It has been a Year. I'm very seriously glad to see it in the review mirror, as it were, but before it ends a moment to reflect on the whole year.
2012 started off with rather a bang when events in Mom's life happened while we were at some training for not-for-profit board members. By the time CK and I arrived back in town a considerable amount of damage had been done and as we close out the year, we're still working on the clean-up. Mom ended up at a retirement community for seniors, with a cafeteria, etc., but wasn't thriving there. Much of the year was spent in rushing out to be with her, take her to ER, and the moments in between worrying about her.
Another bang came in June when I was rear-ended on the commute home, thus realizing some of CK's fears in my long daily commute. Between the stress of trying to take care of Mom, while watching her health degrade out in Gresham, and the increasing wear-and-tear on my body from the commute, CK sat down with me, looked things over, and said we should try to buy a house.
In the middle of all of that we ran another successful Open Source Bridge (June, I also taught my annual "Yoga for Geeks" class) and presented a workshop at OSCON on event planning (July). I also spoke at the BusinessObjects User Group in Orlando and co-chaired Ignite Portland 10 in February and our 11th event in September!
We closed on the house in mid-September, as soon as we came back from Orlando, moved at the end of September and end the year in a larger, newer home, that reduces my commute to 20 minutes most days (from the frequent 90+ minute treks home before). The new house, situated in the southwest hills of Portland and boasting a beautifully landscaped yard, is also laid out in such a way that everything is accessible to Mom, who came to live with us at the end of October.
Yes, it is a Big Change, but already we've seen significant improvements in Mom's health. After Christmas was over I was really happy to learn from her it was her best Christmas ever. We've honestly had some really lousy Christmases, Mom and I, despite all the flare-ups between us, I'm really happy to be able to have her living with us and so grateful for CK's support, insight, and help in caring for Mom
My job change back to hands-on IT administration is now (un)officially 2 years as of this December (from when I started as "contract-to-hire"). I'm the administrator for all of the BusinessObjects applications servers for one of Oregon's largest technology companies. It is challenging and reminds me yet again that in the long run I really would like to move away from hands-on administration and move more into project and team management. In the new year my manager will be trying to find space in my project load to make sure I get to do more technical lead work, particularly on projects with lots of user acceptance testing.
My yoga practice still includes teaching, although much of the year has seen both my teaching and personal practice severely hampered. The minor fender-bender took a toll on my right shoulder and my neck, taking far longer to heal than I'd have expected (wanted). As 2012 ends I'm only just getting back to real weight-bearing on my shoulders and arms. Hopefully a return to shoulderstands will brighten my 2013!
Amidst the upset CK and I managed to visit New Orleans. The trip was sadly overshadowed by worries about Mom which added a lot of fatigue and stress. Despite all of that we hunted for letterboxes, enjoyed some good vegan food, and saw Indians. We look forward to a return trip when our attention is not so divided.
CK and I got in a long-weekend to visit Bend and Central Oregon. Having spent so much time there, particularly during the summer while growing up, I'm surprised it has taken us so long to visit there. CK fell in love with the high desert and the mountains of Central Oregon. We're really looking forward to more visits.
Having my talk on application tuning and team engagement at the 2012 BusinessObjects User Group meant a trip to Disney World. Given that the conference happened during our wedding anniversary and that CK had always wanted to go to Disney World, we added some time on the trip and I was delighted she joined me. The little bit of extra time meant we also got to see the Space Shuttle Endeavor hanging in the gantry, waiting to be loaded on the plane for Los Angeles. We also saw the Saturn V rocket and had an all around amazing day filled with space exploration artifacts.
I also managed to squeeze in a few days in August to visit friends out at Mercer Lake. It was nice to spend a relaxing weekend, including a kayak trip around the very-still lake, and some letterbox discoveries.
In December CK convinced me to take a long weekend away for myself, just to rest. I had to admit that the only trips I'd ever taken alone were only done so under the guise of work, either for my actual job or for such things as yoga training retreats, and Zen sesshin (retreat practice). I had a lot of anxiety about going, but in the end had a really wonderful time. I was utterly delighted by getting to see a shooting star during the Geminid showers (a clear night, on the Oregon coast, in December - amazing) and getting to enjoy the major storm that blew in to accompany the King Tides. My return day was filled with cold, December sunshine, as I made my slow way back home.
It has been quite a year. Looking back I'm grateful for the really positive experiences and accomplishments that have happened. Given the rather extreme stress and upset the year has brought, it would be easy to lose sight of these things. I know I'd not have made it this far or done this well in 2012 without the support, understanding, and encouragement of my loved-ones, CK at the very top of that list.
Tonight there will be vegan Japanese food and a very small handful of friends over for games. Not sure how Mom will like the food, but she's sure to like some of the things we have or I'll make her a Gardein 'Chickn' patty! Beautiful food, laughter, and our little family is just the right way to end this rather hard year.