Dale Says

September 29, 2008

Riding out the financial crisis

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Dale @ 9:10 pm

September 29, 2008

I was in a mildly bad mood all afternoon today after I heard about the House voting against the Federal Government’s proposed bailout program. The Bush Administration wanted Congress to approve spending at least $700 billion to buy bad loans (many of them home mortgages) from the country’s financial institutions, which are failing. Wachovia (#4) went down today, bought at a fire-sale price by Citigroup, which itself is on unsteady legs. Washington Mutual was taken over the past weekend by the Feds (the largest single bank failure in the country’s history), and Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, Freddie Mack, and Fanny Mae went down or were bought out earlier. Unfortunately, it looks like there are more on the horizon.

So the Bush Administration came up with a plan for the U.S. Government to bail out financial institutions by buying their bad debt. Today, the House voted against that proposal, so there’s no plan and the markets are running for cover. The U.S stock market had its worst day ever and the Dow Jones Industrials dropped nearly 800 points.

I had a slight headache when I got home, and I wasn’t in the mood to hear any more about the economy on TV or the radio, so I put on “The Best of Van Morrison.” By the time “Have I Told You Lately (That I Love You)” came on I was feeling better, and I actually got up and danced to “Moondance.”

Things will get better.

September 28, 2008

J.T. Snow Retires as a Giant

Filed under: Profile — Dale @ 3:05 pm

It was great to see J. T. Snow back in a Giants uniform last night, even if it was short-lived. The #6 jersey still looked good on him, and he handled groundballs as smoothly as ever.

J.T., who signed a one-day contract with the Giants, was listed in the starting lineup and he led the Giants onto the field and warmed up with the infielders. The other infielders (Eugenio Vélez, Omar Vizquel, and Rich Aurilia) threw balls in the dirt to mess with him, but Snow caught them all. Then when Matt Cain completed his warm-up pitches, Travis Ishikawa ran onto the field to replace Snow. J.T. hugged each of the Giants infielders and Matt Cain, then walked off the field to a standing ovasion. His brief appearance allowed him to retire as a Giant.

Snow retired from baseball at the end of the 2006 season. He has been doing radio broadcasts with the San Francisco Giants the past two years, and he is also an advisor to Brian Sabean and a roving minor league instructor for the Giants.

September 26, 2008

On my birthday 2002

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 11:08 pm

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 2002 …

April 24, 2002

On my birthday I’m 51 years old.

Fifty-one is an interesting age. By this time there’s no denying you are middle-aged, but some of the advantages of that status have yet to appear. At this age friends and relatives tend to be kinder as they acknowledge your birthday because they’ve already been there, or because they feel sorry for you.

It seems like the ’90s were a long time ago. It’s only been two years, but it seems like more, and each day of the past year has been a little more intense. Last year (2001) was not going well when things went from bad to worse as four airplanes were hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and our lives were changed forever. We are all suspects now, because no one can be trusted.

A month after the attacks Patty and I went to New York City, because Mayor Guiliani asked us to. We didn’t want to spend money on anniversary gifts for each other after so many had lost so much so we donated to 9/11 relief funds and then spent our anniversary in NYC. It was an amazing, memorable trip. We watched the city grieve, and then begin to heal. The people of New York were incredibly friendly, and strangers thanked us for traveling to their city. We toured Ground Zero, where the rubble was still smoking; and firemen, police, and volunteers from all walks of life worked around the clock to clear the remains. Security was tight everywhere we went.

We walked through Grand Central Station and stood at the memorials and read the missing person notices on bulletin boards. The stories seemed so personal from that distance. We walked through Central Park where the trees were in color and explored the east side of Manhattan. We went to the Chrysler Building and the top of the Empire State Building and down Park Avenue, where American flags waved from businesses and homes. We saw two excellent plays (42nd Street and The Women) and had wonderful meals at sparcely-populated New York City restaurants. It was an emotional experience and we felt fortunate to witness the strength and determination of the people of New York.

