2016 Retrospective

I won’t beat around the bush: this is the first year of the Retrospective where I needed to make a section for “Deaths”. Mom passed away on the 18th of June this year. I was there for her and for Dad and Stephanie at the end. The ii News did not have a lot of stories about her illness from its diagnosis in 2014, remission and then reappearance in 2015, and her palliative care in 2016. That was at her request.

If only the deaths section ended there. For most people, ask them about 2016, and they will probably mention a number of musician and celebrity deaths. When George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds died this week, I joked that “the last one to die this year wins”. Little did I know that it would be our Nochie who won. But that wasn’t the only feline companion who left us this year: Peanut also passed away.

It’s always our Miranda who starts the year off, with another birthday. This one will probably not go down as one of the best, thanks to our misinterpreting of her request for violin lessons. It worked out in the end, but it wasn’t a great start. She also crossed a threshold this year, surpassing Tammy in height. She tried a couple of short haircuts this year, but the word is that she’s growing out her hair now. Her grade 7 school photo will probably be a standout when looking back. She had a couple problems this year, with a hospital visit due to abdomen pain and then a dentist visit when she broke a baby tooth. She continued her creative ways, in many different media, including Perler Beads and claymation. She is continuing to grow into a young woman. Very striking and composed.

Ian had a good year too. It started with he and I going to see a Calgary Flames game. We continued to have trouble with him and his grade 3 teacher. In the end, we had him tested, and he was fine. Now with his new teacher, all is well. Ian also spent a day in the hospital, when he had a mystery back pain. He got better, but we never got an explanation. His fascination with the tall buildings of Calgary and the world seems to have cooled and replaced by BC Ferries, but in the early part of the year it was red-hot. Maybe once he got to go up to the top of the Bow, he needed new goals? His friends at school got into solving the Rubik’s Cube, and I helped Ian learn how to solve it. He ended up pretty good at it. He turned 9 this summer, and we had a trampoline birthday party for him, because Tammy remembered to send out invitations before the school year ended. His teeth were in need of straightening, so that started this fall.┬áLook for him in the cycling roundup!

The kids both continued their piano this year with two recitals, and I┬ámissed both of them. It’s not my fault, I swear. I played some guitar this year, joined in with Ian and his ukulele, and I installed a shelf under the piano for the Mac mini for Piano Marvel, and more recently, Miranda has been learning piano songs off the Internet (music from Fairy Tail).

Tammy was a big part of a lot of stories this year, but when it came to stories about her, more than half were about her work at GEOS. She turned 44 this year, and enjoyed her Mother’s Day. Maybe I could put the story about our Brazillian BBQ date night in her section? She’s going to need to post more stories next year…

I also didn’t have a ton of stories that didn’t fall under the categories of cycling, home improvement or travel. In fact, the first half of the year the only newsworthy things were that I got a new work phone, and I turned 43. Woo. Things got a little better when I got promoted at work to Solution Architect Team Lead. Incidentally, the official announcement of that went out just before Christmas. I picked up the pastels at least once this year, but I was creative in a couple other ways: pumpkin carving and Movember poster-making. I also had a bit of a laugh, trying on my high school jacket. Esri renewed their employee iPad program, so I finally had the excuse to get a new iPad. My health news included breaking myself in a bike crash, having to see the cardiologist about an irregular heartbeat and┬áspending Boxing Day at the hospital.

Around the house, the improvement that took the longest was recoating the deck. It took the whole summer, from the time we stripped it to when it was finished. Not that it took all that time: the weather was horrible this summer and we had to wait for three days without rain. Getting that done was huge, but mentally the improvement to the living room with a coat of paint was even bigger.

Our 2015-16 ski season started with promise, but was a bust thanks to lots of reasons. This year has started well, so let’s try to keep up the momentum in 2017. I wasn’t the only person to break bones this year, when Colin went down for the count in Mexico. There was also lots of writing this year, more than just November. Both Tammy and I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and I have done lots of editing this year. It’s exciting to feel that maybe we’re breaking through to a new level there.

Travel began in February for me this year, and was pretty frequent until it stopped in October. I hit Edmonton, Palm Springs, Victoria, Brandon, Toronto three times, Regina and Leduc. As a family, we had some short excursions into┬áKananaskis and the 12 Mile Coulee (ooh!), but the big trip was returning to Victoria to visit, take part in the Tour de Victoria, and visit Colin and Carol on┬áPender Island. But we weren’t the only ones travelling, because Dad came to visit us twice! Once in October and then over Christmas.

The reason that I do this post every year is that it helps to remind me of all the things that happen over the length of the year. Some things are easy to remember, while others slip away if you let them. While 2016 will always be the year that Mom died, it’s important to remember that a lot of other amazing things happened.

To that end, I’d like to leave with this outtake from when we took our family picture this year. It includes Nochie, who jumped up and onto Miranda’s lap.

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