2018 Retrospective

Hear ye, hear ye! 🔔 The end of the year is nigh! ‘Tis time to reflect on the year that was.

As usual, a lot happened. Maybe not all of it was earth-shattering news, but everyone is continuing to grow and do new things.

Miranda turned 14 (it’s always weird to reference that, one day before her next birthday every year) and she’s well into teenager hood now. Her eyes finally gave in to genetics and she has glasses now. She also experimented with a couple of new haircuts: short and shorter. Her biggest event of the year was her trip to Montréal and Québec this spring. When the weather and traffic didn’t cooperate, she got a couple of extra days. She made a post about the whole trip. She also showed an interest in role-playing-type games (she’s always liked Baldur’s Gate/Champions of Norrath and the Lord of the Rings). If we can find the time, she’s a willing participant in the Order of the Stick. Her braces came off late in the year. Yay!

Ian kept a low profile early in the year. He was in posts about family events like skiing at Nakiska and our West Edmonton Mall trip, but it wasn’t until summer came that there were posts about a field trip to Heritage Park and his new road bicycle riding exploits. He’s growing, and was tall enough to go on some new rides at Calaway Park this year. He continued to be interested in programming, but still has more enthusiasm than focus. Another long-term project was reading the Wheel of Time together. He turned 11 in July, and had a sleepover with Ben, a family birthday party and a party at Southland Leisure Centre. He even posted to this site a couple of times, including a loving look at the iPhone XR.

Tammy was quiet this year. As always a part of everything, but the list of solo stories was short. There were her new Sam Sparks glasses, and her 46th birthday. Her new job got exciting when there was a bomb threat at the college. She’s driving her Golf a lot more, and some wear and tear can be more stress-causing than others. She got a chance to meet up with some of her former students from Switzerland this year, and she got back on the horse and donated blood as well. Her biggest story was having a business trip to Edmonton! She got to partake in a multi-day ESL conference. The rest of the family survived her absence, if barely. 😁

Most of the stories about me or the things I did seemed to be about information technology, cycling or home improvement. I suppose that’s not too surprising. I had four rounds of programming news, where I improved the FFF mobile app, did a proof of concept of aligning FFF records with bank records in Python, then developing a Mac app and then enhancing it. I had issues ordering new decals for my Roubaix, but managed to get them and apply them in the end. Tammy and I made a handful of lunch dates at the Last Straw Pub, but the only date night was going to see MAMIL in Eau Claire. I might need to work on my relationship skills. 🤔 I turned 45, which seems like a lot. The most notable thing that happened this year was getting to see a Stampeders game from the ENMAX private box. That was quite the experience.

Our cat Squeak celebrated her 20th birthday this year, making her our longest-lived pet ever. Even Dad’s visit at Christmas couldn’t do her in. Meanwhile, Stephanie “I’m not getting any more pets” has added a second cat to her family: Willow.

The house almost seems like one of the family in these retrospectives: it’s changinghaving problems and getting smarter all the time. Sometimes we have to change it when we change as a family, like finding a place to put all the bikes in the winter. Or it can just be tidying it up. Or it can be the geography we live in, with a new rec centre opening or a brush fire that was too close for comfort. No matter what, it’s our home and has been for over five years now. The occasion of our fifth anniversary spurred on a great family photo, if not the official one for 2018.

I always like to highlight the arts and music in these retrospectives, and in the first half of the year, it was Stephanie and her kids who were the best, with their painting nights. Keep it up! The kids had their piano recital, which might be Miranda’s last as she stopped piano lessons. She still plays but wasn’t interested in lessons this fall. Ian had a couple of successful tries at playing the drums. Miranda continues to do a million and one craft projects, much more than she posts about here. And as usual, November was National Novel Writing Month. It was the 11th year for Tammy and I, and both Miranda and Ian took part. We were successful by all measures. I didn’t finish my novel, but I am excited to keep working on it.

We had a couple of visitors: our friend Cindy came to Calgary to visit her family and attend the Comic Expo, and we got a chance to have dinner with her, and Dad came twice: once in July and once again at Christmas. By coming in July, he got to see and do stuff that doesn’t work at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I had only a handful of trips in the first half of the year to Hamilton, Palm Springs and Tech Trek, but then rounded out the year with Winnipeg (a first for me!), Toronto, Edmonton and Regina. We had our annual pilgrimage to the coast in August. Before we left, the weather in Calgary was extreme, with a new record high of 36 degrees set, and the smoke from BC wildfires choking off outdoor activities. It seemed that we drove through the smoke to blue skies, and the clear air persisted long enough for everyone to ride in the Tour de Victoria, then the smoke closed in on Victoria, too. We tried some different indoorish activities, but the smoke didn’t let up until we went back home again.

It was a good year for us. Here’s hoping for more good stuff to come in 2019! Happy New Year!