Once again I am attempting the double duty of a Christmas letter and blog. This year I made the mistake of working in Word first so transfer is presenting challenges. It was a busy year in retrospect as I reviewed my calendar and journal notes. Last names are deleted for privacy sake.
Dear family and friends,
As I reflect on the year gone by and note a few memories for posterity, many celebrations and sad losses are included. We are grateful for time spent with loved ones and for the blessings we shared.
Where to begin? We started the year with supper at my sister Betty’s and our youngest grand-daughter sleeping over. We ended 2021 with our dishwasher frozen. It eventually thawed, we added extra insulation between the pipes and the (north) wall and so far, so good. Our fridge worked intermittently all year until June when Bill finally declared it unfixable, an order was placed, and a new fridge finally arrived Aug 24.
My writing project of the year continued in full swing. The book Andrea and I started in Jan 2021 is now destined to be called “WHEN MEN BUY SEX: WHO REALLY PAYS?” After 600+ hours in 2021, 2022 continued with more reviews and rewrites, consultations with contributors and other interested parties, many working meetings, communication with our editor, searching for images, restructuring chapters, more reading, and incorporating new material, etc. Finishing seems to be a series of half-lives, each time a step closer but always more to correct, check, or fine-tune.
I was able to present a preview of our work at a Green Light Awareness zoom event in Jan. Regular meetings with Book Club challenge me to keep reading outside of my narrow focus. My ladies writing group inspires new depth as did “Writing on Purpose” to its ending in May.
Watching the ten meetings Feb – April of the federal JUST Committee on review of PCEPA legislation was rather discouraging. Some Canadian citizens, including a number of politicians, seem to believe males of the world are entitled to purchase sexual services. Thankfully, voices in support of criminalizing purchase prevailed and the legislation remains, albeit unenforced by the Liberals. Our book will be timely and is so needed.
We celebrated Bill’s 82nd birthday in Feb at Schezuan Castle with extended family plus at River Cree with the NAIT gang. Outings included regular trips to Vermilion to visit my mom. We had booked to join Suzie and Colin’s in Mexico in Feb but decided to cancel, not because we feared Covid, but because we were worried about being separated, quarantined, or otherwise inconvenienced by circumstances beyond our control. Vaccine has quelled our paranoia but resilience is waning with age.
My friend Juanita received a long-awaited lung transplant in Feb. March included presenting to the Edmonton Interfaith Committee and enjoying an Elvis impersonators show.
Mid-March we hosted a 23rd birthday party for grandson Lance and his girlfriend Riley. It was great to be able to entertain in our own home again. The basement was beautifully decorated by Keelyn, pizzas galore were served, with everyone watching or playing pool. This was followed by a “gender reveal” extravaganza in early April hosted by Mason and Rebecca where it was disclosed Lance and Riley were expecting a baby boy. Highlight of the summer was the birth of baby William on Aug 22.
Easter supper at Long Lake with Suzie and Colin at their cabin – great time but cold. Birthday #16 party for Megan at their place. Mother’s Day brunch for all grandmas at the Club with Colin and family. ECF Zoo Day early May – joined by Marge & Rob, Keelyn & friend, Megan & Tyson. Belated 97th birthday party for Mom mid-May (actual day April 21.) About 40 friends and family attended. We booked a room across from her house and Jodie prepared a fabulous lunch. Unfortunately, Covid kept some away.
Attended 113 Pathways presentation (response to MMIWG Inquiry) at River Cree June 3 – rather disappointing except that family members received a memorial blanket.
AGM for Edmonton Community Foundation June 7 was memorable as always. CEASE AGM & 25th Anniversary celebration was held downtown June 15. It was a lovely event except that seeing Mayor Sohi (supporting licensed brothels) and NDP MLA Janis Irwin (anti-PCEPA) join Kate in supporting anti-trafficking struck me as rather hypocritical. Andrea agreed. They just don’t get – or would rather not acknowledge – that commercial sex breeds trafficking.
After submitting our manuscript in July for final comments from our contracted editor, Andrea and I also offered a copy to FriesenPress for their consideration. That gave us the summer free of writing and reviewing.
July brought Lisa’s birthday, more celebrations at River Cree with NAIT gang – Carl and Della’s 60th anniversary, another trip to Vermilion, party #26 for Mason , weekend at the lake with Colin and Suzie. We missed the Vermilion Fair. Cousin Blanche was in University Hospital most of Aug-Sept following 18-hour surgery on her mouth, tongue, and throat to remove cancer. Weekly visits became part of my schedule.
Birthday surprise for me was being gifted with an Indigenous name at the CEASE annual memorial. I had decided not to be an active participant this year as the occasion was my 74th birthday and the 25th anniversary of Cara’s disappearance. Instead of sitting back and reflecting as planned, however, I was honored with a beautiful blanket and given the name Spirit Woman by one of the celebrants, Warren Drunkenchief, in recognition of my work over the years.
September found me back at work with Andrea. Our “final” edit was returned, followed shortly by acceptance from FriesenPress, plus interim feedback re other suggested improvements. As we scrambled to make changes, the world dealt with the passing of Queen Elizabeth on Sept 8.
We received sad news from Manitoba that Bill’s brother Don was not doing well. We had a difficult time deciding when to visit as we hoped he would be discharged home. Unfortunately, that did not happen. We visited Oct 4-11, spending a few hours at the hospital each day where Valerie and their family also gathered. Don passed away Oct 23 and we decided not to return for the service. He was 76 years old.
November continued to be a very sad month. Next, we heard Bill’s best friend Bernie was ill in BC. He was diagnosed with a terrible cancer and passed away Nov 11 at age 81. There was no service, private interment to follow in the summer. Another good friend Carl had been hospitalized since Sept, no visitors allowed, and he passed Nov 26 at age 83. His service was Dec 2. That was a humbling time as many colleagues from NAIT gathered to pay respects. 2022 was a year of passing for several acquaintances, but none so close as these three.
Interspersed were birthdays for Tyson #21 (their house), Keelyn #12 (Montana’s), Colton #19 (Brewhouse) and Marge (dim sum). Subdued Grey Cup, Joyce & Lawrence’s 50th anniversary noted. Usual array of awareness events included a few STOPs, Daughters Day celebrations, etc.
As we begin the final month of the year, a few more gatherings are scheduled. We celebrated Betty’s birthday #69 early on Dec 3. Cousin Blanche is back in Edmonton for six week of radiation therapy, staying at Compassion House, a wonderful residence for out-of-town cancer patients. We plan to host all the Brook clan on Dec 18 and will have another trip to Vermilion.
Otherwise, plans for the rest of the season are still open. We look forward to gathering with family and friends and catching up on missed opportunities. We are booked for Mexico in March so hope there are no complications.
Now that the book has been submitted for proofreading, the end is in sight. Next will be layout, images, cover approval, index, etc. before publication and distribution. There are probably a few extra steps in between but we are hoping for release in spring. Co-author Andrea is brimming with launch ideas so stay tuned! We anticipate a number of promotional activities.
Very best wishes to all for a peaceful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.
Take good care of yourselves and each other.
Time is precious. Enjoy and be grateful.
Love from Kathy and Bill