Archive for category Life

Points of agreement with Trump’s speech in Missouri

I had the news on this afternoon and Trump was stumping from Missouri. I had to think long and hard if I even wanted to listen but I decided to. Shockingly, I found myself agreeing in principle with a few of his points. Hard to believe, I know.

The general points of agreement were:

His views on NAFTA

Incentives for companies to keep jobs in the US

Tax Reform that benefits the Middle Class

Infrastructure Investment

Point by point:

  • NAFTA

NAFTA was a response to globalization which in large part was unavoidable. The US had to do something with our trading partners to level the playing field or else we weren’t going to have any trading partners. That was just reality. Trump calls it a raw deal for Americans. Indeed we have seen the “Giant sucking sound” of jobs heading overseas that Ross Perot warned us about in 1992. Most of it was probably unavoidable. That being said, I have no issue with a review of any trade deal that’s been made to see if it can be improved. Just because we have NAFTA in place now doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. I don’t agree with Trump’s use of threats to “throw the deal out” if he doesn’t get the concessions he’s after, but I think a review of it is a perfectly acceptable thing to consider.

  • Incentives for Companies to keep jobs in the US

US companies large and small benefit from shipping jobs overseas because of lower tax rates. The US has never been able to address this with any kind of worldwide taxation plan that eliminates the incentive. The fallout of this policy has been bad for the American worker. I agree it would be a good thing to review it and see what we can come up as a better solution to put incentives in the right places that benefit workers and not just corporations.

  • Tax reform that benefits the middle class

This one is a real head-scratcher because if you contrast what he talks about in his speeches with what is in his actual tax proposal, it doesn’t make any sense. In just listening to him talk about how the middle class needs some tax relief and how this would be beneficial, I find it hard to argue with that point. The devil is in the details and unfortunately, the details benefit the top 1%.

Elimination of the Estate tax benefits the super wealthy

Fewer tax brackets (7 to 3) by itself does not help or simplify the tax code which is 73,954 pages long

Lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 15% benefits corporations, not people

I will concede that a 35% corporate tax rate is high on a global scale and makes it difficult for US Corporations to be competitive, though there appear to be enough loop-holes such that the vast majority of corporations don’t pay anywhere near 35%. It’s a worthy discussion. Obama had some plausible ideas on the subject. A 19% bottom rate no matter where the income is earned. That idea didn’t get anywhere ostensibly because well, it came from Obama and McConnell was hell-bent on making him a one-term president.

  • Infrastructure Investment

This idea is long overdue. One would have thought that after the great recession of 2008, we’d have some new roads and bridges to brag about but alas the vast majority of the bailout money went to banks that were “too big to fail” and infrastructure investment took a back seat. Frankly I was surprised we didn’t implement the New Deal II and put people back to work in 2008 with infrastructure projects all around. It’s not like there’s a shortage of things that needs fixing.

Once again the idea is solid, but the details of Trump’s particular plan leave you grasping at how these particular bullet items have anything to do with improving our infrastructure. Case in point – the first item I saw used as a talking point on TV was that Trump was pursing “Privatization of the Air Traffic Control System” as an infrastructure project. Huh?

That’s a horrible idea on any scale.

  • Why it won’t work: It isn’t WYSIWYG

WYSIWYG – What you see is what you get.

The promises for example, on the ACA. These are direct quotes from the campaign trail:

Healthcare for everyone

Not cuts in Medicare

No one will lose their coverage

Nobody will be worse off financially

Everybody’s going to get taken care of

More promises on Tax Reform:

His plan would not increase the deficit

It would primarily benefit the middle class

The wealthy wouldn’t get much of a tax break

  • Why isn’t it WSYWIG?

The reason the average Trump voter isn’t going to get anything near what he promised on the campaign trail is because Trump delegated. He entrusted his colleague Paul Ryan and his co-horts with the details that, in the end, looked nothing like what he promised on the campaign trail.

The truth came out. 20 Million lose coverage. Huge cuts in Medicare. Huge increases in premiums for the elderly, in some cases 8x. No, everybody would not have been taken care of in this big, beautiful healthcare bill as he liked to call it. In the end there was no way to polish Ryan and McConnell’s turd. It was a tax cut for the the wealthy disguised as a healthcare replacement bill. Thank God for John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins.

