Friday, December 28, 2012

2012/2013 State of the Me Address!!

Time to get my house in order -- figuratively and literally!!!

Before re-reading last year's post, I was thinking that I hadn't done very well on my goals -- but actually it looks like I did quite well overall! Let's review:

  • Just Keep Swimming: Passed with flying colors!!
  • Work harder at helping my kids develop good study habits so that they'll eventually do their homework on their own: Well, at least my sweetie and I have developed good habits of making sure the kids get their homework done. And the kids themselves are making progress on their study habits, ever so slowly...
  • Encourage their independence in other age-appropriate ways: We did very well on this one. We got Nico a phone and his own key and public transportation ticket, and now he can ride on the tram and bus by himself!! This is a little ahead of the schedule we'd originally planned for him (that he can ride the tram by himself when he's 12 -- he's actually 11), but he demonstrated that he was really ready for it. And this is the kid who's famous for frantically searching for his adult supervisors if they go out of his sight for 20 seconds -- big improvement!!
  • Continue to get my stuff in order in preparation for moving to a new apartment: Better than that -- I actually succeeded in moving to the new apartment!! I'm not quite done organizing everything yet (a critical component of the basement shelves I'm building was out of stock, grr), but we'll be truly installed before the end of January. And -- unlike our previous apartment -- we've actually installed lamps instead of leaving light-bulbs on wires hanging from the ceiling, yay!!!
  • I have some things I'd like to write for Main Street Plaza: Whatever I was planning to write, I'm sure I wrote it, and then I went one better -- I actually configured my own Linux server to host Main Street Plaza and my other sites!! My sites may not look like much at the moment, but it's like with organizing the apartment: you have to organize the cellar first before you can start on the parts that people can see. So this is a work in progress, but it is making real progress.
  • Attend Sunstone: This one went great!! I had a blast!! As you may recall, I co-organized two panels and presented on a third -- plus launched Mormon Alumni Association Books, and I've put up a place-holder on my server for the website. My only regret is that I didn't have as much time as I would have liked just to hang out and talk to friends.
  • Keep studying German: This is the one I did the worst on. I would have to say that over the year 2012, if anything I regressed in my confidence in carrying on a conversation in German (which hit its high point while I was at German camp in the Summer of 2011). I feel like I've been adding to my latent knowledge and understanding of German, though (reading stuff all the time and contemplating novel words and grammatical constructions), and if I focus on it in 2013 (as I plan to), this may be my year to really bloom!! It's weird to think that I've been here in Switzerland for five years now (only two less than the time I lived in France), and I still don't speak German as well as I spoke French from the beginning of when I moved to France, twelve years ago... This will be my year, though, to get on the ball!

Overall, I feel like 2012 was a successful year for laying groundwork. I have the back-end of Main Street Plaza, and can build it into the site I want it to be. We've bought and moved into the apartment that we want to settle in -- until retirement if all goes according to plan.

And now 2013 will be the year of building something!! :D

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Christmas to all!!

I think I may finally have to end my series on Christmas specials. :(

In the canon of Christmas specials that I used to watch every year as a kid, there was one left that I was planning to write about this year ("Frosty the Snowman"), but after racking my brain for a few weeks, I couldn't think of anything I wanted to say about it. The others were all thought-provoking in different ways (click on my Christmas label to see them), but I guess now I'm left scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Anyway, this has been an incredibly busy holiday season for me. We just moved to a new apartment on the 14th, and then the following weekend (a couple of days before Christmas), I hosted the Christmas dinner party of the ex-Mormons of Switzerland: 17 people and three dogs!!

Fortunately, everybody brought food. In fact, each household individually brought enough food for the whole group, so we had some fantastic leftovers! :D Holly's pumpkin-curry soup played a key role.

And, in case unpacking and getting moved-in and decorating (and shopping) for Christmas weren't enough to do, at my real job we released our new product just before everyone started the Christmas holiday Friday night -- a very cool new educational software package to help kids who have difficulty in mathematics. (The English and French versions are also done, and they'll be officially released in January.)

All of this is my excuse for why I didn't have time to follow up on figuring out this strange Germanic tradition of having the baby Jesus bring kids Christmas presents, and how that can work exactly...

I'll try to have more insights on it by next year! :D

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!!!