Monday, December 30, 2013

My Year in 2013

One of the advantages of writing according to formulae is that these end-of-year posts get a bit easier each time - all I need to do is copy last year's format, replace the text with the appropriate stuff for this year, and it's done.

It was actually very interesting reading last year's review, as I had perhaps whitewashed 2012 in my memory somewhat, when the reality was that it was actually very challenging. Also, the review started "2013 has sucked so far." That's not an entirely fair summary of the year as a whole, but it is fair to say that it was very mixed, and on balance was less good than 2012.

My Year in... Work

Firstly, though, the big success of the year. The first six months of 2013 were largely uneventful, in a good way. My performance review was much better than in 2012, which was a huge relief and put things back on track for the year.

Then, around the end of July, things seemed to click into high gear, and I had probably my best three months at work, ever. This was focussed around my trip to the US, from which I returned with a rave review, and then into the near-completion of the project.

The final three months of the year weren't quite of the same calibre as the previous three, but were still largely successful. In particular, I finished the year with a clean slate - I completed my last outstanding task just before ending work on my last day, then went to our Christmas Lunch, and was done. Which is pretty much the best possible way to end the year.

So, I'm actually rather hopeful for 2014 - if it continues in the same vein then it should be a good one.

My Year in... Health

The start of 2013 was a bit of an ordeal, with me going back and forth to the doctor several times with regard to my digestive issues. The outcome is that we think we've pinned the problem down, which is good, but there's very little to be done. I've got some medication which helps a little, but mostly I have to control it through my diet. And, to make things more complex, there don't seem to be any clear rules to follow - sometimes I can eat all the 'right' things and feel terrible, while other times I can eat all the 'wrong' things and feel great.

The one thing that does make a big difference, indeed far more than any medication, is to have Shredded Wheat for breakfast. Which doesn't really make sense, since it's on the 'wrong' list I was given, but since it works...

The most worrying bit of all this is that when things are bad, I have had spells when I have literally thought I was about to die. There seem to be lots of displaced pains involved, and when those pains like to displace to your left arm and upper chest, that's not good. (But, before you worry - yes, I've had that all checked out; and no, there's nothing to worry about.)

The key thing for 2014 is to lose weight again. Quite a lot of weight, actually - my feeling, which might well be wrong, is that this will help with the digestive issue. If nothing else, it should help with my general health.

My Year in... Gaming

2013 was mixed year for gaming as well. I finished off "The Eberron Code", which went as well as I could have imagined. Indeed, following the end of the campaign the group decided to get together for a meal, at which the players surprised me by giving me a gift - the "Star Wars: X-Wing" miniatures game. Which was totally unexpected, and very cool.

After some months, I then started my new campaign: "Star Wars: Imperial Fist". This has a few issues, which I'll be covering on the Imaginarium at some point soon - I think it may need redirected for better effect.

I also ran three one-shot games. "Firefly: Furiously Fast" was the rescheduled Christmas Game from last year, which went very well. "Star Wars: Imperial Fist" was effectively a pilot episode for the current campaign, and was excellent. Finally, I ran "Serenity: Bound by Law" on Saturday, that being this year's Christmas Game, and which also went very well.

Two other one-shot games were cancelled, though. The "Vampire: Victorian Age" game "Prometheus" was cancelled quite early due to going down with the group like a lead balloon. Conversely, "Black Crusade: A Lament for Lustivan" had to be cancelled late due to illness on my part. I've rescheduled this for early next year, that being the third and final attempt to get that game going.

Finally, I was able to beat 2012's tally of games played, but only just - we played two sessions of "Numenera", which was fun (moreso the second time).

For 2014, the goals are pretty simple: more of the same. I hope to bring "Star Wars: Imperial Fist" to a satisfactory conclusion and have scheduled three one-shot sessions: "Black Crusade: A Lament for Lustivan", "Ultraviolet: 2XS", and "Firefly: Inglorious". I would also like to manage at least three sessions as a player, thus beating the score for 2013!

My Year in... Band

Ah, band...