What he failed to see was that he needed to set hard parameters for the crafters of the bill and say without hesitation that he would not sign it unless it met the parameters he outlined on the campaign trail. He didn’t do that. He entrusted Paul Ryan who said “I got this”.

That’s kind of like if your store is suffering from too many shoplifters, so you delegate the fix to John Gotti.

There’s a difference between what he says and what he does.

If we’re talking about what he says, I might be able to get on board with about 10% of the talk. If we’re talking about what he does, less than 1%.

So many abhorrent policies and behaviors for this Administration. Let me count the ways:

The Wall

Remove all undocumented immigrants

Deregulation

Muslim ban. Later rebranded as extreme vetting

Climate denial

Increasing military spending

Tarifs

Repeal of the ACA

Violations of the emoluments clause

Defund Planned Parenthood

Tax cuts for the top 1% – Ryan’s plan, not his own

Equivocating “both sides” of civil discourse when one of the sides was clearly white supremacists. The videos don’t lie.

LGBT rights

The blatant lies. All day, everyday

I’m about as far from a Trump supporter as you can get. But I should get some credit for keeping an open mind.

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Resistance and Patriotism

Given the snarky nature of my FaceBook and blog posts, I often get taken to task for ‘Rooting against America.’ I can see how some might interpret the words I’ve chosen as unpatriotic. The fact is though, there’s a method to the madness.

Good sportsmanship was high on the list of lessons my parents tried to teach. I seriously doubt that anyone who has played a board game or an athletic game with me since about 1970 would comment that I’m a poor sport. My hope is just the opposite. This is what makes it challenging to be an unapologetic part of the #resistance to the GOP agenda led by the most unethical President in the history of this great country. I write and say things that sound like sour grapes — like I’m a sore loser or something. If that’s the perception by a few, then I can live with that. I’d add that there’s more to what meets the eye though.

Few people have provided Americans with more inspiring quotes than Robert Kennedy. The one that rings true for me the most right now is:

The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country. –Robert Kennedy

At this point, I’ve given up on the ‘railing against the machine’ approach. Given the players in the clown-car and the predictability of the outcome, more often than not I simply share the enjoyment I receive watching the dysfunctional soap opera coming from the West Wing of the White House. Admittedly, I’ve been the recipient of an extremely high entertainment factor since November 8th.

Am I anti-patriotic for sitting back and enjoying the shit-show? On the contrary. The main reason is that the criticism is absolutely warranted and justified. One cannot be a champion for social justice by being complicit in today’s world events. Silence is acceptance.

Have you ever had to deal with someone who is struggling, wanted help, but you didn’t quite have their attention yet so your words fell on deaf ears? That’s how I feel about the state of the union today. We haven’t reached rock bottom yet and until we do, we won’t have the attention of the hard line GOPers who are still pedaling the myth of trickle down economics. I firmly believe it’ll take another financial crisis similar to 2008 or the great depression of the 1930s or — God forbid, an attack on the homeland before we have the attention of the GOP faithful.

So in the spirit of wanting what’s good for America, I’m rooting for us to reach rock bottom as soon as possible so that it can be turned around for good. At that point, the debates about Trickle Down, throwing people off HealthCare, increasing our obscene military budget, treating immigrants like terrorists, building walls, defunding public education, and ignoring ethics in the federal branch of government can come to an end. Once and for all. Rush won’t be able to peddle that crap. Hannity won’t get away with it, nor will Tucker Carlson. The debate will have ended and I see that as a necessary thing to have happen.

Call me unpatriotic if you want, sometimes things have to reach rock bottom before things can get better.
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Letting go of the Sauce

Today is July 8th, 2017 and I have made what I think will be a life changing decision for myself for the better.

This might come as a surprise to many, or maybe not. Maybe you could see it coming better than I could. I would not classify myself as an alcoholic, but I have progressed from light social drinker to heavy drinker in the past 5 years or so. I’ve decided it’s time to give it up.

I don’t expect much difficulty moving forward with this decision. I’m not someone who is tied to the sauce to the point where I would need to enter a rehab facility to get dry or anything like that. I’m just someone who has finally realized that it’s not in the best interests of my health to continue. There is a family history of addiction in my family, and I’ve noticed that in myself there are just some things that are difficult for me to moderate.

