Mum has now lived at
Aberdeen Hospital most of a year, and has settled in very well. She gets out
occasionally on field trips in the bus - they usually go for a drive and stop
for lunch at a restaurant before returning in mid-afternoon.
Mum appreciates us visiting with her several times each week. She has a bedside
telephone, however she doesn't always pick it up when it rings, so sometimes
when I'm visiting with her I try to make calls out to her relatives and friends
so they can have a chat. If you would like to be on this call
I accompany Mum on the Handidart bus when she has to
see specialists. The Handidart is a new experience for both of us, but only
costs a bus fare, and they give excellent door-to-door service for folks in
wheelchairs. The Aberdeen Hospital clerk makes all the arrangements…I just have
to show up and accompany her. Mum just celebrated her 94th birthday on Dec 6th!
Victoria had quite a dump of snow in late November. I always find it funny to
watch the antics drivers in Victoria get up to when there is snow on the
streets. As I write this in early December, the snow is gone, and we are all
happy to see the last of it!
Tucker, our Jack Russell Terrier is now nine years old - an old dawg - but he
still tears around the parks and trails like a much younger dog. He is a great
snuggler, and is particularly happy when either Kirk or I decide to take a nap
in bed. He is right there under the covers, and once he gets settled we often
hear a moan of contentment. Sheba has decided sleeping on the bed near Kirk's
feet is pretty nice, but sometimes she gets run over by Tucker as he leaps onto
the bed without checking things out first. The usual hissing and snarling ensues
until they sort things out.
Kirk's favorite holiday is Christmas, and true to form, the Christmas tree went
up about a week after Halloween! He has been adding inside decorations a little
at a time ever since, so it now looks very Christmassy in the living room. I put
up the outside lights the first week of December, so I think we are ready for
the holiday. It will be a welcome relief to not have to travel to and from
Nanaimo on Christmas Day this year. We will simply drive five minutes to visit
Mum - a real treat for me, since I dislike driving.
The trip to Libya to see the Total Solar Eclipse in the Sahara Desert in March
was a wonderful experience. It was a long flight to Tripoli and back home to
Victoria, but Alitalia is a well-run airline, and the service was very good. Our
visit to Libya was certainly the highlight of the trip. There is so much to see
in this rarely-visited country, and everyone in our group found the people very
friendly and helpful. After a week in Libya, our group traveled to Rome, where
we had a special tour of the Vatican Observatory, as well as seeing all the
usual sites in Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. Unfortunately, I don't have
much space to fully describe the trip in this letter, so please visit my
JoeTourist® website and click
on Libya and
Italy to read all about my experiences and to view lots of
photos, movies and maps.
The group left Milan for Toronto, however I had another week to travel to
Athens, Greece. This solo portion of the trip was very worthwhile, since I had
some time to just kick back and relax, however I also covered a great deal of
ground in Athens and on the mainland of Greece. I'm still working on the photos
and travelogue for Greece as I write this letter, so keep checking the
JoeTourist® website for this portion of the trip to appear within the next few
weeks! In the mean time, please check out my
where you will find pretty good coverage of the Greece portion of the trip.
This year, I was elected President of
Victoria Centre, Royal Astronomical
Society of Canada. I'm also a life member of RASC, and firmly believe that being
involved in these type of groups only enhances one's experience - whether it is
a hobby or professional. Victoria Centre has some talented amateur astronomers.
Some take astrophotographs (one of my interests), while others sketch, do
science, or build scopes. Sharing
knowledge as a group is fun, especially when
the public attend special events.
I purchased a new telescope this year to replace my trusty Meade LX-90 which
I've used extensively since becoming interested in amateur astronomy. My new
scope is also a Meade, an LX200R which gives me a more stable platform from
which to take astrophotos. I also upgraded my Canon Digital Rebel dSLR with a
new Canon 30D model, which offers some important enhancements for
astrophotography. I'm just getting used to this new gear, however if you check
out the astrophotographs
on my personal website, you will see I'm achieving a good measure of success
already - despite our poor weather this fall and winter.
I'm still planning to retire in mid-2007, but I've run out of space in this
letter, so that subject will have to wait until next year!
We hope you and your family are well and happy,
and may the New Year bring you
Kirk and Joe
Sheba and Tucker