Day 366 - What will happen next?

December 31, 2016 – As the year winds to its close it becomes anyone’s guess what the future will hold. 2016 has been a bumpy ride.

War and acts of terrorism took lives around the world – Tripoli, Kabul, Libya, Jakarta, Ouagadougou, Mogadishu, Aleppo, Paris, and that’s just in January. The list of terrorist attacks in 2016 is so long that it’s mind boggling.

Pakistan, Somalia, France, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria, Syria, Cameroon, United States, Mali, Yemen, Egypt, Russia, Turkey, India, Philippines, Thailand, Tunisia, the Ivory Coast, the United Kingdom, Madagascar, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Bangladesh, Armenia, Belgium, Jordan, Lebanon. Even Canada wasn’t immune to threats, though the stabbing of two men in Toronto by a terrorist, and the suspected imminent suicide bombing by another, paled in comparison to the lives lost elsewhere.

Conspiracy theorists and sensationalists used events to promote hatred, and their tactics worked on a scale few expected. Racism, xenophobia, homophobia, bigotry. Social traits that have long been considered unacceptable came raging to the forefront when a man with an ugly personality seemingly made those traits acceptable again, and the people desperately trying to escape terrorism were themselves accused of it and shunned. “We don’t want your kind here, go home.” But many no longer have a home to go back to, that’s why they are seeking help and new lives.

Britain voted against foreigners, and maybe that helped pave the way for Americans to do the same. Hatred of anything or anyone different suddenly went mainstream and we went back in time. And the joke that was Trump for president somehow became a terrible reality.

On the celebrity stage 2016 was hell, many big names were lost to us, just some (the ones I recognized immediately) are below…..

Otis Clay, Musician – age 73
David Bowie, Musician – age 69
Alan Rickman, Actor – age 69
René Angélil, Singer / Manager – age 73
Dan Haggerty, Actor – age 74
Glen Frey, Singer / Songwriter – age 67
Abe Vigoda, Actor – age 94
Maurice White, Musician / songwriter – age 74
Vanity, Actress/Singer – age 57
Harper Lee, Novelist – age 89
Tony Burton, Actor – age 78
George Kennedy, Actor – age 91
Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the U.S.(1981-1989) Husband, 40th President Ronald Reagan – age 94
Sir George Martin, Producer for the “Beatles” albums – age 90
Keith Emerson, Musician / keyboardist – age 71
Frank Sinatra Jr., Singer– age 72
Joe Santos, Actor – age 84
Ken Howard, Actor – age 71
Garry Shandling, Comedian – age 66
Merle Haggard, singer/songwriter – age 79
Doris Roberts, Actress – age 90
Prince, Musician – age 57
Morley Safer, Journalist for CBS News for 52 years – age 84
Patty Duke, Actress/Singer – age 69
Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer – age 74
Gordie Howe, Hockey player for Detroit Red Wings – age 88
Anton Yelchin, Actor – age 27
Garry Marshall, Writer/Producer/Actor – age 81
Gene Wilder, Actor – age 83
Arnold Palmer, Golfer – age 87
Leonard Cohen, Poet / Songwriter – age 82
Robert Vaughn, Actor – age 83
Florence Henderson, Actress / Singer – Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch” (1969 to 1974) – age 82
Fidel Castro, Dictator – Prime Minister then President of Cuba from 1959-2008 – age 90
John Glenn, WWII & Korean War Fighter Pilot. Marine Colonel. NASA Astronaut. (1974-99) – age 95
Alan Thicke, Actor – age 69
Bernard Fox, Actor – age 89
Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian Actress and Socialite – age 99
George Michael, Singer/Songwriter – age 53
Vera Rubin – Astronomer – age 89
Carrie Fisher, Actress – age 60
Debbie Reynolds, Actress – age 84

I think there are many of us who would happy say goodbye to the year 2016.

But that’s not to say that nothing good happened in 2016! Just look at this list!

In my own little world, 2016 had its ups and downs.

It started horribly, with a death by car accident in Kirk’s family in January and a sad trip home to Prince George.

In the spring, after months of battling one bug after another, Kirk and I took a much needed vacation to Jamaica. We stayed in an all inclusive, and I have no inclination to do that again. Jamaica was lovely, and the people we met outside of the walls of the hotel were wonderful, but it felt restricted, too…. “fake”. But it was a solid reminder of how privileged we are in North America. It was good for some much needed perspective.

In the summer we decided to play tourists in our own city. We live in the most amazing place, so we decided to hang out and appreciate it a bit more.

I decided to try another 365, well, half of one. And towards the end of the year it has become challenging so I won’t be doing this again, though I don’t intend to put the camera down. I’ll take on the 117 Photos in 2017 Challenge and be a bit more relaxed.

We didn’t ride the motorcycles as much as we’d hoped, a bit of pain and injury kept us from any long trips this year.

Kirk unexpectedly had a change in employment status, and although I’d hoped he’d take some time off to just enjoy life for a few months given a half decent settlement (after a bit of negotiating) that would tide us over, he landed a position with a company he’d wanted to work with for many years. So, with a new lease on his professional front, off he went to take on an exciting new position that promises excellent new challenges with a professional group of people. In just a two short months he’s involved himself in projects ranging from Tiffany’s worldwide to Louis Vuitton, Microsoft, KPMG, and various hotels and other exciting and challenging projects. And the icing on the cake is the reduced commute time, only one bridge to cross now, and far less frustrating traffic to get snarled up in and waste time on. The change has been nothing but good, far less stress.

We went to Pride and saw the Prime Minister, and hung out at festivals like Harmony Festival, enjoying the weather and the crafts. We toured the hidden parts of the Orpheum Theatre and the Vancouver Public Library and learned history and facts about our city. We took a pasta making class, and decided to take more cooking classes in the months ahead, just for fun. We took a picnic up Grouse Mountain and drank in the city and environment stretching out below us. This is home.

I ran a fish health workshop at UBC for DFO, ran my UBC classes, and guest lectured on stress and welfare in fish culture. A colleague retired and I saw a few of my facility responsibilities shuffle, taking on three new sites and letting two go. The change gave me two sites close to home that I can visit more often, one of which has summer field work so I don’t have to spend all of my field season in the shittiest part of the year.

We grew produce in our garden, more tomatoes than we knew what to do with! We visited the PNE, we had friends and family visit, and we resurrected Tuesday Night Pub Nights with boating friends.

My fall field travels went well, and I only caught one bug (until two days ago, another one has come to visit and hang out). We got a little bit of cycling in, and explored our neighbourhood a bit more.

We “Remembered” Flanders Fields at Cates Park aboard friends vessel, and we appreciated family and friends still with us and those departed.

We sadly removed two huge trees from our yard after hearing them declared hazardous by multiple companies when we asked for a bit of limbing. But now we have a bit of a blank slate for new ideas in the yard and garden with their parting.

We went to the theatre, we decorated for Christmas, and then I finally received a Letter of Offer from the government and accepted a permanent appointment to the position I’ve been holding as a term for the past five and a half years. I couldn’t have been happier.

We shook our heads, as did the rest of the Province, at the housing prices in the area, and then paid our mortgage off on December 22nd. Debt free again. It feels good.

And then we travelled to Cranbrook to spend Christmas with family.

Looking back over the past year, it’s been an eventful year, both dark and light. I wonder what 2017 will hold; more light I hope, but the crystal ball isn’t telling me anything.

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and loving year ahead.

That’s a wrap.