Diet soda was one for example. I haven’t consumed a diet soda in about 4 years, but when I did drink diet soda, I was an over the top consumer of it. I could easily go through a 12 pack of cans a day, or an 8 pack of the 20 oz. Pepsi bottles. Every day. I knew it was getting bad when I practically had to carry around a 2 liter container with me everywhere I went. I’d had this issue since childhood. When I became an adult and was responsible for buying my own groceries, there were just no limits. I was pretty conscious of my weight back then and I saw it as a way to try to stay full with zero calorie beverages and manage weight that way. Ironically what everyone eventually learns is that it stimulates cravings for sugar, which is the root problem anyway. So it makes it harder to manage weight, not easier. Having stressful jobs along the way doesn’t help either. The caffeine becomes necessary to work the hours required. Pretty soon you depend on it. I had given up diet soda probably 20? 30? times in my adult life and failed every single time, complete with massive headaches during the come-down phase where I became lethargic and pretty much useless for 2 days before my body adjusted. But eventually I prevailed in 2014 – knock on wood.

Wine/Beer is different. For the vast majority of the time I drank, I never felt the need to get drunk. That would usually happen if I was somewhere and having a good time and not thinking about the choices I was making and then all of the sudden it would catch up to me, but overall, pretty rare. I was usually good with a couple of beers or, a couple of classes of wine and that’s it. But lately, it’s been a half a bottle of wine per day. Or like last night, 4 beers because I was having a good time. I rarely woke up hungover. It did cause me to get sleepy early however, and I think it messes with my sleeping patterns, which is never helpful to one’s health.

After a pretty fun-filled week with a good combination of social events, and physical events (a challenging hike and a few really long walks), I began to feel like I’d overdone it. My clothes were getting tighter than usual. That’s usually a signal to me that something major is going to need to change pretty soon because that’s not sustainable. I was feeling uncomfortable from the moment I got out of bed and for the rest of the day. In the morning I read an article on CNN about how alcohol is the worst contributor to belly fat because it’s just all empty calories. It has no health benefit whatsoever and sure, if I could moderate a few drinks a week and work out more, I probably would not be writing this. But that’s not how it’s been working for me. A few drinks per week has turned into a few drinks per day. Not all the time, but more often than I should.

The CNN article was not news to me. I, like a lot of people had read that many times. I just conveniently forget about these things until some other factor comes into play and then it’s like, oh, right. Not such a good idea.

With 2 days of vacation left and feeling like I’d had a little too much fun for the week, I’d made the decision my Saturday was going to include a longer walk of about 5 miles or so. When walking long distances by myself, I get in my head as my wife likes to say, and thoughts start running deeper than normal. Having read the article on CNN just before I left, some what-if scenarios started going through my mind.

What if wine/beer is just like diet soda to me and I’ll never be able to moderate it? What if I just quit altogether — what would that look like? I started thinking of all the positive benefits that would result and the list started to get pretty long. After a short while, the answer just seemed pretty obvious. Do it. You’re 57. Your quality of life will improve noticeably if you take this step, based on the benefits that just came to mind.

These included things like weight loss — I’m positive it will result in some but it isn’t the only contributor to the extra flab, but certainly managing weight will become much, much simpler. Sleep patterns will improve. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to get up at 3am to go to the bathroom and then not be able to get back to sleep. I’d frequently lose 1, 2, even 3 hours of sleep because of this interruption (admittedly, my affection for Twitter doesn’t help in getting back to sleep either). More energy overall, and with that more likely that I’ll feel like getting some exercise and pursuing the hobbies I supposedly love, but haven’t felt like doing lately. Will look better and feel better. Not that I got completely drunk very often but never having to experience a hangover again is a definite plus. Not having to ever worry about a DUI is also something I’ve thought about. It will probably increase my life-span. I’m almost positive of it. I’ll save a ton of money. At this point I can’t think of a reason not to do it.

