Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lang may yer lum reek

(frozen lake that Hapi and I visit occasionally)

I am using the Mac that I bought in December to send this post to my blog, I have not figured it all out by any means. I had been postponing writing until I figured out how to do this but the best way to figure it out is to just do it I guess.

This is not shaping up to be a mild winter like last year, so far we have lots of snow and cold and wind. The wind makes it quite bitter out there. Hapi awaits her walk and I am sitting inside where it is nice and warm thinking up new ways to postpone it. Must blog. Must make chicken soup. Must read…

On New Year's Eve I went to see The Hobbit with a couple of friends, after a lovely fish chowder made with coconut milk. In her household two people cannot drink cow milk, one substitutes goat milk and the other almond milk. The third person in the household is a cow milk drinker who cannot abide substitutes. The coconut milk in the chowder was the compromise that all could accept and I was impressed with how good it was as well. No more cow milk in the chowder!

The Hobbit was a bit of a disappointment, even in 3D. I have to say I don't find the 3D feature particularly worth the extra dollars one pays for it. After three Lords of the Rings, The Hobbit was a bit of same old same old, with the added irritation of being a To-be-continued. Oh rats! On the one hand it I feel obliged to see how the story ends in movie form, on the other I am not sure it was spectacular enough to warrant sitting through again.

Midnight came only minutes after the movie ended, people milled in the lobby half-heartedly wishing each other a Happy New Year. We three hurried out to the car and headed over to Shannex, the seniors residence nearby, to visit my friend's father. We had told him we would drop by after the movie to toast in the New Year.

When we got there the residence was completely dark. We went to the front door and hesitated to ring the bell, they were probably closed and locked up for the night. So we went back to the car. I suggested we drive by Neil's window and see if there was any sign he might be still up, and sure enough through a crack in the curtains we saw him in his brightly lit room, clearly not asleep. My friend phoned him. He answered and told us to go back to the front door, he had left a message at the front desk that we were coming so they were expecting us. That we did.

The residence is quite new, with wide corridors, several common rooms including the dining area, TV area and large lobby. In the hallways there are little glass cupboards by each door, residents display small items and pictures that convey a little of who they are in these little glass cupboards. Neil's room is small and simple, he recently moved in and has setup his computer and is awaiting his internet connection. He has a private bathroom, a wardrobe, a desk, a couple of chairs and his bed. It is remarkably similar to his old bedroom in his daughter's house, even down to the wall colour. Much of Neil's life is on his computer, so I doubt he has experienced any diminishment with this move into the senior's residence, other than the temporary loss of internet access. He now dines in a dining room at a small table he shares with another gentleman, he can "stroll" the hallways and outdoor grounds in his electric wheelchair. He used to ride his chair all the way into downtown for the occasional coffee, but it is too far to go now. Instead he can go to the much closer dining room for a coffee with whoever is around.

Frankly, I think I could do a lot worse than to end up here. It was a pleasant surprise to see how nice it was.

We smuggled in a half bottle of wine and some plastic cups and poured a glass for each of us. Neil proposed a toast that he learned during WWII posted in Scotland: Lang may yer lum reek! Which translates to, Long may your chimney smoke!

After that we went home and finished off the bottle of wine, I got back to my own home somewhere around 1.30am. I saw I had an email from a friend out west, who said she was spending New Year's at mutual friends in Whistler, so I phoned them. They are a small group who spend every New Year's together, and when I lived there I did a couple of times too. When they answered the phone they told me that they had just been talking about me and they put the call on speaker phone. It was nice to get together with old friends thousands of kilometres away like that! We chatted for a half hour and then bid each other a Happy New Year and I finally retired to bed around 2.30am.

Not being very good at sleeping in it meant that I spent the first day of the New Year in a bit of a daze, and managed to lose Hapi out on the dykes. I met an older gentleman out walking who assured me he had not seen her and that there were a lot of pheasants in the bushes there so she was probably out hunting and I shouldn't worry, she'd come home when she was done. He said he started walking 3 miles a day when he was 52 and has been doing it ever since, and did I want to guess how old he was. By the look of him I was thinking he was at least 70 if not considerably older, but he was clearly proud of what good shape he was in so I guessed, 60? He thanked me for the compliment and said he would never see 75 again. He also said he wished someone had told him how hard it was to grow old, he did not find life easy. He was out shovelling snow a few days ago and came in so exhausted he had to take a nap. But he was fine again when he woke up.

I went home and Hapi wasn't there, probably still out chasing pheasants. But then I heard a voice calling, Hapi! Hapi!

Who would be calling my dog other than me?

I looked around and finally spotted my neighbour in her driveway. I looked at her and she pointed across the street, Hapi had just disappeared into someone's backyard. She had spotted Hapi in the street and thought Hapi had escaped my yard and she had come out to try to round her up again. But Hapi ignored her. However when I called she immediately came out from behind the house across the street to see who was calling her, and came running when she saw it was me.

You miserable dog! I greeted her. I spent almost an hour out on the cold windy dykes trying to find her when she was already well on her way home.

Well I think I've made her wait long enough, I better take her for a walk. On the leash.

Lang may yer lum reek!