A month later Patty lost her job at Visa. Technically, she was re-organized out of a job, which is a common way for U.S. companies to replace employees now, and she was “let go” with benefits and a nice severance package. But it was grossly mishandled and it really hurt Patty. She told her Dad and brother at Thanksgiving and they were their usual supportive selves. She is now turning into Mrs. “Super Volunteer,” and is being asked to serve on an assortment of non-profit boards and committees. I’m proud of the way she’s handling this adjustment and enjoy watching her blossom into another version of her mother.

Despite our work and family commitments we took several terrific trips over the past year. We went to Mexico in May after Patty won a stay in a private home in Mazatlan. We joined more than 100 other Fehringers in Nebraska in July for a family reunion, and spent a good deal of time with Patty’s Dad in Oklahoma.

We attended our fourth Olympics in Salt Lake City, joining friends to fight through extremely tight security and winter blizzards to see a wonderful Opening Ceremony and peaceful Winter Games.

In the news, the U.S. and its allies invaded Afghanistan shortly after the terrorist attacks. The goal was to root out and destroy the Islamic extremists who were behind the 9/11 attacks. The head of that group (which is called Al Quaeda) is a man named Osama bin Laden, the middle-aged son of a wealthy Saudi family. He has been hiding in Afghanistan where the Taliban gives him protection, and the objective is get in, get him and his cronies, and get back out, so we will avoid the quagmire the Russians faced a few years ago.

Economically, the past year was the Year of the Dot.Com’ers, many of whom crashed and burned along with their start-up Internet companies. The “New Economy” turned out to be the Old Economy in t-shirts, and those who didn’t have a sound business model are now gone.

The Catholic Church is facing a major scandal over widespread reports of pedophile by its priests. Headlines, lawsuits, and settlements are the order of the day, and it’s likely to be with us for awhile.

The past year has not been a good one for much of the world, but at 163 Jersey Street I’m satisfied with most parts of my life. In general, things here are going very well.

September 25, 2008

On my birthday 2001

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 4:02 pm

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 2001 …

April 24, 2001

On my birthday I’m 50 years old.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, which makes it even better to be home from work and celebrating my birthday! And it’s not just any birthday … today I’m 50 years old! Patty’s Mom always said “life begins at 50″ but I think she said that about 40 and 60, too. But her point is to make life begin at whatever age you are, rather than waiting for a later age to start things.

This is the year I will start a new life. It will be surrounded by a wonderful and loving wife and by very dear families and friends. Patty has had an extremely hard year and she has suffered immensely. She misses her mother and hurts from watching what it has done to her father. She is determined, however, to carry on where her mother left off, and that is what is allowing her to get through each day. She continues to be very busy with the clubs she participates in and the charities she is involved with and those activities help her avoid thinking about her mother. She has been very sweet to her father, to Allan, and to me. She helped me through knee surgery in January and was a loving and compassionate nurse. She was in a low-grade depression for some time after the loss of ther mother, but she seems to be pulling out of it and is blossoming into the next generation of her mother. It’s a wonderful thing to watch!

As of today I’m eligible to take early retirement from Visa. That’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time and hope to accomplish in the next few years. My goal is to become a free-lance writer, and I’ve been working on that in my spare time for a few years now.

During the past year two people who were very special to me passed away and their absence has had a great effect on me. Patty’s mother lost her battle with cancer last fall. She had a type of cancer that was treatable, but after completing several chemotheraphy treatments she didn’t recover from the last one. Her death was devastating to everyone who knew her. Ines was one of those very rare people who was completely giving and was loved by everyone she knew. Patty’s family received hundreds of notes from friends and relatives after her death, and nearly everone told about the “special” relatonship they had with her. I miss her every day and am lost without her.