I did consider the downside of it. It will make some social situations a little more awkward. Right now a big part of our social life is centered around food, drink, and friends. But I think this change is manageable there. I probably won’t get invited to do any wine tours and those opportunities come up once in awhile living in the middle of wine country. Or if I do go, I’m not sure how I’ll contribute to the conversation much. Last but not least, I think it will be a bit of an adjustment for my wife Donna, but I’m hoping she’ll understand the upside and get behind the new me.

Another factor I almost forgot to mention is the overall ‘path to better health’ I have been supposedly been on since my stroke in 2014. Because it was determined that I had extremely high cholesterol, I/we have made some food changes for the better. We consume a lot of fish and chicken and a I don’t eat red meat. I try to stay away from dairy, especially cheese and eggs. I was a heavy consumer of dairy for a while there. You’d think such fundamental changes would result in a healthier Bill, but if you combine a set of positive changes with a big negative change – like an increase in alcohol intake, then you’ve just negated that hard word. And that’s exactly what I was doing. My path to better health includes some weight loss and more exercise. Weight loss is extremely difficult to accomplish if you consume as many empty calories as I was doing. It’s nearly impossible. Exercise is also more difficult if you’re a heavy drinker because the number of hours a day at your disposal for exercise is decreased. After 2-3 glasses of wine in the evening there’s no way I’m working out on the weights or getting some aerobic exercise. My day ends before I get the chance. And it’s not just the exercise. It’s the hobbies as well. Music, writing, building stuff. All things I really enjoy doing but I think alcohol is getting in the way of me doing more of these.

So I’ve made a pretty major decision today. It feels right. This isn’t one of those things you proclaim “okay, I’m going to try it for a while and see how it goes.” I think you have to either be all-in or else forget it. At least it’s that way for me. I’m not particularly good at moderating and probably never will be. It’s just part of my DNA that I have to accept. It sucks that I can’t handle it like other people can, but that’s life in the big city.

So here we go. I appreciate everyone’s understanding and support! It’s not an easy decision to come to, but there it is.

-Bill

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Patronizing Local Businesses

One of the things I struggle with in the modern world is who to patronize with the measly amount of dollars that I float back into the economy. I know, it’s not enough money to lose any sleep over, it’s the principle of the thing. I’m a recent subscriber to Amazon Prime and while I love the convenience of home delivery, it bothers me that I’m making the Amazon executives richer with every purchase. I’d really rather patronize a local business and help a family in my neighborhood, but sometimes the convenience of it all is just too tempting to pass up.

One of the things that I appreciate about my parents (both deceased now) is the example they set in this regard. We belonged to a local Parish in SE Portland, which in and of itself is a community of people who are like minded in certain ways. Mostly in religious beliefs, but also in things like child rearing, education, morality, and work ethic. Not 100% aligned, but to a large degree.

My parents patronized their fellow parishioners to a fault. They didn’t have a ton of money to follow this ideology. Dad was a teacher. Mom was a part time nurse. With 4 kids, there was, as Dad used to say, “A little extra month at the end of the money.” Nevertheless, they were extremely faithful at patronizing their fellow parishioners who owned local businesses. The gas was almost always gassed up at Pliska mobile on Division street. The weekly grocery shopping trip was always to Hebers, a very small privately owned grocery store on Stark — which also had a hardware store adjacent to it. The two stores were owned by brothers Ed and Fred which was a family business for decades until the larger chains forced them to sell. Make no mistake about it, the prices at Hebers were not favorable to what they could have purchased down the street at Fred Meyers. But they went there anyway.

When we needed a fence built, or something fixed in the basement, the local carpenter from the parish Chuck Higgins got the call. Every single time. Cost wasn’t every a primary consideration. It was the principle of the thing.

This thought process crossed into my consciousness this evening as we tried a new local pub for happy hour called Stickmen Brewing. We loved it! There are a few places around that are locally owned. Ancestry Brewing is one. Haydens Lakefront Grill is another. Anything but Applebees or Olive Garden please.

Donna and I typically give this issue some thought before we decide on where to spread our limited cash around and we try, but it’s getting harder. The big chain grocery stores like Safeway, Winco, Fred Meyers and New Seasons have pretty much obliterated businesses like Hebers. People call Geek Squad for technical help. I challenge you to find a TV repair shop. I found one in SE Portland a year or so ago and the crook still has my broken TV. We had a falling out over his atrocious communication skills.

