I would love to say it has been a busy year, but I would be stretching things a bit. Rather than lots of big steps towards anything it feels more like a year of firming up the status quo. More like lots of little steps in a smaller area. I like to think of it as firming up the ground around the foundation. I must be getting older because I can find some peace in that realization. As always I am itching for something new but I am happy with where I am now. And there is a lot to be said for being in such a place in ones life!
I finished the Masters degree in Information Science in May, which I do not get too enthusiastic about but I do not want to make sound insignificant. Most of the effort on that achievement was in earlier years, so it is difficult to get excited about it. Mostly just happy it is done. One of the biggest things I learned was that I really enjoy taking classes. Enough that I took an Intro to Computing Class this past Fall. It was using robots to teach the basics and it was a lot of fun. I am not sure if I am going to take another class this coming semester. It might be time to work on some of the certifications and work related training.
While my running has been on hiatus for all of December in order to recover from shin splints, I did get very close to the goal of five miles in 50 minutes. Close enough that I my new goal for the coming year is 45 minutes for five miles. There is a five mile run in Valley Forge in late April I am thinking about as a milestone along the way to next years Turkey Trot. Getting down to a nine minute mile is a reasonable next step it seems. The bigger problem seems to be finding a training schedule that does not effect time with the family. It seems like I have to choose between losing the time in the morning or after work in the early evening, at least until the days are longer. Not enough time in the day it seems. At least not with that pesky job taking up the bulk of the day. Such is life.
The garden experiment with the Three Sisters while not productive was educational. Key lessons learned: soak the bean seeds overnight before planting and only use one type of corn. We just got a seed catalog in the mail and I am looking forward to planning out this coming years garden. Less experimenting and more of the things that have worked well these past few years. Corn, tomatoes, squash, and beans I think will be this years focus.
Last year the something new I focused on was learning to play the concertina. I bought one and managed to hammer out a few tunes. Nothing that would let me earn a living playing or anything like that but enough to satisfy the itch. Finding time to practise has been the problem since then. It was a great distraction for a few minutes from working on projects for my last class but not a lot has been done since I am planning on trying to make some time for it this year as well. My goal is one hour a week. While not a lot, it is ambitious as the little free time I have is when our little one is sleeping. Practising when he is asleep seems like a bad idea. I will check with the boss before I experiment with that idea.
This years something new is electronics. I put a 300-in-1 Electronic Lab on my wish list and was lucky enough to get it as a gift. Beyond simple curiosity, which is a big motivator in much of my life, I wanted to understand more about some of these DIY hacks I see on some of my favorite web sites. Frequently there is a simple circuit board with only a few components on it featured as the center point of the hack. I would love to be able to understand why they work. Even better would be having the understanding that would let me be that creative with only a few dollars worth of resistors etc, but lets start with the basics. Another motivator is I would like to be able to answer, and demonstrate, the questions about how something works asked by our little one. This kit demonstrates everything from turning on a light to building a radio to a different types of simple logic gates, the building blocks for what makes up the processors in the computers used throughout our lives.
Speaking of our little one, we had a startling moment yesterday when we realized he had grown two inches in the last month or two. We have a wall chart that we first marked with his height when he turned two this past summer. We went to update it a few months later but his height had not changed. Then this past week I noticed that the top of his head was just above the counters in the kitchen. This is important because I clearly remembered that it had been just below the counter top. So out comes the wall chart to see if my memory was accurate. There was some excitement in trying to get him to stand with his heels down long enough to get a reasonable marking of his height. He rarely stands still, let alone lets his heels touch the floor, so this was quite the undertaking. Eventually he caught on and let us mark his height. Then each of us had to stand there for our height to be marked. He even went and got Grandpa from the living room to make sure we marked his height as well. A long story for two inches, but it was fun and I thought to share it with you.
I hope the new year brings you what you need and may it include happiness for you and yours.