New Year’s Post

It’s becoming as traditional as black-eye peas for bloggers to write about their New Year’s Resolutions and/or thoughts on the past year. Since I’m nothing if not traditional, I might as well succumb to blog pressure.

Let’s start with the last year. Other than losing 21% of our net worth in the market crash, it was a pretty good year. It started out with a new job which so far has continued, always a good thing in a recession. I’m a much better coder than I was 12 months ago and a moderately better software developer. My Python skills went mostly unimproved though I did some light work with Pylons. I started learning Clojure which I’m still struggling with, mostly due to inattention more than inability I think. Like math, I think functional languages require constant work, even if in small chunks, especially when you come from an object-oriented language like C#. My C# skills are greatly improved since that’s what I use in my daily job and I’ve basically been a code monkey for 12 months.

My writing was at least slightly more prolific than 2007 and I think a great deal of it was more thoughtful. There were still plenty of one off posts to stories about cow pigs and whatnot but there was also plenty of thoughtful pieces, mostly directed at agile development. I posted 178 times in 2008 compared to 156 in 2007 which is just under a post every two days. April was the worst month with only 2 posts while October was the best at 36. I’m not sure I really got much better as a writer but at least I’m doing it more. My regular journal was pretty neglected, only getting attention in 5 of 12 months. That’s pretty normal though as I tend to write more publicly than privately these days. My abortive attempt at writing a novel in November was mostly just funny since I decided right at the deadline to do it and then struggled with any ideas or momentum. Putting more thought into that in the months before November probably would help.

In September, K and I took our parents and my 82 year old grandmother to France. That was quite an adventure, certainly a trip of a lifetime for my parents and grandmother. We spent the first days in Bayeux on the Norman coast, experiencing the D-Day atmosphere where my grandfather jumped as a paratrooper with the 82nd on D-Day. We spent the last few days in Paris, seeing the normal Parisian sights and trying to do far too much most likely. It was a wonderful trip and one that I know my mom and dad are thrilled to have taken. One of these days, we’ll have pictures up on the interwebs that you can see from the trip. Maybe that will be a resolution for 09.

Also in September, I entered two photos in the State Fair of Texas Photography contest and one of them placed second in its category. That was both really surprising and gratifying. I’m looking forward to doing more photography in the future.

I started CrossFit this August and have greatly improved my fitness and eating habits. I love CrossFit and look forward to the improvements in 09.

Two major gardening projects went down this year. The first was getting a wrought iron fence put in across our back yard after the old (3 years! Crappy construction) fence blew down. Once that was in, we built a path to the gate as you can see below. The other project was rebuilding the veggie garden which you can read all about here.

One new addition to the household this year, Vincent, the one on the left. She was a semi-feral stray that K fed at her old apartments. When they tore down the apartments, we took Vincent in. She’s a good cat but awfully skittish with anyone but us.

Those are the main highlights from an above average year. I’m still considering resolutions but it’s amazing how looking back can help formulate goals for the next year. So many things you forget unless you take the time to remember.