutes away in normal traffic) for 4 years now.  She has classes 4 nights per week and once or twice on weekends.  The competition season will occur in the spring with the national event in the July – this year it was held in San Diego; next year it will be in Vegas.  Claudia has several close Dance Friends, and Karen is close with their parents – known as the Dance Moms.  It is nothing like the reality shows – just a lot of young teenagers who enjoy a variety of dance styles.  Claudia has developed a lot of discipline between dance and school – it’s a pleasure to watch her grow.

Our extended families are all well – Karen’s Dad Dick Weisbaum and wife Cynthia continue to travel and enjoy living in Sedona – they visited a couple times this year.  Her brother Bruce, with Courtney and Copper, are all well in Portland – Copper graduates HS next June.

Marc’s sister Robin is contemplating retirement from Kaiser, and visits her children / grandchildren as much as possible.  Her daughter Lauren (Jamie, Rose and Beatrice) is busy with her family in Vancouver, BC and continues to visit the Bay Area a couple times each year, always a treat.  Her daughter Alison has connected with a special guy – Graeme – both live in SF.

Marc’s sister Joanne and brother-in-law Steve still have the doors of their business Claas Concepts open but are contemplating their future retirement.  They are always working on something, including managing the remodel of Marc’s mother’s home before it goes up for sale.  Their son Kevin (Tina, Christopher and Carson) live nearby – Joanne & Steve enjoy visiting their grandsons frequently.

As for Marc, I continue to work in Kazakhstan – will be 3-1/2 years at the end of 2014. My plan is to continue at least through 2016 as we have large turnarounds planned for 2015 and 2016 that I would like to see through to completion.  I enjoyed the opportunity to visit Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in July for a recruiting trip – you can find some pictures on my Flickr account.

We hope this finds you and your family well.  We wish you the very best in 2015 and beyond.

2013 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Evans Kids Maui August 2013Holiday greetings to  you and your family.  Reflecting on what has transpired in the last year – we are grateful everyone in our family is healthy (at this moment) and happy (for the most part).   With children, many of our life milestones are anchored by the school year – June seems so long ago.  Will try to cover the entire year (briefly) since it is already January 2014.

Bea and Zack 2Zack – finished his freshman year at University of Arizona in May deciding this school was not the right fit for him.  He spent his summer as a camp counselor at UC Berkeley Strawberry Canyon –  his fifth year.  Zack  enjoys the “dress up” days related to camp themes – shows his creativity in costuming and allows him  to clown around and get paid.   He is now studying at Santa Barbara City College and enjoys the school and the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.  He found a great living situation near campus – walks to school.  He has gone camping a few times on weekends and also caught a concert or two in LA.

Note from Karen: the little girl with Zack is his second cousin Beatrice – not his daughter!

Grant We Want You!Grant – now in his senior year at Miramonte HS with a challenging work load.  Grant was also a summer camp counselor but at a Galileo camp in Lafayette – he really liked it and came home tired each day.  He is our second driver when I am away at work – one of the reasons he likes me being home is he gets more time to hang out with his friends.  He played  Lacrosse again his junior year in the spring but has not decided if he will his senior year (he does not intend to play in college).   Grant has all his college applications submitted – applied to west coast schools and U of Colorado.  We had planned to visit Southern California schools during Thanksgiving break but Grant was very sick – first had his appendix out and then came down with mononucleosis. We will visit schools in the next couple months depending on where he is accepted.

Claudia and Andrew at OIS GraduationAndrew – finished 8th grade with strong grades, and was rewarded with a faster computer to support his video gaming hobby (obsession?).  He also was a junior counselor at summer camp – at the same UC Berkeley camp Zack works at.  He enjoyed it – we hope he is hired there again this year.  He has struggled so far in his freshman year – his study habits are not the greatest and he enjoys goofing off in class with his friends.  We are hopeful his extra efforts he has recently been making will pay off in the second semester.



