Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

The title says it all. Away we go into another year. 2018 was a difficult year for us...I lost my stepmother (April 2nd), my Mom (June 2nd), and just lost my stepdad (Dec 23rd). It was a rather tough year on parents in our family. And my dad, while healthy, has the short term memory of a goldfish (dementia). Just saw him over the Christmas break, and WOW. How quickly the dementia has taken hold and really blocking pretty much ANY memory of recent events. And then he sees things on TV or hears things and then somehow creates a memory that involves him (he's had lunch w/ the President, got tons of money in the bank, stuff like that). It's very difficult for my brothers and I for sure. AND he's in an assisted living facility over 400 miles from me (probably ONLY about 22 mi for my big brother). So it's not like we can just zip on over if things get out of control.

But hey, enough on that. It IS the start of a New Year, and I'm hoping it's going to be a good one. I'm hoping my 401k comes back out of the gutter like many of you, and that Jeannie's Federal Worker furlough doesn't last too long. She's all upset about being furlough'd again...and I'm like "why can't I ever get furlough'd? It's a paid vacation for crying out loud!" (they do typically get paid for it eventually, so why worry about it? Too much work to do she says...and I say "it will still be sitting there when you go back, so why be upset about it?" I'd KILL for a furlough! (well, probably not REALLY...probably). And she is also pretty steamed at the pay cap you know who just signed for all Federal Workers for 2019...just another brick in the wall.

Oh well...it is what it is....I always say "if it's beyond your control, then it's wasted energy to worry about it".

So anyway, the New Year is upon us, and I have ONE LAST picture to post from this year (just took it on the night of the 30th...not sure how it happened, but Sophie AND Abbey were sitting on the couch and NOT running away! AMAZING!!


As of Jan 1st the Christmas lights will stay off and I will take everything down the following weekend most likely, and put them away in the attic for another year. This time of year (Post Holidays) always makes us sad....we both love the decorating and the lights and the entire atmosphere of the Holidays. There's just something about it (not to mention the extended vacation that I get every year, with the entire break between Xmas and New Years off! But I pay for that by NOT getting any of the minor holidays off, I only get Memorial day, the 4th, Labor day, T-day, and then the Holiday break). I think it's a good trade tho.

So I will now sign off on this final post of the year. Be safe, be happy, and enjoy every day as you never know what tomorrow will bring.

I figure there's no better wish for my friends and family to end the year with than the lyrics from Lee Ann Womack's song I hope you dance.

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger
May you never take one single breath for granted
God forbid love ever leave you empty handed
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance 
I hope you dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin'
Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin'
Don't let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter
When you come close to sellin' out, reconsider
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
Dance
I hope you dance 
I hope you dance (Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along)
I hope you dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)
I hope you dance (Where those years have gone?)
Dance (Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder?)
Dance (Where those years have gone?)
Wishing a blessed and VERY Happy New Year to the Asylum! 
Get out there and DANCE!

8 comments:

  1. HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR, MATT! :) :)

    Both of us should look forward, we deserve a good year! And I'm so sorry about your dad & all your losses this year. You are a strong individual to not let all the sadness overwhelm you. I admire you immensely.

    Did you have a good Christmas? Mine didn't turn out exactly as I envisioned but at least it was a LOT better than last year! I thought I'd be home on the farm (staying with my younger sister) for 2 days but I was actually there less than 24 hours. She's an RN & works nights & while she had off Xmas Eve, she had to work Xmas Night, so she was going to sleep until noon, then get ready & then leave for the hospital. My 2 nieces were going to be leaving in the morning to spend Xmas day with their dad so it didn't make much sense for me to stay there all my myself, so I drove back to my house early Xmas morning. HATED THAT as I was scared to death something would happen with the car & there would be no one (tow truck, etc) available! At least the weather was good.

    Hey, did you watch the NCG last night? I had planned on only checking in a bit as I assumed The Empire would rule once again but lo & behold, it was the Return of the Jedi! I began watching as the 2nd half started & watched the rest of the game in SHOCK! I've NEVER seen Alabama look so totally outclassed! STILL can't believe it! Maybe they'd gotten too complacent or cocky by beating everyone & hearing all the media fawn all over them but wow, did they ever play poorly! It's actually made me like CFB again! :)

    BTW, I love that song too. Always makes me a bit teary.

    Are you out there Rae & Barbara? Would LOVE to hear from you about your holidays. Hope they were fantastic. What are your plans for 2019?

