A Travelogue

Thursday, November 16, 2006

2006 at a glance

All year my mind was greedily assimilating interesting tidbits and stashing them away in the golden archive for this Christmas letter. Unfortunately, I lost the key to the archive and they remain forever unattainable. However, one or two items stick out. First of all, I can’t believe another year has passed in the blink of an eye, along with what was left of Hans’ career. Yes, you read it right. Hans kicked up his heels at the end of August and finally retired. His Happy Days are here and the proof is in the photo. Hans is wearing the latest in retirement finery and hugging Favourite Dotter Alethea who came up to join the delightfully unscheduled party.

Being retired made it easy for Hans to spend lots of time with his father and brother Frank (pictured with Alethea) who came to visit us for 2 weeks in September. The balmy weather inspired us to spend an idyllic weekend in Banff warming our toes by the fire and listening to the river sing as it rolled over and around the rocks.

On the home front, life is slightly chaotic. You know all those projects that never get done? They’re now seeing the light of day. Between painting outside and painting inside Hans has been pretty busy, especially since his efforts to get me to wield a paintbrush have been futile. To continue my avoidance of all things requiring paint brushes, I took up treadmilling, lost a few pounds then promptly regained them after I inflamed my foot. I’m back to being a couch potato.
In June Hans and I attended our first Rotary International Convention, this year in Copenhagen. Despite the 18,000 people we managed to connect with our friends Bob and Judy from New Zealand and plans are underway to meet up again next June in Salt Lake City.

We also hooked up with Hans’ cousins in Norway. In this photo Hans and Kjell are taking a very quick dip in the chilly waters of the fjord. We made a stop in Hamburg before and after the Rotary Convention to visit Hans’ father who, along with Reiner, took us to their beautiful city zoo.

We have an exciting new addition to our garage. A little hybrid car, theToyota Prius. In addition to getting great mileage, it comes with a built in GPS system! No longer will I have to phone Alethea from various mystery locations to ask, “Where am I?”

On our return from Europe, my year as president of the Red Deer East Rotary Club began. The kick-off was festive and dressy and it seduced me into thinking this might be an easy year. Hah. It’s a lot more work than expected. But it’s full of fun and I love the people.

With Hans’ retirement and my imminent leisure time (I’m retiring next June) our focus has shifted from the daily minutiae of working for a living to the broader spectrum of all the goodness life has to offer. For example, this morning we realized that today is easily one of the best days of our lives and this realization is cause to celebrate. Beverages requiring the use of a corkscrew will be involved.
The plan is that starting today we’re going to celebrate what an unbelievable life we’ve have had so far: the accomplishments, the many blessings, and even the hardships because they served to make us stronger.

We will take a moment to marvel at the seemingly simple gifts: the sparkle of the sun on morning frost, the random pattern of clouds as they float through the sky, the beauty of winter trees thick with snow.

We will share our excitement for life with others: make people smile; perform an act of kindness for a stranger; compliment someone who seems down and cheer them up. We’ll tell someone we love just how deeply we care for them and how much they mean to us.

Tonight we'll take a moment to go outside admire the beauty of the sunset, the silvery moon, and be grateful for these magnificent treasures. As the day ends and we drift into the land of Nod we will sleep contentedly like children, excited with expectation because we know tomorrow is going to be.......
The Best Day Of Our Lives!