Late to 68

Posted in Miscellaneous, Personal on June 28th 2021 by Randy Reichardt

.: It’s later in the day than when I usually post on my birthday, this one being #68. I typically write up something around 01:05 hrs, which is when I was born on 28 June 1953 in Winnipeg MB.

This year has provided much upon which to reflect. The biggest change in my life was learning in early March 2021 that I had developed non-Hodgkin B-cell follicular lymphoma – cancer – and that I needed almost immediate treatment to fight it. It took an ultrasound, CT scan, and biopsy to confirm everything. During this period my abdomen started accumulating fluid to the point that I had to be “drained” three separate times totalling 12 litres of said abdominal fluid. In one instance I lost 14 pounds in one day.

Anyway, chemotherapy and monoclonal antibodies treatments began in mid-March, and thankfully my system started to respond almost immediately. I stopped accumulating fluid and the tumours started shrinking. I lost at least 25 pounds, reaching my lowest weight in over 50 years. Since then, I have had four sets of treatments, and am doing very well. Next up is a 06 July CT scan, consultation with the oncologist, and the fifth round of treatments in mid-July. Following that will be one more set of treatments in mid-August, and then another CT scan in September. Beyond that, I don’t know what happens next. My father, who passed away on 12 February 2020, had a version of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and lived another 31 years after diagnosis. Recently I’ve started working with a personal trainer again, and I plan to continue indefinitely. We are currently in the midst of a record-breaking heat wave. When the scorching temperatures start dropping I will resume cardio workouts on my upright cycle in my basement. Right now it’s just too hot to do anything.

These past twelve months have also seen me do a lot of work managing Mom’s affairs from afar, as she lives in Winnipeg and I am in Edmonton. She has reached the stage where she may no longer be able to live on her own in her assisted-living complex, and will probably need to be moved to long-term care. I will then need to go to Winnipeg to begin the process of vacating the contents of her apartment.

Earlier this year my musical partner, Sarah, moved to Coleman AB to begin work as an elementary school principal. As such, my performing days have slowed to a standstill. I find I miss it in little bits here and there, and I am not playing much at home. I guess when the spirit moves me, I pick up a guitar and noodle around a bit.

So here we go again for another revolution around the sun. Special shout out to Mr Steve Forty, who somehow always seems to read my birthday posts before anyone else does!

Oh, I almost forgot – GO HABS GO!

Have a great year, everyone, and thanks for being a part of my life.

(Way back when, in) 67

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 28th 2020 by Randy Reichardt

.: So I’ve arrived at the age of 67. I was born at 01:05 CDT in Winnipeg MB on 28 June 1953. I’m not feeling too inspired to write much this year, this being my annual birthday blog post. 2020 has been a strange and at times very sad year. Dad passed away on 12 Feb 2020, and shortly thereafter, the planet went down a deep hole and hasn’t crawled back out since then. I know age is just a number, but my body, with assorted aches and ailments, reminds me all the time that I am not a young man anymore. So let’s leave it there for now. I’m grateful for many things, including some of the best friends a guy could have. So thanks to all for your support and friendship all these years. Be well and peace to all.

Route 66

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 28th 2019 by Randy Reichardt

.: Once again, it’s time for the annual ritual. I was born at 01:05 hrs CDT in Winnipeg MB on 28 June 1953. Today I am 66 years old. I’ve given up trying to process what one’s age means anymore. For example, accepting that I’m a senior citizen, ffs. You will not find me subscribing to Zoomer anytime soon. Not interested.

The past 12 months have been challenging. My father now lives in a room in a veterans’ centre in Winnipeg. Mom is by herself in the apartment she used to share with Dad at an assisted living complex. Dad is almost 93, Mom is 86.5. Dad can no longer walk on his own, and Mom is experiencing moments of confusion and disorientation. I do the best I can from afar – I am in Edmonton, they live in Winnipeg – and it takes an enormous amount of energy on a daily basis to do what I can while not living in Winnipeg. Fortunately there are people in place in Winnipeg who are helping out considerably.

As for me, I’m now on insulin for Type II diabetes, and I can feel my body slowing down a bit. I’ve resumed aerobic workouts on my upright cycle, and am sleeping a bit better as a result. There are other medical concerns as well.

So begins another cycle around the sun. Hope to see you here next year, same bat-time, same bat-channel.

65, Which Means It’s Official Now

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 28th 2018 by Randy Reichardt

.: I’ll keep it brief this time. I was born at 01:05 in Winnipeg MB on 28 June 1953. Which means that today I am officially a senior citizen. It is a very strange, surreal feeling. To be sure, I don’t feel that different from when I was 18, except that my body isn’t what it used to be – a few ailments and medical conditions, but I’m still alive and kicking so far, and just as immature as I was back then.

