Year in Review 2005

 

Greetings

I hope you had a good year in 2005, as I did, and are looking forward to 2006. Have some fun surfing my website. Best wishes, Don.

Here is the table of contents for my Year in Review:
My Father Objectivism
North Korea Sons of the American Revolution
Other Travel Circumnavigators
Digital World New Technology
Family Tree Exercise Program
Scholarships Other
Galt's Gultch
 

This Year's Card

This year's e-card is a photo study by Fran Holt entitled "Galt's Gulch is a State of Mind". "Galt's Gulch" refers to an ideal community described in Ayn Rand's famous novel, Atlas Shrugged. Fran's theme is that our happiness is largely under our control. Fran took the photo in the early morning as she was leaving the British Virgin Islands after a delightful vacation. Fran is my 11th cousin. We are both descendants of Richard Warren who came on the Mayflower in 1620. Click on the image to see a larger version with the correct aspect ratio.

My Father

Cortlan and his Great grandfather This year my major activity was taking care of my father. I made 10 round trips to Dallas including 5 driving my car - my Acura navigation system really came in handy. I spent over 100 days in Dallas. Here Cortlan Parrish, my father's great grandson, gives him a high five.

If you have ever taken care of an elderly parent, you will recognize my report.

In March, my father started falling at home where he had 24 x 7 care since August 2004. This resulted in hospitalization and then I put him in a well-regarded nursing home, Grace Presbyterian Village that had been suggested to me by his best friend, Randy Randolph.

With my father in the nursing home, I was faced with going thru all of his possessions and making a decision on each object or piece of paper. This was a daunting task since he was a kind of pack rat, and it took many months. If you have been in this situation, you understand the emotional journey of sorting thru all the objects of a lifetime: his, mine, my dead motherís and my dead brotherís.

Then there were the ripple effects of moving things back to my house. For example, my motherís Baldwin Acrosonic piano, the most popular spinet ever built in America, for sentimental reasons I had shipped to me and created the space by giving my piano away. I gave away 40 years of the National Geographic magazines to create space for my fatherís books. I still have a massive pile of stuff in my living room.

On April 8th, Randy Randolph, age 79 and in apparent good health, got sick one Saturday night and was dead the following Friday. Randy and his wife Helen had been my fatherís only regular visitors. Randyís death was a real shock. He was one of those rare, high quality people who was a gentleman and a scholar. Someone you learned from, a font of wisdom. He met my father 50 years ago when they were the only Hams (Amateur Radio) in the area. Randy, a legend among radio controlled airplane hobbyists, has been remembered by them: memorial/guest book, comment/photo, and announcement/articles.

On May 27th, my Aunt Marcia Parrish Shedden died. She was my fatherís sister-in-law and a very colorful and interesting person with a delightful laugh and a positive outlook on life. A few years ago, she was presented with a proclamation from the Governor of Texas to commemorate her 60 years of piano playing. Aunt Marcia had been in New York on a trip back in the 1940s when the military plane hit the Empire State Building. Her eldest son continues to live where he was on 9/11/2001 just 9 blocks from Ground Zero, which in turn was owned by our ancestor in the 17th century. The Texas Legislature passed a resolution to honor Aunt Marcia on May 30th.

A related task was to get my fatherís home of 57 years ready to be sold. Selling was a long process requiring a lot of patience, but in October, I sold the family homestead to Armando Gonzalez, son of the next-door neighbor, Eliseo Gonzalez. The Gonzalez family has been my fatherís next-door neighbor for about 18 years, and have helped him a lot in his declining years. So it was good to have sold his home to them. My father and I attended the marriage ceremony of their daughter in 2004.

In July, my father fell at the nursing home and broke his hip. I called Gerri Wann, who had been taking care of him when he lived at home, to supplement the efforts of the hospital and nursing home staffs. This lasted for months. My father has made a qualified recovery, but even with continuing therapy walks with difficulty. Most of the time he takes the wheel chair.

My father turned 91 in September, and continues to soldier on. His positive demeanor and outlook are clearly the secret of his long life. He continues to decline both physically and mentally. Just two years ago, he was living independently, taking care of himself and driving a car.

