2009: Certain to Exhaust Me

Kristin and I were discussing the next few months on the way home from the climbing gym last night (more about that in a separate post) and came to the realization that this year is going to be a bit difficult. That was sarcasm. The sheer volume of trips, events, and known-struggles on the calendar for 2009 is astonishing. Rather than wait till December to post a top ten things of 2009, I'm going to go ahead and plop that list down right now in February... I may not get the chance again.

Well, let's see... I wrote two books in January, travelled to Japan for a week, hosted a student from South Korea, and found out my mom had something going seriously wrong with her left breast. There's a lot of good there, professionally and personally, but also a major cause for concern. We just didn't know how serious yet.

I finished the second book in the early days of the month and I'm about to start my third. Our exchange student went home, and my mom went in for a rather urgent mastectomy. We know the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes, but we don't yet know to what extent. We're very scared, but I can already tell my role as oldest son will be to "be the rock." My mother and sister will need it. Kristin works round the clock on schoolwork and work stuff.

We booked a three-night ski trip to Whistler for early March with friends and my brother and his girlfriend are flying out to come with us. The trip was booked before we knew about my mom, and I'm not sure I want to go anymore. The lack of snow could be a perfect excuse to cancel the trip. I'm going to buy a one-way ticket back east to spend time with my mom as soon as I finish this book I'm about to start.

It's barely even on my radar right now, but we're tentatively going to South Korea in mid April for 10 days. This is heavily dependent on how far along my mother's cancer is, though in reality unless her condition is far more dire than anyone dares imagine at this point, I don't see us skipping the trip. After all, if we can't be with her in NJ all the time, what difference does it make if we're in WA or Korea?

May has a lot of good and bad, all dependent on my mom. Kristin will be crunching like crazy to finish her Capstone project (think thesis study) for business school. There's a slight chance (fingers crossed, sort-of) that I go back to Japan for a few days, though I'm not sure how likely that is. I'll likely be returning to visit my mom again in May. Also, there's a group of us planning to ride the 100+ mile Maah-Daah-Hey Trail in North Dakota over Memorial Day Weekend. Kristin has another biz school retreat and I'll no doubt be getting busy on one of my major titles of the year.

Kristin graduates from Seattle University's Executive MBA program in the middle of the month. Her parents and grandmother will be flying in, as will my sister who will be coming in for the graduation, but to also go on a pilgrimage to Forks... she's a bit Twilight-crazy. I love when family comes to visit us out here and hope my sister can make it, but her trip is obviously tentative. The Test of Metal is the weekend after Kristin's graduation, which I'll be doing with a bunch of friends. We'll be flying back east again at the end of June for a fun combo-anniversary & birthday party Kristin's parents are having at their beach house in NJ. Oh, and then there's E3... though even if I get invited this year, I'll probably decline.

Another possible trip back east to visit family and to join my friends on the annual baseball trip. I've missed the past two years due to TransRockies and the Leadville 100 and don't want to lose my "veteran" status so will likely make every effort to join them this year for a trip down I-95 to the mid-Atlantic ballparks.

Nothing for me, mercifully, but I expect Kristin to need to fly east for bridesmaid stuff. Her sister is getting married in October.

Ha! I can rarely take a day off from mid-August through the end of October so my butt will be firmly planted in my desk chair. Unless I'm needed in NJ.

Kristin's sister is getting married in Long Island. I'm sure Kristin will be going back for several days. I'll probably have to limit my time to a fly-by appearance, staying at most for a night or two, depending on workload. October is the absolute worst of all the crunch periods -- I haven't even gotten a chance to celebrate my birthday in the 9 years I've been doing this.

Well, fortunately, I don't have anything in mind for November (other than sleep and Seahawks games) and December (more of the same). There's a lot of potential in the coming year. Some great trips, great memories, and memorable events and milestones. It's just hard to get excited about any of it right now, as our minds are on my mom. Today she begins scheduling the various imaging tests that will tell the doctors how far the cancer has spread (if at all) then she'll have to begin chemotherapy and radiology treatments.

Waiting for the answers might be the hardest part.

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