Year End Update

I didn't realize this, but I had all of three posts in 2014.  That's unconscionable.  With only a few days left of this year, I feel I have to recap all of what transpired, but to do so would require me to dredge up memories and events that I either wish to keep buried or don't rightly believe are going to be accurate representations.  I'm listening to a new podcast now called The Serial in which one story is told over several weeks.  Each episode takes a look at, among other things, how we interpret the past.  Our memories are built upon emotion and any spin they receive will color them to the detriment of the facts.

Of course I'm speaking of my own emotions and events that happened primarily to me.  There was a lot that happened in 2014 and most of it very positive.  The upswing toward the end of the year is a welcome change to the calamity and moral destitution that marked the year prior.

So without further ado and with as much flair as I can muster, here are some high points.

As previously chronicled, Cheryl is reaching the end of her masters program.  She's been working very diligently on her thesis, lecturing, grading, reading, writing, and researching.  Yesterday was her last class for fall and now she has one semester left.  She's applied for PhD programs and will soon publish some findings in an area of sociology that has yet gone untouched.  It's a wonderful accomplishment and the family is hoping she doesn't explode before it's all done.  Her insurance won't cover Mental Detonation by Graduate Studies.

Rowan has collected a lot of hardware this year as well as two official boyfriends (not simultaneously).  She recently won All Star Cast for her UIL One Act performance, and won a spot on the UIL District Band for her oboe playing.  Her grades are still quite good, and while she lets things slip, she's always apparently able to make things up and right the ship.  She's the captain of her kickstart demo team and recently passed her belt testing.  She continues to be an amazing musician and spends most of her days either texting friends or playing one of three instruments for fun.

Gregory (or Greg as he's wont to be called) has become a bit of a chess fiend and an engineering nut.  His grades are fantastic and his mathematical and problems solving mind continues to amaze us.  While I was spending a few sick days playing Dragon Age, he was in my room building six different sized Poke-balls with accompanying Pikachus.  He's built more with my Lego than I have - something I mean to rectify for my own sanity and ego.  But for him I am really thrilled to see him doing so much with his mind and hands.  He still hasn't beat me at chess, but not for lack of trying.  He continues to enjoy scouts while he's involved, but getting him out of the house requires a bit more enthusiastic encouragement.

Both kids are still being medicated for brain chemistry issues.  Rowan is also going to therapy for anxiety.  It seems to be helping, but she does have moments when she breaks down for no reason.  As someone who was a bit of a slacker in middle school, I'm a bit awe struck by how much she has on her plate.  I don't remember being that involved and having that much to do and THEN have to come up to such a busy family.  I'm developing anxiety just thinking about it.  Both kids are complaining of lack of sleep as well, and before I read to much into that, I have to remind myself (and other parents) that they are children and children both require a lot of sleep and constantly fight you on getting that sleep.  These next few years will be exciting.

This year has also seen some increased physical activity.  Clair has run a few half marathons, in fact.  At one point she flew to Colorado to run 13 miles in Estes Park.  I used to camp there as a kid and I had to remind her that it's about seven thousand feet above us in Austin.  She did well and continues to be the healthy member of the family.

As for me, 2014 was what coaches like to call a rebuilding year.  I dated a little, I tried new things, new foods, and went on a few adventures I probably normally wouldn't have.  I made a few new friends, possibly lost a few, had my heart smashed a bit, and my liver beg for mercy.  I'm seeing someone new, have been for a few months, and it's very promising.  I hope I don't mess it up.  Didn't build or buy much Lego, but I got really good at singing karaoke.  Whether or not you think I have a good voice, I may be addicted to singing.  It's one of the things I'll miss when my voice eventually fails due to age.  I love singing, in the karaoke bar, in the car, at home.  If I could just speak to people in song, I would.  But then I'd be living in my own musical and would possible be put away for observation.

I still haven't found the muse for drawing.  I keep throwing myself into situations that would require a bit of artistry, but nothing ever comes of it.  The movie thing never amounted to more than a few sketches no matter how much I tried.  I received almost zero orders for robots.  The character designs for my friend's comic just didn't inspire me to do more of them.  I felt like I was looking for reasons to draw and it wasn't for the love of drawing.  There's also the chance I got burned a little from drawings I've done.  There's a lot that's still bruised from last year and it could be that drawing is just one of those things for which I have to be patient and let it come back on its own when its ready.

I recently watched a video of Kim Jung Gi, arguably the most skilled illustrator in the world right now, and it made me want to take all my old artwork, pencils, brushes, paints, markers, and other tools, put them all in a box, take that box into a field, cover it in gasoline, light it on fire, and then bury the ashes.  I've been drawing my whole life and not only was I not inspired by seeing his work, I was physically ill thinking of how much improvement lay before me.  I didn't feel hopeful at the challenge, I felt defeated.  It suddenly turned into a game of who could be best and it was just me against every other artist in the world and I lost.


There's a Christmas card that needs to be done and I'm running out of time.  Deadlines tend to force the creative juices to flow a little more readily.  It might be a needed jump start.

Who's ready for The Hobbit?