On October 19th, Esther DeMerritt died at age 92. Esther was the oldest friend of the family, a strong personality, and a wonderful person. I attended her memorial service on November 11th. There are photos of it added to her 90th birthday report.

My father's brother-in-law, Warren Anderson went into a nursing home, the Sioux Care Center, in February 2004 when he was 82 years old. He has limited vision due to macular degeneration and is physically rather frail. Warren's sister-in-law, Angie Anderson had heart surgery on December 15th, but died on December 17th. Now all of my parents brothers and sisters and their spouses have passed away except for my father and my uncle Warren, who are both in nursing homes.

Iíve signed my father up for Medicare, Part D. Last year, I got him a drug discount card from the manufacturer, but these discount programs are being stopped because of Medicare, Part D. So in order to keep his total drug bill about the same requires a sign-up for Medicare, Part D. This is how Government continues to grow in size and control. By the way, some Part D plans, e.g., Humana, have neither a deductible, nor a ďdonut holeĒ in the coverage. Check out the surprisingly well-designed government website.

North Korea

TCC Group at Kim Statue My only foreign travel this year was a trip to North Korea. Only 500 American tourists have been allowed to visit in the past 20 years so I prepared a trip report to share what I learned along with 78 photos to give you a look. The photo is our group from Travelers Century Club, an organization for people who have visited at least 100 countries; the five of us represent 1% of the American tourists in the last 2 decades. There is also a report on Arirang, the unique North Korea mass games, a perfect aesthetic expression of totalitarianism with 100,000 performers. Arirang is the high point of a visit to North Korea, and my report has 54 photos.

On the way to North Korea, I spent 3 days in Beijing. I had visited there in 1984 and 1985 on business. As expected, I was astounded by the progress and the advancement in thinking. Even though I couldn'tít understand audio on TV, I was surprised by what I saw. In addition to a womanís beauty pageant (or modeling show), there was an equivalent one for men who were dressed in tuxes in one scene and swim suits in another. This was a total contrast to 1985 when most people worn drab unisex clothing.

Leaving North Korea, I landed in Beijing and felt that I was back in the free world already. Beijing, on the surface at least, has more in common with us that it does with North Korea.

Other Travel

Mr Mrs Smyth My trips in 2005 included 10 to Dallas, one to North Korea & China, one to Schenectady, New York and one to the Smyth Wedding in Columbus, Ohio. All of my other trips were side trips.

I have a high opinion of the educational value of side trips. In 2005, these included seeing the Clinton Presidential Library & Museum, his boyhood home in Hope, Arkansas, the high tech Lincoln Library & Museum, the National Park that preserves the Revolutionary War pivotal battlefield of Saratoga, the Buffalo River in the Ozarks, and Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. I hope you enjoy these reports and that they give you some travel ideas.

Digital World

iTunes Example I continue to convert to the digital world. This year I converted all my CDs to the AAC format used by iTunes. It was easy. Just pop them into my Macintosh and iTunes converts the audio and gets track info from the Internet. The conversion of all of my old records was labor intensive. I used Final Vinyl and became a minor sound engineer reading each record into my Mac, hand selecting each track and typing in the title, artist, etc. Another key step was the purchase of Bose speakers for my Mac. Then I got rid of my old stereo and turn-table. Now music is much more accessible -- Smart Albums allow automatic sorting by artist, theme or type. In effect, my Mac is juke box with thousands of songs. In 2006, I intend to process all cassette tapes and become 100% digital for music and lectures.

In 2005, I started the conversion to iPhoto. I have most, but not all of my digital photos moved to iPhoto. A friend of mine and I made a win-win arrangement where I bought a negative scanner and he, in turn, digitized all - about 1500 - of my EPS photos. For 2006, I need to get these photos and all digital photos into iPhoto and assign them keywords. The scanning of old paper photos will take many years. The beauty of iPhoto is the ability to sort photos automatically in to Smart Albums and to find photos easily.