Claudia as a BirdClaudia – continues with dance, school and friends.  She has been at the same dance studio the last two years.  She really likes it and has made many friends there.  She takes about 15 classes a week – sometimes 6 or 7 days a week.  She also applies herself at school – doing well her freshman year.  She has several dance competitions in the spring and summer – last year she and Karen went down to Southern California for about a week; more coming up this year.

Marc and Karen in MauiKaren – continues as single parent for half the year without complaint.  She keeps it together but is glad to share the load when I get home.  She did have spine surgery in the spring on her neck, and was off work for 4 months.  She still has some discomfort in her lower back where she had previous surgery but continues to work 4 days / week at the Kaiser Pediatric Clinic in Walnut Creek. She has joined a book club, and enjoys a glass of wine (or two) when we get together with friends.


Our families are all well – Marc’s mother Gloria is still going at 86.  She has health problems but continues to bounce back.  Karen’s father Dick visited us over the Holidays – he has lower back surgery scheduled in January.  If all goes well he will be skiing again, at age 78!  All of our siblings and their families are well – you should be able to find a link to some photos somewhere on this blog where you can see their smiling faces.

Finally, Marc – Just finished my 17th rotation in Kazakhstan.  I am certainly used to it, know the people, know the job, know the routine.  At times it still feels unnatural working 28 days straight, living and breathing work every day with my family a half world away.  But we have phones and internet – we used facetime to connect with everyone on Christmas day.  I continue to be healthier than my days at the Richmond Refinery (diet at work, exercise when home) and I absolutely enjoy the quality time I spend with our family when I am home.

In close, hope this message finds you well.  We wish you a warm and healthy 2014!

2012 Evans Family Holiday Letter

Happy Holidays to you.  It is 3 am on 21 December 2012 as I begin writing this – winter solstice and the end of the Mayan calendar?  I’m up early because I am still adjusting my internal clock, having returned home from Kazakhstan late on 19 December.  The house is completely quiet (even the cats are sleeping) so it is a good time to reflect and write a few thoughts and messages to our friends and family.

The christmas tree has lights on it – Grant and I put them on yesterday evening.  This morning I cleaned up the living room and put the tree skirt on.  So my part of getting the tree ready is done – Karen leads the “putting on the ornaments” effort.  It’s funny how some of the holiday traditions are actually the split of responsibilities – who cooks (Karen), who cleans (Marc), who buys AND wraps presents (Karen), who shops for food (Karen), who shops for beverages (Marc) – you get the picture – it’s mostly done by Karen.  But I do handle the christmas cards, and this christmas letter – need to hurry up and finish as Karen continually checks on me until it is done.  The cards are ready to be sent (Karen put the addresses on) – they go in the mail today!

I’m maybe a bit more reflective this season as I was in Kazakhstan last Christmas, and have just arrived home.  I’m certainly not jaded by all the seasonal activities – can’t wait to hear some more christmas music.  One fun thing I did when I got home was to go through the stack of Christmas cards that we have received over the last couple weeks – getting / sending holiday cards is a tradition I think is awesome.  With our digital age not sure it will last but I truly enjoy the various cards, and pictures and notes.  Some highlights included getting a picture of a friend who was in my wedding 20+ years ago – Karen says he looks the same (heck of a compliment).  Another from a friend who pointed out that his toddler son was the one in the picture between the two dogs (I had made a mistake when sending him a congratulatory note last year by referring to the new son with one of the dog’s names).  Cards from Karen’s relatives and our friends from all over the country.  Pictures of children we have know from pregnancy.  Anyway, it’s just a great tradition that makes me feel connected with people and realize that we live a fortunate life.

Well, enough with the intro – here is our family news from 2012.

