2020… what a @#$% year!

Seasonal Greetings, all and one!

I haven’t done one of these this-was-our-year posts in, well, years, but 2020 just seems to need a little extra something.

So, here are the facts of my life, in no particular order: I am still in Calgary with Sedona the Yorkie, Kerouac the tuxedo cat, and Calliope my chonky sweet Torby cat. I am in my 14th year in a job I enjoy (such a rare thing). The pandemic has had great effect on our schedules, necessitated layoffs, and caused closures throughout the system, but for me the greatest changes were the lighter work load and more relaxed schedule… while wearing a mask and social distancing, of course.

This was the year I turned 60, and my big plan was to fly to Maui, get some sun, photograph a volcano, and take surfing lessons. The week before I booked the holiday of a lifetime, the world shut down in response to Covid-19. Oops. So that trip was cancelled, my summer writers’ conference went online/virtual only, and the writer’s festival in the fall that I spend a week attending was cancelled. It has been a year of Staycations and holidays in Puerta Backyarda.

Despite all of the cancellations, I still managed to get an MRI, a cystoscopy, a colonoscopy, and an ultrasound. As much fun as that all sounds, the best part is that none of them found anything wrong with me, though the colonoscopy did find my head.

June is the month when we usually gather to watch granddaughter Cadence’s big dance show… cancelled. This June was especially important because my grandson Jakob graduated high school… virtually. His whole last semester and final exams were done online. So disappointing. The college program for EMT he wants to get into has a minimum age of 18, so he has to wait until 2021. He also needs to have a full driver’s license, which he just got in mid-November. Yes, Baby Jake has his license, a car, and turns 18 in early January. He’s also finally taller than me.

The Drive-by Christmas Gifting with grandkids Cadence and Jakob

In other family news, we lost my brother-in-law Don’s dad, and our cousin, Jim Wright. More recently, though, we added tiny future rock-and-roller Zayn, baby brother to Sayf and second munchkin for my niece Jessica and her husband Aley.

On the personal side of my life, I rekindled an old love, turned it into a bonfire, got happily engaged, both did some thinking, got mutually unengaged, and have settled back to be great friends for another 27 years.

Sonja & Me at Chateau Lake Louise, where we first met 27 years ago.

The stress of the pandemic is exhausting. Since I use a CPAP machine for sleep, I now wear a mask of one sort or another for up to 17 hours a day. I feel like a super villain in a comic book, without minions, a super secret lair, or a plan to take over the world.

On the creative front, I finished writing my romantic comedy set in Toronto, pitched a screenplay to Netflix (rejected), started my urban fantasy novel set in the Boston area, and am creating a new world for a science fiction novel that I hope will reach deep into important social issues.

Back in 1980 I climbed up Sulphur Mountain in Banff with my friend Myla, and we took the gondola down. In 2000 I hiked up the mountain solo for my 40th birthday, and took the gondola down. Since this summer was the 40th and 20th anniversary of the first two hikes, I simply had to climb it again. Unfortunately, due to the lack of tourists, the gondola shuts down for two days a week, and one of them was the day I drove out to Banff to do the hike. So, 40 years later, in not nearly as peak physical condition as I was waaaay back then, I hiked up Sulphur Mountain… and then hiked back down. I was sore and crippled and finished the hike in the dark, but it was done. I’ll do it again when I’m 80, but I’ll be damn well taking the gondola both up and down.

On the summit of Sulphur Mountain, 2020

And that’s pretty much my year in a nutshell. Everyone in the family is dealing with the pandemic in their own way, though some get bored much easier than others. Most of us are ecstatic that Joe and Jill Biden will be moving into the White House, and those who aren’t will be scheduled for their very own head-hunting colonoscopy.

Be well, stay safe, remember that getting through this is a group effort, and it’s all bigger than any one of us.

Happy holidays!

Ciao for now,

T-Bone

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