Year end blogging

Diogenes's picture
sandCastle1 (50K)

Picking up where we left off, in our last episode, our reluctant traveller is thinking about packing for another trip…

Monday, Dec 15

Tomorrow I go for an MRI and the day after we leave for Calgary.

As I write this it is -28°C in Calgary, but this is set to improve. By the time we arrive, all things going as forecast, it should be a balmy -18°C. and sunny.

Pack the sun-screen honey, we're going home!

Tuesday, Dec 16

Had the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) today, a weird experience. Forgot to remove my wedding ring but it wasn't a problem. There was this pump running in the background throughout the session that made me think of the car in the Disney movie "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang".

I was given a pair of ear muffs to deaden the sound and a rubber bulb to squeeze if something was wrong. They attendant tells me "No one can hear you if you yell".

An arrangement of mirrors gives me view down the length of my body down to my toes, which would be great if I could see that far without glasses. I think this is for people who are claustrophobic. I start to imagine what that would be like.

When the machine is on and resonating (if that's what you call it), it sounds like a jackhammer convention. You can hear all kinds of jackhammers in all kinds of situations. It's almost musical at times.

The whole thing takes about 10 minutes. I did not see anything strange, except real fuzzy images of my toes where they shouldn't be. Sometimes the whole thing vibrates in such a way that it tickles the testicles, but not enough to make any difference.

I made an appointment in the new year to see my brain, or at least proof that I have one. I may be able to collect on a few outstanding bets.

Wed, Dec 17

We arrive in Calgary and yup, it's still -28°C. The first rental car offered us is a Toyota Prius - the super efficient hybrid car. But it's too hard to figure out after 14 hours of airports and airplanes. We switch to a Kia with heated seats -oohhhh oohhhh heated seats.

It takes twice as long to drive from the airport to Mom's. There isn't much traffic but the roads are in terrible shape. There is maybe 20cm of snow in the fields.

Friday, Dec 19

Could not find the power cord for my laptop, so I left home without it. I start writing a blog on the state of Calgary's roads but the battery quickly dies. Make note to buy a power cord. This is not easy, stores that carry them are out of stock. The 4th store has one but wants $25, twice what I paid in europe for their special version. The world is upside down. I refuse to pay that much.

Live without the laptop for a while I say. I later regret this though, just a bit.

We later meet with friends, many of whom go back 30+ years to those crazy days in engineering at the U of Calgary. I set up a web page as an invite and emailed the link to about 20 people. Only a few respond, which concerns me, but then many show up.

It turns out to be a great evening after all. We vow to keep doing this.

Saturday, Dec 20

Dinner with some friends in Airdrie, BBQ prime rib, a few bottles of wine. Well it's 40 below and I don't give a f***, got a heater in my truck and it's off to the rodeo...

Sunday, Dec 21

Dinner at Mom's; all the brothers and my sister, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and even the ex. Good food and good conversation. My mom organized this for me, bless her, because we are in Montreal this year for christmas. This is the best gift she can give me.

Everyone looks good. I freak out my niece when I tell her I grew a nose on my shoulder and she touches the nose. Hey! She was the one who asked me what was new!

Monday, Dec 22

Dinner with another group of friends at a restaurant (Chianti's). Food is good and service is excellent. Calgary, send us your waiters please! - the Netherlands.

Watched the movie classic "Twelve Angry Men" on PBS. Brillant movie, MLW saw it for the first time. And it's the first time I have seen it from beginning.

Tuesday, Dec 23

We arrive in Montreal, Cheese fondue for dinner - mmmm. I have acquired a taste for this dish, a wonderful winter food, especialy when served with generous amounts cabernet sauvignon and conversation.

We marvel at the snowplows in this country, uhhh sorry, city, compared to places we have just visited. I continue working on my blog.

Wednesday, Dec 24

A christmas eve family dinner in Montreal; wonderful food, song and laughter. Dinner ends reasonably before midnight, the table cleared and the piano keys dusted. Carols and sing-a-long follow.

Cousin Isabelle has a beau from France who is a software engineer working for a gaming company in Montreal. They have just released "King of Persia". I want to try it out but there isn't time.


A quiet day, a day to rest. We watch the German movie "Other People's Lives", a film about the Stasi prior to the fall of the Berlin wall. One of the best movies I have ever seen!

Friday, Dec 26

Boxing day in Canada. Time to shop for bargains. I avoid this but I go to the mall and buy a couple of Califoria pomegranates, the very best in the world, and only available a couple of months a year. Ruby red inside and out, heavy like a rock. Can't find anything like these in the Netherlands.

mAndF (15K)

Saturday, Dec 27

Trip to a friend's cottage cancelled - freezing rain has made travel hazardous. They make it back to Montreal and we visit them at their home.

newGrandfather (18K)

Sunday, Dec 28

Visit some of my wife's friends from Peru who immigrated to Montreal long ago. A big family gathering. All speak French, Spanish and a little English.

Dec28 (15K)

Moises, a new grandfather, tells me about his 102 year-old grandmother in Peru.

mlwAndJosee (16K)

Dinner later that night at ma belle mere once again with some more old friends. David is originally from Israel, first language was Spanish, knows Hebrew, French and English. His good wife Josée is a professional translator.

artOfFondue (14K)

I speak a little English, which took me about 40 years to pick up, but I feel comfortable talking now, which is a big improvement for me.

I marvel at how many conversations can occur simultaneously at one table, and how the romance languages allows two or more people to talk and listen at the same time.

Monday, Dec 29

We set off to return home via London Heathrow. Try to imagine how excited I am about this leg of the journey.

Someone expressed surprise that I did not like travelling. I had to explain that visting people and places is fine, even enjoyable, but travelling to get there is not. That is where the reluctant part fits in. I think she understood.