Zack is in college at University of Arizona – he was definitely challenged / struggled his first semester of his freshman year.  We are hopeful he will figure out what it takes to succeed and “bear down” in his second semester.  He worked at UC Berkeley Strawberry Canyon  camp for the fourth summer in a row and took a road trip to Southern California with friends in June after graduating from High School.  He is home for the Holidays – looking forward to spending some time with him.  We see glimmers of responsibility beginning to emerge.

Grant picked up his driver’s license just before school started in August so we again have two driver’s in the family to help while I am out of country.  He spends his time hanging with his friends, studying and lacrosse.  He has challenging classes in his junior year at Miramonte HS and is beginning to look into universities he would like to attend.  He is considering signing up as a camp counselor for next summer – that would be good.

Andrew is doing well in the 8th grade at Orinda Intermediate – he is much more on top of his homework / studying then in years past.  It helps that Claudia has the same classes (though they only share one) so he has a built-in check on what is coming up.  He continues to spend all allowed time on various video games – his dream job is a Video Game Tester (probably a long line for this position).  He wants to go to the Video Gaming camp again next summer – what a surprise.

Claudia continues to push herself, excelling in school and taking dance classes 4 nights per week.  Last count was 15 classes – hip/hop, jazz, contemporary and ballet.  She is in a couple “company” classes where they practice for performances.  She competed in Lake Tahoe this last summer, and has several competitions planned for 2013.

Karen continues at Kaiser – same group practice in Walnut Creek.  This last year she was involved in a pilot program where she provides phone advice 4 – 8 hours per week.  It gives her a bit more flexibility as she does some of it from home and gives her a small break from the relentless patient load in the clinic.  In 2012 another physical ailment has emerged – neck and shoulder pain. She was recently diagnosed with a disk problem in her neck, and just scheduled surgery for mid-February that has hopefully a six week recovery time.  She readily handles all the tasks associated with single parenting for half the year.  Can’t say it is any easier with only three at home (there is less laundry) as she  coordinates / worries about Zack away at school.

For me I just finished up my 10th rotation in Kazakstan (and proudly have collected 20 KLM houses you receive on overseas business class flights) – that’s 1-1/2 years.  I co-lead a relatively young group of engineers – enjoy the leadership responsibility and challenge along with the appreciation of working with a group of great people.  This assignment is a very good fit for me professionally and personally.  Getting used to rotation work went a lot quicker / smoother than learning how to handle the rotation home.  Entry and exit each rotation from the family has gotten easier over time but it is not natural for me.  I do appreciate the time I get to spend with our kids, picking them up, dropping them off, seeing them at every activity or just hanging out on the couch together.  I have had many laughs driving Claudia around; one of my favorite quotes was from Grant who asked if I would take him somewhere so we could spend some “quality time” together.  My plan is to work in Kazakhstan through 2013 as a minimum – not sure what I will do in 2014 except that it will continue to be with Chevron.  Retirement is on the horizon but not thinking about it too much – lots of college tuition coming our way.

Extended Family News

We had one addition in 2012 – the arrival of Beatrice Gehlen Houssian in July.  My niece Lauren and husband Jamie had their second child to go along with older sister Rose.  We saw them at Thanksgiving but they will be spending the Holidays in Vancouver with his family this year.  Our younger niece Alison is doing well working for the Gap in San Francisco – we enjoy seeing her throughout the year.  Our nephew Kevin and wife Tina have two growing boys, Christopher and Carson, both soccer players (and both coached by Kevin).  They also live in the Bay Area and we are fortunate to see them growing up.

This year we are having both sides of our family to our home for Christmas dinner.  Karen’s father Dick and wife Cynthia, brother Bruce with wife Courtney and son Cooper will all be spending several days here in the Bay Area.  My mother Gloria will be over plus my sisters Robin, Joanne and husband Steve.  We are looking forward to creating another round of family memories.

We hope this missive reaches you in fine spirits and good health.  We wish you and yours happiness and prosperity in 2013.

Karen, Marc, Zack, Grant, Andrew, and Claudia Evans