Jackie Cooper, who worked with me at Visa, died suddenly of meningitis a few weeks ago. Jackie, who was only 58, was one of those special, giving, caring, and happy people. She made the most of every aspect of her life, and she always had time and energy to care for others.

I admired Ines and Jackie and I miss them. I will try to take some consolation from having known them and I will try to learn from them. From Ines I would like to always see the good in every thing that happens. From Jackie, I will try to always have a sparkle in my eyes, to let the world know that I’m enjoying life.

This has been another very busy year. Last year we went to Oklahoma each month to help Patty’s dad take care of her mother, and to help keep up their house and garden. Between those trips, we went to Oregon to see Anne and her family, to Colorado for a ski trip, a long weekend in Sonoma, to Drakesbad, to Nebraska for a family reunion, a trip to Branson, Missouri with Paul and Allan McCrary, and a two-week trip to Australia, where we saw the Olympics and the Great Barrier Reef.

Our families are well, although all parents are showing signs of their age. Dad McCrary was in the hospital during Easter. At 86, his mind is still very sharp, but as he says, his body is getting tired. My Dad lost most of the sight in one eye to macular degeneration, and he has the problem in his other eye. He is also beginning to ramble during conversations, and has some short-term memory loss. My Mom is doing well and is very active. She just won three ribbons for her watercolor paintings, and is going to enter one in a state art show.

Sister Anne is less that a month away from her two-year anniversary of completing cancer treatments. She is very excited about getting past that milestone, as her doctor told her that 80% of those who get cancer again get it within two years of the end of treatment. She looks and feels great, and her experience has given her a more relaxed, purposeful outlook on life.

In the news, this was the year of the contested presidential election. After a very close (and very long) campaign, Al Gore and George Bush went into Election Day in a dead heat. Following a long day of election returns it all came down to the popular vote in Florida, which had enough electoral votes to turn the election one way or the other. Then began a series of recounts and lawsuits that lasted a month. During that time the country was pretty much at a standstill and more than a little embarrassed in front of the rest of the world. Bush prevailed in a very contested mess, and he took office with a group of his father’s cronies, and with the U.S. economy easing into a recession.

The Internet has proven to be one of the technical marvels of our time. It’s most significant contribution has been a quicker, less expensive way to communicate, and a good share of person-to-person communications is being shifted to it. Businesses are learning that it allows them another way to communicate with existing and potential customers, although it does not replace the other ways. Start-up businesses, hoping to capitalize from this new technology, are learning that it really is necessary to make a profit, and that a new idea doesn’t pay the bills. Many of them have gone out of business and many of the rest are wrestling with how to increase revenues. Security, privacy, and receiving and returning goods are problems that await solutions.

The world’s economies are struggling. Japan has never recovered from its slowdown, and Europe’s economies are growing, but the European Community is slow getting started. Much of the developing world is battening down the hatches, preparing to be affected by the slowing U.S. economy.

California is in the midst of an energy crises. The state de-regulated its wholesale energy market last year, but maintained regulation of the retail distributors. So the wholesalers have overcharged the regulated energy company, which hasn’t been able to pass along the costs to consumers. PG&E declared bankruptcy last month, and we are all nervously awaiting the results. We have had rolling energy blackouts the past few months and will likely have more this summer.

Last year was the subway series in baseball between the New York Mets and New York Yankees. The Yankees won.

September 18, 2008

Connor Gillaspie’s First Big League Hit

Filed under: Colorful Characters, Profile — Dale @ 12:36 pm

Connor Gillaspie, who may well be part of the Giant’s future at third base, got his first major league hit Tuesday night against the Diamondbacks. He’s now one-for-three, with the prospect of getting a little more time at third and a few more at-bats yet this season. My guess is his first hit felt really good, and I hope it’s the first of many for this scrappy young third baseman.