I lost a dear friend two weeks ago. He passed suddenly, without warning. He was 64. When such an event happens, it puts things into perspective. Life is short, precious, and should be lived to its fullest. I don’t practice the latter to the degree I should, but I’m always working on it. So today I’m grateful for being alive, for having great friends, colleagues, and family, and for living in Edmonton and Canada, and for being able to retire last year on a more-than-decent pension.

I’m now in that “65 and older” category, the last one you can choose on surveys and questionnaires. I refuse to read magazines aimed at my age cohort, I simply cannot relate to them and what they publish.

Meanwhile, onward, into the unknown.

Time To Go

Posted in Miscellaneous on April 20th 2017 by Randy Reichardt

.: In late Fall 2016, after much thought and consideration, I decided to retire from the University of Alberta Libraries on 30 June 2017, two days after my 64th birthday. I did not have a moment of clarity or a revelatory instant. It just seemed to evolve naturally. June 30th is the end of the University of Alberta’s calendar year, which makes it easy to ensure that my holidays are used up by that time. It’s two days after my birthday, and it’s a Friday before a long weekend in Canada – a perfect setup for ending my career and walking out the door (but not necessarily for the last time.) When I leave, I will have worked at the U of A for 33 years and 9.5 months, approximately. A decent run, if you ask me.

My position was advertised recently, with a closing date of 28 April 2017. That a position is being advertised while the departing staff member is still working here is unprecedented in our system. To date I know of at least one person who will be applying for the job.

I gave my notice at the beginning of January 2017, and yesterday, the shit got real: I received my Universities Academic Pension Plan documents, which need to be completed for me to start receiving a pension in July 2017. There’s no turning back now. 🙂

I have no major plans for my post-retirement life just yet. I am confident that activities and new passions will evolve in due time. I have consulted with friends and colleagues, and have received much good advice and guidance.

I will leave my job, my career, at the highest level: I love my job, my supervisor and colleagues, and my many contacts in the Faculty of Engineering, including countless professors and students, both undergrad and grad. I have been blessed to have had this position for such a long time. I am a lucky man.

Before I go, I’ll be in NYC next week for my final meeting with the Knovel Engineering Academic Solutions Library Advisory Board, and two weeks before I leave I will be in Phoenix for my final SLA conference. I am looking forward to sleeping in, reading, catching up on movies and television, mucking about in my flower beds, and decompressing.

63

Posted in Miscellaneous on June 28th 2016 by Randy Reichardt

.: So it’s time for what amounts to my annual blog post. I started blogging in 2002, way before social media took off, and since the emergence of Facebook, Twitter, etc., my interest in maintaining a separate blog has certainly waned.

That said, today is Birthday 63 for me. At this point it’s just a number, really, yet at the same time, it’s a number that’s difficult to process. When I was young, 40, never mind 63, seemed like an ancient age to me. Now I’m close to qualifying for numerous senior discounts, but in no way, shape, or form do I ever *wish* to acknowledge that I’m almost a senior citizen. Sheesh. At the same time, reaching 63 years is an accomplishment, isn’t it?

I remain ever grateful for many things: the country, province, and city in which I live, my family, my great friends, relatives, and colleagues, and going to bed each night safe, sheltered, and not hungry.  I take none of these things for granted and feel extremely fortunate to be in my position in this life.

I have health issues: Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure,  hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis in various locations, general anxiety disorder, occasional arrhythmia, etc. Sucks to get old, to have your body start to unravel. Fortunately I live in Canada, where universal health care reigns, and I receive the best health care available.

An example of such health care was experience by my family recently. While visiting Calgary, my Mother fell down a short flight of stairs and cracked her skull. She required neurosurgery twice to evacuate blood and relieve pressure on her brain, which had shift 1.5 cm to the left. She had had a subdural and then epidural hematomas. Three days ago, she was flown from Calgary to Winnipeg in a private jet, with three EMTs on board, in addition to the pilot. My father followed the next day on a commercial flight. Cost for all of this so far: $0.00. I can’t fathom what this would have cost if we lived in the USA and had no insurance.

I’ve worked at the University of Alberta’s Science & Technology Library since Sept 1983, and could retire at any time. I’m still not sure when I will do that. Perhaps in 2017, I don’t know just yet. I’m very grateful for my career as an academic engineering librarian.

When I was 18, I imagined myself married by the time I was 26 (same age my Dad was when he married), living in Winnipeg somewhere, with a couple kids, a house, white picket fence, etc. It never materialized, for various reasons. I often lament having never married or having children, but there is no turning back the clock. Now in my 60s, I find myself sifting through memories of the 60s and 70s all too often, as if that period was an age of innocence. Funny that those memories seem more nostalgic to me than Edmonton memories, given that I lived in Winnipeg for 25 years and in Edmonton for almost 37 years.

Regrets? I’ve had a few.

I am extremely fortunate to have had amazing parents who are still rockin’ in the free world. Mom is 83.5 and Dad will be 90 in September.

Forgive my meanderings and musings. It’s a good day to be alive.