Year in Review 2014


And maybe a bit of 2013. I realize that this annual update didn't make it's way out of my head last year so I have a little catch up to do.

If I had to bullet list (as I am known to do) some of the major sections of my last two years, they would be:
  • Travel. Man, as I type out this list I'm realizing how much enjoyment I've gotten from moving about the past couple of years. I really love having a trip, no matter how bit or small, on the horizon to look forward to. I've logged a lot of miles recently. Hopefully I'll get further afield in the next year or two, although as of right now I don't have anything specific planned.
New Orleans Jazz Fest, April 2013
Port Aransas, May 2013
Las Vegas, June 2013
Washington D.C., June 2013
Mexican Cruise, July 2013
Grand Canyon, September 2013
New Orleans Mardi Gras, Mar 2014
Sam Houston National Forest, Mar 2014
Lost Maples State Park, April 2014
New Orleans, June 2014
Ink's Lake, June 2014
Virginia section of the AT, July 2014
Blacksburg VA, July 2014
Washington D.C., July 2014
New Orleans and Gulf Coast Mississippi, August 2014
Greenville SC, Sept 2014
Kansas City MO, Oct 2014
Albuquerque NM, Oct 2014
New Orleans, Dec 2014
  • Austin. How I love my adopted city. Some big highlights from the past few years are a newly discovered love of tubing, of course plenty of live music, lots of time exploring the greenbelts, and some great visits from family. Anna came in both June and November this year and October last year. Ben also came in June this year and I think having all four siblings together was one of the highlights of my year.

  • Teaching. This is a sector of my life that has gotten adequate coverage here so I won't belabor the point. Two-and-a-half years in I'm feeling pretty on top of my game. Well, kinda anyway. I'd never be bold enough to say I've got this thing down. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I'd do some major wheedling to get another week of winter break, but such is life. Last year Austin had a bizarre cold snap and we ended up with something like three "snow days" in the early part of the second semester and a handful of bad weather delays. It's gonna be rough this year making it through to spring break without those bonus days in home in bed.

  • Tessa. My lovely Tessa has handled middle school with 20 times more grace than I ever dreamed and 100 times more skill than I ever mustered. She gets excellent grades in all her classes. A good chunk of this is natural ability (I frequently remind her to thank her parents for good test taking genes) but I've also seen her transition this last year to a very responsible and proactive approach to her school work and that makes me the most proud. She has a real talent for her fine art courses. Her choir is fabulous and her work in varsity choir this year has been amazing. She stared in a production of Snew White last December and I was honestly amazed at her poise and natural ability. And even though she won't let me sneak a peak at her sketch book, her art class has taken something of a central focus recently and the snippets I've seen are amazing. In addition to all of that, she's been on the cheer squad for the past two years and despite my personal and not very well disguised reluctance to embrace cheer, it has been a stellar experience for her and I'm really proud of her commitment to her team. She is of course thirteen and that doesn't come without it's own set of challenges, but she is honestly a great joy for me to be around. Her sense of snark is hilarious to yours truly and her droll wit keeps me extremely amused.

  • Sylvie. My dear, sensitive Sylvie has continued to blossom. Every year I am more and more impressed with her character as she comes into her own. Recently she has taken up a real intrinsic motivation at school and she has some pretty big academic ambitions. She is hoping to attend a Math and Science magnet middle school next year and eventually attend the Liberal Arts and Science Academy here in Austin, which is currently ranked in the top 10 schools nationwide. Her Math aptitude is at times shocking and it is one of my great pleasures to watch her figure problems out. She has been participating with her schools Math Pentathlon team and will begin competitions this spring. I'm kicking myself as I have to report here yet again that piano lessons are still on hiatus. This is turning into a big parental regret. But she and I have been talking about it again lately and I hope to make that happen this year once we get settled in a new house. Her music talent is great and thankfully she's had her excellent school choir program as an outlet. She just finished her 5th grade production of Dr. Seuss on the Loose and it was great to see the buzz of excitement in her as they practiced and performed. She is currently obsessed with all things Sims, which is find more personally palatable to her previous obsession with Minecraft, but either way her screen addiction is very real and something we battle with from time to time. She is still a sensitive soul and tempers are not always even keel, but at heart she is the kid that asks if she can rub my feet from time to time and gives the best hugs.

  • The transition from married to unmarried. Of course this has been difficult for my girls, but Dave and I have made the transition very gradual and open and I think this has helped a lot for my precious girls. This has been priority number one for both of us. Since our separation about a year and a half ago and eventual divorce, we have remained in the same house and will continue to do so until we sell, hopefully at the end of this school year. The girls will be finishing 5th and 8th grades and this seemed like the best time to transition to new locations and schools. This has been a nontraditional arrangement to be sure but I think we have made it work well. It has given the girls a lot of time to process things and deal with it in their own time. Things between Dave and I are quite amicable, but I think we are both very much looking forward to getting our own spaces and moving forward.
  • Nathan. Fellow Math teacher and the most deep thinking, generous, honest, rationally objective, and integrity filled human I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Not to mention probably the smartest person I've met and frustratingly good at all games and all competitive feats. He is highly skilled at striking up conversation with friends and strangers alike. He lives in the moment and has helped me see the joy in that. He also has an incredible loathing for owning or procuring possessions and having his picture taken. I love him.

I'm not really sure what 2015 has in store for me. I am an organizer and a planner and a scheduler at heart but I've learned over the past few years to take things as they are, giving each shimmering, glorious moment, as well as the muddier ones, their proper due.


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