Connor was born in Omaha July 18, 1987. That makes him 21 years and 63 days old (I have shoes older than that), and he told the SF Chronicle that he “just went through puberty two or three years ago.” Connor was a star in high school, then chose Wichita State (instead of Nebraska) as his college — a fact the fans in Nebraska are still lamenting. He had an excellent senior year (.419 batting average and 11 home runs in 60 games) and led the Shockers to the College World Series his senior year. The Giants drafted him as the 37th overall pick in the supplemental round earlier this year and after a couple of months of negotiating with the Giants he signed a contract and was sent to play for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. He was playing well there when he was called up to the big leagues earlier this month for a little exposure.

So is Gillaspie ready to be the Giant’s next third baseman? Probably not. He’s still got a lot to learn and needs to prove he can play at a minor league level. But he’s got a good attitude (he says he doesn’t expect favors and doesn’t expect people to do things for him) and he’s likely going to be another piece of the future for the Giants. Even if he spends all of 2009 in the minor leagues, he would still be just 23 in 2010 and would have a lot of years left to help the Giants.

September 16, 2008

On my birthday 2000

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 2:50 pm

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 2000 …

April 24, 2000

On my birthday I’m 49 years old.

Yesterday was Easter Sunday and we had a wonderful Easter egg hunt and dinner! It was a gorgeous sunny day and we had a very full house, including my parents. It’s very special to be able to share Easter at our house each year with our friends and families.

The past year has been a very special one, with many highs and a few lows. In the former, the new millenium dawned with much fanfare and few problems. The long-feared Y2K turned out to be a fizzle, either because it was overstated or because so many people worked so hard to avoid the predicted problems. We celebrated the new year at a black tie party at Julius’ Castle in San Francisco, and it was a wonderful evening! The entire town was out celebrating, and we had one of the best views of all. Patty’s parents joined us, as did most of our friends and families. It was one of the best nights ever!

Unfortunately, Patty’s Mom was ill that night. She didn’t let it keep her from going to the party, but we could tell she wasn’t feeling well. The next day Patty and her Dad took Ines to the hospital and a few days later they flew home. She has since been diagonized with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. We are going to Stillwater regularly to help Patty’s Dad take care of her.

We’ve had several excellent trips the past year including Oregon, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, Drakesbad, Colorado, and Santa Barbara. I attended my 30th high school reunion in Chappell in August (how did 30 years pass so quickly)?

A new baseball stadium opened in San Francisco in April. We were there at Opening Day and it was a special day in a very special new ballpark. We’ve had our Giants season tickets for many years, and now we are going to enjoy going to baseball games even more.

In the news, the 2000 presidential primaries are underway. Stressing “compassionate conservatism,” George W. Bush has emerged as the Republican frontrunner, and Vice President Al Gore is the Democratic favorite. The absence of big issues in these prosperous times have created a frivolous, celebrity-laden side show featuring the likes of Warren Beatty and Donald Trump.

The four days of air strikes against Iraq in Dec. 1998, an international P.R. disaster for the U.S. and Britain, were followed by a low-profile war of attrition in which hundreds of almost daily bombings have been directed against Iraqi targets within the no-fly zones. Although the air strikes continued throughout the year, the press all but ignored them, particularly during the Kosovo crisis. In that latter conflict, the U.S. and Britain took the lead in NATO’s war on Belgrade, a war the American public cautiously embraced.

In etertainment, American Beauty, The Cider House Rules, The Green Mile, and The Sixth Sense have been the hottest movies. Leading actors include Russell Crowe, Richard Farnsworth, Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, and Denzel Washington; leading actresses include Annette Bening, Janet McTeer, Julianne Moore, Meryl Streep, and Hilary Swank.

On my birthday 1999

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 2:13 pm

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 1999 …

April 24, 1999

On my birthday I’m 48 years old.

This was a great birthday! I’m happy with what I’m doing and even happier that I know what I want to do next.

I want to write for a living. It’s something I like to do (and am reasonably good at) and I’ve concluded that when I’m done with the corporate world I will do it full time. I’ve started doing a little freelance work on the side, and have found that I really enjoy writing.

