It's sounding so cliché: We’ve had a busy year… but
it’s TRUE! If it were not, then all I would have to say would be, "Merry
Christmas from our house to yours.” I'd have to buy paper with a
bigger motif ;-)
The kids are all busy with their lives. Angela graduated from BU with
her Bachelor of Nursing in May. She is working full-time at Rideau Personal
Care Facility. Ja-On's Therapeutic Massage business continues to grow,
and he's in the midst of a five-year training program in osteopathy.
Soulin is 12, nearly taller than Grandma. He’s enrolled in a French immersion
school, at Ecole Harrison. He was busy this summer playing football. This
fall, he followed the family tradition of joining the Air Cadets. In October,
this little family moved into their first house. It's a totally renovated
older home, cozy and perfect for three or more ;-) They will be hosting
their first Christmas Eve dinner with the Hillman and Patton families.
Robin, Jen, and Oriyen have really settled into their house in Winnipeg.
Robin, Web Developer with Tactica, worked on David Suzuki's Ocean series
website. From this website, Tactica, was nominated for a Gemini! Win or
not, they went out and celebrated! : ) Jen has her day care well
established and enjoys the work looking after several kiddies. Oriyen is
5, and busy, busy, busy. Along with school, she's taking dancing, but enjoying
it more than Robin did at this age. LOL! Along with their two cats and
Keifer the Great Pyr/Akita, their house bustles with activity.
China graduated with her Degree
in Medicine in May. She can now put M.D. after her name! We were
so proud to go into Winnipeg for her big day. It's been a long journey
but she did it -- with honours and awards. China was accepted into the
Radiology residency at Winnipeg Health Sciences. She's been working in
different hospitals in various rotations. We are pleased to have her patients
actually tracking us down to comment on what a wonderful doctor she is.
: ) Ryan continues to work as Software Architect at PeaceWorks
and takes over at the helm whenever his boss is away. DIY continues at
their house, but they always seem to find time to come home. Ryan,
the eclectic chef has been busy bagging his deer, birds, rabbits, etc.
and butchering, curing, and keeping their freezer full. It's not unusual
for me to open MY freezer and find some forgotten bunny pelts!
The Webmaster himself has weathered another health issue this fall.
Bill was away for a seven-week radiation treatment for prostate cancer
in Winnipeg. He drove himself in Monday mornings and home after his treatment
on Fridays. He had a room at Lennox Bell Lodge, adjacent to the hospital.
His last "zapp" was November 25, so he's home to stay now. So far, side
effects are minimal and we're hopeful the results in February will be excellent.
He didn't miss a step while away as he had his laptop, TV, and DVD viewer.
The only problem was the food as he doesn’t cook anything more than toast.
(But, he did a tremendous job setting up the catering for the Lieutenant
Governor at this year's WinterFest!) However, we were able to package
up meals that he could "finish up" in the microwave. He continues to be
master of the web, and everyday, hundreds of emails bring new adventures
for creativity for him. And of course he's still jammin’ rock and blues
with his music buddies Thursday evenings at Ken Daniels' Cantina.
Music brought us back into contact with friends from our early years.
This past summer, we performed at the Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature.
We were part of a special Shakin'
All Over exhibit on Music in Manitoba. As well as performing
at the Museum we played arena dances for many homecoming celebrations in
communities such as McCreary
and my old hometown of Newdale.
It was great to see people who danced to our music over the last five decades,
and those who grew up with us. We haven’t changed a bit!
This summer took us to Chicago for the annual Edgar
Rice Burroughs Bibliophiles Convention. We went a couple of days early
and spent some time in Chinatown and at the Field Museum, just in time
for Sue's 100th anniversary -- Sue being the Tyrannosaurus Rex on display
there. It's always fun to meet up with old friends and make new ones. Three
of the guys got together and had a blues jam at the Thursday evening BBQ.
Friday evening found a group of us riding the L-train to Kingston
Mines Blues Club on Halsted Street to listen and dance to the blues
bands. It was a fun night, including the people watching on the train!
