Happy New Year 2011

Another Lonely Night on I-Drive
"Another Lonely Night on I-Drive"
Christmas 2010 International Drive
Olympus E-3 with Digital Zuiko 12-60mm
1/60s, f/4, ISO 800, 56mm
Another year, another 365 days gone. I spent the last two weeks of 2010 in down time here at the house with the family, just puttering about.

It still wasn't enough time.

Both girls spent the majority of Christmas with the wife and I. Lauran spent New Years Eve with friends, while Megan elected to spend it with us. We all stayed up until 2am, watching old episodes of Psych on Netflix via my aging Wii, toasting one another with Welch's sparkling grape juice in old 2010 New Years glasses (I couldn't find anything for 2011 that was as good; everything this year was cheap plastic).

Looking back at my January 2010 resolutions and predictions, I discovered they were something of a mixed bag. Of the predictions, most of which were rather lazy anyway, the only prediction I partially missed was number four. Linux still hangs onto about 1% of the market, while Mark Shuttleworth still clings to Ubuntu. The two distributions I did mention, Mandriva and Novell's OpenSUSE, are the distributions that got "kicked to the curb"; Mandriva nearly went bankrupt while Novell split itself into two parts, selling the Linux part to Attachmate and some 884 patents to a consortium led by Microsoft, all for some $2.2 billion.

I kept most of my resolutions, either in whole or in part. I divested myself of Twitter and Facebook. Last I read there were over 200 million twits and 500 million facebookers. In the face of such popularity why did I divest? Lack of privacy and lack of security, especially with Twitter. Lack of real time to devote to something constructive. And most importantly, I'm not a social lemming.

I did manage to write more in the blog, but not as much as I would have liked. I believe my writing has improved.

I did manage to take more photographs but posted less to Flickr. Perhaps that's because I've become more discriminatory, which is another way of saying that my bad work is beginning to embarrass me more. I did sign up for another year on Flickr. I say that because I also opened up a personal site on Zenfolio, but after a brief flurry of activity, I let it go. Setting up Zenfolio is too complicated. I may try Smugmug next.

We're still living in the same house in Orlando. The market's so bad it's going to take a "few" more years to be able to even think about selling and moving on. In the mean time I replaced the original roof on the house as well as the equally ancient 26-year-old air conditioning system. Both of those are good for tax credits, as both were using energy efficient materials and systems. I can already see a major saving in the power bills, helping to offset paying off the money I had to borrow just for those two jobs. During the re-roof we put a sky light in the center part of the house to lighten it up and keep from having to turn on the interior lights during the middle of the day. It got dark as a cave when we added an extension to the back and converted the back two windows into French doors.

As for saving money, well, that was very mixed. Between the thousands in vet bills and what I borrowed to fix up the house, I was forced to re-prioritize what was important. We've never been profligate with spending, but it's made us even more sharp-eyed about what needs to be spent. I don't have a problem spending the money if I have to, but it had better be for a very good reason.

We never did go to England. We didn't go on any vacations in 2010, which is why I had two weeks of time left over in December. We are planning to drive up to Pennsylvania in 2011 so that my wife can intern her mother's cremains next to her father's final resting place in the family plot. England will have to wait for 2012. Hopefully before December 21st.

I did stay involved with the community, primarily through Relay for Life and Science Olympiad. I'm still involved with Relay for Life, but it would be nice to find a group closer to home. As for Science Olympiad for 2011, I'm not so sure. My work has gotten very complicated for 2011. For example I have two scheduled trips in January and a week of local instruction starting 3 January; longer term I'm involved with two primary tasks this year.

Predictions for 2011? I have none. I have hopes and dreams of what might be, and I'll be happy if any of them come to fruition. But after witnessing three years of the Great Recession and the Real Estate Crash, as well as how so little has changed politically, I have decided to keep my predictions to myself. I'm no longer that impressed with either the pace or the direction of politics, culture and technology; it's too depressing.

I will make one resolution for 2011. I have to loose 30 pounds. Not so I can look svelte and handsome; I turned 57 in December, and if I was ever thus it was many many years ago. I need to loose weight because it's having an adverse effect on my joints and health in general, and to help control my moderate sleep apnea I've been diagnosed with. I don't drink or smoke, and never have. But the weight is slowly turning into a litteral killer, and it has to go. Down.

As mentioned earlier this year is going to be tough. Lots of challenges both personally and professionally. On the personal side the girls are approaching their mid-20s and getting ready to move on to the next stage of their life after undergraduate college. One may move completely out of Florida while the other looks to possibly move to Gainesville. The nest will become truly empty. Both of us were hit pretty hard realizing this the last week. I'm driving one daughter back up to FSU just so I can extend the amount of time I get to spend with her, even by a little bit.

I've joined a 365 photo project group on Flickr. I intend to take a photo a day for all of 2011, even if they're crap, and post it. Perhaps I'll get something useful out of that particular project. And tied with the 365 photo is the resolution to post every day in the blog, even if it's crap too. I apologize in advance to those that follow my blog, but if I'm going to write then I need to truly write. I've been on Blogger since October 2004; it's time to start experimenting a bit. If there's an upside from this, then the entries will include a link back to my photography. Perhaps if the writing is terrible then the pretty pictures (I hope they'll be pretty) will make up for the disappointing prose.

As my dad asked, how does it feel to be sneaking up on 60? I didn't answer at the time (my parents are both still alive and 79), but I have an answer now. It stinks. While I've still got some time left to work in my chosen profession, and the possibility that I can continue on as a consultant even past retirement, there is the sharp realization that there are more days behind me than in front of me, to make the best of those that remain.


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