Good-bye 2014

Most people seem to take a look at their years in the rear view mirror and make a generally positive assessment of the calendar they just tossed in the waste basket and pledge to do even better.  2014, me, not so much.  The year sucked and I couldn’t be happier to see it gone.

There is the matter of my health, and the c-word and all the terrible feelings that go with it.  I’ve made myself a deal, and that is unless there is a big change I won’t write about cancer again.  Suffice it to say that I’m healthy and have no lingering physical effects. But there is this kind of shell-shock, a cancer PTSD that sort of hangs over me. Despite my best efforts to move past the illness, I don’t feel normal; I don’t feel like myself-happy, optimistic, forward-looking. I haven’t done a very good job of taking care of myself since my surgery and I need to do better with that, and there’s no better time than the beginning of a new year.

2014 was also the year we lost Lorri’s mom, Rita.  Rita struggled with her health since a massive heart attack in 1997, and though it wasn’t a shock we lost her, it was difficult to see her slip away. Rita had an out-sized personality, and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with her. But there’s no denying there is a huge hole in the family, and there is no filling it. Both Lorri’s parents died early, and she regularly refers to herself as an orphan.  I can only imagine how it will be when I have to face that.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that went well in 2014.  Our son, Patrick’s marriage legally ended about the same time he became involved with another woman.  We are very fond of her.  We love her transparency, that she wants to be part of the family and that she brims with kindness.  She is very supportive of Patrick’s designs on achieving notoriety as a musician, despite all of the sacrifice that entails. R. (I’ll refer to her as R. to protect her anonymity) also has a 12-year old daughter, A. A is also in our thoughts.  We don’t have a young one in our lives, and we’ve been able to give her no small part of our attention and affection. She’s smart and beautiful and we are very excited for news about her, and that she enjoys spending time with us.

I’ve also been recaptured by music with my summer indulgence in a 1978 Kenwood receiver.  Not a tube amp, rather a circuit board analog stereo.  I put it in my den, which is a very small room for the 40 watts per channel gem.  Together with the receiver, I also purchased, a pair of Polk Audio Monitor 4 Series 2 speaker.  Sounds like a lot, but it was less than $300 and the lot was perfect with my low end Numark turntable.  It was the stereo I wanted when I was 24, but it cost about 1/3 the price.  It really got me interested again in listening to vinyl and caused me no end of joy.  I’ll write more about this in a subsequent post. Music has always been one of my vices, together with books and wargaming, but I’m trying to be sensible about it all.

I look forward to a more positive and rewarding 2015.  There is so much potential in the months ahead if I can stay positive and healthy.  I have a wonderful wife and family who love me.  I have great friends and colleagues to spend time with.  Then there are those three great Aussie dogs that love me regardless of how grumpy, sleepy or fat I am.

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