Dale Says

April 27, 2016

On My Birthday 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dale @ 3:17 pm

April 24, 2016

On my birthday, I am 65 years old. I am now officially a senior citizen.

Patty asked me recently if I felt differently now than I did when I turned 60, and my reply was, ”No, not really.” I’ve been thinking about it since, and it’s true … physically, I don’t feel much different than I did five, or even ten years ago. I look different – less hair, a little grayer, and a few more wrinkles – but my weight is the same and I can still do everything I could five years ago. Mentally, I’m not as sure of myself now, and my eyesight and memory are a little worse. But that’s not too bad.

The past year has been a roller-coaster ride of emotions; highs and lows, ups and downs, and good times and sad times. The most notable example is a super-good 90th birthday party for my mother in October, followed by her death in March. Such happiness in October, and such sadness in March. My family is still recovering from and getting used to her being gone. Now the sad task of emptying her house and selling it will begin. And, for me, the trips to Chappell to take care of Dad and then Mom will stop. That has been a huge part of my life for more than a decade, and I will miss it. The loss has created an empty space in my life where I used to call her, think about her, and go see her, and that spot won’t be easy to fill. And not being able to go to and spend time in that house –where I grew up – will be very sad. So this, too, is part of getting older.

I enjoy this stage of life. My life with Patty is wonderful, and our circle of friends is supportive and kind. I have successfully organized my life into writing time, volunteering time, and Patty time, and I love the balance and variety of that. Mondays are when I spend time with Norman, getting him out to exercise, having lunch and talking with him, and enjoying each other. Fridays are for Tel-Hi and Ina, and I very much enjoy the sense of accomplishment that brings. Tuesday – Thursday are for office time and writing; including working on my book, organizing trips, and working on Ed’s estate. And weekends are Patty time, when we work on the house and garden and spend time together.

My book is done. I spent a year-and-a-half writing and re-writing it, and I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. I had John Milestone create illustrations for each of the stories, and they add a lot to the book. Julia Scannell designed the cover, which uses John’s illustrations. I would like to have a publisher print and distribute it, and so far I’ve sent it out to four publishers. I’m waiting to hear from them. It is designed as a gift book or coffee table book, and I think it will sell pretty well. Now, I’m eager to get on with it, so I can turn to another writing project.

Ed’s estate is nearing completion. It’s been a grind, primarily because he did not leave a will and everything has to run through probate, which really slows the process. And, since my mother was the beneficiary for some of the financial accounts, her death will further slow the process. I’m treating it like a part-time job – working on it a little each week.
We participated in the Noe Valley Garden Tour last June, which was a lot of fun. That weekend, we had over 200 people tour our garden, and we had John Milestone and other friends join us for it. It was a great experience, which we will repeat.

We continue to spend holidays and vacations with our gang of friends, and it continues to be a very meaningful part of our lives. One down-side is that Ruth’s health has deteriorated to the point that she was placed in a care facility last December, and she now has little reaction when we see her. Her family has rallied around Bill, who seems to be taking it all in stride, but it is a very sad situation.

We had two very good trips over the past year: Oregon with Ken and Vicki, and Greece with Anne and Buzz. The Greece trip involved sailing and cycling in the islands south of Greece and exploring the mainland, and it was terrific! Greece was having financial troubles while we were there, but there was little sign of it, as the people were upbeat, positive, and very friendly. We loved Greece and would like to go back to see more. We also spent our usual week at Drakesbad in August, where everyone got along well and most everything went well.

In the news, the world seems to be coming apart at the seams. Terrorism, uprisings, massive migration in the Middle East, and poverty in Africa and Asia are increasing global tensions and forecast more problems to come. The extremist group, ISIS, is still in charge of huge sections of Syria and Iraq, and their especially brutal methods of treating conquered people is deplorable and sickening. The western world is uniting to fight them and making some progress, but there is still a long way to go before this is over. And meanwhile, millions of displaced people, fleeing the terrorists, are migrating to western Europe, where they are not welcome. ISIS is behind mass murders the past year in Paris, California, and Belgium, and parts of the western world, including the US, live in fear of them.

The US economy is slow, but strong, and the stock market is up, unemployment is down, and most things are running pretty well. Obama has been an excellent President, and this is his last year. He is praised by Democrats, Wall Street, and most educated people, for steadying the economy and for working to bring peace to the world. But he is hated and criticized by right wing and under-educated people, and the Republicans and right-wing media tell their constituents that the US is in terrible shape, with everything going bad. Our country is being torn in half by the hateful rhetoric.

In the US, there is an element of the population who feel left out, disenchanted, and angry, and many of them have supported the presidential ambitions of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz – two worrisome extremist politicians. Both espouse nationalism, isolation, and racial and religious bigotry. It appears that Trump will be the nominee for the Republican Party, which will be disastrous for the Republicans and for the US. Hilary Clinton appears to be the nominee for the Democrats, so we will likely have our first female President. If that is the case, I forecast trouble from Trump supporters.

In sports, the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship last year and they set a record for most wins in a season this year. They are phenomenal, and the entire Bay Area has caught Warriors fever. The Giants had an off year, as did the 49ers. Maybe next year.

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