Thursday, December 3, 2009


I feel that we are now in a countdown mode. I should feel rushed but actually feel quite enthusiastic about the month of December. It is one of my favourite times of the year - Advent. It is a reflective time for me looking back on the year and its events and this has been an extremely busy year. I began the year recovering from about one year of illness. It took a while to realize that I was ill and then a while to succumb sufficiently to require a physician's care. Then the problem of deciding what was wrong with me and then the recovery period. Interesting experience for me as I haven't been ill for quite a while other than my shoulder injury which took about four years to heal and can still annoy me if I overdo it.

The winter saw me slowly recovering and by spring I was feeling much improved although still weak. Our daughter was working on her Ph.D. thesis and we tried to spend some time with her to stave off the loneliness of working on that and teaching on three campuses. She traveled a great deal with her last academic post. The summer saw us take our usual 10 K walk and do quite a bit of traveling mostly to historical repositories. Plus our daughter had submitted her thesis and defended it in July. We had to miss the defense because we were committed to a trip to Fort Wayne that week. It went very well and by the time we picked her up in London (with her car that we had driven to Fort Wayne) she had made her corrections and the thesis was formally submitted to Graduate Studies in its final form. She graduated in the Fall but was unable to attend due to work commitments.

Then we spent several fun weeks in early August canoeing, walking and biking with our eldest daughter and our youngest was preparing for her clinical year working in the hospital. In between our travels we spent a good part of our time helping out with the dogs - taking them for walks and babysitting them at our home on occasion. They were good and we had pleasant times together. There was also the wedding in its planning stages which are now coming to fruition. Our eldest then flew off to her new academic job in Milwaukee and her sight unseen apartment which turned out very well. We had packed her up after the thesis was submitted and that was yet another trip to New York. She had to unpack on her own this time and that took her a couple of weeks in between starting her academic job. Fortunately she doesn't have a lot of stuff and setting up a basic living area was done in just the weekend before everything began.

The fall came and I had my last lecture to give which went quite well. I am glad to be finished with all of that though as it was taking up a lot of my time keeping abreast of the field so that I could speak in a knowledgeable fashion. We took a trip to Cape Cod and Whale Watching with Queensway Tours. A most pleasant trip except I took ill (perhaps Swine Flu!). I have no idea why I was ill and by the time we headed home I was quite recovered. Oddest happening actually. Then we had to prepare to go to Albany for our NYGBS research at the New York State Archives and Library. Although we still have not solved the mystery of Isaac Kipp's parentage it did expose us to some new and novel research methods which we will continue to probe at. For my research there was no value at all as all of my records are in England or I have purchased them and have them here.

Then we were scarcely home once again and we were off to Milwaukee to spend American Thanksgiving with our daughter and see Milwaukee and area. Our trip through Chicago was quite interesting and we sat in the shadow of the Sears Tower for about fifteen minutes as the traffic was backed up somewhat. Milwaukee was most interesting and we traveled about the western part of the State as far north as Sheybogan and west as Madison. We helped out daughter to put her research books on her bookshelves (she moved offices part way through the term and then was off to a conference in Vancouver so hadn't really had a chance to settle in). We also went to a number of historic sites and the museums. The trip home was two days and uneventful other than being quite interesting. I had expected the American highways to be really congested but it wasn't too bad actually.

Then back to wedding planning and we are in the home stretch more or less. Mostly it is items that I now have to do that we have planned. The baking of 120 cupcakes and icing them plus making blue fondant roses for each one and then baking and icing the main cake. The rehearsal dinner I will make scalloped potatoes, ham, turkey meatballs in a sauce, cabbage salad, ceasar salad, raw vegetable tray and dip, cheese tray and cracker tray, and several cakes. All of this is manageable in the one day and our eldest will be there to help as well since our youngest will be working in the hospital right up to the last minute almost.

I must admit to looking forward to a quiet time now for the next five or six months. We are thinking of dancing again in the winter time which will be fun. I am very reclusive I must admit and relish the winter months with its long hours that can be spent reading, walking, skiing, snowshoeing and skating. Plus we are now all set up with our electric fireplace and tapes all organized to watch movies all winter as well plus help out our daughters when they need us to do that. I suspect that I will fly to see our eldest a few times a year as well but I can spend my time there working on my genealogy which is very portable and keeping her company although she is very reclusive like me and sometimes we do clash!

But for the moment I must get the house ready for the Advent Season and it will soon be Christmas and the New Year. Next year promises to be a lot of traveling once again but hopefully a few months of dawdling about!

Then over Christmas/New Years break when our eldest daughter is doing a research/study month I hope we can finally get to the Lancet article on tagging clouds to assist physicians. It has been growing in her mind for a while now but no time to commit it to a paper. Hopefully that can also come out of this research period.

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