On October 16th Mum fell in her suite at Hecate Lodge. No broken bones, but
she ended up spending the night on the floor before being found in the morning.
It appears she was suffering from pneumonia before the fall, but was easily
cured of this within a few days. It is now December 15th as I write this and Mum
is still in the hospital, albeit in a Transitional Care facility called Dufferin
Place. She has not bounced back sufficiently to return to Hecate Lodge. The
staff at Dufferin Place have evaluated her as needing nursing care, so we will
have to find a new place for Mum to live. At the moment I'm favoring moving Mum
to Victoria, since there is about a one year waiting list for Residential Care
in Nanaimo. There are many more facilities in Victoria to choose from, and they
appear to have much shorter waiting lists.
suppose I should get the other bit of bad news over with. We had to have
Sylvester, our white Manx cat euthanized on May the 8th. As I mentioned last
year, he had a terrible time living with Cryptococcus, a fungal disease that
cats and dogs on southern Vancouver Island seem to be highly susceptible to
through environmental exposure to tree fungus growing in our area. He was
suffering toward the end, so we were forced to make the decision all pet owners
On the other hand, Sheba, our black longhair four year old cat is fat and happy.
Tucker, our eight year old Jack Russell Terrier is still acting like a
puppy…although we notice he is taking more naps between those squirrel-chasing
walks we go on regularly! Pets'
I have not traveled during 2005, however next March I will be embarking on a
real adventure. On March 29, 2006 there will be a total Solar Eclipse. The track
for this eclipse starts on the coast of Brazil, goes across the Atlantic Ocean
and over northern Africa and central Asia, where it will end at sunset in
I decided to join an
Eclipse Expedition to Libya being hosted by The Toronto Centre of the Royal
Astronomical Society. We will be observing the eclipse from deep in the Sahara
Desert. As it turns out, the chosen location is optimum: offering over a 90%
chance of a cloud-free day, and it is also very near to the maximum duration for
totality - 4 minutes and 3 seconds.
We will spend a week in Libya, so there will be time to see Sabrata and Leptis
Magna, the largest intact Roman ruins to be found anywhere, as well as other
sights. The itinerary also includes a week in Italy, where we will see both
astronomical and the regular sights in Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan. I have
also added an extra week to this trip by arranging to stop off in Athens, Greece
so I can just kick back and relax…and see a few of the sights in Athens as time
permits. Believe it or not, this will be my first trip to Europe, so I'm really
looking forward to that portion of the itinerary.
continue to enjoy taking astrophotos, and I'm developing better technique as I
go along. This year I acquired a very nice Canon 400mm telephoto lens, which I
can piggyback on my big telescope to take wide field astronomical images. If you
browse my website you will see the
results of my efforts for this year.
On the personal front, Kirk and I are both reasonably well…yet another year
older. Where does the time go? Tucker motivates us every day to get outside and
take him for walks, even when we don't feel like it. In addition to my
astrophotography, I also enjoy regular photography by getting out and about with
my camera. Sometimes I'm capturing the antics our pets get up to, and sometimes
I'm being creative by taking images of the wonderful nature that surrounds us in
this part of the world.
On November 1, 2007 I will officially retire from the BC government after 30
year's of service. I expect to actually depart from the office well before that
date…perhaps in early 2007 depending how things work out. I'm looking forward to
retirement, and although many retirees say they will travel and don't, I expect
to take at least two trips a year abroad after I retire…and I'm confident that
will happen, assuming my good health continues. I'm also looking forward to
gearing up my interest in astronomy after retirement. This is the golden age for
astronomy, and professional-amateur collaboration is now easily achievable, so
hopefully I can participate.
As is the case every year, Kirk has already setup a Christmas tree in the living
room, and has decorated the house inside. I've put up the outside lights and
helped a bit inside, but generally I'm more of a Christmas Grinch than a
Christmas helper. Nonetheless, we plan to bring Mum down to Victoria for a few
days over Christmas, so once again our little family with be together over the
We hope you and your family have a
wonderful Holiday Season!
Kirk & Joe
Tucker and Sheba
this graphic for a cute animated version!