Dale Says

October 6, 2008

On my birthday 2003

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 2:19 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 2003 …

April 24, 2003

On my birthday I’m 52 years old.

This stage of life seems to be filled with lots of ups and downs, highs and lows, joys and sadness. The past year has been very fulfilling, as I’ve traveled, built on my outside interests, achieved several personal goals, and spent time with family and friends.

We had a fabulous vacation in Ireland last July — bicycling and touring southern Ireland for two weeks. The weather was wonderful, the sights awesome, the people warm and welcoming, and the food surprisingly good. The bicycle tour far exceeded our expectations. We were with a group of mostly Americans of all ages, and a young Irish tour guide who added a good deal of history, culture, and fun. He took us on back roads to avoid traffic and by doing so we got to see more small towns and country roads. We stayed in bed-and-breakfasts, and the hostesses were charming and friendly.

During the second week, we drove across the southern coast of Ireland, with stops in Kinsale, Waterford, and eventually Dublin. While in Waterford, we spent a night with my third cousin, Phil Kennedy, who still lives on and farms the Lacy farm where my great-grandfather (Michael Lacy) was born and raised. We got to see the house where he was born, where he went to school, and where he sailed for America. Knowing where you came from is a powerful experience. Phil and his family are wonderful people, and it’s good to know you have nice relatives from way back.

We also spent time in Oklahoma with Patty’s Dad in February, May, and October and we visited Anne, Buzz, and Ian in Oregon in April. We did our usual trip to Drakesbad in August and had a wonderful tiime with our gang of friends. In September, we went to Cape Cod for four days and rode bicycles all over the Cape. We went to Colorado in October for John and Beth Spence’s wedding party, and spent a very snowy Christmas in Oklahoma with Patty’s Dad.

We went to Hawaii last November with Patty’s Dad, and had a great trip. Unfortunately, the last night there Paul fell and broke his arm. He spent a few days with us recovering, then Patty went to Oklahoma to help him. She was absolutely wonderful to him and I’m convinced without her help he would have had to move into a care facility.

The past year has also had its bleak times. Unfortunately, I’ve watched my father’s health go dramatically downhill. He has Parkinson’s, which has left him very bent over, slowed him down, and is taking away some of his short-term memory. He’s also lost most of his sight to macular degeneration and he can no longer read or drive, so his days are long and boring.

The U.S. got involved in another war this past year. After working with the U.N. for months to try to force Iraq to get rid of their outlawed weapons (now being called weapons of mass destruction) President Bush grew tired of negotiating and attacked Iraq with a massive arial and ground attack. Now, a month later, the U.S. controls Iraq and is trying to establish a democratic government. Meanwhile, more than 100 U.S. and British troops are dead, along with thousands of Iraquis.

My job situation has deteriorated over the past year. My boss, who I got along with, was fired in August. That was a blow, as no reason was given and it was devastating to her and demoralizing to me. Then in February my work group was transferred to another division, and I was assigned to work for a woman who is a control freak and who thinks the way I’ve designed my group is wrong. After two months, we are no closer to working out a compromise than we were the first day, so this looks like it is going to be a struggle. I no longer enjoy my job, and I no longer respect the people and company I work for.

Patty is flourishing in her retirement. She spends her time doing good things for herself and for those she loves. She is more involved in exercise, cooking, fund raising, her clubs, and her friends. She is setting a terrific example for me to follow when I am able to join her.

After procrastinating for several years, we finally re-modeled the room above the garage. Patty was in charge of the project, and she found, hired, and managed carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. It took six months and $50,000 and the end result is fantastic! We now have another bathroom, bedroom, and two additional closets.

At this age, I definately feel middle-aged. That is unsettling but not uncomfortable. I feel good about what I have accomplished to this point, but also feel there is a good deal more to accomplish. My priorities are right (relationship first, family and friends next) and that gives me a good deal of satisfaction. My goal for the next year is to sort out my work situation, write more, and be better to those I love. If I can do that, I will feel better about being middle-aged, and even better about myself.

All in all, life is very good at 52!

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