The Christmas Blog
We are in an “El Nino” winter. In practical terms, that only means that weather was not expected to be normal. Not that we really know what normal is anymore. A string of six or eight consecutive record warm months, followed by a single (Nov) chill, has now morphed into what is almost certainly going to be the wettest month in Portland history (in terms of number of days of wet). It’s been raining since Dec 1, doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime before Christmas, and we’re all grumpy. So I decided I needed to think warmer, drier thoughts. Here’s the end of year wrap of Margo and Kent.
I make a calendar with photos at the end of every year, and this year’s calendar title was “Reflection and Renewal”. And they year was set in motion with another rough year for Margo. Another car accident. Another year of physical therapy. Another year of uncontrollable diabetes. Toward the end of the year, it seems that things may be slowly coming back on track. New medication is finally having an effect on the blood sugars. It’s still not stable, but getting a response to the medication is a welcome first step. She’s been successfully losing weight for the past several months. Hopefully, she’ll finally be able to get out of this static funk she’s been trapped in for the past several years, and we’ll be able to share some new stories next year.
Meanwhile, the Two Lives of Kent (Toppan and Tour de Cure) finally caught up to me this year. On the good side, my managerial roles at Toppan continue to expand. First full fiscal year, first completely profitable year registered by my business unit. Hired a new employee from within the company, and showed that it can be done without leaving the raided department “holding the empty bag”. It has had its ups and downs, but overall, it continues to be a good thing, from a job security, personal growth, and professional growth standpoint. Franklin (my boss and Chief Technical Officer) and I are now exploring just how high the corporate development path I want to go.
On the other good side, this year’s Tour de Cure, my second year as Chairman, took place at a new host venue – a park a mile or so away from our long-term stadium venue – due to scheduling conflicts. And it went off with very few hitches, validating all of the logistical pieces that we had developed over the five years at the stadium. And that was in spite of experiencing the first rainy TDC in the 12 years I have been involved in the event! We also had the largest family team (12 riders) and the best donation take (over $10,000), and six $1000+ riders.
But I did say that the Two Lives caught up with me this year. After completing the event in July, Margo and I took a much needed vacation in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for our birthday/anniversary week. And I decided that I had neglected the Third Life of Kent with the juggling act – my physical and mental health. Since the day job takes precedent (until Margo can draw a paycheck again), I decided it was time to pass control of the Tour de Cure to a new leader. I wanted to get back to bicycling for my own benefit, including riding in TDC with my team. I also wanted to free up time to focus on my own wellness, especially after being put on notice that I’m dangerously close to my own diabetes threshold.
Of course, I’m “much too valuable” to be let off the hook that easily. And so the American Diabetes Association made me an offer that I really couldn’t turn down. Starting January 1, I’ll be joining the Community Leadership Board of the Oregon ADA, to continue being an advocate for a cause that affects me every day (Margo), and to stay connected with friends and an activity that has become an important part of my life for over a decade.
The home is still completely owned by the kids (Roxie, Luna, Bailey; Samantha and Maverick). And it’s been an unusual year of photos. Since Margo’s been fairly immobile this year, there aren’t nearly as many of the usual “dogs at park” photos gracing our photo gallery. And it hasn’t been nearly as many “Kent on bicycle” photos either. It’s been a lot more photos of actual people – parties (Margo’s surprise 50th party), vacations (two trips to Idaho), and reunions (Margo and Greg Scott; Kent and Connie Putney, Kent and Kim Meyerson). That’s the “Reflection” part of the calendar – maintaining connections of our past, with the eye firmly on the future. As usual, you can see our life in pictures on Smugmug: http://nakagawa-west.smugmug.com
As always, we hope you have a wonderful year, and look forward to a renewed and happy 2016!
Kent (& Margo)