New Year’s eve, and as good a time as any to review the past year and the past decade, the first of the twenty-first century. In the past we would have been at a New Year’s eve party celebrating until midnight with champagne and silver hats & masks. The young no longer do that as they seem to be mired in domesticity. We started the decade on a cruise from San Pedro to the Mexican ports and the laid-on entertainment of specialists. We were fearful of the turn-of-the-century computer bug that never transpired. Kind of like the global warming fear that has consumed unintelligent debate of the past ten years.
Tonight the kids are thus disposed; the youngest grand-daughter is watching 9, slated for Oscar accolades according to some, but a movie that struck me as formulaic and silly. The grandson is playing a game on PlayStation 2—I cannot master the games or even begin to understand the rules. We will have to wait until summer for the older grandsons to come and teach us how. They seem to do it by instinct. None of them was born at the beginning of this decade and now there are seven with the announcement of number eight to come next year. I have thus passed in the past ten years from a middle-aged, married man, to a bachelor grandfather of many grandkids who is trying to learn to play PlayStation games. I do not include in this total the three older grandchildren who came via marriage and this year’s divorce. They are older, the oldest being a turbulent fifteen-year old. But they regard me as a grandfather and I regard them as grandkids, but what can I do to save them the agonies of growing up? Nothing, for they have to find their own way in these modern times just as we had to find our way in times now so far in the past that they are but a distant memory.
Somewhere in the middle of the decade, I decided to retire and to relocate to Vancouver to a house that I bought in the early 1980s and which was paid for. I did this to get more free time to spend with the grandkids. I recall with some pride that I have spent many happy days, weeks and months with them as they grow and have realized that they are people in their own right and intent on their own benefit even if it does not coincide with mine. But I have forged new relationships and made new friends with these new people who are so different and yet so much like me and their other three grandparents with all their warts and scars and strange responses to ordinary situations.
The first five years of the past decade were spent on landfills which are much like the big mining geowaste facilities, tailings impoundments, waste rock dumps, and heap leach pads. Also spent time on earthquake damage to houses in Los Angeles. Earned good money and had much professional fun. But then it was time to change. Thus back into the expanding market of mining consulting which has brought some interesting projects and notable successes. Thus we move into the new year and new decade trying to float a cover out over an oil sands tailings pond. More on that to come.
We learnt to dance: West Coast Swing and Night Club Two Step, Waltz and Tango and all those other dances where in a few short minutes you can gauge the character of your dancing partner. We got back to riding bicycles in earnest–not to reduce a carbon foot-print, but simply to revel in the visceral joy of motion. Much like dancing. We have watched many operas and thrilled to the music and emotions. We have watched many a movie and loved the new animations most of all. We have read and read and cannot even begin to comment on all the great new writing we have enjoyed. perhaps the best have been the P D James murder novels and Alexander McCall Smith and his tales of Botswana. But also too Steven Pinker and his writings about language. We have tried to brush up our Italian and even now are part way through Talk Dirty Italian. We have learnt to fold origami mostly paper planes and monsters and dragons for the boys to use with their dungeons and dragons and other games. Along the way we made some erotic origami and thrilled various dinner parties and engaged couples.
So it has been a good ten years, and we wonder about the next ten which will surely make us a lot older at a faster pace then ever before. Thus to you and to you and to all: a bright New Year and a Happy New Decade. And successful and profitable mining.