Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 In Review

It seems like everyone is calling 2016 the worst year ever, for various reasons, so I'd like to present my view.

Starting at the beginning, at the end of the year previous, on Halloween day, we broke down and adopted a new dog. Suspiciously similar to our last one, Skye, she was a Siberian Husky, of the black and white "felty" furred variety, also named Skye. The only physical difference is two blue eyes instead of one, and about 5 lbs greater in size and strength. In personality, she has similarities, friendly with both people and other dogs, a stubborn streak, a desire to walk and run, but some major differences. She is much "mouthier" barking to get things, like food, walks, and attention both from people and dogs. She is a runner and can't be left off the leash in an unfenced area, most particularly the beach. As dogs will, she has made a big change in our life. Leaving the house is sometimes problematic; you have to plan more. But most of all, she demands (and I do mean demands) a big exercise event each day, either a long walk, or a visit to the dog park. Our choice. One result is that I have unexpectedly lost about 10 lbs this years, despite no better attention to my diet.

For 65, I think I'm in reasonable health. Sure, I have some achy joints, but nothing life altering. I can walk, fish, garden, and get out as much as I would like. Between gym exercise 3 days a week, and walking Skye, I'm probably as strong and fit as I have ever been, but that's never been an especially high bar. My eyes continue to be a problem; the "leaky" left eye (vitreous hemorrhage) remains unsettled. I think it still leaks a little once in a while; I see more little spots that are the shadows of blood cells on the retina, but nothing like the torrent from earlier in the year. The retina Dr. thinks I'm wrong, but can't find a source. The other eye is now ready, as defined by insurance, for cataract surgery, but I just got new glasses to keep that at bay a little longer. Maybe another year, maybe not.

Georgia continues her long battle with what can only be described as chronic fatigue syndrome, only because nothing striking can be found physically. There have been a lot of hints, many conflicting, but little actual progress. She still tires early in the day, but can't sleep. Many treatments have been tried, but none have produce more than a hint of success. We keep hoping to find the magic bullet, but it continues to elude us. It's extremely frustrating.

Of course, there's the family story. Our first grandson, Graham Robert, was born to our son Alex his wife Kelly on Jan. 24, 2016. We've been able to see him several times, but not as often we'd like. We hear he started walking a few hours after we left on our last visit. We should see him again on his birthday later in Jan.

2016 will also be memorable as the year my mother, Mary Elizabeth passed on. But first, the whole family, my parents, my brothers and their while families, and both my sons and their families, got together for a family reunion. There was never one as complete before, and cannot be again.

It was less than a month afterwards that mother suffered a fall, a blood clot, and the decline which lead to her death. We had to travel back to California to help with the arrangements. Father, almost as old, continues on without her, still living in their house in Murphys with the help of my brother Ted and his family, and a housekeeper.

Alex and Kelly seem to be doing well in their work; Alex at his studio/music store. U Rock Music Center in McMurry, PA, and Kelly at her corporate job.

The year is also also notable for the late return of our prodigal (for more reasons than one) son, Corwin, who asked if he could come home from his years of wandering in the wilderness this Christmas. We said yes, and picked him up from the bus station just before Christmas, even though we were fresh out of fatted calf. He is home now, and working at job and trying to put his life back together again. We're holding our breathes.

So, did you hear there was an election in the United States this year?  A Republican with a libertarian streak, my preferred candidates did not win the nomination. Well, with 14 candidates, it was unlikely all along. I was not pro-Trump, but I was never never-Trump. At least now Hillary will never be President. For better or worst, next year should be interesting politically.

And I hear a few celebrities died. Well, that's the way it goes. Celebrities are just people. They may be better known than the rest of us, but for the most part they are not better people, do not have better lives or live healthier lives. They arise from the populace slowly, by dint of newsworthy activities in music, politics, entertainment or sports, like trees growing in the forest. They are only notable in when they fall, and only because there are people there to hear and pay attention. A new crop is growing all the time.

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