Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Roly's Ramble
In February I began making plans for a European cycling trip that would take me from Amsterdam to Constanta, Romania. My intention was to follow the Rhine as far south as Neuf-Brisach, France, cycle across the Black forest to Donaueschingen, Germany, and continue along the Danube to the Black Sea.
In April I drove to Barrie/Orillia, Ontario, and after visiting my sister, Theresa and her husband, Sandy, I helped my daughter Lise move back to Ottawa. Also, my sister, Marie Jeanne, and brother-in-law, Michael, traveled from Oakville, Ontario, to spend Easter with us. Mike, never one to sit idle, decided to fix my kitchen table which was a bit wobbly. It took a while to get it unstuck from the kitchen floor but it doesn’t wobble any more. Thanks Mike.
In May I flew from Ottawa to Toronto to Amsterdam with my trusty old touring bike, Rocky, and my cycling gear. I started cycling across Europe on May 26th. But before joining the Rhine I made a slight detour to visit Brussels (my first posting 1964-69) and stayed with Ed and Viv Kaye (Triumph Club friends). I also stopped in Bonn-Bad Godesberg where I was posted twice (1977-81 and 1993-97). On June 26th I arrived in Vienna where I stayed with Martin Harasek, another Triumph Club friend. It was then on to Constanta where I arrived on July 21st. All together I cycled/traveled through 12 countries i.e. Canada, Holland, Belgium, Germany, France, Germany (again), Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. The last two countries by train. I cycled 4,227 kms in 58 days and managed to lose 23 lbs. For further details and some photos of my adventure see my blog at “maillord1.blogspot.com”. In order to get home I took the train from Constanta to Bucharest then to Istanbul and flew to Montreal on July 25th. My friend, Barrie, was there to meet me and drive me back home to Ottawa.
Unfortunately, once I got back to Canada, I had to go to emergency as I was having bladder problems. I ended up having to have a catheter inserted as I couldn’t pee. I was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate. Eventually, after 4 months of having to put up with a catheter, I underwent a TURP (Transurethal Resection of the Prostate) operation on November 30th. Thankfully, it was a successful op and I should be able to resume cycling (SPINFIT Classes) in January to get in shape for the 2012 cycling season.
In April I have plans to cycle from Milford, Ohio (near Cincinatti), to Buffalo, NY, approximately 800 kms in 11 days with 3 other guys. We will follow the UGRR (Underground Railway Route) used by the slaves as they made their escape across the US and into Canada. I will also be cycling across Canada starting from Vancouver in late May and ending up in StJohns, Newfoundland in late August. I will be cycling with Beverly my new “partner”. I’m looking for a house sitter for the months of June, July and August. If anyone is interested or knows of someone who would like to spend some time in Ottawa please get in touch with me.
I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. Roly

Lise’s Life
I spent most of 2011 completing my diploma in Therapeutic Recreation. I finished my second semester at Georgian College in Orillia, enjoying a volunteer placement where I set up a Crafter’s Circle for an Orillia-based non-profit organization that provides housing and support for vulnerable women.
The girls in my class are all fun-loving and passionate about helping others, and I made several good friends over the year. Here are me and three my classmates giving a presentation entitled TR around the World:
In May I began my internship with the City of Ottawa’s Acquired Brain Injury program, a community program for adults who have had a stroke or a brain injury. I spent my time there getting to know the participants and getting lots of practice in planning and implementing programs and activities to meet their specific needs.
In July, I attended the Therapeutic Recreation Ontario conference. There were a lot of really engaging speakers, and we ended the conference by “drinking beer on a boat”. Though, as a young professional, I have learned to refer to these kinds of activities as “networking”. There was a lot of networking.
In October I started looking at moving out to a townhouse near downtown Ottawa – and I was pretty intrigued when I saw this ad. When they handed me a Lindt chocolate five minutes into the tour , I was sold. So I now live with two wonderful roommates, Jay and Bryn! They say hi:
My cats, Figgs and Newton, have settled into the space quickly and the boys have really taken to them. Newton tends to live on Bryn’s lap, though you probably can’t tell that from the photo. Jay and I have taken up doing yoga together, and we all cook meals together whenever possible. We’ve become a big happy family, which has made for a wonderful home. As I write this we’re putting up some shelves in the dining room – the place is really coming together nicely.
Since completing my internship, I have been working a few part time jobs, getting to work with children who are medically fragile, adults with developmental disabilities, and seniors with dementia. I am absolutely loving my new career, and am looking forward to the new year and new opportunities.