Family Tree

Ancestral Migration I took advantage of my trip to Schenectady, New York in July to research where my Dutch and Mohawk ancestors lived and worked. In particular, I wanted to learn all I could about Hilletie Van Slyke Van Olinda, my famous 17th century ancestor of mixed Dutch/French and Mohawk ancestry, who translated part of the Bible from Dutch to Mohawk. She was the main interpreter used by the Dutch governor. The Mohawk tribal leaders gave her the great island at Niskayuna. I had fun locating and photographing that island. I have created a web page for Hilletie, which will be of considerable interest because it contains the interview of her on April 25, 1680. I urge you to read it! It is a tantalizing glimpse of her and the times she lived in. When you read the article, read it out loud for maximum appreciation.

I sent my DNA into the National Geographic Genographic project. They want at least 100,000 people to participate in this important project. The results of my DNA analysis show the migration of my ancestors out of Africa from father to son to grandson to great grandson and so on for chain of approximately 3,000 generations (my estimate). All living people on plant Earth who are non-African can be traced back to this "Eurasian Adam" who lived in Africa between 31,000 and 79,000 years ago. There were other men living at the time, but none of them have living descendants today. Your DNA analysis also includes your haplogroup. This project may be laying the basis for a revolution in genealogy. If you are interested in genealogy, you will want to check this out.

Scholarships

This was the 8th year that the Anderson Scholarship, set up to honor my mother, was awarded to the salutatorian of the senior class of Sioux Rapids Community School. This year's winner is Cody Wittmaack. whose brother Nathan won 3 years ago. Both of them are attending the University of Northern Iowa. Cody was named as the pitcher for the All District and All Conference baseball teams. He holds 3 track records at his high school and was named to the Track & Field Academic All-State team.

Don Parrish and Brandon Bolling At the Texas Ex-Students Association's annual banquet in Austin in September, I met Brandon Bolling, the 5th winner of the Parrish Computer Science Scholarship. Brandon has exceptional SAT scores: 770 in English and a perfect 800 in Math. I took Eleanor Moore and Judith Quinney to the authentic Eastside Cafe to celebrate their on-going help on the Scholarship. We always enjoy good food and good conversation.

Objectivism

Union College I attended the 16th annual summer seminar of the Objectivist Center. This year it was held at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Pictured is the Nott Memorial, a national historic landmark. These are always intellectually stimulating, week-long conferences on philosophy and its application to today's world. They attract interesting, thoughtful people. So you are learning in the classroom and in informal conversations. I took advantage of the location to research my ancestor Hilletie and to visit Saratoga, the famous Revolutionary War battlefield.

Sons of the American Revolution

Dennis Hastert and Don Parrish In early 2003, I became President of the Fox Valley Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. I have been working closely with the other officers to revitalize the chapter and to increase our activities. As part of that process, I created a website for the chapter. One of our accomplishments was to locate and photograph the graves of the 14 Revolutionary war soldiers in our area and document their biographies. This year our chapter working with local leaders in Plano, Illinois organized a picture-perfect grave marking of Daniel Burroughs, a soldier who fought in the American Revolution on the 250th anniversary of his birth on May 28, 2005. Daniel Burroughs volunteered in 1775 before the Declaration of Independence was signed and he fought in the pivotal battle of Saratoga. How fitting it was that 300 people attended from the small town of Plano and that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the honorable Dennis Hastert was the main speaker. He gave a heart-felt speech. This was a special occasion that will be long remembered by all in attendance. The VP of our chapter, Mike Johnston, created a 38 minute DVD of the commemoration.

Circumnavigators

Circumnavigators Here I'm photographed with fellow circumnavigators Bill Narup and Jim Franch at one of our events which include dinner and a speaker. I remain active in the Circumnavigators Club and continue as Webmaster and Board Member in Chicago. After 6 years as Treasurer I decided to step down due to time pressures effective January 2006. However, I remain on the committee to determine our annual Foundation Scholar. Each year we select a junior at Northwestern University and send them around the world to pursue a research topic. This is a life-altering event that expands their understanding of the world and their confidence. Several of them have subsequently won Fulbright fellowships.