I realize how very fortunate I am to have a wonderful family and friends and a beautiful and loving wife. And our little house is so cozy! The fireplace has made such a difference! This year we intend to get started on turning the room over the garage into a guest room.

And for now I’m pleased with what I’m doing at work. I waited a long time and worked very hard to get to do what I’m doing now. I’m running a small group called Market Intelligence that includes competitive intelligence, market research, and the corporate library and I’ve got a terrific staff to help. At this stage, I really enjoy working with employees, helping them learn and grow.

But I’ve also come to realize that I don’t want to do it forever. My work takes more of me than I want to give to it. Over the past year I’ve spent a significant amount of time travelling for work, keeping very long hours, and adjusting to the continually revolving door of re-structuring and management and policy changes.

The past year has been a busy one for me personally, too. Patty’s Dad has been in the hospital a couple of times, and while he’s OK now, he’s weak from his illnesses. And Anne found out in December that she has breast cancer. That has been a blow to all of us, which has been lessened somewhat by the courageous way she has dealt with it. She’s about done with chemotheray and will go right into radiation treatments.

Our big trip this past year was a bike tour down the Danube River, from Vienna to Budapest. It was a wonderful tour that we will remember the rest of our lives. We saw storks and heard co-koo birds, spent time with Eva’s family in Slovakia, and explored Budapest and Prague, which are now among our favorite cities. After the bike ride, we took Eurail to Prague then crossed Switzerland on the Glacier Express.

We spent a lot of time with friends this year, including Christmas in Stillwater with the Struthers, Boldings, Patty’s college friends, and Diggs in Duncan. Our Easter Party has several special guests, including Mari and Martin and Mari’s little Mommy. We kept our gourmet dinner club going with Kevin and Julia, and enjoyed several outings with our special group of friends, including Drakesbad, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.

In the news the past year was bittersweet for the world. Most people were struck by the death of Princess Diana in an auto accident. We watched the funeral on television (in the middle of the night) and closely followed the investigation. She was beloved by so many people!

The U.S. economy is enjoying a prolonged period of prosperity, but a sizeable portion of the world is still lving in economic resession. Several Asian economies and Russia are still in pretty bad economic shape, but signs of improvement are showing. Businesses all over the world are consolidating; including oil and telecommunications companies, retail stores, and banks.

Use of the Internet is commonplace in the U.S. and most homes now have a personal computer. The Internet is used mostly for email, but electronic shopping is growing.

People are still killing each other in the Middle East and Ireland, and the U.S. is bombing Yogoslavia and Iraq. And just last week two high school students in Littleton, Colorado show and killed 24 of their classmates and a teacher at Columbine High School.

President Clinton got caught with his pants down, then lied about it on national TV. His mistress, Monica Lewinski, said he did it and she had the soiled dress to prove it. So we went through an impeachment trial that threatened to tear the country apart. Fortunately, the Senate didn’t vote to impeach him, so he got away with cheating and lying. But Hillary will probably punish him enough to make him wish he hadn’t done either.

Several European countries have united to form the European Union, and they have a new unified currency called the euro.

The sports star this past year was Mark McGuire, who smashed Babe Ruth and Roger Maris’ home run records. He wound up with 70, and Sammy Sosa ended with 66.

September 15, 2008

On my birthday 1997

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 4:07 pm

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 1997 …

April 24, 1997

On my birthday I’m 46 years old.

The past winter was the wettest ever in California. There were floods and mud slides and several houses in Pacifica slid over the edge and into the Pacific Ocean. El Nino is the culprit and is now getting blamed for everything that goes wrong. Fortunately, we haven’t had any serious damage from the storms. At one point, the skylight in my bathroom was dripping on my head as I was shaving in the morning, but that didn’t last long. Overall, our place came out of it in good shape.

Our little house is looking good! Over the past year we built a cabinet in the living room to house our new fireplace, and it puts a wonderful finishing touch on the room. We love our fireplace and used it nearly every night this past winter.

