Norman Rockwell painting it was not, but not as bad as 2008. This year I felt that I had more positive experiences while other situations got bad or worse.
I'll get the worse out of the way first. It was tough trying to be Mr. Polite while my step father was allowed to be present for my sister's wedding. Although I was very happy for my sister and new addition to our family, it was hard not to cause a scene and step out of the illusion called "best behavior." Things are settling down in that area as long as my mom follows my sister's guidelines on getting her new start in life, living independently free from manipulation.
Another bad aspect of 2009 was the announcement that my good friend from work was diagnosed with stage IV A metastatic bone cancer. Everybody I've ever seen or heard does not escape this stage of cancer. He's still working (for his own reasons) and so I get to see him decline in every stage of the disease. He has confided in me regarding his treatment, thoughts, concerns, all the while keeping a unemotional expression on my face. He appreciates this since he needs someone he can talk to who doesn't cry or get teary eyed when he talks about his condition. He's lost 35 lbs, and can no longer walk upright without the assistance of a cane. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about him and wonder about his well being. I've gotten to know his wife too. This is something that makes it worse because now I have a face to his wife and child (6). He and I also talk about almost everything, really enjoy each others company, yet I know that there will come a day when he will be gone, and I will have forgotten something cool to share with him.
Now he's just received news that's the worst imaginable. I'm not at liberty to discuss but if you use your imagination, I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out. What bugs me the most is that he's a firm non believer. He's grown up all his life around Christian and Catholic private schools all his life. Although he's very knowledgeable about scripture, he still chooses to not believe. There's no changing his mind, especially with the news of his illness. I hope with every one's prayers and knowledge of prayers being given, he'll give his life over before he passes.
Another friend lost his hearing due to a work related accident. After being plagued with bad luck between loosing his brother to brain cancer, and having his wife battle issues with allergic airborne reactions, he has irreversable severe tinnitus (hyperacusis)which would keep him up at night due to the insane ringing in his ears. Another long time musician, he is no longer able to play guitar let alone listen to any kind of music at all. He's having to try (or about to try) various forms of white noise and pink noise treatments in order to help retrain his brain to get used to the ringing so that he can get used to the ringing. Again, feeling like I have nothing to offer as far as comforting words since I can't even imagine what he's going through. And like with my other friend, I feel that a lack of words is even worse than empty words.
And now onto the positives. After a long time waiting for new x-ray equipment, I finally went digital this year. This means no more chemical processing of images, it's all done on the computer, my friend. It's made my life so much easier now. We are still doing the same amount of workload at half the time, thanks to the direct capture machine. You place your hand on a sensor and within 2 seconds, the image appears on my computer monitor. The image is then sent to a database where all physicians and radiologists can view in almost the same amount of time it takes to make the image.
Times when I've dreaded summer, turned out that this one was really nice. After loosing about 25 lbs, it was fun to get out and do things with my family. We got to stay a few weeks at the beach and share that time with friends who came down and spent a day or two with us. I was sort of sad that summer left. Usually I can't wait until summer is over, just to escape the heat.
My hand pain disappeared for some odd reason this fall. With the new fingers I decided to join another band and only keep it at one. I'll probably start up with Worship band in 2010.
This winter, I got to experience snow again. I have not been around a snow storm since I was a kid. We took a week and traveled up north, met up with some friends and stayed a week at their second home in Lake Tahoe. The girls got to see snow fall which they can't remember the last time since they were very young then. I really miss the snow, although I don't think I'd be able to deal with it when I had to be at work a certain time. The highest temperatures it's been has been around 65, usually it's been about mid 70's to low 80's but then drops to about 40 degrees at night. This week it's been about 36 degrees for the low.
So I've just finished Christmas and ended the year with my band playing at an outdoor festival, full of Christmas lights, ice skating, and hot chocolate. It was a fun show. I'm now left with a good feeling and so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to reflect on my dwindling 2009 year.
While chores and 50% off after Christmas sales await me, I'm left with the question, was this my Norman Rockwell year? I guess if I count my blessing of what I have, whether that be known or unknown, I could be close. Hopefully closer in 2010. I won't be free and clear of certain obstacles but at least closer.