    Hopefully, your 401-K has perked back up a bit the past week, Matt. My 401-k, Roth IRA & taxable stock investments all took MAJOR hits. I was telling someone the other week, it was like the Splash Mountain ride at Disney World - For most of the ride/year, we were just riding along, looking at the scenery & animatronics & then BAM, you shush down & get slopping wet! I've actually been expecting a correction for the past 3 YEARS but when it didn't happen, I figured some time in 2019 when The Sociopath gets IMPEACHED. I didn't expect it when it started, which of course was ALL the fault of that a****** & his INANE tariffs, which is basically just a SALES TAX ON US! I never used to worry about a correction or even major crash because I just figured I'd be buying more shares "on sale" but if you're less than 5 years from retirement (as I am now), you can't have as much as I do in stocks. I had PLANNED to move a chunk of my 401-K to a short-term bond fund until after a correction & was only about $75k away from the target total from which I would commence but BAM (just like Splash MT!), I got all wet! :) :)

    How do you have your investments divied up? What % in stock funds vs bonds/bond funds or cash savings?

    Ooh, gotta run. See you tomorrow! :)

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    1. Hey Susie, yes, we had a great Christmas (as always, too short tho...Tues eve when it's setting in that I go back to WORK on the 2nd is always depressing...almost like it never happened).

      Did NOT get to watch the game last night (Clemson/Bama). We are working nights all week...was at the flight line all night loading the C5 for our mission (we fly tonight to LAX). But one of the guys was checking the score and pretty much everybody was happy that Bama was getting WHIPPED!

      My 401k is about half in mutuals (defense) and the other half in Lockheed Martin stock. The market doesn't make any sense...my company's stock tanked w/ pretty much everything else, even tho we are killing it...reported higher than expected earnings, tons of new contracts, pretty much everything that you'd want, but the stock still dived. But as you say, I'm still buying low every payday, and when it comes back it will be fat-city (I have only 4 years I HOPE)...so we will see how long it takes to come back. I just don't look for a few weeks now...it is what it is, not changing it (can't sell anything now w/out truly taking the loss...so far it's just all on paper).

      And Rae, Barbara...hope all is well...haven't heard from you in a while.

      OK..also gotta scoot..errands to run before heading in for tonight's shift...busy busy busy!

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  2. Hello and happy new year to you both! I am praying for blessings for all of my friends and acquaintances in 2019!

    My Christmas was very quiet as has become my norm. Had my daughter and her latest flame over for dinner, which we all worked together on, played Christmas music and went for a walk to look at the neighborhood's decorations while we waited for things to finish in the oven. So it was a pleasant evening.

    Matt, my mother experienced a similar thing -- she was convinced that she had taught Kristi Yamaguchi how to dance among other, more believable things. Only later did we find that it was because she had had several tiny strokes -- cerebellar dementia from the strokes.

    Do I have any plans for this year? I signed up to run the Cap City half marathon which is in April, but if I don't get my behind up and training soon I will be walking most of it. I don't know where these doldrums have come from -- I always enjoyed training on the track or on my bike, plus some weights -- kept me from injury at work, too -- but this past 6 months to a year I have just gotten more and more sedentary (and putting on weight because of it). So that is my resolution, to try regain the enjoyment of fitness and actually DO it!

    I am right with you there, SusieB about the stock market. I've had substantial loss (on paper) but since I anticipate another couple of decades of life (multiple ancestors lived to 90, including both my parents) I try to not worry about it much. I've been expecting a big correction also and have kept my past 2 years of IRA contributions in short term because of it. Especially since that big bobble last spring. Still I waited to fully rebalance (for being already retired, according to common wisdom, my portfolio is too aggressive), except for a few exchanges within my tax sheltered accounts last year, until this year when I will have little taxable income and so little tax liability. So this week I did sit down with my investment firm's (T.RowePrice) computerized analysis and will be talking to one of their advisors Friday to firm up my plan for rebalancing. I do plan to transfer some of my IRA to my Roth IRA this year, too.

    When my dad's wife passed away, her estate went into a trust that was designated to be divided amongst myself, my 4 siblings and her daughter, with her daughter as trustee. Well she went to a firm to manage this account until everything was settled, and I have to say that I really think she was taken advantage of in that many of the purchased stocks and funds seemed to be chosen on the basis of the commission paid, on top of the 1% management fee. Some of the funds (high cost/high fees) that were purchased were, I think, inappropriate for a smallish estate, a couple are way out of my comfort zone, a couple of them were rather speculative -- in fact, one of them collapsed last spring and is a total loss ($10k to me). I had planned to dump it when I received the shares but hadn't gotten around to it in time! Too distracted by other things. So I will be unloading a lot of those.


    Matt, I remember the aftershocks of the "peace dividend" after the Soviet Union dissolved -- back in 1989-1990-- all the SoCal defense industries were affected, the housing market screeched to a halt -- seems there was a big dip in the stock market then too (proving Greenspan's comment about "irrational exuberance" correct). I hope that nothing like that happens again, but it could, and I wouldn't want to be so heavily invested in one segment of the economy.