Patty and I had another wonderful year together! She continues to give and give and is so full of life. She doesn’t want to miss out on anything, and I get to see a lot by going along. We are also fortunate to have two fabulous families and lots of great friends. Patty’s family has taken me in, and her Dad told us that he thinks of me as part of the family. That’s quite an honor!

We’ve done so much the past year: attending the Summer Olympics last July in Atlanta, a cycling tour through Holland, a trip to the winter ice carnival in Quebec, boating in Oklahoma, brother John’s wedding, Drakesbad, and Christmas with both families.

The Holland bike trip was the best yet! I loved walking through Amsterdam and the tulips were incredible. They seemed even more vibrant from our bicycles and at times they were in full bloom on both sides of the road. We made new friends on the tour and hope to stay in touch with them. And Kukenhoff Gardens were all they were billed to be.

In the news, last month 39 people were found dead at Rancho Santa Fe, California, in a carefully orchestrated group suicide. The Heaven’s Gate cult was made up of Web developers who used their site to recruit new members. They believed that the comet Hale-Bopp was being trailed by a spaceship that would transport them to a higher state of existence when they left their earthly bodies.

In U.S. politics, Bob Dole and Jack Kemp were nominated last August as the Republicans’ choice for president and vice president, and Bill Clinton and Al Gore were re-nominated as the Democratic choices. Clinton and Gore won the national election in November by a landslide, but the Republicans retained control of Congress.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana agreed to divorce last July, which had everyone talking and has the Queen and her family rather shaken.

Women continue to make great strides in all areas of society and business. Last December, President Clinton appointed Madeleine Albright as the first female U.S. secretary of state, and she seems to be doing a great job so far.

The best movies of the past year were The English Patient, Jerry Macguire, Fargo, Sling Blade, and Shine. Hottest actors/actresses were Tom Cruise, Ralph Fiennes, Frances McDormand, Billy Bob Thorton.

On my birthday 1996

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 11:00 am

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 1996 …

April 24, 1996

On my birthday I’m 45 years old.

I am so fortunate at this mid-point in my life to have a loving relationship, great family, terrific friends, a wonderful house, and a generally fabulous life. When I stop to think about how things could have turned out I realize how incredibly lucky I am. I gave myself to someone early in my life and that person let me down. For many years that disappointment and hurt kept me from opening myself to the possibility of loving again. But now I’ve taken another chance and it’s wonderful! Loving another person (especially someone like Patty) is incredible!

International travel has been one of the greatest surprises for me over the past several years, as each new country offers a new perspective on life. Over the past year I have had business trips to London, Scotland, Spain, Poland, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Patty and I travelled together to New Zealand (and hiked the Milford Trek), Rio de Janeiro, Ashland Oregon, and to Oklahoma and Nebraska to see our families.

We lost a good friend last year when Steve Watson died of AIDS on December 29. He was a talented and wonderful person and his death has created a huge void in our lives. We spent a lot of time with him the last few months and helped his family through his last Christmas and with the arrangements and estate. That has created a bond with his family, which is helping ease the pain of losing him and has helped speed up the grieving process. We also have a few pieces of his art and some of his furniture, which helps us feel as though he is still with us in a small way.

Patty’s Dad was very ill last summer, but he has managed to get back most of the strength he lost. He has been a real source of inspiration to me, as he had every reason to be upset at what has happended to him, but instead he is very positive and charging on.

In the news, there were several big murder trials this year. The O.J. Simpson trial dragged on for months and ended in the acquittal of an obviously guilty man. The Menendez brothers were tried for killing their parents; their first trial ended in a hung jury, but the second ended with guilty verdicts and life sentences. The trial of the Oklahoma City bombers (Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols) and Richard Allen Davis (who has admitted killing Polly Klaus) are just beginning.