This just makes me think of two things. First, I appreciate the example my parents set for me, though I was to blind to see it at the time. Second, I think it’ll be a sad world in front of us if all we are able to do is rotate between Costco, IKEA, Winco, Target and Wallmart for our personal shopping needs. We need to look out a little bit for each other.

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Keeping up with Technology

Those of us old enough to remember the musical progression of LPs, 45’s, 8 Track Tapes, Cassettes, Reel-to-reel, etc., I remember seeing a funny article a while ago where a guy who had converted his library of music from each of these formats to the ‘new’ format of the day, at considerable time and expense, claimed that “If they change it one more time I’m going to shoot someone.” At the time I thought it was funny because I had gone through the same thing and as a kid, was on a low-budget.  It was frustrating.
Next came CDs (yet another library upgrade. Okay, sure I’ll take all my cassettes and import to CD format using my 1980’s technology… probably about an hour per tape.  No problem.
For 10 years I’ve had a rather large case of CDs, some imported to iTunes, most not.  The stuff I had on my phone was a small library and getting old and stale.
iTunes playlists are a pretty cool way to organize things into libraries but first you have to get the music in there.  So for 10 years I’ve had this backlog item I’ve procrastinated on to import the worthy CDs we own into iTunes and make a legitimate library out of it.
Over the Christmas break I finally bit the bullet and over the better part of 4 days, imported several hundred CDs ( a few thousand songs ) into iTunes and organized the libraries.  Musical Nirvana!   And it’s even backed up on a separate Disk.
Next I ordered a Bluetooth receiver that will be able to connect into the overhead speakers in the house wiring and in a few days, we’ll be able to point and click our iPhones playlist at this wireless device and presto, your musical mood of the moment shall be granted.  Same thing with the car and its Bluetooth receiver.
If they change it again however, I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle it.  This better be the last format change!

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Happy New Year

I’d like to write a really upbeat blog post about the upcoming year, but I just don’t have it in me.  I am sorry.  Apologies ahead of time.

I suppose I can take some comfort in the fact that our system of government is by design a very slow change management system.  It’s nearly impossible to get changes pushed through (witness the last 6 years of Obama’s presidency).

It’s also true that the Executive branch gets too much credit and too much blame for what happens on his/her watch.  An example of this would be that Obama wanted to invest in infrastructure / jobs but the Senate Majority blocked him every step of the way, initially to ensure Obama was a “one term” president, and subsequently, out of spite, they wanted his record to be clear of anything that smacked of an accomplishment.  It worked.  Ironically, Trump now wants to invest 1 Trillion into infrastructure and the GOP is split as to how to move forward with this idea.

Even more interesting will be to see what happens with immigration.  Trump campaigned on the radical idea of deporting 12 million illegal immigrants and got support from the rust belt states who are still hurting from globalization / NAFTA.  The majority of people in this country want something constructive done and there are many options on the table from mass deportation to full amnesty.  But here’s a prophecy for you.  Nothing will get done during the next 4 years for the same reason nothing has gotten done for the last 30.  Both parties’ establishment wings benefit from illegal immigration.  Major corporations want the cheap labor.  Progressives want the votes.  For Trump to get his way, he’s have to flip the bird at major corporations and the cynic in me says that’s going to be difficult for him to get through.  Anyone heard anything about the ‘wall’ lately?

Maybe we’ll press on with the status quo for a period, but having lost the White House, Senate, House and soon, the Supreme Court, I suspect change is coming in spades.

Not all of it will be bad.  Should the welfare roles be reviewed every year for fraud?  Yes.  I have no problem with the idea of cutting wasteful spending.  I do however have a problem with blanket cuts or privatization of Social Security and Medicare that hurt Grandma.

Progressives including this writer are in fact guilty as charged of elitism.  I’m guilty of staying mostly in the debate realm on social media and not getting up off my arse to do anything constructive about it.  That will change in 2017.  It’s time to transition from elitist to activist.  On my to-do list is to dig up some sign materials, find the spray paint can and a few staples.

