Saturday, 31 December 2016

The Last Day Of 2016

It is the last day of our calendar year, that artificial construct introduced by Pope Gregory XIII as a way to correct the Julian calendar, itself implemented by Julius Caesar 45 years before the birth of Christ. Man is the only creature on earth to measure time, the only creature to know the days of his life by count. I wonder if this is when we left the Garden of Eden, if this was our knowledge, the knowledge of time, that our days are limited, that we in fact are mortal?

Yet we need this time, this calendar. It marks the days when the sun will return from winter. It marks the best days for planting, the best days for reaping. It marks the ways when the sheep should be shorn, when the cattle will calve, and most importantly, when the Gods must be worshipped. We live in such a busy world. Coordination and planning are such a part of our life. Time is the new God. Time is what we all worship now.

I have used this year well. In this year I have written 364 blog posts, including this one. The missing post was due to hospitalization, also the cause of one very brief entry. This blog has seen 24,000 users, an average of 2,000 a month, or 65 individual visits each day. Some are returns, some are one time visitors, and many are people who follow my life each day. For all of them, I am grateful.

The vast majority of these readers are from the US and Canada, representing 88% of my readers. These are followed by Great Britain, Australia, and Sweden, and a great many other countries. I know who some of you are. You are my family, my friends, the people who want to know how I am doing. For others, this blog has become a learning post, a place to understand ALS, and unintentionally a place to be inspired.

In terms of cities, Calgary is the biggest, representing a full 10% of my readers, followed by Vancouver, Burnaby and the Lower Mainland including Abbotsford, making up another 10%. The next largest cities are New York, Chicago, Ottawa, and Kelowna. Again, I know who some of you are, some of you are strangers to me. I appreciate you all.

I've also done four video blogs this year, one of which was from my hospital bed. Thanks to input from friends and readers, I've made a YouTube channel for my video blogs, a new experience for me. I want to keep this up, to keep doing video and other different things. I love the written word, yet there is a place for other ideas. Then there is my new cooking blog. I've only made a couple of posts there. I'm not sure I have the discipline or content for this. We'll see.

The one thing I missed this year was Road Tripping Richard. My lack of road tripping this year was primarily driven by finances. I did get away, thanks to Katherine, for a quick trip to Cuba in January. There was also my camping trip at my brother Jim's place, along with the trip to Saskatoon thanks to David. Oh, and a trip to Vancouver while Katherine was in Hong Kong. I miss travel. This year will be different. I'm going to get back on the road again.

If this is a look at my year in review, then my physical review must be here. In short, I continue to worsen. This year saw the loss of my core muscles, the continuing loss of my arms, and the overall losses from ALS. I would rather not think about them. My preference would be to focus on what I did this year, the people who made a difference to me this year, and how well I lived with ALS.


  1. Here's to multiple New Years celebrations in your future. Be well buddy.

  2. Wishing you a new year full of hopes and dreams, Richard ! And too many more road trips. Stay well my friend.

  3. Hi, Richard. Just read this post and the last post you did. I too have always felt the same about the artificial nature of these so called significant going outside and helling "happy new year"? Huhhh....So in this sense, very like minded with you.

    I am sure you have heard from many of there ALS folks. This time, when the progression of this horrid disease is accelerating; and your moods change with that realization.

    Having a shorten life expectency (as my late brother Ray used to say) is not a good thing. I love Dylan Thomas "rage against the dying of the light"; and also my late brother Ray's attitude (as a buddhist) of gratitude for each day, with or without ALS.

    However, I agree with your daily realizations. Yes, this year may be more about losses than "happy" new year.

    You are strong enough to realize it and to TELL YOUR FRIENDS and family the reality. I remember seeing a quote about "hope"...that "hope" is paralizing; but truth sets you free.

    Don't get me wrong, I respect all persons perspectives on ALS....but I tend to advocate for the truth; as you have laid it out in last post. And so good for your family and friends too.

    And your write not to make anyone less optimistic of hopeful, but just to provide the truth.

    In my brother's last year of mobility, he packed it in....hiking, caving, sailing, road trips; mostly on Vancouver Island where we live (born and raised).

    well enough from me.

    Your videos and blogs are a gift.

    your BC friend, Ramona