Sporadically through the last year, I’ve followed up on how my numerous resolutions for 2008 were holding up. Here’s the final evaluation for 2008.
1. Write more consistently, whether journaling, blogging, or creative writing.
Although I haven’t blogged much more than the prior couple of years, I have done a decent amount of writing and website design to support writing. I became the webmaster and a contributing editor for Rough Road Review, a poetry and opinion journal with a distinctly southwestern flavor. I also scored another regular writing gig (see below.)
I mentioned Ficlets.com in my last resolutions post back in May. Unfortunately, I just found out that Ficlets.com is shutting down as of January 15, 2009. That’s a bummer. It was really a neat little site. I didn’t wind up contributing more than one piece to it, but I read a lot of the pieces on there. I will repost my one Ficlet submission here soon.
2. Find another outlet for article writing (since ComputorEdge has gone virtual.)
Back in May, I said, “… I did hear back from another [computer magazine], which is in its startup phase. We’ll see how that one works out.” It actually worked out very well. I’m now writing for Rocky Mountain TechLine at pro rates, and have been given assignments for four straight issues. W00t! The Editor/Publisher, Eric Wolferman, is wonderful to work with, and very encouraging. Through his influence, I think my non-fiction writing has taken a step up.
3. Publish some fiction. (Didn’t I say this last year?)
Um … Yeah. 2009, here I come.
4. Play more musical gigs.
My band, Steel River 3, played numerous gigs this year, and I have a new favorite coffeehouse because of it: Forza Coffee Company. Although I rarely drink coffee, the atmosphere at this place is wonderful, and the owner clearly cares very much about making his shop the best it can be.
5. Start teaching my stepson how to play guitar (his request, my responsibility to follow up.)
In May, I said, “It’s clear that Logan needs a Logan-sized guitar with standard tuning, but I haven’t had the money to get him one.” I’m pleased to say we did get him a Fender Mini Strat and amp, but I haven’t kept up my responsibility to teach him. For Christmas, I got him a new set of tuners for the Mini; the ones it came with don’t hold tune well. After I install those tuners and a fresh set of strings, we will work on the lessons.
6. Transplant my Variax electronics into a Carvin Bolt kit or Warmoth guitar body.
Money wasn’t there for this project, but I’m hoping to do it in 2009.
Physical & Mental Health
1. Learn how to get up earlier, consistently.
I have become more consistent about when I get up, though I stopped trying to get up as early as I was before, so this one was only a 50/50 accomplishment.
2. Utilize my handheld BalanceLog software to track my eating and exercising habits.
In May: “I haven’t been using it, but I’m at my lowest weight in the last few years. Go figure.” It’s amazing what can happen in a few months. Starting in September, I started gaining weight, and I’m just now starting to turn the trend around. What do you want to bet that if I had been tracking calories I wouldn’t have gained at the end of the year?
3. Ride my bike or walk to work more often. (If I get up earlier, this is not a problem!)
I did a bit of riding, but not enough, this summer. Currently, my bike is disabled (damn goatheads!) and the load of stuff I carry to work has increased, so I need to get a backpack. Both fixes are cheap, though.
4. Schedule dental appointments to get my teeth taken care of.
I attended my dreaded dental appointment, and my suspicions were confirmed. I will need a two-stage deep cleaning, and then oral surgery to remove three wisdom teeth that came in crooked. (The fourth grew in sideways, and is technically impacted, but the dentist recommends leaving it there because there is no chance it will ever erupt.) Unfortunately, we ran out of flex plan money in September, so I had to postpone the above procedures until 2009.
1. Get the amp out of the pawn shop, and never put it in again.
2008 was a horrible year as far as music equipment goes. Add to this list a 1996 Takamine acoustic-electric, the Carvin Bolt guitar kit I built in honor of my Uncle Leslie (see pic below) and a Fender Cyber-Twin Ver. 2.1 amplifier. I hung on to my Variax modeling guitar because it was the most versatile for playing gigs. The year ended on a positive note, however. I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful new Epiphone acoustic guitar from my wife and sister-in-law for Christmas. Right now, my Variax is in the pawn shop, but I will be able to get it out by the end of January. One of next year’s goals will be to set up an emergency fund to prevent the need for pawn shop patronage.
2. Continue to provide quality computer consulting, but stop devaluing my services as much.
Consulting work continued to grow throughout the year, to the point where I had too many consulting jobs at one point and had to start turning them down. I think I did better regarding the value of my services, but there was one special circumstance in which I basically worked gratis. I don’t regret that, though. I did it for the right reasons, though I probably put it at a higher priority on my list than I should have.
3. Keep current on space rent, car payment, mortgage, and car insurance.
Things are looking up financially. We are current on our mortgage and space rent, car insurance will be paid this weekend, and we have eliminated the car payment altogether. We voluntarily returned our worthless van to the dealer, who then sold it at auction for $167.50. Yes, you read that right. We are stuck with a large balance on the loan, but that will be going away in the bankruptcy we decided to file in October. By the end of February, we should have paid off the bankruptcy attorney so we can remove that debt, as well as a number of other judgments (medical, etc.) that are threatening our livelihood.
It seems odd to say that things are looking up because we’re filing bankruptcy, but that’s becoming a sign of the times, I think.
4. Make a spending plan (a.k.a. budget) and stick to it.
I didn’t do too well with this, but I did what I could. I already have a more balanced spending plan in place for 2009.
5. Track finances better with Quicken on computer and handheld.
I utterly failed at this, because we lived paycheck-to-paycheck all year long. Hopefully 2009 will be better.
1. Clean cat boxes daily.
This resolution started out well, and finished very poorly. I will definitely need to reaffirm this one.
2. Help more with household chores without having to be asked.
I think it’s safe to say that I improved overall in this area.
3. Reduce household clutter gradually (this will help mental health, too.)
As of late August 2008, this became impossible. Lannette’s father and sister moved out to Denver and lived with us (at our invitation, of course.) Her father has since found another place and moved into it, but her sister is not at a point where she can afford to live on her own yet. As long as we have an extra person living in the house, we will have to live with clutter, and I’m resigned to that.
4. Upgrade my computer (new mobo, RAM, and video.)
I actually accomplished this one in its entirety! Of course, it helped that my old motherboard completely died, so I was forced to upgrade.
5. Replace carpet with hardwood flooring throughout the house.
Money to do this was simply not there in 2008. Hopefully we can do this after the bankruptcy is finalized.
6. Landscape yard.
Well, my neighbor certainly did his part to help with this. He put a lot of work into building a partial low wall where we had discussed putting one. He used all the materials he had, but then I was unable to afford the materials we needed to finish the job.
7. Install carport/awning.
See #5 above.
Overall, I think I made some progress in all categories, which is not so bad. I still have room to improve, and I will need to recommit to some goals, but I’m ending the year knowing there’s hope, and that’s worth a lot to me.