Dale Says

October 9, 2008

On my birthday 2007

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 11:29 am

April 24, 2007

On my birthday, I’m 56 years old.

This year I spent my birthday in Oregon with my sister Anne and her family. We had a great time with Anne, Buzz, and Ian, including a crab feed in Depoe Bay, a yacht club party in Newport, a visit with the Zielinski’s, and a day trip to Fort Stevens and Astoria. It was a wonderful way to spend my birthday!

All in all, things are going very well. I’m enjoying having more time for volunteer work, travel and family; getting along well in my second career as a writer and editor; and experiencing generally good health.

My life still feels very full because Patty and I fill our free time with volunteer activities, travel, and trips to see our family and friends. Patty is immersed in many activities that help friends and groups; including the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center (Tel-Hi), PEO, Theta, Metropolitan Club, and numerous friends and relatives that are incapacitated or under the weather. I continue to volunteer for SCIP (writing, speaking, serving on the Annual Conference Program Committee, and heading the Education Committee), and contribute to Project Open Hand, Friends of the Elderly, and Tel-Hi. This year, I will also begin serving on the Board of Tel-Hi, which I am looking forward to.

We continue to travel to family events and for adventure. I’ve been to Chappell at least six times the past year to see my Dad and help my Mom adjust to living alone. I enjoy the trips, and get a good deal of satisfaction from being with my parents and in Chappell. My Dad’s Parkinsons is very advanced and his quality of life is greatly reduced, but he is not in pain and he receives very good and kind help from the staff at Chappell’s nursing home. Mom’s heath has improved greatly since Dad checked into the nursing home and she is doing remarkably well. I’m proud of each of my brothers and sister’s efforts to help them.

We also go to Stillwater regularly, and are making progress changing the house there into a second home for Allan, Patty, and me. Stillwater is a nice town to visit and we have many friends there. And the family home is a tremendous source of comfort for Allan and Patty.

And we’ve had some more terrific adventure trips over the past year, too! Last October, Patty and I joined Kevin, Julia and family and friends for a wonderful week at a villa in Tuscany to celebrate Julia’s 50th birthday. We had a magical time exploring the hill towns of central Italy, and enjoying the fabulous food there. Patty, Allan, Cousin Tom and I then found our way to the Loire Valley and rode bikes for a week through the fabulous vineyards, castles, and villages in that central France region.

In March, we spent two weeks exploring Australia with the Tyrees and Diefenbachs. We stayed for four days in Sydney with Alan and Mary Chappel, then rented cars and drove north to Brisbane, exploring the coast, bush, and wildlife along the way. We climbed the Harbour Bridge, explored the Blue Mountains, rode an overnight train, and spent four fabulous days on Hamilton Island near the Great Barrier Reef. It was a trip to remember!

My career as a writer and editor is progressing slowly but surely. I continue to write regularly for SCIP, and last year I had several profiles and travel articles published. I have realized, however, that this is not the way to becoming a successful writer, and that I need to make an adjustment. I have signed up for an advanced writing class and may explore a book proposal over the next year. Meanwhile, I am focusing in American history as a genre for my article writing.

I’ve also realized that documentary videos, while fun to produce, are very costly at this point, and I’ve reduced the number I plan to do this year to one or two. In the place of videos, I’ve taken on more editing jobs, which earn money and keep me focused on proper writing techniques.

I’ve rented an office just three blocks from our house and I get a great sense of achievement each day from walking there and working on my writing and editing. It’s exactly what I dreamed of for so many years!

My health is generally good. At 56 I feel good and can do most anything I could do at 40 – though with a bit more pain. My right knee gives me fits, and I’ve been on a waiting list for cartilage replacement surgery for six months now. My bad knee causes me to limp, which has caused intermittent hip and back problems over the past couple of years. I’m trying to manage it with stretching and massage therapy, and I generally feel pretty good.

All in all, life at age 56 is good. I feel like I’ve been blessed with good fortune, a wonderful mate, and a terrific opportunity.

In the news, the big story of the year continues to be the Iraq war, which has been going on for more than four years. The U.S. is hopelessly mired in a conflict it can’t win, and they feel they can’t get out of. President Bush recently called up 21,000 more troops to stabilize Baghdad and surrounding communities. The Democrats have now taken control of the Senate and House and they are trying to force Bush and Co. to set a schedule to bring the troops home from Iraq, which he is resisting. The stated reason for invading Iraq has been refuted, and the country is now hopelessly mired in a civil war, yet for some reason Bush insists on maintaining more than 125,000 troops there, at an annual cost of more than $125 billion.

The U.S. economy is slowing, after a tremendous run-up, based on corporate earnings and speculation of continued growth. The housing market is down, however, and the auto, airline, and financial services industries are slumping. A recession is ahead; the question is how bad it will be.

The run-up to the 2008 election is underway. This will be an interesting election, as it will be the first in many years in which a sitting president or vice president will not be running. Top Democratic candidates include Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards; top Republicans are John McCain, Rudolph Giuliani, and Mitt Romney.

A terrible event occurred last week when a student at Virginia Tech University shot and killed 32 people and himself in an unexplained mass killing. The carnage and stupidity have left all of us depressed and sad.

Boris Yeltsin died today. He was the bear-like peasant who defended democracy in the Soviet Union during a Soviet coup and went on to become the first leader in Russian history to be democratically elected. On the same day, David Halberstam, an award-winning journalist and author died south of San Francisco in an auto accident.

Hi-tech is back, the stock market is hot, and Barry Bonds is about to break the all-time home run record. Life is good!

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