New Technology

DMP Stamp Sheet We are fortunate to live in a country where new technology is always improving our enjoyment of life. One delightful example is www.photostamps.com. You can create a genuine postage stamp that can be used in place of those you buy at the Post Office. What a great country we have! It's easy. Just upload a digital photo cropped to be fairly square to the photostamps website, give your address and credit card info, and it about 10 days you can have a wonderful gift for a friend or yourself. The total cost is about $20.00 for twenty 37 cent stamps or about $26.00 for twenty 60 cent stamps. I've created 7 stamps so far including the one shown of my father on his 87th birthday.

A friend and I spend several months examining all of the possibilities on how to create an income producing portfolio. He was familiar with modern portfolio theory and we used its principles to design a portfolio to produce a stated income while minimizing volatility over the years. We summarized our work in a PowerPoint presentation to present to 2 knowledgeable friends for their feedback before we committed funds.

My 8 or 9 year old CDMA cell phone finally failed and I replaced it with a Multimedia Phone MM-A940 by Samsung. Needless to say this a complex device of amazing capabilities. I've barely scratched the surface of its 235 page manual. So far the most useful new feature is voice dialing. I just speak the name of someone on my contact list and the phone dials it automatically. Very handy feature to have when you are driving a car.

Exercise Program

Pedometer New Year's Resolution Idea: Fifteen months ago, I got an Omron HJ-112 pedometer and my (achieved) goal is to average 10,000 steps a day (about 5 miles or 8 kilometers). In 2005, I had a perfect year with each month averaging over 10,000 steps a day. You can click the spreadsheet to read the numbers. This year I took more than 3.7 million steps!

The beauty of a pedometer is that it converts all exercise to a common unit. The Omron pedometer is a handy device that I clip on my belt in the morning and take off at night. It stores 7 days worth of step counts. You can buy it on the Internet or in your local drugstore. It is an easy way to motivate yourself to exercise.

An unexpected consequence of the 10,000 steps a day program is to eliminate a class of daily decisions: which parking place is the closest? I don't care because I have to get 10,000 steps anyway. The dilemma of one trip and carrying too many packages or two trips is eliminated. Take two trips because you always need the steps.

Other

Skinman One of the highlights of the year was a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the world famous Body Worlds exhibit. I was totally amazed! Real human bodies have been preserved in a revolutionary way by a German scientist. It is a work of art and very educational to see how these real bodies, most in the prime of life, have been preserved and displayed.

H. T. Chen, who worked for me on Japan during our Lucent career and who was the innovator on our joint patent on dynamic network routing, went back to school when he retired to finish his Ph.D. in medical physics after 30 years. It was an honor to attend his graduation ceremony on December 9, 2005 at the University of Chicago. As a gift, I created a 60 cent stamp of him in his cap and gown.

Transitions - My wonderful primary care physician, Doctor Howard Klickman moved to North Carolina. I got new contact lens, and now have worn hard contact lens for 47 years. I ran out of memory for my website and had it re-hosted by Register.com - this is a real improvement. An illegal alien hit my car in September causing $4,000 damage. Although he got 3 tickets, illegals can avoid financial consequences.

Art - I bought a print of a work of Michael Newberry entitled Icarus Landing. Unlike the ancient Greek myth, Mr. Newberry has a positive ending to the famous adventure.

Rome - Speaking of Greece, I continue to be interested in ancient Rome. While I walk, I've listened to excellent CD lectures on ancient Rome and Greece on my iPod produced by The Teaching Company. I've started on the first of the 6 volume edition of the famous Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon. It was first published in 1776 and I have been deeply impressed by it for its wisdom about the fundamental nature of Government and its seductive, balanced prose. I have been an avid viewer of the HBO series Rome. It is a kind of soap opera, but the historical facts are accurate. It allows you to visualize and study a pre-Christian value system. The actor chosen to play Julius Caesar presents him exactly as the person that I image him to be from the lectures and my reading.

On a sad note, I report the passing of Winston Duke who like me was one of the founders of the Libertarian Party in Illinois. Winston was a nuclear physicist who later got an MBA from Harvard and finally a law degree. He was an executive at Commonwealth Edison and a consultant. He died of a heart attack at age 64.

All the best to you in 2006!