As New Year’s Day fell neatly across the weekend, Monday was a “floater.” In other words, no work for either Karin or myself, but alas, the last day of holidays across the 2005 Christmas break. As such, we took advantage of the morning, I sleeping in to nearly 8 AM again before rousing the dog from her kennel, and venturing out on another brisk walk. It was a cool morning, and I had no sooner taken a handful of steps into H***** park, before noticing that the thick blanket of morning fog had created both an eerie feel to the open field and an elegant array of ice crystals spiking from the cold branches of every tree. Sparkle and I dashed back to the house, skirting the construction happening nearby, and retrieved the camera. Back in the park, I captured a few dozen macros of the jagged protrusions of ice on a backdrop of a foggy field. They are not my best work, but they are simple and strange, by themselves.
I filled the rest of the morning in front of the computer again. Call it a sense of strange obligation, but I added a tiny bit more data to the family tree, digging through some obscure facts, and even sending an email to dad for some further information, but also took some time to resize and upload some of the holiday photos we’d taken over the course of the previous ten days. The complications with uploading photos these days come, really, because I recently updated the software for the gallery to version 2. Admittedly, I have not found the time to learn the nuances and shortcuts to make the process as easy or customized as it should be. In time, I suppose.
Around noon we began to dress and organize for the day’s main event: the S******* family holiday gathering was scheduled for around 3 PM in Red Deer in the guest room of the building where Grandma is living. We were obliged to bring a dessert that ultimately consisted of a platter of left-over Christmas baking and assorted goodies. Karin organized the food, and I organized the dog, and by 1 PM we were out the door, only needing to make one quick return to retrieve a forgotten CDR of photos that Karin had prepared for her mother, but had left on the ledge upstairs, and remembered in a flash of panic as we neared Ellerslie Road.
Sparkle is becoming a reasonably good traveller. She settles once we are on the highway and at speed. Normally, she sits with her head on the console, nudging our arms for attention occasionally. However, shortly after passing Bear Hills, we needed to pull off because she had started to claw the back door and seemed to need to do her business. After stumbling through the ditch for an embarassing five minutes, she did, and we were quickly on our way once again, arriving uneventfully in Red Deer around 2:30.
Sparkle got to spend the day with Karin’s brother, Ryan. We had arranged a bit of a dog sitter, mooching of the guy to tend to the dog’s attentions whilst we went for socializing. I think she was sad to see us go, but she’s a dog, so who can tell.
We arrived on time, and despite being amongst the furthest travelled, were the first to arrive. Mom and Dad pulled in behind us, or at least, I didn’t see them when I got there. Uncle Ralph and Aunt Patty were in the parking lot before we were even in the door, and alas, we were in the middle of a party. So what happened? We ate lots of food. We bullshitted with relatives. I sat with Grandma for a while. I tortured Travis, though relented in playing a miserable game of pool with him to the audience of some cranky, old resident. I also played pool with Derek, winning the game by the mere hair of a fluek shot that sunk both the last two balls, in correct order, and hushed and amazed (though never to be repeated) gasp of awe from everyone watching. I talked computers and cameras with Uncle Henry. And, for the first time post-natally, I met Ashley’s new son, Jake. (I used to babysit her, so that concept may take some time to balance in my poor brain, yet.) I took some photos of the day and captured a number of head-shots for the family tree lurking still at the front of my brain. And we at Chinese, I feeling the post-holiday guilt and unbalancing my portion with a heap of steamed broccoli.
At the end of it all, Grandma had pulled Karin away to her suite to give her a bit of an embroidery project to finish for her, and I, lolling behind, casually said my goodbyes as we snuck out.
Sparkle had done fine, and I think Ryan was sad to see her go. But we couldn’t stay of course, and a brief detour for gas on the way out of town and we were back on the road to Edmonton. Oddly enough, a car racing swiftly down a dark, quiet highway is a good place for conversation. We do that often, though a couldn’t (and most probably shouldn’t) write what we were talking about. Things tend to get resolved there, passing time so quickly, mostly, that we barely noticed ten o’clock sneek by and the city crawl into view. We were at home, in bed and nearly asleep, the last day of holidays, by ten-thirty that night, and not even Sparkle had much fuss over that.