After Chicago, Bill and I headed off towards St. George, Utah -- the
farthest southwest corner of the state. Enroute, we visited some of the
shooting locations for the up-coming 2012 blockbuster Disney movie – "John
Carter of Mars," based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars
novel from 1911. The scenery in Utah is incredible -- so many unusual landforms
that are familiar in hundreds of westerns, commercials (Mallboro cigarettes),
etc. In Utah, we were guests of Tuacahn's Red Rock Cliffs Amphitheatre
for "Tarzan, the Musical". It is a beautiful natural amphitheatre, and
we were given a personal tour of the backstage area. This production is
so different from the previous three premieres we attended (Broadway, Holland
and Hamburg). Being outdoors provided for some ingenuity for the producers,
but it was incredible. The warm evening breeze really added to the whole
ambience of the show. James Royce Edwards is by far the most physically
perfect Tarzan to date. We were able to meet up with the main actors
after the show. Their greetings were exuberant as they had seen Bill's
website and coverage of the show. The producer also invited us to attend
the premiere of the alternate-night's production: The Gershwin musical,
"Crazy for You".
After Tuacahan, we drove around Zane
Grey country and Zion National Park, another amazing display of landforms
created by nature. Salt Lake City, the Mormon Tabernacle was on our way
home, so it was added to our list of religious buildings visited, along
with Scientology, Creationists, Ba’Hai. They were all "interesting"
places to visit. Our final stop was Pocatello, Idaho, the location for
the 2011 Burroughs Convention. It was a brief stop as there wasn't much
ERB material currently on display. We warned them about the gathering next
summer, and they must bring out all the relevant material before then!
2010 started with quite a scare for this writer: stress-related cardiomyopathy,
or in layman terms - broken-heart syndrome. This was the result of
some very hectic months of multi-tasking. At the beginning of February
was the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Festival. This year was particularly
important as the government of Manitoba just appointed the first Chinese
Lieutenant Governor. As a result, our Chinese
Pavilion did double duty by hosting the opening ceremonies at Brandon
City Hall for several hundred people. We provided all the dim sum items
as well as entertainment for that function. Simultaneously, we opened the
pavilion to hundreds more visitors at our mall venue. At the same time,
we were also catering evening meals to my 100 year-old Mother at Fairview
Personal Care Facility every evening. On top of that, I was teaching a
heavy load at Brandon University.
On February 18, my Mom passed away peacefully with her family beside
her. Then it was gathering the families from Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary,
and Winnipeg for a celebration of her life. Friends from our old hometowns,
Newdale and Strathclair, as well as local friends, relatives, and colleagues
joined us to listen to Mom’s
On March 1, the Westman Chinese Association sponsored and organized
a special acrobatic show from Sechuan province at the auditorium as part
of the Chinese New Year celebrations. March 2 was the day of "reckoning"
for me. I was at work and had heartburn, felt cold (both very unusual for
me), and a feeling of heaviness around my shoulders. I googled symptoms
for heart attack for women. Best get to the hospital! I called Bill and
did not give him time to say, "I’ll pick you up". I drove home and we went
to emergency. My blood pressure was sky high (another unusual for me),
so I was put into bed, wired and given nitro under the tongue, aspirins,
and blood tests. The rise in enzyme level confirmed "something was up".
They ran the whole gamut of tests, including the most-uncomfortable ambulance
ride (with Bill following behind in the car) to Winnipeg for the angiogram.
The end results were good -- no scarring on the heart and no blocked
arteries. I was lucky, and more so because I've not had to stay on any
meds after the first week at home. My last check-up had my BP and cholesterol
levels as perfect. I'm fit as a fiddle, but learning to slow down somewhat
;-) I am still teaching at BU but really enjoying our long Christmas
As I complete our year in review, beautiful big snowflakes are drifting
down. We hope your Christmas is beautiful, with a bountiful table shared
with love with your families. We wish you all the best in 2011!
Love, Bill, Sue-On and Families
Hillman Family Xmas Online