The Internet is the hottest technology topic. A lot of people are buying personal computers and “surfing” the Net. Few people have figured out what to do when they get there, but the Internet is beginning to replace TV as a source of entertainment.

The U.S. presidential primaries wound up with Bill Clinton and Bob Dole winning; Clinton should win the election this fall unless he does something to screw it up.

After several years of mailing bombs to an assortment of people, they finally caught the Unabomber. He turned out to be a former U.C. math professor, living in a hermit’s shack in Montana.

The summer Olympics will be held in Atlanta this July. We plan to go, and we’re really looking forward to the experience.

Several legendary figures died over the past year including George Burns, Gene Kelly, Edmund Muskie, and Erma Bombeck. Ronald Reagan recently disclosed that he has altheimers.

The hottest movies the past year have been Dead Man Walking, Braveheart, Il Postino, and Babe. Popular TV shows include Friends, Seinfeld, ER, Murder One, and Chicago Hope.

September 12, 2008

On my birthday 1995

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 2:04 pm

For more than 20 years I’ve been writing summaries of what’s going on in my life and in the world around me on my birthday. Here’s an excerpt from 1995 …

April 24, 1995

On my birthday I’m 44 years old.

So here I am in my mid-40s! Over the past year, I’ve felt my impending age, more so than in previous years. Because of my knee problems I can’t do all of the things I used to be able to do, and it frustrates me. I guess the secret from here on is to concentrate on the good things in my life (a loving and tolerant wife, wonderful family, a terrific home), and to see how well I can deal with any limitations thrown my way.

Patty continues to be my source of comfort and sanity. She pushes me to be more and better, and encourages me through my rough periods. I’m very lucky to have found her.

My knee has stabilized over the past year, and I seem to be able to keep it that way if I concentrate on keeping it stretched. Having given up running and raquetball, I find I can still bicycle, cross-country ski, and hike.

Our house keeps getting better and better. Over the past year we added drapes in the living room (thanks to Patty’s mother), bought a hutch for the dining room, recovered the chair in the living room, and bought a new couch.

Molly, our calico kitty, is a great companion. She is very affectionate and seems to know when one of us needs a little comfort. She loves her house and spends a lot of time roaming in the garden.

We had several great trips this past year including hiking through Costa Rica, weekend trips to Seattle and Colorado, spring training in Pheonix, and a family reunion in Wickenburg, Arizona.

In the news, OJ simpson is suspected of killing his ex-wife and her friend last June. The trial is going on now and will likely continue for many months. It’s on TV every day and in the papers, and people are getting tired of it. Almost everyone thinks he did it, but few people think he will be convicted of it. His defense team (F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Johnny Cochran) are the best money can buy, and they are using police incompetence as a defense. The jury has already been sequestered for more than 100 days, and they have about had it. It’s starting to look like it will wind up as a hung jury or mistrial.

Last week someone put a bomb outside the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and blew off the front of the building. Around 200 people are dead and hundreds more are wounded. The entire country is furious, especially since there was a daycare center in the building and children are among the dead. On top of the bombing last year of the World Trade Center, this has everyone on edge.

The Republicans won a majority of seats in both houses of Congress last November. They have offered their “Covenant with America” and promised to make radical reforms. The lead Republicans are Newt Gingrich (Speaker of the House) and Bob Dole (Senate majority Whip). The tide in the U.S. has really turned conservative.

The U.S. dollar has fallen versus the Japanese yen and most European currencies. Initially a problem for the U.S., it has turned into an even bigger problem for the Japanese, because their exports are now more expensive in the U.S. Japan has has its share of other problems over the past year, as first a serious earthquake hit near Kobe, and then a terrorist group planted a gas bomb on the subway.

Radio talk shows are the rage now. Everyone has one, including Rush Limbaugh, Jennifer Jones, Donahue, etc.

The movie of the year was Forrest Gump; it won nine Academy Awards, including best picture, best actor, best director, etc.

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