Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Greetings, 2009

December 5, 2009

Hello again

This year was a travelin’ one for bot
h of us (sometimes even together!).

In January Carolle reconnected with Aunt Loretta and her Boys in Westport at the funeral of their father, Earl. Forty years was overcome in a few minutes. The Brunke Boys are a baaaaad bunch, and a lot of fun. They said that Earl would have been pleased to see how the family connected and sat together reminiscing.

In February, Carolle and John took the train to Quebec City for five days. We had fun running to catch train connections in Toronto and Montreal. We very much enjoyed the train trips and the time in beautiful Quebec City. And we managed to discover some unusual sights and restaurants in Quebec City.

This city has become one of our favorite getaways.

At the end of April John headed to his spring teaching job at Herstmonceux Castle in the U.K. He did a lot of hiking, including in his favourite, the Yorkshire Dales.

Carolle flew to the UK in June to spend a few days with her friend, Jenny—our ‘chauffeur’ on many previous trips. Jenny has now moved to Australia to be with her family and this was a last chance to meet. Then John joined Carolle and they took the train to Edinburgh, and then to Cambridge, and finally London.

We walked a lot in Edinburgh. First, we thought the B&B was close to the train station. We were wrong. And we were not aware of the huge number of stairs to get from the train in the basement to the street 3 or 4 flights above. THEN, there were 3 flights of stairs up to our beautiful room in the B&B. Looking for more punishment, the first day we walked from the B&B to the castle on the hill. We were getting into good shape! Good thing too. The nearby restaurants were excellent! Cambridge was fun with all the students dressed for graduation and/or parties. John managed to get the last ticket one night for a great concert which included The King’s College Singers. In London we stayed at our usual, the Paddington Hilton, from which we took a train direct to the airport.

August was busy. Mid-August we attended a reunion of John’s Herstmonceux colleagues in Kingston. And we extended the trip for a visit to Aunt Loretta in Westport.

At the end of August we headed west to visit Carolle’s relatives.
We started in Regina, with a one day trip to Fort Qu’Appelle to visit cousin Kenn and his wife, Nela (left). Kenn made us one of his famous and delicious spinach salads There was another day trip to Melfort to see Dad’s brother, Uncle Jim, and his wife, Aunt Noreen (right).

Dad’s other brother, Uncle Bruce, and his wife, Aunt Ollie, stayed in the same hotel with us in Regina. We helped celebrate Bruce’s 80th birthday with his whole family, including children and grandchildren. Carolle met more wonderful cousins, many of whom she had not met or seen in years.

The following day we drove north to Saskatoon to stay with cousin Lynn and her husband, Bill. …and to attend the Birns’ family barbeque hosted by cousin Harve and his wife, Carol. Uncle Geo and Allan were in attendance, and Allan was in a great mood. We met Carol’s daughter and all her pigeons.

Later, Carolle flew to Edmonton to see her family and John returned to Clinton to work.

What a year for weather! We didn’t have much of a summer--until September. But this autumn we had the most glorious display of brightly colored leaves. Thanksgiving weekend we drove to another of our favorite getaways--Owen Sound—to admire the leaves and do some geocaching.

In November Carolle visited Aunt Loretta in Westport again. They barely missed the snow on their way back to the Ottawa airport. The day after her return, John flew to Vancouver for the wedding of an internet buddy and former student. This weekend we fly (together!) to Edmonton for our annual pre-Christmas visit with Carolle’s family, for which Carolle has baked dozens of shortbread cookies. Guess in Edmonton we will have to face the snow and cold, which have managed to avoid Clinton so far this year (touch wood!).

In with all the travels, we managed to have some contact with our children. In April we visited Jacob, Melinda and little Lara in their home in Houston. Then they flew to Mississauga in mid-August to stay with Melinda’s parents, where we were able to visit with them again. Jacob and Melinda and Lara are currently visiting Melinda’s relatives in Taiwan and will soon return to Houston.

Matthew and Phebe and Cordelia met us in Mississauga during the visit of the “Texans” and all families gathered together for breakfast. Before that, Matthew and Phebe and Cordelia had joined John on the set of a TV re-creation of the famous Truscott local cold case murder. Matthew was the cop and John was the bad guy. Phebe and Cordelia were the victim’s friends. The show will air in February on Extreme Forensics, on the Investigative Discovery channel (which channel we don’t get).

Continuing their acting careers, Matthew and John will soon appear together in a mystery dinner theatre evening in London entitled The Full Monty. Rachael and girls and boyfriends will be there. Carolle says she will cover her granddaughters’ eyes!

We meet Rachael and her girls for lunch or dinner whenever possible. Kayla has recently moved into a shared ‘real’ apartment, a step up from her rented rooms. That has her looking for a ‘real’ job that will support her in the new place. In the summer, Rachael and Veronica and Rocky moved out to Union, a small town south of London. As usual, Rach has done a good job decorating it. It seems miles away, particularly from Clinton. Veronica appears to be dealing well with the challenges transportation- and friend-wise. She is doing well in high school in London. Our communication with Kayla and Veronica is mainly through Facebook and texting, so we are trying to keep up with the times.

As you can tell, we had an interesting year. Carolle says she is staying home for a while now—after we return from Edmonton, of course. We will be home for Christmas. We hope you also had an interesting year, and look forward to hearing from you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from

carolle and John

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