Two days after I came to Canada and the day I was supposed to turn my phone off and head into a silent meditation quarantine retreat. My sister called and her first words were “Don’t panic!”. These are never good words unless of course you happen to come across a book with them inscribed on it which professes to tell you the best way to irritate a Vogon (which is by the way to feed his grandmother to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal). There was no mention of Vogons just that my seventy year old hypertensive father had contracted COVID-19 and was going to be hospitalized with pneumonia like symptoms.
What followed was a very tense ten days for all of us. We had already lost someone close to us and it was going to be a hard wait contemplating our fragility as we waited for my father’s condition to change. I guess I wouldn’t be writing such a cheery note if it had not changed for the better. It still leaves a bad aftertaste (and I hope some useful lessons for everyone).
And now I need to grapple with more mundane concerns like how to deal with a time difference while working with friends in India. It has been a bit of an adjustment. I wake up at 4 or 4:30 AM so I can catch a few daylight hours for meetings with my India peeps and then end up working for many hours into the day. I need better discipline to stop my work day early.
After the 14 day quarantine, we managed to come to Steven’s parents place just as the entire province was shutting down because of number of cases. This of course means Christmas is all but cancelled until things get better. We did however manage to put the tree and have a tiny visit with Steven’s niece who we have been waiting to hang out for many many months now. Actual Christmas day was spent quietly with some Christmas choons and a vegetarian Christmas dinner of Mushroom Tourtière, baked brussel sprouts, squash and pecans, and a carrot ring. A few days before Christmas we also managed to baked some Christmas cookies (Neopolitans, chewy ginger cookies, and candy cane cookies). I think the plan is to celebrate a second Christmas around February mainly to hang out with the little one.
- We also had a quite gift exchange for Christmas and then got straight down to the non-envious task of getting our paperwork together for a permanent residence.
- Since then, life has largely settled into a new normal of: 4am starts to the day, and treadmill runs (away from the cold). The days are very cold and windy on the desolate stark prairies. It seems to stretches forever blanketed fully with white snow. There are cattle, horses (there is a tiny miniature horse next doors who looks johnny bravo), and granaries spotting the landscape and rarely herds of slender deer that run away when they spot you. It’s like an ocean of plains and makes quite a striking sight. The snowfall really lends an air of grace to the landscape (until of course it gets slushed brown from vehicles driving)
- I received an early Christmas present from Steven of a mac book air (with the latest M1 ARM processors or so I am told), and I am learning to get used to this new way of working. It has mostly been a painless transition.
- I am trying to learn a little bit of Python with “Automate the boring stuff with python” so I can run a few scrappers. I am also trying to write more and maybe during the work break (that is soon arriving), I can do some more of that.
- And finally, I am Dungeon Master (DM-ing) for a virtual DnD quest with some friends. It started off as an attempt at learning to DM and was supposed to 1–3 shot game, but it has gone on for a while now and hopefully I am getting better at it.
I hope the next year is easier on everyone & I hope you and your loved ones have a pleasant new year.
Books read this past while
- The Obelisk Gate — N.k. Jemisin
- Girl, Woman, Other — Bernadine Evaristo
- The Sun Down Motel — Simone St James
- The 99% invisible city — Roman Mars & Kurt Holsted