Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Highs and Lows of 2008 - The Highs

For the first time that I can ever remember, I won't be around to ring in the New Year. I'll hopefully be in bed, as I have to get up before 3AM to drive to Bozeman to catch my plane to Nashville. I've spent the better part of today at work, then coming home and packing. And double checking to be sure I've got all the meds I need with me, and planning out when/what I'll eat. Gotta keep up that routine! Anyway, interspersed is coming up with the "Highs" of 2009. Unlike many of you apparently, I found 2009 to be a pretty good year. Lots of visits, new friends online (and in person), traveling (I never really traveled before my late 40s), and some good music. Be sure to read the post below this one first!! It's my "Lows" list! Makes the "Highs" list much better (most have links back to posts).

"The 10 High Points of 2009"
(from less high to highest of the high)
10. Shumpy on Fallon! - Those of you who have been around for awhile know Shumpy. On a trip to NYC this summer, he went to the Jimmy Fallon show to catch Jimmy Buffett's performance. He ended up being chosen for an audience participation segment--Rush Limbaugh karaoke. Fallon made a big deal about the name "Shumpy"--repeating it almost 20 times! While HNT didn't get mentioned, it was still cool to see one of "us" on national TV! And he won the prize, too!

9. Symphony/Summer - Our annual mid-summer concert at the college was once again a huge success. An estimated 16-17,000 people showed up to hear music and songs by Rogers & Hammerstein. It was a gloriously beautiful night, the production end of things went quite smoothly, and I didn't get injured! I always wonder at this time of year what the next concert will involve...

8. No Smoke! - Those of you who don't live in the northwest or California can't truly appreciate what it's like to be able to breathe clean air in the summer! There were relatively few forest fires around, and as a result, the skies were sunny and blue for most of the season. There was a smallish fire just west of town that caused a really bad day, but the winds blew that out. Nothing at all like the smoke and fires of 2006 or 2007!

7. "We're on a mission from God..." - We put the band back together (well, everyone but the drummer) for a wedding gig in January. After having not played as a group for over 15 months we weren't sure how it would come off. Well, it came off pretty damned well, thank you! The horns went in cold, not rehearsing at all ahead of time. It's like we had just played a couple of nights before. Everything absolutely clicked! And planted the bug again. We've got another wedding gig this coming Labor Day. We're not going to make any money by only playing once every year and a half, but we're going to have fun! The picture here is during a non-horn song. Hard to get a full band shot when you're playing!

6. Health - In spite of my recent health scare, it's actually been one of the best things to have happened to me in awhile. When you're told that if you continue to do the things you've been doing, it'll kill you, and you've almost experienced that, then quitting those things becomes much easier! I've lost weight, but could lose more. I'm eating healthier and smarter. And I'm actually doing some exercise! Not much, but compared to the past, it's quite a bit! I'm wearing clothes I haven't worn in at least 8 years. I got my cholesterol numbers back last week. I used to average between 185-200. In the hospital, they found it to be around 267. Last week's results have me at 100. Sure, it's a combination of meds and diet, but it's a far cry better than what I used to be!

5. Droid - Verizon's insistence that I upgrade my phone finally broke me down. There's no immediate plans for Verizon and Apple to reconcile so that the iPhone will break into the Montana market, so why not? Why didn't someone tell me years ago how cool having a smartphone would be??? I love everything about it, and I'm still learning! Granted, I'll get the iPhone when it becomes available around here, just because I'm a Mac guy. But it's going to have to do some impressive tricks!

4. Weekend at Rachel's - I finally took the trip up the Flathead to go see Rachel. We spent time driving through the magnificence of Glacier Park. We ate huckleberry licorice. We drank beers. Other than the one night where she left me at a bar (see the "Lows" down below), it was wonderful! We hadn't spent more than 30 minutes in each other's presence since she moved up there. It was wonderful to reconnect!

3. Friends! - I got to meet some bloggerfriends for the first time this year. And some old friends too! Some came here, some I went to see, and one happened totally unexpecedly! They were Lori, M, M's sister, Living Diary, NY Diva, Sista Diva, Vixen, Wendy, DH, Dana, Amber, and Dave from Greater Falls. Of course, Moose, Rachel and Kamey. You can check out who most of these people are in my sidebar---------->

2. Obamacare--NOT! - I have mixed feelings about this. I was ready and willing to pay what I could, when I could, for my hospitalization and medical bills. It's the right thing to do. But frankly, when I got the letter from the hospital telling me that they'd adjusted my bill at 100%, I was elated. Then I got the same feeling I got when I first enjoyed unemployment benefits--I'm not one of "those" people. I'm not homeless. I'm not destitute. I live in a relatively nice apartment and enjoy my cable and my internet and my wireless phone. I obviously haven't starved to death. My car is paid off. But you know what? I AM one of "those" people. I'm in a situation where health insurance isn't offered. I don't make the sort of money that would allow me to substantially pay my medical bills and still live my life. I'm not as concerned about getting free insulin from the pharmaceutical companies. They get a nice tax write-off from "those" people. It's humbling. But as one social worker told me, everyone in the medical field knows that individuals can't possibly afford medical care on their own. Programs exist to help them, and should be taken advantage of. So I am. Do I feel like I'm taking a handout? A little bit. But I'll get over it!

1. Indy '09 - I was a bit prophetic when writing last year's "Highs", as I wrote about how good the Elton John concert in Missoula was, and that I couldn't wait see Elton and Billy Joel to get back together on a tour. About a month later, I learned that they were, so I got ahold of M, who is a big Billy fan. I asked if she wanted to go if I could find a close concert. As luck would have it, Indy was the place! We hadn't planned on getting together with anyone, as it was mid-week, and I wouldn't be in town too long. Then I realized that NY Diva was celebrating her birthday a couple days before then. I'd catch hell if she found out I'd been there without letting her know. And Living Diary worked literally a block or two from where we were staying, and I'd catch hell all over again if she didn't get to see us. So we had a great time together. Lunches, dinners, beers, and M and I got to see a fantastic concert! You can click the link to read all about it. This is the trip where I got to see most of the ones listed in #3, too!
There you have it. My "Highs" for 2009. Many of you are probably already at parties as I'm posting this. I hope that everyone is having a safe but fun NYE! I'm off to bed early so that I can be on the road at 0-dark:30 to catch a flight to Nashville. Be sure to check back for some reports on that! Looking forward to a great 2010!!


Shumpy said...


Thanks for the props too.

Vixen said...

What a fun recap :)

rage said...

Thank you for sharing the highs and lows of 2009 with us!