|Me with Granddad Stradling, 1981|
The attached photo is from January 1981. I had just returned from my church mission in Chile (which explains the tanned face and arms, as it had been summer in the southern hemisphere), and my parents were taking me up to BYU. En route, we stopped off to see my maternal grandfather B.H. Stradling in Farmington, NM, and it turned out to be the last time I saw him before he died the following year. Risibly, I was still wearing the "John Travolta" disco 'do that I'd managed to acquire from one of my missionary companions.
My struggles at work are ongoing, although I'm amazed that I've managed to scrape through a few more months since my "funnel" post (below). I've investigated my retirement options. I could start the process now of filing a long-term disability (LTD) claim, taking all my accrued sick leave and getting all the records and documentation ready for the insurer. I've hesitated to take that leap, however, at least until I approach my 25-year service anniversary (in July 2017), because (a) I know the LTD claim represents a minefield (and the only real advocate I will have, barring my hiring a lawyer, will be my primary-care physician), and (b) there are significant financial advantages to reaching 25 years of service with the company, regardless of the outcome of my LTD claim (whenever I choose to submit it). I can't shake the feeling that I'm totally "whiffing" in my current position, however, and thus I keep looking for a way out. Even a "conventional" buying position in another Procurement department would probably reduce my distractions, and the insufferable level of minutiae that I now face, sufficiently for me to get through another year or two.
We were disappointed to learn that our daughter-in-law Cait decided to divorce our son Darren. Cait apparently determined that she didn't believe in the LDS Church, and that, since her relationship with Darren was based almost entirely on church membership, she no longer had any reason to stay married to him. Thankfully, Darren has managed to keep himself above the waves of despondency, quickly concluding that his future happiness depends on having a faithful Mormon wife (and that there are plenty of good prospects out there in that regard). Darren and Cait have decided to part on amicable terms -- which makes Darren a much better man than I -- and thus he will be able to make a clean start when he comes back to Albuquerque to begin his doctorate studies this fall at UNM. Kiley and Sam will almost certainly leave Albuquerque, and end up doing an ophthalmology residency in San Antonio, after Sam graduates from medical school next spring; however, it will be fun to have all our kids here for a while, anyway.
I still go to the gym, although I haven't been as good about it this year, partly due to my church calling. Also, it seems to get harder all the time, although I doggedly stick to my "30 minutes at 5.5 mph" routine on the treadmill. Dorine's church calling has likewise seemed to sap her interest in the gym, so she goes even less often than I do. I thought I'd finally rounded out my complement of shorts and running shoes after I found a pair of nice teal-colored Nike knock-off shorts on Aliexpress; however, I recently ordered a pair of "frost blue" Adidas shorts, and a pair of gray-and-black Adidas running shoes, on a website called "6pm." I hope that "frost blue" turns out to be the bluish-white color it looks like online -- and not a variation on Argentina/Carolina blue -- but I've been burned multiple times in the past when putatively subdued colors turned out to be much brighter than they appeared.
I'd like to do some hiking this summer in the Sandias; maybe Darren's being here will get me off the couch once or twice.