Noch ein Jahr vorbei

Another year has gone by. The time is now for letter writing and receiving lengthy chronicles from your friends as to their activities over the last year. The chronicler must not only detail accurately the past year but make life interesting enough that other people will be interested in reading the narrative. Bragging and hyperbole tend to force a loss of interest in the reader, yet is what is thought by the writer as the characteristic that makes the recall of a year interesting. I’ll try to avoid that. I’ll be following the rough outline from last year, so if last years’ post bored you to death, stop reading immediately and find something more interesting to gawk at.

Last year…

1. In March, the Miami breast cancer conference and SSO meeting both occurred in Florida close together, so I went to both. The Miami conference was a bore, and the SSO conference in Orlando was fun, only because Peter Tate was there.
2. I went to Dayton with Russ in late April, and a week later to the ASBS with Betsy in Phoenix. Another ho-hum meeting was attended, though I did go to every talk and paid close attention to all.
3. June was spent enjoying Germany. Betsy went with and got to meet Katja and Hannes, as well as Hille. We spent time with Robbie Rayburn and with Heinz and Debbie Fuchs. It was a super trip.
4. July had the occasion to do Eagle Creek with Patrick and Andrew. Later, Betsy and I flew to Iowa to see Alex and Rachel. It was a delight.
5. August was the month for Diane’s wedding. Herbert came to visit. It was a delight having him around. Herbert is like a brother. I can talk to him, have fun with him, ask him advice, yet he is not offended by our differences.
6. September was started with the plan to ride bicycles from Eugene to Missoula with Russ. For various reasons, the trip was terminated prematurely in Grangeville, Idaho. It has caused me to re-think how I do tours.
7. The first part of November was the trip of a lifetime to Israel and Jordan with Betsy. Dr. John Delancey was a wonderful tour guide and made the trip particularly interesting.
Each of these trips has a blog page that you could surf to, so I will not reiterate what has already been said.

Plans for next year…

1. Betsy and I hope to visit the Heins in Oklahoma in February.
2. I will be doing a bicycle ride with the ACA in Death Valley in March.
3. In late May, early June, Jonny and I will be going to Germany. The goal is mostly to visit the Bach sites with Jonny, as well as touch base with old friends.
4. I plan on meeting Dr. Peter Tate and Dr. Ara Pridjian, old friends from residency, in July, to ride bicycles in Northern Michigan. Peter may throw in some sailing, which I’d love to try.
5. In September, Jonny and I will be doing an ACA ride called the Sierra Sampler, riding along the east side of Yosemite.
6. I’ll throw some meetings in there.
7. I was invited to China to teach surgery and English. This is in the tentative stages, and so have no definite plan yet. Meanwhile, I am vigorously learning Mandarin. Ni hau!

Music, Reading, Bicycle Riding, etc.

As of 31DEC2012, I yet have 57 days, 15 hours, and 06 minutes of “unheard” classical music to listen to. I have heard everything at least once, but am working through my entire collection. Last year, I had over 90 days of music, and have added 5-7 days of music since to the collection, which has been listened to, including the Teldec Complete Bach (reviewed previously). Betsy and I will spend several evenings a week watching movies. We worked through the Joan Hickson editions of Miss Marple and should be reviewed shortly. We are working on the Poirot series now, and detecting patterns in the writing of Agatha Christie. We have also watched a large portion of the Tom Baker years of Dr. Who.
For reading, I have gotten to I Kings in the through-the-Bible read, starting in mid-November. I am also reading Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology. A review will follow, but I will note that Hodge tends to address contemporaries that I have never heard of, making it less interesting than I had hoped. I am only about 20% through, so it might pick up. I wished to read Reymond’s systematic theology next but was highly encouraged by Pastor Rayburn to attack Bavinck’s 4-volume set.  I’ll be reading more photography and photoshop books, and also want to have a slight mastery of Filemaker. That’s for next year.
Betsy and I made a fairly monumental decision to return to Faith Presbyterian Church in Tacoma, under the pastorship of Dr. Rayburn. It was a tough decision since we had friends at Resurrection Presbyterian Church and appreciated the work of pastor David Scott. Going back to FPC gave Betsy and me the sense of returning home. There are those who might suspect a multiplicity of motives for our change of churches, but those suspicions would simply be conjecture that would probably not be true, so please do not read too much into our actions.
There are a few other details coming up in our lives that would be best recounted after they occur rather than before. We anticipate another grandchild with Diane and look forward to the day when Rachel and Alex successfully adopt Lily. That will mean another trip for us to Iowa.
I now have an updated model of the TacX trainer (bicycle virtual reality trainer) in the garage which works better than the last, by not crashing so often. It has allowed me to use the bicycle I usually ride on to train, while giving me many strenuous, sweaty hours during the rainy season to still be riding my bicycle. The other “toy” of note has been my dream for a while. I got a Canon 6D for Christmas. I originally wished for a Canon 5DMarkIII, but the 6D had some options, such as GPS, which makes it an ideal travel camera. It is a full-frame, and 20 megapixels. I hope to use my bicycle riding and hiking to be an opportunity to get many more photos.
With Obama still in office, it has left some uncertainty regarding medicine. Medicare reimbursements are dropping by 29%, which means that we learn to live off of less and consider other alternatives to medicine. With an insane tax structure, I have no interest in supporting Obama’s government, and so will take off as much time as possible to still maintain a surgical practice. Already, I am giving away nearly all of my abdominal cases, doing abdominal surgery only when I take call. ObamaCare has a way of taking the joy out of medicine. Pastor Rayburn last Sunday emphasized the wish that each of us grow stronger in Christ, and walk closer to Him. As I age, the days of my life look shorter and shorter. Rather than going out with a bang, I seek what John the Baptist said of Christ, “He must increase, and I must decrease”. That is my prayer for all that read this blog.