Saturday December 30th 2006, 10:53 am

We received a telephone call from our son Jimmy, who lives in Thailand, yesterday afternoon, and it was the first time he was able to get a phone line to call since the December 26 earthquake. He was planning on going to Kho Phi Phi beach for the Christmas holidays, but due to the earthquake, the waves are too high for the boats to go near the islands, so he will be staying in Bangkok. That is the same area which suffered a lot of damage during the December 26, 2004 tsunami. Even though Thailand is a Buddhist country, the schools are closed from December 22 to early January.

We are getting close to the end of another year. 2006 was a good year for us with not much change in our quiet retired life in Nova Scotia. Jimmy visited us for several months in 2006 and returned to Thailand in November and my sister visited us for Christmas. It was the first time my sister Carolyn and I have spent Christmas together since 1959. My husband and I spent two weeks on vacation during July in Calgary and Vancouver. We had never been to British Columbia before and it is very beautiful. We both feel it is our favourite place in Canada after the Maritimes. I love the ocean and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.

2006 was milder than normal in Nova Scotia and all across Canada. Our lakes didn’t freeze until February and the ice had melted by March so there was little opportunity for skating this year. We had little snow and we used our snowblower only two or three times during the 2006 winter. We had more rain than snow during the winter, but in Nova Scotia, that has been the norm in recent years. We did our spring yard cleaning in March this year instead of April. It feels as if climate change is here. If the only change were milder temperatures and nothing else, it would be a good thing. Unfortunately, climate change may have disastrous effects, especially if you live close to the ocean.

On January 23, we had a Federal election, and we elected a minority Conservative government. At the time, I was disappointed because they are so right wing and a little scary. I am starting to warm up to our new leader, Stephen Harper, though. I didn’t like them revisiting the same sex marriage issue because I felt it should be left alone. Gays should be allowed the same rights as everyone else, including marriage. That issue is now behind us because it was voted down in Parliament. I don’t like the growing influence of religion in politics or the way the Conservatives treated Garth Turner. I also don’t like our involvement in Afghanistan but I feel more confident in the honesty of this government. I think the Liberals were in power too long and became corrupt. I was also tired of having every Prime Minister come from Quebec or Ontario. I have always voted Liberal in Federal elections, but I am open minded, so I will give Mr. Harper a chance before I decide who I will vote for in the next election. I never thought I would say that.

On April 2, Halifax held the Juno Music Awards and we went to the Junos Red Carpet Show. We saw my favourite singer, Michael Buble, and Nickleback, Coldplay, The Black Eyed Peas, Buck 65 and many other celebrities and personalities. The weather in the weeks before April 2 was warm and sunny, and the weather in the weeks after April 2 was warm and sunny. On April 2, it was cool and rainy, and we waited almost seven hours outside and almost froze. I would have gone home earlier, but I wanted to see Michael Buble. My brother joined us in retirement in April, and like us, he loves it.

During the summer, we spent most of our time at our summer cottage with our dogs, and the weather was great, as it was during the fall, and so far during this winter.

I hope that 2007 is as good year for everyone, and that we have many more of them.