Dale Says

October 10, 2008

On my birthday 2008

Filed under: On My Birthday — Dale @ 10:09 am

April 24, 2008

On my birthday, I’m 57 years old.

This has been another good year! I’m enjoying having more time for family and friends, travel, volunteer work, and pursuing my second career as a freelance writer and editor.

It’s now been more than four years since I left the corporate world and my life is very full and rewarding. Patty and I fill our free time with volunteer activities, travel, and trips to see our family and friends and I continue to volunteer for SCIP (writing, speaking, serving on the Education Committee), and have joined the board of directors of the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center.

We continue to travel for adventure and to see family and friends. We’ve been to Chappell several times the past year and I enjoy the trips and get a good deal of satisfaction from being with my parents. 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 well. I’m proud of each of my brothers and sister’s efforts to go to Chappell to help Mom out.

We also go to Stillwater regularly and we’re making progress changing the house there into a second home for Allan, Patty, and me. We have friends we see each time we are in Stillwater and we bought bikes and ride whenever the weather permits.

And we’ve had some more terrific adventure trips over the past year, too! In May, we went to New York for the SCIP conference, and to Illinois to see Beck Diefenbach graduate from college. In July, we traveled to Oregon and filmed the Wilson family history. We spent time in Drakesbad in August and had a wonderful two-week trip to Chile and Argentina in November.

We’ve had lots of visitors, too, including the Zielinski’s (June), Linda and John Henry (August), Julie Wilson (September), John and Beth Spence (October) and Alan and Mary Chappel (November and December).

We were part of the Victorian Alliance House Tour in October, which involved more than 600 people touring our house.

I continue to be involved in the Dashiell Hammet Society of Studs, which is a social organization consisting of five studly friends (Lee Tyree, Geoff Noakes, Bill Diefenbach, Ken Monk and me). We get together for dinner every quarter, tell lies, and have a lot of fun. My job is to write minutes for those meetings, which are posted to the website (www.dhsos.com).

My career as a writer and editor is progressing slowly, but surely. I continue to write a regular column for SCIP, and have had success getting profiles and travel articles published. I took an advanced writing class and have focused my writing on travel, history, and profiles. I’m also doing more query letters now, rather than writing articles and then trying to sell them.

I’ve also realized that documentary videos, while fun to produce, are very costly, and I’ve reduced the number I produce each year to one or two. In the place of videos, I’ve taken on more editing jobs and consulting work, which earns money and keeps me focused.

I still have my office three blocks from home and I get a great sense of achievement each day from walking there and working on my writing, editing, and consulting jobs.

My health is generally good. In February I had a total knee replacement, which went well and has given me a good deal of pain relief. The surgery was a big deal and the recovery was a challenge, but now, three months later, I’m better off than I was before the surgery and have less pain. I’m walking without pain and without a limp, riding my bicycle, and have a little more flexion than I had before the surgery.

All in all, life at age 57 is good. I feel like I’ve been blessed with good fortune, a wonderful mate, and a terrific opportunity.

In the news, the biggest stories the past year have been the continuing the Iraq war, which has been going on for more than five years, and the U.S. presidential election, which is one of the most interesting in my lifetime. At this point, John McCain has wrapped up the Republican nomination, but the Democratic race is a very tight contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Imagine that – an African-American and a woman reunning neck-and-neck for the presidential nomination!

The Iraq war continues to be a horribly bloody, complex, expensive mess and there’s no end in sight. It’s now taking thousands of lives each month (including over 4,000 U.S. lives to date), is costing more than $10 billion per month, and has divided the U.S. population. It will take many years for us to recover from the expense and divisiveness it has cost.

The U.S. economy has slowed considerably and most economists think we are now in a recession. The main cause is a major mortgage crisis, caused by marginal variable mortgage loans that have increased as interest rates went up. Thousands of people have lost their homes, walked away from their loans, and given up. Banks and other businesses related to the mortgage industry are turning in huge losses each quarter, and we don’t yet seemed to have reached the bottom. The president and congress developed a tax “refund” that will involve mailing checks to most U.S. consumers – in an effort to stimulate the economy.

The price of oil has reached an all-time high ($120 per barrel yesterday) and it is causing a tremendous ramp-up of gasoline prices, which is affecting the cost of most everything. Gasoline is now selling for around $4.00 per gallon, and the cost of nearly everything is going up as a result.

Last year’s birthday story said “hi-tech is back, the stock market is hot, and Barry Bonds is about to break the all-time home run record.” Things are a little different this year, as the stock market is down, prices are up, and Barry Bonds is gone. But, like last year, life is good!

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