I'm writing this yearly update later than I usually do. A few things have been unsettled, and I didn't want to write until I had some idea how they would turn out.
Another annual State of the Kris message:
The biggest change for my family this year was moving from our little mountain cabin in Dahlonega to a house in Cumming. This puts us closer to the schools where Pebble teaches and where Bailey learns. Instead of spending two hours commuting per day, we now spend about 30 minutes.
I used to joke that we should just move to exit 14, since that’s where we spent our weekends shopping. Now we’re here.
Our five dogs love the big fenced-in wooded backyard. They get to chase deer once in a while. (I don't know what a Yorkshire Terrier would do if it caught a deer, but I'm not worried about that happening.)
I ran two half marathons this year, and I’m preparing to run a marathon in March. I’ll probably also try to run the Atlanta Marathon in October. After that, I suspect I will be finished with marathons, but will keep running twenty or thirty miles per week. I enjoy running, and like being in better shape than I have been for the past couple decades.
Pebble is now working at North Forsyth High School, teaching courses in forensics and agricultural science. She seems less stressed-out than she did while working at the middle school.
Bailey is really enjoying the marching band. His band went to a competition in New York, and they took third place. The band will be going to London in December.
I usually make a list of goals for each year. However, I rarely consult that list after making it, so I’m not going to bother this year. I hope to run two marathons, and I hope to learn to play piano, but I really just want to enjoy life in our new home.
Another year behind me. Not a bad year.
I picked up a new client this year, and reduced my time spent working with the client I've had for the past couple of years. The new client provides opportunities for more interesting work. I've been able to do more mobile and web development, and will be doing some embedded-systems development soon. I may be able to put Windows/.NET development behind me for a while. I was able to give myself a nice bump in my hourly rate.
Family and dogs are doing fine. There is nothing very interesting to report, but I'm happy.
We're planning to visit relatives in North Dakota this summer. I haven't been back there for a while (over ten years, I think), so it will be nice to see everybody.
I think I'm healthier than I was a year ago. I started running in August, and ran a 10K on New Year's Day. I have started training to run a half-marathon at the end of March. I've lost a few pounds and a few waistline inches. If I can lose 20 pounds this year, I'll be in good shape.
Goals for the coming year:
- Write in my journal every day.
- Run a half marathon, and the Peachtree Road Race 10K. (Maybe: run Atlanta Marathon this fall.)
- Practice guitar at least six days per week. My wife bought me a nice Fender Telecaster for Christmas/birthday, which has been a good motivator.
- Learn to play keyboard. My brother bought me a keyboard for Christmas/birthday, so I have no excuses not to learn to play.
- Look at this list of goals once in a while.
It's another one of those "5" years. I'm now halfway to 90. 90 sounds old, but once upon a time, 45 sounded old too.
The year has not been easy. We lost my maternal grandmother, Ann Woods, in August. I have many good memories of time spent with her up in North Dakota.
My brother announced that he and his wife were getting a divorce. Again, not happy news, but we have to accept it. The end-of-year family get-togethers have seemed incomplete without my sister-in-law.
However, even with those events, this year has been a pretty good one for me.
Professionally, things have been better than usual. I developed Real Professional mobile apps for iPhone/iPad and Android. These apps have over 30,000 users, and they have been well received. Most applications I've developed during my career had only a few dozen users, so this larger reach gives me a sense that I can have some sort of effect on the world.
I've wanted to make iPhone and iPad software since I was 12 years old. Unfortunately, iPhones and iPads didn't exist back then. I'm glad that the devices are finally here, and that they pay me to work with them.
One resolution I've made for the coming year is to spend at least one hour per day working on personal programming projects. I gave up programming "for fun" a few years ago when work was burning me out, but now my interest has been rekindled.
I started meditating almost-daily about 12 months ago. For this, I credit 5by5's Dan Benjamin, who mentioned his meditation practice on several podcasts. I'm no zen master, but I do feel less stress and it's easier to ignore all the little problems in my life. I only have a mental breakdown two or three times a day now.
The optometrist prescribed progressive lenses for me this year. I don't like having old-people glasses, but I'm glad that my corrected eyesight is better. I wish I'd gotten these years ago.
Life with my wife and stepson keeps getting better. Bailey has matured and calmed down a lot over the past year—we actually see him smile once in a while! Pebble hasn't had to spend any time in the hospital this year, which makes us both feel a lot better. Our five dogs are all healthy and happy. Our little cabin in the foothills is still the nicest place I've ever been.
I don't like getting older, but as long as the years keep getting better, I won't complain about it.
Another year past. Highlights of the past year:
We've acquired two more dogs this year: "Blitz," a Miniature Schnauzer, and "Lucy," one of a litter of puppies from our Yorkies Boo and Tweezer. This brings the total to five. We gave away four puppies from two litters this year. One puppy, "Riley," ended up with my parents, and the other three were taken by Bailey's soccer coach.
Stopped working for Scientific Games as a contractor, and returned to TransCore as a contractor.
My wife Pebble went through a couple of surgeries in the space of a few weeks this summer, so that was tough on her, but she's doing well now.
Bsiley started middle school. He has taken up the oboe. I'm happy to hear him practicing it. It's the first thing he's taken any interest in other than videogames, and it's nice to seem him excited about it.
I've gained back ten of the thirty pounds that I lost in 2009. So I'm working on that again.
I don't know what's in store for me this year. I may be offered permanent employment with TransCore. I may start an MBA program in the fall. I'm sure there will be surprises and setbacks.