Stephanie Writes:
Another year has come and gone. This year has been a busy year for us. We started off the year with welcoming in 2 new foster children Breanna and Taniqua who are still with us and will be with us for awhile longer. The boys are growing so much and doing so much. Jasper is now 3 and a half and in preschool and is excited to start school in September. Jasper is also a huge hockey fan and loves playing hockey for fun. He is also looking forward to being able to start playing hockey in little league in September. He is a busy young man. Landon is now 1 and a half and he also is a busy young man. Landon loves playing with his siblings and doesnt like it so much when they leave for school and programs in the morning. He wants to join too. Landon is starting to talk more and get into things which keeps mommy and daddy busy running after him. As for Phil and I we are extending our family in June. Baby Mailloux 3 is on its way, which makes us busy with getting everything ready once again. Phil and Jasper enjoyed their trip to England. Jasper still talks lots about the trip and how much he loves his nana and the different things he did while there. He loves when he can see Maise's pictures on facebook as well. We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!!!!

Keith's Report
This has been a momentous year for me - it feels like it went past in a moment. I have finally left the nest! In the spring, I was invited by a friend from high school to replace her sister in the apartment above hers. It's a nice little house built in the 1920s, separated into two apartments. My friend has the first floor, I have the second, and the basement is a shared laundry and storage room. It's located just outside of the downtown neighbourhoods of Ottawa, in easy bus range of almost everywhere thanks to a station a few blocks away. The rent is decent, it's got oodles of space [two bedrooms, a livingroom, kitchen, and helpfully, a bathroom] and the neighbours are nice. I'm still settling in - the actual move didn't happen until September - but it's starting to feel like home.Speaking of things that feel like home, I'm still working at Lee Valley. If they haven't fired me by now, chances are they aren't going to. I've been making myself useful, helping to keep projects on track despite the crazed whims of my overlords [who decided to completely change a catalog when more than half of it was already done - I'm not kidding when I say they're crazy] and even doing a bit of first-draft copywriting when I have free time. I've gotten rave reviews from the product managers for my copy, too, even though they throw half of it away when they edit it down to the final draft. It doesn't look like I'll be switched over to writing full time in the near future, since my real job is in high demand, but it's made me realize how much I really love to write - I thought school had sucked all the joy of writing out of me. The manager of my department is retiring this year, and his replacement has started taking over the day-to-day running of the office. He's a good-natured chap, with a good sense of humour and a more sensible approach to management. He's hoping to make some improvements in the way the Publications department runs, which will probably make more work for me and the other proofers in the short run, but make our job easier in the long run.Unfortunately, my health hasn't been too good this year. A case of mono in March laid me out for a month - I thought it was just a bad case of influenza before the family doctor ran some tests on me - after making things worse by giving me the wrong medicine. I ended up covered in red spots - not the best thing to wake up to, but fortunately they went away quickly. Since then I've been in and out of doctors' offices far too often for my liking. The latest business has sent me to a hematologist because my blood platelet count is low - and he immediately sent me to a clinic to drain another pint of blood for tests. No wonder it's low, doc, you folks keep taking it! In any case, the hematologist assures me that it's probably nothing, just a reaction to the mono earlier in the year. Personally, I think it's because the mess in my room was something I created subconsciously because I need mess in my environment to be healthy; I'll be fine as soon as I get the new place as messy as the old one. Don't worry for my sake, I feel fit as a fiddle when I don't stay up late because I forgot to write my bit for the Christmas letter.Here are a few photos of my year - horsing around with one of the new Lee Valley products, a photo I took on a little adventure down the railway siding near my home, and the front view of my new place. Hope you're all having a lovely winter and a happy holiday. Give the dogs a scratch behind the ears for me!
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