I started this year by vacationing in
Hawaii for two weeks in January. It was a
time to get away by myself, recharge the old batteries, and soak up the warmth
of the temperate Hawaiian climate and wonderful people. I spent the first week
on Kauai at a vacation condo owned by a
Bed & Breakfast operation, which is also
a tropical flower farm. I had a cottage to myself in a residential area, and
rented a car for the week to get around to some of the sights. Kauai can be
rainy, but I lucked out, since it only rained at night while I was there. I took
a helicopter ride to see Kauai from the air, which gave me some terrific photo
Kirk and I continue to spoil Sylvester (the Manx cat), and Tucker (the Jack Russell Terrier). Tucker still behaves like a puppy, and gets three or four walks each day. Sylvester (often referred to as "Number One") is getting smarter with age, and continues to keep Tucker on his toes. Kirk's health is not the greatest, but he copes with his maladies day to day. I have few health problems now that I have my Spring allergies under control with medication, however I have noticed a bit of arthritis developing in my hands. This doesn't stop me from doing household and garden chores, but the pain reminds me that I am getting older. I attended my 25 year Long Service Award ceremony at Government House this year. There were many of my fellow workers there, and a good time was had by all. We may be getting older, but we still know how to party!
Joe's high-tech toys for this year included upgrading my web server (see Web Server tech details), which also involved upgraded my main workstation computer I use at home to faster/better. I also enhanced my JoeTourist Weather Station by adding a weather Web Cam, which now shows real-time views of the southwest sky on this website.
I am still happy with my choice of the Casio Pocket PC PDA (see my Christmas 2000 newsletter for details), and have added some nifty software to the PDA which allows me to view and edit photos I take with my Nikon digital camera (see details on my Photography web page). I also purchased more memory cards for the PDA, and use it to play MP3 music I download from the Internet for free (legitimately from www.mp3.com, if you are wondering). So these high-tech toys complement each other nicely.
My latest acquisition is a digital telescope - a Meade ETX-60AT Astro Telescope (very similar to the ETX-70AT on the Meade website). When I was a child, I always told people I was going to be an Astronomer when I grew up. That never happened as it turned out, but astronomy was always a passion of mine. Now I have a telescope that is easy to use, is low cost, and is something I can have some fun with on clear nights. I have joined the Royal Astronomical Society, which has a thriving Victoria Chapter, so I plan to get reacquainted with this hobby of mine, and see where it takes me over the next few years. It should be fun!
As I write this letter, Mum is in the hospital, after having hip replacement surgery done (Dec 8th). She is doing pretty well, and the orthopaedic surgeon expects her to fully recover. Currently, she is in the Rehabilitation Wing of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. Thanks go to my relatives in Nanaimo, who are always ready to help Mum anytime they can. She treasures this contact, and it has helped her cope with the loss of my Dad (a year and a half ago), as well as her current health challenges. Up until this recent incident, she still drove her car, and attended heart aerobic class three times a week. I hope she will fully recover in a few weeks, and resume at least some of her activities.