Anyway, enough for now. It's time for the hourly dog-poop removal.
Another year older. I'm solidly in my forties now. It's not too bad.
We've had a few additions to the family in the past year: we bought two more Yorkshire Terriers, named Boo and Tweezer. About a week and half ago, Boo gave birth to a puppy whom we've named Sparky. He hasn't opened his eyes yet, but he's growing fast. So we now have four dogs, which is more than we really want, but I doubt we'll be able to part with any of them.
I've lost thirty pounds this year. I'd like to lose another twenty, but I'm glad I haven't regained what I've lost. As a result of the weight loss and diet, I no longer need medication to control hypertension or cholesterol. So I'm healthier than I was last year, and I hope that trend continues.
My wife decided to put a patio in the backyard this summer. The project grew a little beyond its initial scope, but the result is that we have a really nice backyard now. I like to go out there and read on weekends. It makes our little house feel a little bigger. I still really like it in Dahlonega.
I notice in my "42" entry that I said my career was in a rut, and it still is. However, I will have some opportunity to learn new things at work this year, so while it's still not what I want, at least it won't be completely boring.
Usually when I write my birthday blog post, I can review the last year's worth of blog postings to remind me of the things I did during the year. Unfortunately, this year I decided to limit my blog postings to programming- and technology-related topics, so I don't have a record of the really interesting things that have happened. But I do know that I'm happy, and that's all that really matters.
Another birthday has passed. It has been an eventful year: I got married, and I've become part of a new family.
My wife Pebble is the most amazing person I've ever met. She's smart. She's kind. She's giving. She's forgiving. Most of all, she's open in a way I thought nobody could be. Marriage and life aren't always wonderful, but she's a wonderful wife, and I know I've chosen the right partner. We grow closer every day, and I honestly can't remember what my life was like before I met her. (I'm pretty sure it sucked.)
For my birthday, she bought me the complete collection of Planet of the Apes movies on Blu-ray. I didn't even ask for it. How cool is that?
My stepson Bailey is about to become ten years old. Like his mother, his emotions and thoughts are always right at the surface, so I always know where I stand with him. He is sometimes incredibly cute, and other times he's apparently possessed by Satan, but I know we'll always love one another. He loves his new grandma and grandpa (my parents), and enjoys spending time with his new cousins (my nieces).
We also got a puppy. He's a Yorkshire Terrier named Mouse, and he thinks he owns the house. I believe there is nothing cuter than a Yorkie puppy.
Our little cabin in the woods is nice, but we all agree that we'd like more space, and we're all getting tired of driving two hours a day to get to and from our occupations, so we're probably going to be moving closer to Atlanta some time this year. But we're not in a hurry: we do like our little cabin in the woods.
My forties are shaping up to be a lot better than my twenties and thirties were. Life is good. (But I occasionally complain about it anyway.)
I've done more traveling in the past year than any other. My wife and I went to Waikiki for our honeymoon, and also visited Pensacola and the Grand Canyon. I went alone to Australia for three weeks on business, finally putting my passport to use.
Career-wise, I'm in a bit of a rut. I had hoped to do some job searching this year, but with the economy the way it is, I consider myself fortunate to have the contracting gig that I have. I'll try to acquire some new skills this year. Maybe next year...
Another year has gone by. I didn't really set many goals for myself last year, so I'm not disappointed by any failures (although I am disappointed that I didn't set any goals). I lost 20 pounds and ran the Peachtree Road Race, but I've regained the 20 pounds.
The biggest change in my life is that the Match.com thing worked out and I am now part of an "us." This is making me very happy. We live in a newly-purchased old cabin in the woods. I'm now spending my weekends doing yardwork and other handiwork, which is a big change from my old lifestyle. I now have access to a chainsaw and will soon have a tiller. At some point, I'm going to have to learn about wells so I can get rid of the sulfur smell in our water.
I never understood why all the guys with wives and girlfriends never have any free time to hang out with us unencumbered guys. Now I understand. There's not much "me time" anymore, but I don't miss it. (Love you, sweetie.)
I am practicing guitar whenever I have some free time. I hope to be able to play some actual music by this time next year. I also want to master the drums on Rock Band.
I'm going to start taking a self-portrait on each birthday. I hope my deterioration will be very slow. I haven't decided yet whether the beard is going to be a permanent part of my appearance.
[UPDATE: 2/4/2008: Beard is gone.]
[UPDATE: 2/26/2008: I miss my beard.]
A few weeks ago, I was talking to an older gentleman at a golf course, and I mentioned my 40th birthday was coming up.
He smiled and asked "It went by quick, didn't it?"
Yes, it did.
I celebrated my 39th birthday this week, if the term "celebrate" can mean "sit alone at home and watch TV just like every other night." Because my birthday is in January, I do Birthday Resolutions instead of New Year's Resolutions. After all, that gives me a couple more weeks to figure out what it is I want to do with the coming year.
I've got one year to do all the things I want to do before I turn 40. But there's nothing I want to do. Yeah, I'd like to get into better shape, be smarter with my money, clean out my closets, find a better job, and the other typical stuff, but I know that none of these wants are engaging enough to hold my attention for a year.
So, I really don't have anything to write about, but I wanted to record this so that I can look at it next year and be comforted that I didn't fail to accomplish any of my goals.
I know some people will probably wish me a Happy Birthday, let me wish you all a Happy Birthday as well, whenever it is.