    Time to make some dinner and to sit down with my DVR of the Tour Down Under! Whoo-hoo, racing in Australian summer comes at just the right time for me! I need to decide whether to spend $50 to subscribe to NBCSports Gold this year -- I think that I will. It is half price now for all the races until June, that will be money well spent, I think!

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    1. Hey Rae, glad to hear you're still out there. Hope you can hold to your resolution...maybe it's standard to retire with huge ideas and goals, only to have them slip away as you realize you don't really have to do ANYTHING. Or maybe that's just a phase, and then people do what you are: realize you're slipping and change your operating procedure to get back ON IT. In some ways I can't WAIT to retire, as I'd like to think I'd be out on a bike nearly every day...maybe the reality isn't that easy. I'll tell you in 4 (or so) years.

      Heading to Yuma this weekend for our moms "Celebration of Life" (FINALLY). My brothers will both be there, and they've both done a lot in preparation, of which I've done almost nothing (guilt). Anyway, I head out Saturday morning at about 4:30am, and won't be home until Sunday night, likely around midnight (UGH). I asked my boss for the morning off...don't see getting up at 4:15AM after going to bed so late (early?)

      We've been in the middle of winter storms the last 2 weeks or so, and I've about had enough...rain rain, go away, come back never! (cuz it's all about ME...the dirt roads and trails will take WEEKS to dry out after all this rain!) But hey, it could be SNOW if I lived someplace else...so I am thankful for that.

      OK....gotta go get dinner ready for me and the babies...Jeannie flew out this morning for West Palm Beach (Girls birthday party/trip)...she will fly back next Thursday, spend the night down at the Airport Marriot (LAX) and I have next Friday off, will drive down that morning and pick her up at her hotel and we move to the Marriott right next door to the Staples Center, as next Friday night is the Elton John concert (Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)! I can hardly wait...never seen Sir Elton before...and this will likely be my last chance as it's his (2nd, 34d?) retirement tour.

      OK...gotta scoot...babies are fussy. Later gaters! Stay warm and dry!

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  3. Staying warm is a bit of a challenge today since we are at our high for the day right now (9F) and everything is coated in ice from the rain-changing-to-sleet/snow and big temp drop last evening. Boy were the winds ever howling! And it is supposed to be even colder tomorrow! I am really glad I didn't have to go to work today! I remember a Christmas several years ago when we had an ice storm and I did have to go to work - out in the very cold, icy conditions chipping away at the ice in the driveway, knowing that I was going to be quite late, trying to not fall, power was out, and I thought I was seeing strange lightening all around -- but the flashes were electrical transformers exploding all across the neighborhood.
    Yeah, so a little mud -- just pretend you are racing cyclocross in Belgium!

    I hope you are in good shape there in Baltimore, SusieB.

    Enjoy Elton John, I have heard that he is always entertaining in concert. He is one that I have never seen either.

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    1. 9 degrees, BRRRRRR! (of course, I was that cold back in the Springs last year, but how quickly I forget). Wind and cold...my favorites...NOT! Gee, I can't hardly wait to move back to the east coast. Like the storm that rolled thru yesterday...more BRRRRR! Driving and just getting around in general SUCK in that kind of weather. Hope all is well out there Susie, and you're staying warm. I sure don't miss that weather. That's one good thing about out here...a bad day is a rain storm. We were down in the 30's last night, but a high forecast of 64 today, and getting warmer thru the weekend (low 70's). THAT'S what I'm talking about!! Winter in the 70's! Yeah, I'm really going to miss this weather...we've got it made in that regard.

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  4. OH...and my moms Celebration of Life (held on Sunday) in Yuma was great! Big Bro Greg MC'd it (he's really good in front of a crowd it turns out). Moms Red Hat Ladies really came thru and served root beer floats (we bought all the stuff) and had a nice display-board put up. We made 2 picture boards of memories, and had Moms Red Hat on the table. Little bro Dave made really nice program 'flyers' with the agenda. Mom was so active in plays, choir, and craft stuff that there were over 60 people from the various groups there to say goodbye. Dave read excerpts from Moms 'life story' she wrote years ago, I entertained the crowd with stories about growing up in our house, and the last was her friends telling bits and stories of their own, lots of nice memories. One thing that we learned (obvious now) is that while we were raised by her, after we left the next the next phase of her life was with these people, and they knew her better (in that respect) than we did! We heard lots of things we never knew. It was EXTREMELY nerve-wracking putting it all together, but it went off really great and I think she would have been proud. Greg and Dave did almost all the organizing btw. They were real troopers!

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  5. oooh, er, that was supposed to be "after we left the NEST, the next phase of her life".

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