I’ve been watching the country split in half since Bush v. Gore.  I’m learning not to be surprised by the outcomes.  I seriously thought Gore waxed Bush in 3 consecutive debates but alas the voting population felt otherwise.  I was initially skeptical of Reagan’s “trickle down economics” plan and it didn’t take long for me to figure it out.  I remember very specifically getting an extra $35 in my paycheck in the early 1980’s.  Boy did I ever stimulate the Marysville, WA economy with that!   Meanwhile, Reagan’s cronies were ordering new yachts ( to his credit, the yacht building business did boom during those years ).

I was not a supporter of Reagan or Bush, but I didn’t loathe them.  Critical policy differences, yes.  Loathe, no.  Both displayed tolerance for all faiths, minorities, and generally tried to be inclusive as the leader of the free world.

Trump however, cannot seem to go a day without be-clowning himself on Twitter.  I mean, what President Elect in history has stooped to the level of pouring salt on the wounds of his rivals with a faux New Years wish?

So I enter 2017 with a glass half empty I’m afraid.  Just being honest here.  As a very young man in my early 20’s I had my first encounter with a Jehovah’s Witness which resulted in several deep conversations where I learned what they were all about.  In the end I said “No Thanks”, but not before learning much about Armageddon and the End of Times prophecies.  I’ll leave it to your imagination as to why I’m reminded about these events to start off 2017.  There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t wonder if the Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t perhaps right.

Finally, I’ve read several articles on the 7 deadly sins as they relate to the ego of Donald Trump and as an exercise, you can Google each of them next to the word Trump and fill up 100’s of pages of results.  Just for my own personal amusement, I’ve done that.

Happy New Year!

-Bill

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  1. Lust
    1.      This is my favorite, with Falwell.   playboy    unadjustednonraw_thumb_23ca
  2. Gluttony
    1. 120719055137-trump-international-course-golfing-full-169
  3.  Greed
    1. Trump’s Views on Greed
  4.  Sloth
    1. chemprtwkaex6or
  5.  Wrath
    1. 160331200050-trump-quote-11-super-169.jpg
  6. Envy:  No A-List Celebs at the Inauguration.  Gee, I wonder why?
    1. 49442915-cached
  7. Pride
    1. An astute article on Trump’s pride issue

 

 

 

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Adios 2016, don’t let the door…

Back in the mid 1980’s, an activist friend of mind Dave Aldrich sent out a memorable Christmas letter that was definitely one of a kind.  In this short missive he astutely pointed out about a dozen things that are just wrong in this world, covering the gamut from wasteful military spending, the oxymoron of compassionate conservatism, greedy politicians, abject poverty, the decline of unions and the middle class, and tax cuts for the wealthy.  It was a pithy list of gripes and then he simply signed it –“Merry Christmas.”

At the time I grinned and though to myself “must have had a bad day”, but the point of it all was and still is, complacency bothers him a great deal.  I still remember a quote from a letter a few years later where he pointed out that we worry about these issues after we’ve swept the garage, washed the SUV, and spent out days reading and writing e-mails. We rarely ponder our existence or question the status quo.  I remember thinking to myself ‘guilty as charged’.  I don’t, but I should.

With that in mind and in the spirit of Dave Aldrich, I offer this summary:  2016 blew.

Not to go completely negative on you, there were some good things that happened during the year which I’ll touch upon, but overall, Donna and I were just talking about the benefits of getting this year behind us.

First, the good stuff.  Our two grandkids Kaden and Karter are growing into fine young gentlemen.  We can’t say enough good things about them.  Both competitive game players, both silly, both good-natured, and fun to be around.  I was going to say that we’re lucky but the more I though about it, luck has nothing to do with it.  Good parents have everything to do with it.  Great job Kelli and Kyle.

Donna and I spent about a week in Chicago and did a deep dive of the city.  The entire trip was scheduled around a Cubs home stand so that we could make sure to take in trip to Wrigley, but we also took in some incredible Blues, Jazz, improv, museums, Navy Pier, and an evening boat tour.  The Cubs beat the Dodgers an a sunny Memorial Day weekend and we really enjoyed the atmosphere.  Having invested in a jersey for herself, Donna became an instant Cubs fan and was glued to the set during the very exciting World Series finish where the Cubs pulled of an extra inning nail biter vs. Cleveland.  She was on the edge of her seat.

This summer the house got painted.  It looks great but it’s a huge time sink to get it done even if you’re not the painter ( see low-lights below ).

