The first few months of 2021

When last I wrote, I was hoping to write and send out a Christmas newsletter. Sorry! For the first time in quite a few years, it never came together.

Susan had one week off while Glen and the girls had two off. In this Covid year we spent Christmas at home and just opened presents for which we were happy on Christmas morning.

We did some hiking, Glen, Melissa, and Spot making it a couple of days before Christmas up to Burnaby Mountain. We went up for lots of skiing, snowshoeing, and tubing. We also played games at home. With social distancing being the term of the year (stay away from everybody except for those you immediately live with), we did have quite successful multipoint video conferencing meetings. In the week leading up to Christmas Jimmy hosted a movie watching night where Glen’s parents, Jim’s full family (spread out in a few places), and us watched a synchronized showing of Miracle on 34th Street. The annual traditional old Toastmasters Christmas Carolling get together did happen, over remote video conferencing. The format had one benefit in that it allowed more friends who had scattered across the continent to attend. Christmas Day itself we hosted a conference with Glen’s parents and Jim’s family that had games and trivia, and eating, that had us all connected for approximately 8 hours.

Susan’s dad, who had been struggling with a few health issues the last few months sadly passed away in mid January, with a funeral held at the start of February. Although his health had been deteriorating, his passing was very quick. A short day in the hospital, family by bedside, before he passed on.

Our dog Spot continues to both be a joy and a challenge. He has continued to go weekly to outdoor obedience training, working on keeping him from barking at people. It’s a real mystery as to why he is so loving and such a pushover with us and when out he thinks he is a real big dog that likes to push others around. Outdoor obedience training though has been cancelled as of mid January for COVID reasons, with the public health officer tightening restrictions on group gatherings. When last he was clipped in the summer, we had taken him to the vet to have anesthesia and while under clipped (very short). We discovered a wonderful groomer Gloria who likes to work with troublesome dogs. Spot continues to get nervous in new spots around people he doesn’t know, and to bark and lunge (and sometimes bite at) people. With training we keep him well restrained. Gloria had us over on a weekend to spend some time with her in her backyard, and Spot was at his best(worst?), barking and biting at my leg while in Gloria’s backyard. Gloria pushed through though and with Spot wearing a muzzle was able to make a bit of a connection. So Spot a few days later went for a cut and bath, and had his overlong hair chopped off and had his best cut yet. Our wonderful dog trainer, Marilyn, suggested since the muzzle had worked well to calm him with Gloria to continue using it more on walks. It was funny that for the first few days Spot really seemed to be rebelling against wearing the muzzle, but after a week or so he settled into it and is a bit more easily controlled when around strangers, so we more often have him with a muzzle when we’re out and probably running into quite a few strangers.

A nice wrinkle in this social distancing time is that we ran into some other quite dedicated skiers who are close enough to be in our bubble that we have been skiing together the last few months. How does that work? First the skiing side. Skiing this year at all mountains, including at Mt. Seymour where we go, is that only those in the same bubble (generally same household) should ride a chairlift together. Singles MAY ride with another single, so long as they sit on opposite ends of the quad. School this year is setup in Elementary so that students in one class are setup to interact with each other, until recently even without masks in class, so basically Melissa has about 25 kids in her bubble. Over the Christmas break while skiing we happened to run into a girl named Layla who is in grade 7 and had been in Kayla’s class a couple of times due to split classes, as well as her dad. Layla has also been in a split class with Melissa before, and is again this year. So since she gets along well with both Kayla and Melissa, and Melissa is in both Kayla and Layla’s bubble, and as non bubble acquaintances Kayla and Layla are allowed to ride on the same chair so long as they sit on opposite ends of the chair, and as Melissa is in both their bubbles’ she can sit anywhere with them, for the last couple of months we have been skiing together generally on Saturday afternoon’s with Layla, Melissa, and Kayla riding on the Mystery Peak quad chair while Layla’s dad and myself ride on opposite ends of the chair as singles. We’ve been doing more than just one day a week skiing, we have quite reliably been getting up on Sunday to the mountain as well usually to go snowshoeing or sometimes skiing, and very occasionally tubing. If we go snowshoeing we usually take Spot.

This past week our immediate neighboring house was torn down, as it was recently bought by some new people. To us it will always be the Thomson’s house, as they lived their for many years after we moved into our house (after having already lived at their house since the early 1950s). After the Thomsons had moved out our good neighbour Brent then lived in the house for almost 10 years before it was recently bought with plans to tear it down to build a new house. Currently the very large lot has been fully cleared and we’re waiting to see what is built.