Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

We have had a busy year.

We started by bringing in the new year with Phil and Marg from Australia at Ainsworth Hot Springs. We were hoping to show Marg how cold Canada could be but instead the weather was just around freezing with wet, melting snow and mud. As a consequence, the hot springs were almost too hot. Then Marg tried skiing and hurt her knee. She put on a brave face, but was in pain for several weeks. People her age should slow down a little and take care of their bodies.

We both curled last year until March of 2003. The good part is we made it through the season but decided not to invest the time and effort this fall. Every Friday night was a real commitment in time and we have been too busy. It seems that the curling culture includes guzzling beer and eating popcorn after every game and that seemed contradictory to getting out for a little exercise.

In April, we went to Edmonton to attend Heather's graduation from Grant McEwen College. She now has a Diploma in Dance but unfortunately, after all the money, time and effort it took, she still cannot find a job in dance. She has now returned to working at McDonalds.

Diva, our beagle, was getting into a lot of trouble digging holes, barking at joggers and generally getting into a lot trouble. In late April we acquired another 7 week old puppy that was not housebroken. What an effort to look after two dogs and now we have twice as many holes. Diva use to be a real fun dog to play with after work, but now she’s just worn out at the end of the day and doesn’t want to play. Crowley, Heather's cat, is still eating our food and taking up space until Heather and Kirk can find a place that will accept pets. The poor cat can’t live with it’s owner and is now having to put up with two beagles.

In May we took a week's holiday to Parksville on Vancouver Island. Between visiting with friends, taking a quick day trip out to long beach and checking out a couple of tourist sites, we didn’t have much time to relax.

In May, we stumbled over a house in Kaleden and talked ourselves into moving. In a mad rush, we had to spend a lot of time and money on the old place to get it sold and have spent the last few months fixing up the new place. It was very stressful and we’re still not fully unpacked. Unfortunately, our relaxing summer went out the window and all we have to show for it is a 38 year old home that has been slightly renovated. In addition, the commute time for both Dennis and Jean to get to work has increased by at least 20%

In Sept. we attended out 30th ! (gulp) high school reunion. What a sad sight it was. Everyone was middle aged and we had to listen to all these stories of what these people were up to and their medical conditions, unemployment, and so on. Some of them had aged so much they were unrecognizable.

Miranda spent a year in Sydney as an exchange student. She was lonely, so we sacrificed and Jean went down under to keep her company. Dennis had to stay and work to ensure the staff from the aquired company merged in with the existing staff. Jean made the best of it by doing a little travelling to Darwin, Uluru, Adelaide, Barossa Valley Great Ocean Road and back to Sydney. It was so cold in the south they actually saw penguins walking on the beach and froze one night in a motel that didn’t have heat.

Miranda finally came home on Dec. 20th, but is unsure of what she will be doing. We’re hoping she figures it out soon and moves out and we’re getting comfortable with just the two of in the house, alone. She’s talking about quitting University to take some other course involving art and computers. We sure hope it leads to a job someday.

Dennis has been busy with Windward Software. Another smaller software company that specialized in garden center software was having financial troubles. He ended up buying the company and trying to salvage what was left. Now expenses are higher than ever with a second office in Westbank. With 27 employees, it’s a real challenge every payday.

Jean still works at PRH on a combined adult/pediatric ward. The average age is 65 and of course the pediatric staff are up in arms with caring for the old geezers that keep finding their way onto the ward. Between the Liberal government, union interference and continual staff griping, Jean is looking forward to early retirement in just 7 years.

For Christmas this year, we’ve had lots of relatives descend on us. Even Simon from Australia has been staying at the house while up on a training mission. Sleeping arrangements have been crowded and Miranda has resorted to sleeping in a recliner in the TV room. It’s just amazing how much wine, beer and chocolate this crowd can consume, but we’ll try to smile and bear it while they are here.

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We wish everyone, including ourselves, a Healthy Happy New Year.

Love Dennis and Jean.