In October we traveled to sunny Sacramento, California for the wedding of my cousin Mike Eady to his new bride Shelly. Lovely wedding and always good to catch up with extended family.  We spent some time checking out Sacramento as well and were impressed.

We’ve been doing a new monthly-ish dinner / social gathering with some great friends and neighbor’s and sharing a lot of laughs.  Included a relaxing weekend trip to Manzanita where we ate, drank, played games, and golfed ( yes Glenn, Donna golfed ).

I’ve battled through some challenging health issues and am starting to get my musical mojo back a little bit.  I have a few recordings out on soundcloud and youtube, none of which are that good, but all were a lot of fun to do.

Donna keeps a schedule that I can only marvel at.  When she gets free time at home, stuff’s a moving.  It’s a literal beehive of activity with art and gardening projects.  She’s the ideas person of the family.  I’m the implementor – at least when it comes to the heavy stuff.  In addition to all this she’s got an aging parent to take care of.  Middle age comes at you from all directions.  She’s not a complainer though, she’s a doer.  That’s what I love about her.  The calendar gets pretty full fast, but no matter what’s on there, she just rolls up her sleeves and gets it done.

And lastly, if you know her you’ll understand why this is news.  I beat my sister Patty twice during 2016 at Words with Friends.  That would fall under the category of ‘exceeding expectations’.

So there, I mixed i some positive things.  Now for the overall 2016 Summary:

                          Major Buzz-Kill

Think Planes, Trains and Automobiles where Steve Martin’s wife is anxiously waiting for him to get home to an impeccably prepared Thanksgiving feast at an upscale Chicago home, followed by what it took for him to get there.

Words cannot describe the disappointment of November 8th.  It’s a gut punch when you invest so much time following the news for a year and a half thinking “no way”, and then see your worst nightmare come true.  Trying to hold the family together during a time where close family members feel personally threatened by the incoming administration is a challenge.  It’s emotional.  I’ll leave it at that.

At times like these, I wonder if the Jehovah Witnesses aren’t right after all.  Maybe we are getting near the end of times.  I’m only half kidding.

On the plus side, I feel less of a need to chime in and criticize what the current Mob Boss-elect is under fire for.  He’s perfectly capable of making my point for me with his twitter machine.  I don’t have to say a word.  Just sit back and watch the entertainment, and entertaining it will be.

2016 brought on some medical challenges for me that I was determined to conquer.  The biggest one is anxiety.  I spent about a year and a half not being able to drive on freeways, which is limiting and an added stress on Donna.  But after seeing several specialists, I think I may be getting real close to a solution.  I’ve driven to Eugene a couple of times recently.  It’s not perfect but it’s on the upside.  I look forward to having a less full calendar year of doctor appointments minus the added expen$e and trying to sneak in all these appointments while maintaining a busy work schedule.

The Ducks were 4-8 and lost to the Beavers and both Washington schools.  It doesn’t get much worse than that.  And the Huskies put up 70 on the Ducks at home.  Now I have to be quiet for at least another year, maybe longer.

I’m in my 4th year at Cambia and speaking of rapid change, 4th manager.  No complaints about the new job — great people, love the work, but it’s a ball buster.  There are days when I envy Ward Cleaver grabbing his briefcase and heading off to a job where he doesn’t have to worry about being outsourced every quarter, does a bit of work from 9-5 and the comes home to his happy family.  Such is not the case ( except the happy family part ).

Our go-to friends, Wayne and Tricia Wischmann moved to Arizona in June.  We understand why, but it sucks when your social network gets disrupted.   We have such fond memories of time at Haydens listening to Tim and Jim with them, among other events.  We’re planning a trip to Tucson in the February time frame to catch up.  We miss them.

There was the passing of several icons from my generation in 2016.  Gene Wilder, Prince, Mohamed Ali, and George Kennedy to name a few.  Seems like every time we turned around another one bit the dust.

Pickles spent the night in the ER ( that was more expensive than my trip to the ER ) with a really bad infection but is better now.  We were really worried about her but she made it.

So in the spirit of Dave Aldrich, this years missive just tells it like it is.  And it is what it is.

Merry Christmas!

( And bring on 2017, please ).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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