Catching up

Though the blog has been silent for the past two weeks, it’s not due to a lack of things to write about. Rather, I’ve been keeping so busy that I haven’t found time! Unlike past Decembers when I, like all my teaching colleagues, was busy with Christmas concerts and other school related activities, my time has been full of reading, traveling and visiting as well as all the usual Christmas preparations.

Richard and I joined the local library this fall and I’ve been catching up on books that people have recommended over the past couple of years. The Sedgewick library is relatively small but through interlibrary loans we have access to books from throughout the province. I recently read Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School at a Time. It’s the story of American mountain climber, Greg Mortenson, who first traveled to Pakistan to challenge it’s hightest peak but went on to became cofounder of the Central Asia Institute and commit his life to building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The book was written by Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Today I finished reading Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created It’s Own Lost Generation by Michael Zielenziger . Recommended by our daughter-in-law after her two year stint teaching English in Japan, it offered many interesting insights into things that we observed while we lived there. In between these heavier tomes I’m also enjoying some lighter fare, novels read for entertainment value only.

A week ago Monday, as others headed off for school, we tossed our suitcase in the vehicle and left for Hinton where we enjoyed a mini family reunion of sorts. Our 25-year-old nephew, Martin, a conservation officer working out of Dawson City, Yukon was graduating from the Western Canada Law Enforcement Academy. His parents, Richard’s sister Jan and her husband Grant, who live in Whitehorse, flew down for the occasion. Since they seldom see the rest of the family, they invited all of Jan’s siblings to celebrate with them. The lobby of the hotel where we all stayed had a toasty fireplace surrounded by couches and armchairs where we all gathered and spent lots of time catching up on one another’s news. We also enjoyed some fantastic meals together and, of course, watched proudly as Martin marched with his classmates and received his badge. It was especially nice to reconnect with him and his younger sister, Stacey, who we last saw nine years ago! For security reasons, I can’t post a photo of Martin in his uniform but I assure you that he looked very dashing!

Richard (2nd from L) and his siblings

On Wednesday, the family dispersed and we headed an hour west to Jasper where we enjoyed a great visit with my aunt. When we got there, she had just arrived home from her Wednesday morning walk with a group of friends. In the summer, they enjoy the trails around Jasper and in the winter, they walk in the arena. Not bad for a lady who recently turned 86 and who had a hip replacement after falling on an icy street two years ago! I hope I’m as agile when I reach her age. Auntie Norma and I have always been close. In fact, she likes to tell people that I’m the daughter she never had! While we were there, we spent lots of time watching curling on TV. While she rooted for the Glenn Howard rink (her youngest son is also named Glenn Howard!), Richard and I cheered on Kevin Martin and his teammates. Kevin grew up in Lougheed, the community where I taught school for many years and we know many of his relatives who still live in the area. We were victorious, of course, and will enjoy watching Kevin in the upcoming Olympics.

Now we’re home again and Christmas is just around the corner but that’s a topic for another day!

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