As anticipated, I rejoined the band in August, and have suddenly found myself tutoring two learners, which is fun. I remain the chairperson of the committee, and am gearing up for the new season.

2013 also saw the band celebrate its centenary, which saw me featuring in the local paper, which was pretty cool.

The goal for 2014, I think, is pretty simple: just to enjoy the band. I don't want to set a target for our competition performance (although I daresay others might), and I'm not sure I really care all that much. I just want to show up, do my bit, and enjoy the day. I'm also not going to make the same commitment to the competition season as in years past - where before I attended as many competitions as I could, I think the band this year will be very much a secondary concern. I'll aim to attend all the majors, but probably not all the minors.

My Year in... Resolutions

I've posted separately about my goals for 2013, and will post again with goals for 2014. In short, this has been a very mixed year, with some success, especially in important areas, but also some failure.

My Year in... Travel

2013 was quite a busy year for trips. So, here goes...

The first major trip was down to Alnwick with Lady Chocolat, where we celebrated our anniversary. This was a good time, despite some rain, especially our anniversary dinner at the Treehouse.

Then there were three trips in very quick succession: to Sardinia, to the US, and then down to the wedding of K & B. These were all excellent, although for very different reasons. Understandably, though, it was also an extremely tiring run - I pretty much needed a holiday to get over all of that!

The final trip was to Dunkeld in October, which was fine, but too too short. We did at least get good weather on our one full day up there, which was nice.

I think the timing of the trips was perhaps a little unfortunate, in that the rest of Sardinia was immediately wiped out by the hard slog of the trip to the US, followed by the long journey to the wedding. Both those latter two were great, and I wouldn't have missed them, but they were tiring. Then, there was a long run to October, a micro-break, and then a longer run to Christmas. By the end, I was dragging myself through the motions!

2014 is shaping up to be another busy year. Once again, LC and I are hoping to get away for our anniversary, although haven't booked anything yet, while I've promised myself a 'real' holiday in Summer - what with the wedding and then the kitchen, money has been a bit tight for a couple of years, but we should now be over that, so the plan is to splash out for something a bit special in the summer as something of a reward. At least, that's the plan.

Oh, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to be called on to go back out to the US at some point.

My Year in... Faith

2013, like 2012, was a rather boring year in terms of faith. We just did a bunch of stuff, and then it ended.

One of my plans for 2014 is to start working through Carson's guide to Robert Murray M'Cheyne's reading plan, and thus in turn start working through the Bible again. I'm not necessarily sure this will help, though I suspect the discipline it imposes will have benefits, but I'm pretty certain it can't hurt.

My Year in... Love

2013 was pretty terrible, though not, I hasten to add, for the reason you may think. No, the reason it was difficult is easily summed up: something is rotten in the state of education.

The first few months of the year were made very tough by teacher training. Then, suddenly, LC was finished and had almost nothing to do for three months. And then she was teaching, and once again absurdly busy (only moreso). And there have been some difficulties...

Now, it's not my place to go into the details (and, indeed, it would be wrong for me to discuss LC's work when one of my rules here is that I don't discuss my own). However, when there are things that are manifestly and clearly wrong, and when they are actually unjust amd, worst of all, when there is nothing whatsoever I can do to help...

There has been at least one occasion this year when I've considered hoisting the black flag and going pirate on the entire system.

Other than that, things have been mostly good. I've annoyed LC with my many foibles, she's annoyed me with her habit of not quite doing things fully, we both have our own ways that things must be done that aren't quite the same... but that's all just good fun.

So, for 2014 I think the key thing is just to continue to support LC through the rest of this year. And then, hopefully, she can get on with her 'real' career.

My Year... Overall

2013 was a very mixed year, and, on balance, a worse one that 2012. I really won't be sorry to see it go. On the other hand, it has had some successes, and it has actually ended rather well.

The hope, of course, is that 2014 will be better, with more emphasis on the good, less on the bad, and with the one really big issue being resolved successfully.

I hope 2014 proves to be a good New Year for you also.

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